Never did it enter my mind that teaching might end up being a career that I couldn’t sustain or couldn’t afford.

I’m only in my third year of teaching. I’m fully registered and should be ‘living the dream’.

I didn’t enter this profession for the salary – no one in their right mind would. You become a teacher because you love teaching, because you have a passion for seeing children become the best versions of themselves and seeing their joy at discovering the world around them.

However, I’ve been asking myself lately whether the amount of time, heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears I put into this job are balanced with the amount of money that goes into my bank account each fortnight. As the burnout sets in, so does the feeling that maybe one of my other passions would be a better career choice and might allow me to afford the deposit on a house in the only city I have ever called home.

Even as someone who has been saving her whole life, I won’t be able to buy my own home in my own city. Not “until I’m…”, or “unless…” – I just won’t. Not in this profession, not even when I reach the cap of my salary.

No wonder people are fleeing the profession in search of a higher pay for a lower workload; no wonder they are fleeing the city so they can afford to live and do what they love.

If I leave my job next year to pursue further study, in a different field, I worry that my school won’t be able to find the right person to fill my position. Schools will have to stop hiring people who fit their pedagogies and style, and just start hiring whoever walks in the door. This will only end badly for schools and teachers alike. Schools suffer when staff don’t buy into their vision, and staff suffer when they believe in something different than what their school stands for.

As someone who doesn’t want to leave my home, my options are quickly dwindling, and the draw of leaving the profession is growing. I’m not the only one, the statistics are shouting that quite clearly, and I hate to think what the future of education in Auckland will look like if this trend continues.

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