I used to work at a restaurant part-time as a server. Somedays it was one of the most mentally and physically draining experiences of my life, but the fast cash was great!
Most of the time.
Every now and then there would be a table or night in general where I ended up barely making the minimum wage. My paychecks were laughable at best and my fate was in the hands of the elderly couple in booth ten sipping their third cup of decaf coffee warming their old-fashioned bad tipping souls.
Great. Now how am I supposed to get gas for my drive home?
Working in the food business exposes you to a very eclectic group of coworkers from all sorts of backgrounds. There was one other server that haunted me the most. She was currently student teaching and working part-time at the restaurant.
She was my future, and I didn’t like it.
Every night when another steak wasn’t done right, another ranch on the side, then on my apron, and another less than ten percent tip, I would take a deep breathe and think of my future as a teacher and no longer in this medium rare inferno.
It never occurred to me that I would have to stay here longer, but then I remembered… student teachers don’t get paid.
I’ll be working full-time, teaching youths, preparing lesson plans outside of the classroom.
Zero dollars an hour.
For a whole semester.
2,920 unpaid hours.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not teaching for the money. That phrase doesn’t even make sense considering how little teachers make. However, I am teaching so I don’t have to continue cleaning up strangers dishes, bringing three diet cokes with only two ice cubes and getting filthy old dish water splashed on my face.
It also dawned on me that although I am the “student” teacher, I might get stuck with
So not only would I get absolutely slammed at school figuring out how to develop a not only educational but relevant and interesting curriculum for 20-30 hormonally charged students every hour for a full day.
Hold on, it get’s better.
Instead of using the weekends and hours outside of the school day to prepare, I get to slip on my five pound “no slip grip” approved tennis shoes and clean the puke out of booth 32.
As much as I love my parents and the home I grew up in, I don’t want to be that stereotypical millennial soaking in all the free rent, food, cleanliness, and insurance forever.
Well, maybe the insurance part for a little longer. Thanks Obama.
I want to use my degree and the hours and money I have spent over the past four years to go towards what I want to do. Teach. Just teach.
I didn’t decide to go to college and work as a server to raise enough money to continue to serve overly priced and overly cholesterol filled food making the customers that much closer to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
I don’t want that on my plate (pun intended.)
I did decide to go to college however to serve my students and the future generations. I’m addicted to the heart, passion, and potential each human sitting in the desk has. I am so excited to be a part of the critical time period that high school is. I cannot wait to learn and grow alongside my students and get to watch them continue on after my time with them.
Most degrees suggest an internship before entering the full-time job. This is smart and I completely agree with this logic. With this suggestion, there is also a lot choice for most students. They could do an unpaid internship, but most business and companies have discovered that they are more likely to have students go for the paid internships.
Because ya know, they kinda have to live.
Student teaching is a requirement to graduate. You don’t have much choice in the school and or teacher you work with it. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t, and you certainly don’t get paid.
This needs to change.
After all, our student teachers have a whole semester with their students.
That’s a lot of influence and knowledge lost or gained.
Wouldn’t we want this influence to be on their absolute A game when they show up to teach and not on their fourth cup of coffee by noon trying not to choke on their tears in the bathroom during study hall?