(CNN)The battle that's about to erupt in Oakland is unlike any teachers' strike before now -- and the stakes are enormous.
This is why the Oakland teachers' strike will be different from all the others
On one side, teachers facing gentrification in the shadows of Silicon Valley can't live on their meager wages as the tech boom explodes around them. But their school district is so broke, it's about to suffer painful layoffs while struggling to pay for students in need.
The situation is dire, and both sides have reached a breaking point. Teachers are set to hit the picket lines Thursday morning, as district officials plan to rely on other employees to keep schools open.
When Will Corvin moved to Oakland, he and four other teachers moved into a three-bedroom house, knowing they would need to share rooms and a single bathroom.
"Last year, I lived in a divided bedroom where my roommate had to walk through my room to get to his," the 23-year-old said.
Corvin said he made $46,500 last year before taxes. About a third of his paycheck, or $950, goes toward rent.
Trying to afford a place of his own isn't feasible. Zillow estimates a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland goes for $2,680 in rent per month.
"When we were putting together our house last year, we didn't have any furniture, so we went driving through the streets of Oakland and grabbed some chairs and a couple couches that were lying on the sidewalk," Corvin said. "That's how we furnished our house."
He and his roommates are all young teachers, the future of the profession. Corvin became a teacher through Teach For America, a nonprofit that places young adults in underserved classrooms for a two-year commitment.
He is planning to strike Thursday because he wants to be part of the effort to change the "broken" district, he said. The Oakland High School history teacher wants to stay.
"It's a job I really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from.