Every single person reading this was touched in some way by a teacher. They taught you to read, write, to think—you are who you are today because of a teacher. I can name the ones that touched me, Mr. McPike, Mr. McArdle, Mrs. Sutherland, Mrs. Bayer, Mr. Sample, Mr. Smith, and Dr. Colby, to name a few. Each one of them taught me something—whether it was about life, or about love of a subject. I have met my son’s teachers over the past 12 years of formal education, each and every one of them a dedicated professional. When I was a child teachers were looked up to in the community. Teaching was something to aspire to. 

Over the years the American right has attacked teachers, calling them lazy for only working nine months out the year, saying they are overpaid, and that anyone could do their job. This came to a head with the election of Scott Walker and the passage of Act 10 in Wisconsin. Now the current White House resident has carried the war on education to another level with Betsy DeVos as education secretary. 

Things appear to be turning around with teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Hopefully it is not too late to turn around the disastrous right-wing reforms that have caused teachers to leave the profession in droves.

That brings me to this, an acquaintance of mine is a teacher in Arizona, a state that has the lowest teacher pay, and highest teacher turnover in the country. I sat down with him and asked him some questions about his profession, and how it has changed over the years. He is a junior high school teacher and has been teaching in the same district for twenty-seven years. He has taught various subjects: 7th Grade English Language Arts (ELA), 8th Grade ELA, 7th Grade Social Studies, 6-8 Computer Literacy/Keyboarding, and 7th grade Social Studies over the years. He has also taught various Enrichment ELA/Novel Studies courses as well. He received his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership back in 1995.

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