I Stand With The Teachers In West Virginia

I Stand With The Teachers In West Virginia

Underpaid teachers are not only found in West Virginia, but across America.
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Disclaimer: I don’t live in West Virginia.

So if you’re like me, when you first heard about the teacher strike in West Virginia you might have thought “Why should I care?”. You should care, however, because the teacher strike in West Virginia goes beyond the state borders and affects all of us in America. Underpaid teachers are not only found in West Virginia, but across America.

In West Virginia, teachers are striking in all 55 counties until lawmakers give them 5% raise and a promise for health insurance contributions to stay constant. Although striking is illegal in West Virginia, the state cannot afford to fire them because they have a shortage of teachers. It’s no wonder that West Virginia has a significant teacher shortage since their pay ranked 48th in the nation in 2016.

The situation in West Virginia hit home when the teacher I have been shadowing told me how teaching is more like volunteering with the added benefit of pay. She even left teaching for a time in order to work in the corporate world so she could support her family. So nobody goes into teaching for money, but shouldn’t we at least pay our teachers a living wage?

According to an Education Next poll from August 2017, roughly 6 out of 10 Americans believe teacher pay should increase. In 2017, an OECD study found that

“American teachers earn on average only up to 60% than other professionals with similar education levels, the lowest relative earnings across all OECD countries.” Washington Post

This is disappointing considering that we want to pay enough to attract really good people to become teachers and remain in teaching rather than having to bail out for a more profitable career. As a future teacher, I have been questioned and told that I should rethink my decision to become a teacher because I won’t make much. So it’s easy to imagine how many potential teachers, who would care for their students, have been dissuaded and made the decision to forego teaching in favor of a more lucrative career.

As a current student, seeing how little we value our teachers also makes me wonder how much we actually value our education. So unless we invest in our teachers, we are basically showing that we don’t value and believe in investing in the future of education and the future of children. This is why I stand with the teachers striking in West Virginia. Will you stand with them too?

Cover Image Credit: https://imgur.com/gallery/w89TM

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.

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In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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