Here we are, about to start the third week of school and I am knee deep in my first big weekend of grading: 100 outlines from my SC105 students, 26 weekly write-ups from my SC215 students and 25 forum posts and recordings from a dual enrollment class I adjunct. I have affectionately started referring to that last class as “my side hustle.” It helps me pay tuition for my doctoral classes in educational leadership and policy analysis. Which reminds me, I have some reading to do too. This is why I entitled my blog Teaching & Learning. I spend most of my time doing both.
But, I wanted to share something that has been on my mind this Labor Day. Many people question the value of a college education these days. I can get pretty salty about people wanting to take funding away from higher education because they have devalued it (see this letter I wrote over the summer: http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/letters/colleges-are-not-in-opposition-to-america...)
However, in my fight to ensure every student who wants a college education can get one, I want to make sure I am never perceived as disparaging those who don’t have one. My father, my in-laws, and many other of my family members and friends did not complete college. Many summers, I worked along side folks in offices, restaurants and retail who would still be there full time after I returned to school. These are good people doing valuable work. And the truth is, when many of my advisees ask me how much money they might make right out of college with their health communication degree, I feel they should know they may not make any more money than my dad did setting store shelves or a friend of mine earns making paper towels at P&G. Similarly, I have heard honors students be discouraged from going into teaching. “You’re so smart! Why would you want a job that pays so little?” Why would people equate someone's calling with their starting salary? What has to matter is feeling you are doing what you are supposed to do. You should be paid fairly for it. Sometimes you won’t be. I won’t go so far as to agree with the old adage that if you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life. But, if your heart isn’t in what you are doing, no amount of money will make up for that.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work.