They work second jobs. They buy their kids’ school supplies. They’re losing support staff. They don’t have enough pencils. Nine local teachers share their stories.
- Photo by Caitlin Penna
- Carla Tavares
Carla Tavares is a third-grade teacher at Jones Dairy Elementary in Wake Forest. She came to North Carolina eleven years ago from Rhode Island, where she also taught.
"We work more than forty hours a week. We work all night, all weekend. I substitute [during breaks] and I teach reading camp just to make ends meet. As a single parent, part of this is about being able to sustain my household. Being able to send my children to college. But I chose this profession because I feel like it's a calling, and it's part of my responsibility to advocate for the things that I believe are not right. We need our support staff, teacher assistants, not just cutting positions and expecting teachers to do more with less. I know what it's like to be in a classroom where you don't have what you need. I have spent a lot of money on books to accommodate my own needs in my classroom.
"For me personally, it's about the kids, and I would like to be able to feel like I'm respected as a professional. We don't get treated as professionals. If you want your teachers to be happy, you want your schools to have a working community, and there are some things that go with the territory. I took a huge pay cut to come here. And to feel like I'm just within the last couple years making what I was making eleven years ago is pretty pathetic."<