Time to Replace (or bury) a Teacher Cliche

Wanted – a replacement for, “I’m not in it for the income; I’m in it for the outcome.” What’s your suggestion?

I think that every reference tool that needs an example of “making a virtue out of a necessity” should use teachers who say they don’t work for the money.

Fair enough, I don’t know any teachers who say they work for the money. But do so many have to claim that being underpaid is a virtue?

The first time I heard it, it was kind of arresting. For our work of a school organization that was sponsored by the local university, facilitators earned a yearly stipend of $1500 for a few hundred hours of work. At the year-end facilitator meeting, one of the program coordinators informed us that they couldn’t pay us the stipend any more. But, of course, we were free to try to get our districts to. That was quite a blow, and when facing the blowback, the same coordinator (who’s long gone) said, approximately, “But it’s really not the kind of work you do for the income anyway.”

Recently, at a meeting of the Teachers Advisory Group that would meet with the state superintendent, a colleague was making a point about finances, and stopped mid-stream to go back and start over with, “I know we don’t do it for the money, but…” as if it were some kind of mandatory statement of principle.

And recently I’ve seen teachers post on Facebook a graphic that said, “I’m not in it for the income, I’m in it for the outcome!” Then, the very next day, a colleague at my school was wearing a t-shirt that had the same quote.

I confronted her and she said she’d love to make more money but the legislators weren’t going to do that. Well, leaving aside that it’s districts, not legislatures that determine our pay scale: Why does any teacher announce in policy meetings, Facebook, and t-shirts that income doesn’t matter to us? 

So, please, can we come up with some zingy alternatives that positively express the complexity of teaching and its financial value? Looking forward to your answers.

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