Teaching and Money: Pursuing a Degree in Education

By Katarina Kretchman, SED 2016

Q. “What would you do if money were no object?”
A. I would be a teacher.

Kretchman Illustration-01While everyone was busy dreaming about being an astronaut, becoming president, or meeting the Backstreet Boys, I was giving my stuffed animals homework. My second grade teacher always gave me the leftover in-class worksheets for me to take home for my stuffed animals. They were probably the most educated toy horses and puppies in upstate New York. Growing up, it was very comforting knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I always had an answer whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never went through the “junior year crisis” where everyone was scrambling to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. The summer after junior year, when I was the last one to decide where I wanted to go to college, I just searched “early childhood education Boston,” and BU was the first hit on my Google search. Although I didn’t know that much about the education program, I knew that I had to go there. There was just one little problem that had five zeroes and a dollar sign. To me, a great teaching degree was worth all the money in the world, but I couldn’t ask my parents to feel the same way. When my financial aid was posted online, I remember looking straight at my dad’s face and wanting to cry because that’s exactly how he was feeling. That was it, my dream was over, and I had to move on.

A week or two later, my mom called me into her room. She told me that I shouldn’t worry about the cost because my dream was not a burden. The happiness I felt at that moment cannot be described by any words. It was as if my whole life was back on track. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about the money. Dollar signs were still floating around in my head every time I told people where I was going to school. Then one week in July we went to Missouri to visit my aunt, a professor, and my uncle, a former professor. My uncle asked me a question I would never forget. He said, “Katarina, can you name the last three Nobel Prize winners?” I shook my head. “No, you can’t, but can you name three teachers who have had an impact on your life?” And then it hit me. I had been thinking about this all wrong. The money spent wasn’t a waste because teaching isn’t a waste. Money can be paid back, but a great education is priceless. People may laugh at us (or cry for us) future teachers when they see our average salaries, but we know better. Maybe I don’t speak for everyone when I say that we teachers understand that education is priceless, but I am proud of everyone who feels the same way I now do.

Watch this video, because I have this idea that anyone else who feels the same way I felt about my dream needs to be reminded that money is just little pieces of paper.

*Katarina Kretchman is a sophomore at Boston University School of Education, studying early childhood education. 

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