When giving tours, people always, and yes, I mean always, ask why I pay over $65,000 to go on to make $35,000 a year as a teacher. The question is, in all honesty, a legitimate one. I could've easily gotten a lot of scholarships to pay for a much less expensive education at a large state university somewhere else. However, my choice shouldn't be called into question anyways, and I'm more than excited to be paying for the experience I'm receiving at my university.
First off, I, nor do most people, pay the full ticket price of school, so assuming I do is a bit irresponsible. However, even if I did, I wouldn't trade the experience for any amount of money. I came to my university originally as a political science major with the intention of going on to law school. For that, this place made logistical sense. However, I quickly decided teaching was where my passion lives, and I wouldn't change the experiences I've had, and will continue to have, for any amount of money.
However, this question raises a more complex set of issues: why is the expectation for teachers to aim lower for education, and why aren't teachers paid more? We'll answer the second question first, since it's a much easier question to tackle. Simply, no low level government officials, whether it be police officers or teachers, make a decent wage. This is a systemic problem we as a country need to tackle, and sooner rather than later.
The first question we raised is much more important. Nothing should prohibit or discourage future educators for pursing a quality education. Granted, that's not saying a state school, or a cheaper school, wouldn't provide a quality education. However, small liberal arts schools provide an extremely well rounded curriculum for students, and teachers should really push to have that well rounded education moving forward. Instead of discouraging teachers for pursuing these more expensive, rounded liberal arts educations, we should give them more scholarships, loan forgiveness, or other stipends to help them afford it.
The fact is, I'm more than responsible enough to pick where I go to school and how much I pay. Being a teacher is no different than if I went to the same school to be a nurse, a chemist, a businessman, or more. I have a passion for what I want to do, and that's the end. The experiences at the university are second to none, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.