Jamie Fidler struggles to balance her upcoming maternity leave with her teaching position in Brooklyn. In the film, she spoke about her struggles when beginning her teaching career.
“I walked in and there weren’t any books, and I had no idea how much money I was going to spend out of my own pocket—because I didn’t get anything, really,” Fidler said.
In her first year of teaching, she reportedly spent more than $3,000 of her own money on essential supplies for her classroom.
Jonathan Dearman left the teaching profession for real estate when he found he no longer could support his family on his teacher’s salary.
“It just became a real vicious cycle and circle of burnout,” he said in the film.
That burnout is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, as 46 percent of teachers leave the profession before their fifth year.
“I know personally I didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing and didn’t find a good rhythm until my third year [teaching],” said Calegari. “We’re spending all these resources to train [teachers] for the first couple years, and then everybody leaves; it’s just an unbelievable waste. [Teachers] need legitimate salaries, they need adequate to much better conditions—and I also think teachers need a professional path so they can grow and still stay within the classroom.”
With the United States falling behind in international education rankings, teachers are taking a lot of heat from government officials looking to create a system of school accountability.