Half of Americans Support Pay Raises For Teachers

Teachers Need Higher Salaries Or The Future Is Doomed

Teachers are integral to developing our communities and keeping our kids on the right path, but they sure aren't paid like it.

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America, rural America in particular, is running out of teachers. You might be asking yourself, "How could this be? Half the people I know are in school studying to become teachers!" While that may be true, the playing field and the career goals all change once that friend of yours is looking down the barrel of massive student loan debt and can't live off of a regular teaching salary, especially in small rural counties throughout America.

After watching this "VICE" video on this very topic, I was pretty overcome with emotion.

Rural America Is Running Out Of Teachers (HBO) www.youtube.com

Educators, including my mother, have been pivotal in my growth and shaping my outlook on the world around me. This profound impact a teacher can potentially leave on a student is true in every community in the country. How is it fair to rationalize that just because teaching is considered a selfless act, that teachers should be paid a barely liveable wage.

We consider lots of other professions to be selfless, but oftentimes the individuals in those professions are paid accordingly. Police officers, doctors, and other trades tend to make a livable wage. Except for teachers.

$35K a year isn't enough to support a family, buy a home or new car, or to grant us any of the things promised in the "American Dream." We NEED to provide more money for public education. We NEED to give educators a reason to get out of bed beyond a good feeling that they're doing the right thing. We NEED to realize that educators are as important to our communities as doctors, police, and firefighters. We NEED to do more for our children.

I honestly made more money managing a GameStop than what most teachers make and I still struggled with having to live check to check. Mind you, I have ZERO children. When we consider how much money we pump into our military, it's mind-boggling to think we can't take a small fraction of that to increase the salaries of public educators throughout the country.

If I knew that becoming a teacher would mean $50-60K a year that would honestly be a job I would consider going after. But even me, someone completely conscious of this disservice we are doing for our children by not ensuring they have the highest quality of education, can't rationalize taking such a small sum of money for such an incredible amount of work. The idea that teachers are simply marking off letter grades in a day planner and not actively shaping young minds is likely part of the problem.

If politicians really want my vote in 2020, this is what they need to be talking about. We need to step up to the plate and provide a better education system for children and teachers alike. So much of the world is already going to shit, let's put our energy and money into developing a generation that gives a shit.

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8 Things To Know About The 911 Dispatcher In Your Life

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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For the first 18 years of my life, all I knew about 911 dispatchers was that they were the voice that came after the tone, from inside the pager on my dad's hip. The voice telling him where to go and for what. I had no idea after I turned 19 that I would soon become one of those voices. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this year is the week of April 14th-20th. I felt it appropriate to write my article this week focused on that, considering it is such a huge part of my life. For the rest of the world, it is just another week. For us, this is the one week out of the whole year that the focus is on the dispatcher, the one week where we don't feel so self-absorbed about saying what we do is nothing short of heroic. Here are some important things to know about the 911 dispatcher in your life.

1. We worry about you constantly

My biggest fear in this job is picking up the phone and hearing my loved one on the other end. No matter what the circumstance. The map zooms to the area of the county where my family and I reside, and my heart always sinks. I get a giant pit in my stomach because the very real reality is it may be someone I know and love. Don't be annoyed when we call you twice in one day or overly remind you to be safe. We are just always worried about our loved ones.

2. Our attention spans can be short

We are trained to get the pertinent information and details all within a matter of seconds. I can't speak for everyone on this, but I struggle a lot with paying attention when someone is talking to me, please forgive me if it feels as though I've stopped listening after a few minutes. I probably have. I've noticed that I listen very intently to the first couple minutes of a conversation and then my mind trails off. Nothing personal, just habit.

3. We have great hearing and multitasking skills

Most of us anyways. We can hear the person on the phone, the officer on one radio channel and the firefighter on the other, all at once. I have found that this skill comes in handy when trying to eavesdrop, also not as handy when you go out to dinner and can hear all five conversations going on around you. I have yet to master shutting that off when I am not at work.

4. We are hilarious

It could be a combination of using humor to deal with bad situations and spending twelve hours at a time in a little room together. But I think it’s that we are just freaking hilarious, nothing else to it. If you go the whole 12 hours without laughing, you're doing something wrong.

5. We have a very complicated love-hate relationship with our jobs

I love what I do, and I truly believe I was meant to put on that headset. Everything happens for a reason and my education plans out of high school didn't work out because I was supposed to be here doing this instead. I love what I do. I hate it sometimes too though. I remember specifically once taking a phone call about an hour before my shift was done. As soon as I got into my vehicle to go home, I bawled my eyes out and swore to myself that I was never stepping back into a comm center again. I hated my job with a burning passion that day. My next scheduled shift, I went back to work because I love it too. See, it doesn't even make sense it's just complicated.

6. We are tired

Believe it or not, this career can be incredibly exhausting. Someone once told me "You just sit at a desk for twelve hours, that can't be that hard." Physically that's right, we just sit there. Mentally and emotionally the first phone call of the shift can drain you and then you still have a little over 11 hours to go. I won't go into details on that but trust us when we say it was a bad call. We are tired. Some of my days off I just sleep all day not because I'm physically exhausted but because my mind needs that much time to recharge.

