Teaching Intercontinentally: Canada to Chicago

elementary school

There is no doubt that teaching is one of the most important jobs one can do.  It requires a tremendous amount of patience, empathy, selflessness, and dynamism, and durability.  Becoming a high school teacher requires one to put himself in the front lines and face the battle of a compromised educational system head on and full force.

The strength of this fight is obviously dependent on where a teacher lives and where he teaches, with more challenges occurring in public school systems in big cities or in areas of the country where people have limited financial resources and, as a result, feel as though they have limited options with their lives.

There is no doubt that teachers have it rough and that it takes a very special person to dedicate his or her life to teaching the youth of today to be leaders of tomorrow.

One of the toughest places for a teacher to begin his or her career is the inner city.  Here is where the conditions and work environment are sub-par, the schools’ funding is poor, the crime is high, the failure and drop-out rate is high, but the pay and the ability to make a difference in the lives of impressionable people are also high.

A great example of such an inner-city school district is Chicago.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a teacher (high school) in Chicago is approximately $71,000.00, second only to New York City.

Here, teachers face all of the above mentioned pressures, along with those imposed by achievement tests (one of which is being boycotted), very little job selection variety, lots of paperwork, lots of crime, lots of underprivileged children and teens, and lots of children and teens in gangs or in abusive families.  Fortunately, though the stakes are high so are the rewards.

Aside from good pay, teachers can enjoy the feeling of helping teens escape the life of crime and better their lives, the feeling of being respected in the community, low competition for jobs, and having summers off.  In addition, there are lots of organizations put together to support the local teaching community and keep teachers connected.