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Never for the money, as many more jobs pay a lot more. Starting average salary for a teacher nationwide is around 32K, while the average salary is around 44K.
Never for fame. What fame? Teachers are never going to be famous.
Never for respect. Those that control the system crap on teachers everyday (Arne Duncan's "teachers are the bottom of the barrel," Chris Christie's "I want to punch teacher's unions," Saran Palin's mocking of eduction, etc) and do it with little regard.
Never for prestige. Parents, so many times, view teachers are the enemy, especially if a teacher challenges preconceived notions.
Never for honesty, as no teacher can be 100% honest with people. No teacher can tell a parent they are worthless, even if they are. No teacher can tell the administration their policies hurt students. No teacher can tell a politician that their nonsense is destroying the classroom.
Never for kudos. Everyone knows how to teach, even if they never stepped foot in the classroom.
Why do these people do the job? Why do they do the most thankless job on the planet?
Because they are a special breed. They are a special type of person. Ones that sacrifice the best years of their lives so your children can have a good future in the face of everyone working to destroy everything. Because they are what America strives to be. Because they are selfless, dedicated and caring.
Because we are exactly what we are: Teachers. And when it all works right, it is the most beautiful feeling ever.
Like I said, when it works right, your heart just melts.