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Holding teaching up as a higher calling is how we keep teachers down

Striking teachers marched on Woburn Common in Friday's cold weather. Students and teachers returned to classrooms Monday morning after a Sunday deal put an end to a strike that canceled classes for nearly 4,300 students last week.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

I have been a middle and high school teacher for more than 30 years, both in New York and Massachusetts. I love my work and I am good at it. I have good relationships with students, administrators, and parents. My students score well on standardized tests from my content area. At the same time, being a teacher is how I fed my children and paid my mortgage. Teaching is a job. Pretending that teaching is some sort of magical higher calling where teachers should make financial sacrifices for the betterment of the community’s students is ridiculous. That attitude is how our society justifies paying teachers less than professions of similar educational requirements.

When teachers go on strike, it’s not the teachers who are keeping students from their classrooms. It is the politicians and communities that won’t pay teachers appropriately.


Mary Holmes