7. We are crazy

I really have nothing more to say other than no sane person would be a 911 dispatcher. We are all a little 10-96 in the best way possible.

8. We love harder than most

We love strangers we have never met, we love our officers that piss us off daily over the radio (we piss them off too) and we love our co-workers that drive us nuts sometimes. It takes someone incredibly strong to save a life through the phone and someone even stronger to go back after they didn't. With that strength comes a weakness of vulnerability, we know our hearts will break more often than others, and we still continue to put on that headset to help others. The people with the biggest hearts work in a dispatch center. If you are lucky enough to be loved by one don't take them for granted.

The list could go on and on. Dispatchers possess so many skills and qualities that most people will never acquire in their lifetime. People think 911 and picture the police officer, the firefighter, the paramedic often completely forgetting the 911 dispatcher. For us, that's okay because other than this one week out of the year, we don't expect praise or thank you. When it comes down to it, we love what we do and we would do it no matter what.

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8 Things To Keep In Mind As You Navigate Your First Job Offer

While it can be tempting to scream "Yes!" at the first employer to offer you a job, there are a few things to consider.

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Let's face it, society has big expectations for you when you graduate from college. Namely, those around you expect you to go off and get a job and embark on a fruitful career until it's time to retire. As such, you may feel as though you have no leverage when it comes to your job hunt and you might think you have to take the first offer you receive. But, that's not true at all.

There are a few things you should know as you navigate the job world right out of school. With the right knowledge and strategies in mind, you'll figure out the best course for you, even if it's not the first offer you get.

1. Figure out what you want before you go in.

You can't say "yes" or "no" to a job offer unless you're steadfast in what you expect from your first employer. Everyone's list of must-haves will be different, of course, though many first-timers seek similar things.

For instance, a new employee might want to ensure they have a varied list of responsibilities, the opportunity to learn new skills or programs and the chance to grow and move up within the company.

On top of that, you should always delineate your ideal salary, benefits and job location, no matter if you're a first-time worker or a seasoned industry veteran, these factors will have an impact on your quality of life, so they're just as important as the job itself.

2. Gauge your initial intrigue on all of your offers.

When you read a job's description, you typically get a list of tasks for which you'll be responsible, as well as a summary of the company's mission and ideals. As you skim, you'll feel whether your interest is piqued or not and it's important to have that feeling of intrigue as you take on your first job.

Yes, it's true that you probably won't land your dream role right out of the gate, but you also shouldn't force yourself into a role that doesn't suit you just to have a job. If you're already disinterested, imagine how you'll feel a year from now.

3. Factor in financial benefits on top of everything else.

We already touched on the importance of a job's salary in your decision-making process but your bottom line might include more than just your biweekly paycheck.

Plenty of companies offer bonuses like 401K savings plans and stock options to help build your savings over time. In terms of the latter, the possibility of investing in your employer is mutually beneficial. You diversify your portfolio and potentially earn dividends, while the company receives the financing it needs to grow and expand. This type of program is a factor that could sway you to take a job with a salary that, at first, seems standard.

4. Learn about training opportunities.

Professional development is huge for employees, especially those in the early stages of their careers. As such, you should figure out what, if any, training opportunities a company provides.

Sometimes, they'll pay for continuing education, which is ideal if you want to pursue a masters or another degree. Others organize on-the-job training, such as seminars and conferences, which will also help you grow and improve in your career.

5. Get to know your potential boss.

Your future boss will make or break your first job. The right person will guide you through the early stages of your career and help you improve your skills and standing for future promotions, raises and career changes. So, ask questions during or after your interview to find out their management style, how they give feedback and what they expect of their team members.

If you have the opportunity, ask their current team members, too, to ensure you know what you're signing up for before accepting the offer.

6. Make sure you align with the company's mission.

For millennials, a job is more than just a chance to earn money, it's about serving a purpose and chasing a company's mission. As such, you need to find out your potential employer's values and figure out if they align with yours.

Even if a business works for a profit, they should explain how their work serves the greater good. If you care about what they do, you'll be more engaged as an employee, which will make your first job experience a much more pleasant and rewarding one.

7. Make sure you'll be comfortable in the work environment.

Is the office dead silent throughout the day? Do people work in cubicles or at obstruction-free tables? How often does the team go to Happy Hour?

As a young professional, such questions will be important to you in your decision-making process — you want to make sure you'll be comfortable in your new workspace. If you can, take a tour of the office before committing to an offer so you can get a taste of the environment.

8. Think about how your future and the company's future align.

Finally, you should consider the longevity of the job offer. Will you work for a business that has the potential for future growth or is it a shrinking industry? Obviously, you can't ask the hiring manager this, you'll need to do some industry research to see if your first job will have legs or not.

Even if you're going to work for a company that might not last forever, you can still derive transferable skills from a job with them. Avoid picking something too specialized that could leave you in the lurch if there isn't much of a future in the overarching industry.

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