Apparently, it's the result of low expectations and outright confusion.
"I used to work in Walmart," said one untenured teacher, two years into the profession. "I get at least twice the pay, but I also don't get the 5% discount, so it's a wash. I think. I was never very good at math. Should I admit I'm a math teacher? Can we stop this interview now?"
This anonymous teacher is not alone.
According to a PEW Surveys survey entitled "People who go into professions because they think they're high paying even though they aren't" found that 15% of would-be teachers wanted to be teachers because they didn't think they'd ever get--or be qualified for--a high paying corporate gig, much less spell Senior Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions correctly. 29% of teachers went into the profession because they were looking for a spouse-a fresh, inexperienced spouse, whom they could personally tutor. An overwhelming 87% of teachers went into teaching because someone once said to them, "Hey, it's something to fall back on when your stand-up comedy act crashes and burns, and besides, you can sub when you're like 80. That's a real plus."
The anonymous teacher, using her newly minted logic, returned to the interview: "And I still work at Walmart on weekends, so that's sort of like bonus pay that can be counted as part of my teacher salary. I really believe that. And I enjoy working in Walmart. The squeaky carts sing to me."
Another 33% admitted to going into teaching because they thought people would admire them, even though they didn't like students, administrators, other teachers, or learning. They even admitted to breaking out in hives at the sound of a school bell.
The remaining 17% of teachers say they're in it for the money, but admit they don't know much about money or budgets or figuring the gas mile for their Honda Civics.
According to Ed Snordstrom, "I make a pile mowing lawns in the summer. You have to factor that in. I bought a new lawnmower for $12,000 and made a cool $300 last summer. It's nothing to sneeze at. I mean, not if you're not allergic."
In reaction to this story, both frustration and annoyance, PEW Surveys has decided to discontinue surveying teachers.