Some professionals making jump to teaching despite low pay - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Some professionals making jump to teaching despite low pay

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Teacher retention problems are nothing new to Arizona schools. The state’s low teacher pay has educators leaving the field in search of better wages.

Some professionals are actually jumping into teaching for the first time despite the economic challenges.

Thursday was the first day of school for Alex Gutierrez at Sentinel Peak High School. He made the career jump to teaching after working for years in public health.

“It was a scary jump for me because it's a new environment, but I have a passion and I want to follow it,” he said.

Officials in the Flowing Wells School District say second-career teachers like Alex are extremely rare.

“Typically you see teachers leaving the profession. He's the first teacher that I've known to switch into teaching after establishing a career,” said Sentinel Peak High Principal Alan Schmidt. “It's really hard to make a decision when you're offered a job at another place making more money.”

Alex said he is well aware of the low pay. His decision to teach came down to something greater than money.

“You don't do it for the money. You do it for the kids. That's the big thing. If you want to make money, there are tons of careers you can go into,” he said. “But if you want to make a difference, that's worth it to me.”

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