Teacher was inspiration for career in teaching

I must agree with the sentiment expressed in the Jan. 5 “Today’s Editorial” concerning the value of a public school teacher and would like to share my personal story.

In 1980, I was a college dropout at age 22, working menial jobs in Los Angeles until a visit with my old Hemet High School history teacher, Mr. Richard Herold. He advised me to go back to college and get a teaching credential, as it was a stable profession and he thought I would be good at it. So that’s what I did, graduating in 1984.

Ever since, I have been working as a public school teacher, first in San Francisco and now on Maui. This gentleman, a former California “Teacher of the Year,” changed the direction of my life forever and now I too have had the honor and privilege to work with thousands of young people in the same capacity over the past 28 years.

Being a public school teacher in Hawaii is much more than a full-time job, but we are paid just above the bare minimum to live here – the evidence being the high number who have to work a second job to survive.

Let’s invest in the classroom teacher, where you get the most bang for your buck, educationally speaking.

Mark Kanae Smith