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 Not uncommon - Nickel and Dimed 
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After reading Nickel and Dimed, I realized that the life that Barbara is living is not uncommon for the life of myself and my other peers at school. When I first starting teaching, I thought that I could make a one bed room apartment work on my salary, but after a few months, I got two roommates. The roommates helped with my money problems, but I still needed a part time job (at a resturant) in order to think of my future. I had plans to buy a house but on my base salary, it seemed unlikely. Almost every young teacher at both schools that I worked at needed a part time job to get bye or relied on living with relatives to save rent. This is not a problem of the lower class, but a problem that is spreading through the middle class.

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Tim Hoffman


Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:24 pm
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It is disheartening that anybody has to have a second job. There are so many teachers that do have to have another job in order to survive. It is unfortunate that teachers have to do this-with so much work to do after the bells to stay afloat just for the next day or the week.

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Leigh Anne Frye


Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:20 pm
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These exact thoughts crossed my mind as I read this book, it's not just the average uneducated person struggling to make ends meet, it's the early beginners in the education field as well as other areas, as well as the elderly. Think of being in this situation and being 60 + years old. You could never do the physical labor described in this book. It's disappointing to think of the reality in the land of dreams.

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Amy Scronce


Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:36 pm
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Tim, I can totally feel your pain... I am, in my sixth year of teaching, still working two jobs to make ends meet, teaching guitar and French horn lessons after school on the days when we don't have class, but at least it is not as bad as it was when I first started, and I was answering phones 20+ hours a week in addition to my teaching job, and was told by the mortgage brokers that I could not buy a house because, despite working 60-70 hours a week, I did not make enough money to afford one. It is no small wonder that people are reluctant to go into the education field. We, who have worked in education since we graduated from college, know that the rewards we get are not always monetary, but can be just as fulfilling... but try explaining that to a college freshman deciding on his major, who can choose education and make $30,000 in his first year or choose business, law or medical school and make six figures his first year.

When I first started at Rock Springs, I was the only male teacher there, and I had several parents come to me and say things like, "We're so glad we have a man teacher this year!" and "It's a shame there aren't more male teachers in the elementary school!" My immediate unspoken response was that there won't be until we figure out a way to raise salaries significantly, or we find a way to incentivize elementary school teachers the way middle school and high school teachers can earn co-curricular supplements for coaching or directing the band. It's a discussion we must have if we don't want our teachers burning out left and right, like Barbara did in the book.

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Logan McGuire


Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:57 pm
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AFter the poverty discussion most of us learned we may have qualified for services as a first year teacher.. how sad is that, that even a college educated indivisual has to face this.

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Kami McKay


Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:20 pm
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Just remember, there are those who are still waiting for prosperity to trickle down to them.

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"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." M. Twain


Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:46 pm
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At a less desirable time in my life, I was working in a private school making 12, 500 per year and paying 400.00 per month for a crumby 1 bedroom apartment on a not so good side of town. I worked at night as a cashier in a local hotel and on Saturday waiting tables. Still, I can say that I can not feel the pain nor can I relate to the working poor in our society. Why? Because I knew it was just me. I did not at the time have children to feed so 39 cent tacos from Taco Bell were sufficient. I also knew that if things ever got too rough, I could always fall back on mom and dad if I needed to. (at the time they lived in Chicago) I did have outpatient surgery during this time and started getting calls from a collection agency. I was paying $10.00 per month toward my bill because I literally used every penny every month of my check(s).

The difference between "us" and "them" is...loving, caring families and/or friends who would be there for us, thick or thin. It makes a huge difference. I didn't have insurance at the private school, but the state provided that for me now...It makes a major difference...stuff happens! We take for granted the loving people in our lives.

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Rosanna Whisnant


Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:41 pm
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"The difference between "us" and "them" is...loving, caring families and/or friends who would be there for us, thick or thin."
Rosanna,
Did you mean to say that the difference is families who have the money or financial means to back us up in tough times? Being poor does not mean you don't have loving families; it often means your family is no better off than you are, so they can't help.

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Jackie Shaw


Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:36 pm
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This afternoon as I was working at the computer and my son was flipping through TV channels I thought I heard Barbara Ehrenreich's name. I asked him to stop and go back to the channel in question and yes it was a live interview with her. If anyone is interested, it appeared on a program called "In Depth Book TV" on C-SPAN2, for me it was channel 18, if that is of any help. It is suppose to be replayed tonight at midnight and next Saturday at 9 am. After our conversations about Barbara Ehrenreich, it was interesting to see her as a human being. She was interviewed about her books, in particular Nickeled and Dimed and Bait and Switch. There was also conversation about her new book Dancing in the Streets. The most interesting part of the interview were the call in questions. Many of the questions raised on Wednesday night were also raised during this interview and most importantly answered. Hope you can see it.

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Stephanie Williams


Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:36 pm
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Logan, when you said, "teachers can earn co-curricular supplements for coaching or directing the band," I thought about my days as a tennis and track coach. There were long hours and the supplement ended up paying about 11 cents and hour when you added game time and travel from home to the game and back. That would not be a good way to resolve the problem of low pay. The state need to step up to the plate and give educators the slaries they deserve for the work they do. We hold the future in our hands.

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Jackie Shaw


Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:42 pm
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