My First Place

I’m currently nursing a small addiction to HGTV and I can’t get enough of the shows Property Virgins, My First Place and House Hunters. There’s just something about watching people look for their first home, making those big decisions…and then I get annoyed! Who are these 20-somethings that can afford a $300K house right out the gate?

My first place? A TRAILER. To be fair, it was a brand new trailer, and where we lived, that was the best thing to do. But it had WHEELS.

My second place? It cost $90,000. That’s a $600 mortgage, if you’re counting.

This place? Is actually pretty affordable for these parts.

I know that my first mistake was becoming a teacher. My second mistake was marrying another teacher – twice. The thing about teaching is that not only does it pay SHIT, there’s a limit to how much you can make. No bonuses. No pay increases after you max out the salary schedule.

Ah! You’re going to pull the “you have summers off” card, aren’t you? You might want to put that back…every single teacher I know does these things during the summer: takes classes, reads for their classroom, goes into their classroom, plans, looks for new material for their curriculum…are you getting my point? There are no summers off. And unlike people in the “real” world, I don’t get to leave my job at my place of work. I bring home grading about three nights a week and on the weekends – in fact, sometimes I have to *force* myself to stop working at home, I go to school on Saturdays about twice a month to plan and work. Over Christmas holidays, I answer emails from students and parents. I spend my spring break WITH my students.

There are intangibles, of course – I feel good about what I do. I know I impact the lives of kids. I am thanked almost daily by parents. And that’s all well and good – I’m not trying to belittle that, because heaven knows it’s about all we get.

I just wish someone could explain to me why someone who pushes paper all day gets to live in a 3000 square foot house and drive a car with less than 140,000 miles on it. Why they don’t get to the 25th of the month and hope the kids don’t get too hungry. Yes, I live a good life. I’m relatively healthy and I’m educated. My children are beautiful and intelligent and my husband is wonderfully supportive of me. This isn’t a “keep up with the Joneses” complaint, and I know I haven’t made the best financial choices in my life. I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of that, but. My kids deserve vacations. My family deserves a cushion. My basement deserves to be finished.

I just want to know why, because I happen to only be good at this one thing, that will never happen.



  1. We had a work day recently and supposedly administrators were going to walk around at 3pm (we had 7:15 meetings) to make sure everybody was still there and working. I thought GREAT! Dock my pay for that hour! I would LOVE an hourly salary! Can you imagine????

  2. The thing they don’t show you is how many of those folks actually end up in financial trouble over those homes – and cars and “images”. Or how many of those spoiled, picky little wives end up in divorce court – you know what is important – and it ain’t the image (how’s that grammer Mrs O??)
    Teachers are sorely underpaid – and often under-appreciated. But – I am sure you’re great at it and you will get your reward someday – somehow.

  3. I wonder that too every time my husband comes to bed after midnight and gets up at 5:15, and is working pretty much every hour he’s awake (still a new teacher, teaching a new curriculum with three preps, so it takes a lot of time!).

    I’ve always felt teachers were underpaid, but now that I am living with it firsthand, I can see how very, very true this is.

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