People don’t become teachers because they want to get rich. People become teachers because they are passionate about their content and they enjoy seeing children expand their education. However, this passion wanes when teachers realize just how much their salaries are falling behind the cost of living.

Maine ranks 48 out of the 50 states for the lowest teaching salaries. In the past, this salary may not have seemed quite so pernicious, but now Maine residents are aware that people from “away” want a piece of the Maine life, so purchasing a home in Maine is becoming out of reach for many teachers and other blue-collar workers. Add in the ever-increasing costs of commodities and the harsh reality is Maine teachers are struggling.The struggles we face outside of school are compounded by the ever-increasing demands we face in school. Some teachers naively believed this year, finally, we could return to a “normal” school year. Far from it. It is not just that we need to backfill the content-area deficits our students have because of the pandemic years. It is that our students face ever-increasing social-emotional issues – anxiety, depression, anti-social behaviors, etc. You name it, and we are experiencing it in our classrooms. So now, on top of helping our students understand how to write a thematic statement or how to support an argument with logic, we are the first line defense in our students’ emotional lives.

It is time that Maine teachers receive recognition for the vital work we do.

Julie Blodgett

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