Teachers share why they teach

Updated 4:13 PM ET, Fri September 14, 2012
1 of 5
Ryan Thompson worked at a corporate job in California, but after he was laid off he decided to become a teacher. Although he took a pay cut, he says being a teacher allows him to spend time with his three kids. "It's an awesome family job," he said. Ryan Thompson
Daniel Levi-Sanchez, who has taught dance to students from kindergarten to high school, says helping others drives him to teach. He considers himself a facilitator, guiding students through their educational journey. Daniel Levi-Sanchez
Mary Lynch is an art teacher in Virginia. This is an art piece one of her students did after a lesson on Picasso. Lynch is not in a union, and she fears most people do not understand that nonunion teachers are lower on the pay scale than union teachers. Mary Lynch
Allie Griffin, a special ed teacher, is participating in Chicago's teacher strike. Her mother, also an educator, inspired her to teach. Many of Griffin's students come from crime-ridden areas. "I have students who need to work on their social skills, and I do what I can, but it's really hard without more support," she said. Allie Griffin
Renee Longshore is a teacher in California. This is a photo of her four children. She says because of the low teacher pay she has become a budgeter. But she says the greatest frustration for her as a teacher is not feeling valued or appreciated. Renee Longshore