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Video: An elementary school teacher's life after graduation

Educational technology grad student Kelsey Barnes struggles to make ends meet while teaching

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Elementary school teacher and recent ASU grad student, Kelsey Barnes, helps a students with an activity at Village Meadows Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.

Kelsey Barnes: [00:13] My name is Kelsey Barnes, (and) I am a third grade teacher at Village Meadows Elementary School in the Deer Valley School District. I am currently attending ASU to get my master's in educational technology.

Kelsey Barnes: [00:51] I wanted to be a teacher since I was eight. My first teacher in third grade was just really inspirational. She constantly was making connections with kids, and it really inspired me. Since then, just going through the I-Teach program with ASU solidified the fact this is what I want to do.

Kelsey Barnes: [01:16] So being a teacher, I knew I wasn't gonna make a lot of money, but I didn't realize how little money I was going to be making. I definitely over estimated how much I would get paid at the end of things.

Kelsey Barnes: [01:34] Being a teacher is very demanding and what a lot of people don't realize is it's not a 9-to-5 job. So many people are like, "Oh but you have summers off, and you get winter break, and you get spring break," but you really don't. I think I got two weeks off this summer for summer vacation when my students had two months off. I attended several trainings to further my education on teaching and expand my knowledge on education. Everyday when I go home, I have a stack of papers to grade. I go home, and I lesson plan. I think of new strategies to incorporate to get my students to understand what I'm teaching.

Kelsey Barnes: [02:20] (Teachers) don't make that much money. I have several bills to pay between student loans, credit card debt, rent and all the other bundles that come with living on your own (such as) food, gas, money, all of that stuff. I don't make enough teaching. I'm considering moving back home with my parents just so I can save that extra $1,000 to $2,000 a month on bills.

Kelsey Barnes: [02:48] I spend about 50 hours a week at school within these four walls. I get here at 7:30 (am) on Monday and Friday and leave around 4:30 (pm). On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I get here at 6:30 (am), and I stay until I can leave. I have to get here early because I do tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday just to make extra money, and I have a coding robotics club on Wednesdays. So with all the challenges and struggles, teaching does give me these kids that make it 100 percent worth it every day. I couldn't imagine doing anything but this. I always say if I did win the lottery, I would keep teaching because I don't do it for the money. I do it for the kids. They honestly just melt my heart everyday.

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