My wife is feeling the sting of not finishing college. She is a "Para-Professional" (fancy talk for "teacher's aide") at an alternative high school here in the city. She has been working there for five years and she enjoys it.
People have asked her for years (myself included) why she does not finish school and become a legitimate teacher, as she seems to love her job. She usually responds that she would only want to teach in the program that she is currently working, and after finishing school it would probably take her entire career to obtain such a position.
But the teacher she works with has been very sick and even had to resign due to his illness. It's bad. He tries to force himself to continue but most the time he finds it is too difficult even just to walk to his car.
I wish I could blab about the teacher's name because it's funny, but this is the internet and I don't want to be broadcasting his personal info all over. Anyway, the teacher has not been able to make it to class since before Christmas. My wife has been running the class. The school brings in substitutes but they are more of burden to my wife than a help. They basically get paid to sit there all day. Sometimes they even sleep in class.
This has added some stress in our lives because now my wife has to cover extra hours. The program is for students who work full-time and only show up occassionally. It gets very complicated and overall, my wife has 85 students that she is responsible for. Most of them are trying to graduate or pass the GED by the end of the year. (The school is ranked in the top ten in the nation for keeping kids in school, as opposed to dropping out. I think they say the drop-out rate in America may be up to 30% of high school students.)
Of course, my wife is not appreciated for anything she does. The administration all acts like it's just part of her duties to take over for the salaried teacher. My wife get's annoyed by it but she knows that she is there for the kids and that their HS degrees are more important than unappreciative principals.
It is funny and it makes us want to kick ourselves because, in seeking out a new teacher to run the class from now on, the principals are constantly coming up to wife, "You don't happen to have a 4 year degree do you?" They ask her just about every day. If she did, they would give her the job. Pretty much her dream job. But no. It is not meant to be.
The pen is mightier than the sword and a piece of paper can be stronger than the Great Wall of China.