I'm a male elementary school teacher. I also have been teaching for five years, so therefore all the statistics will show that I should be leaving really soon. But I'm not. I choose not to leave because I love what I do and it's been a vocation that's been instilled in me from the very beginning when I started to take control of my own thinking. I wanted to be a teacher. That's what I wanted to do. Why would I leave something that I love to do so much? It's an incredible feeling. Somewhere down the line, as Henry Brooks Adams said, a teacher affects eternity. He never knows where his influence stops.
What happens one day somewhere down the line, thirty or forty years from now? Someone will be sitting around talking about their teachers and they'll say, "I remember my favorite teacher Mr. B. I remember my fourth grade experience. I remember how much fun he was! I remember how crazy he was! How he danced around the room and how he jumped up and down--he dressed in costumes. He got us reading. He got us writing. We learned and we had fun." That's what it's all about. So the money is important. The public perception is important. But what's most important is to remember that you have chosen a vocation that it is most noble and honorable. And you do not let that get out of your mind when it gets tough--because it does get tough. So you motivate yourself by the children, by going back into the classrooms, by remembering what you do and knowing that what you do matters.