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Two teachers move in with parents as step one of their Plan B

A teacher welcomes pupils in a classroom at David Johnston primary school on September 4, 2012.

Kai Ryssdal: There are more than five million teachers in this country. More people teach than do almost any other job. But layoffs in the last few years have forced a lot of those people to rethink their careers. We've been hearing from some of them on their next steps. Michael Kane recently married another out-of-work teacher. They've moved back in with his parents in Port Clinton, Ohio.


Michael Kane: Back in the mid to late 1990s, everybody was talking about how we wanted the best and brightest to be teachers. So from very early on, when I was even in high school, I wanted to be a high school history teacher.

I started teaching in the fall of 2000. I've had four different jobs in education since then and three of those four jobs I was cut due to budgets.

It's been very challenging to move back in with my parents after having lived on my own for almost 20 years now. There's a lot of rules that I have to get reacquainted with. They were very kind and very generous to help us out but, yeah, it is kind of a disappointment.

I've been searching for work now for about six months. I've applied with campaign offices. I've applied with gas station management positions. I've applied for sales positions in insurance and retail. There's just such a surplus of teachers out there right now that it's really difficult to even find a substitute teaching job to get you through until you find something more permanent.

I always wanted teaching to be my lifelong career. The joke is that with history teachers, they don't retire, you carry them out feet first.

When you have a dream for 20 years -- and when parents come to you at conference night and they tell you, "We just wanted to meet you because our son or daughter comes home every night and talks about what they learned in your class today and they're so excited about your class" -- it is very frustrating to then say I now have to go look for something else just because of the economic situation of it.

My wife hasn't taught yet, and so she's looking to get her foot in the door in education, and I'm ready to leave. I try and talk her out of being a teacher on a weekly basis, but she has such great skills with students I don't think there's any way I could dissuade her -- and I don't think I'd want to.

Our education correspondent Amy Scott produced that for us. We've got more stories of teachers looking for Plan B here.

 

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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I felt that this story was speaking directly to me. I am also a teacher in California and have been considering leaving the profession. The only reason I have not received a pink slip is because I am a special education teacher, and a darn good one (not sure that matters). I've been through pay cuts, library closures, furlough days, overcrowded case loads of students with higher needs. My husband has a vision impairment so the uncertainty associated with leaving is terrifying, but how long can I support my family on less and less income? It is demoralizing to think that I did everything that I was supposed to do... went to college and graduate school, took all of the tests and passed all of the credentialing and I still can hardly support my family.

After 25 years of teaching, I moved to a new city within the same state. I wrongly assumed that my award winning career and total devotion to children would be my pass to a new job. The economy and the extreme cuts in education knocked that myth right out of me. As the gentleman said in the interview, I have been applying everywhere for a job after I applied for over 40 positions in education. I am now an assistant manager of a retail store. I had to be able to have benefits for my children. So, I am making about 1/2 of my previous salary, but at least I am employed. Of course, this was the first August where I did not have a class full of students. Let's just say this has not been a happy fall for me. I miss my students dearly.

In Ohio, education is being moved more toward the private sector. There is little monitoring and even less accountability. Education is not a priority and teachers are not paid what they are worth. The special education programs are even worse. And then we wonder...what's to become of our future! Hang in there Mr Kane!

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