This morning, I opened my inbox and found an E-mail from Danny Kofke, a special education teacher in Georgia. It started on a thoughtful note. "I hope you had a nice weekend," it said. It didn't take long for Mr. Kofke to get to the point. "It seems as if everyday we hear/read about how bad the economic situation in our country is. I was wondering if I could work with you in some manner to inspire others financially?"
His tone struck me as genuine, and his offer was intriguing enough. OK, I thought, what do you have in mind, Mr. Kofke? Then came the big reveal, "I recently wrote a book, How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary." Aha! You don't really want to work with me to inspire other people: You want me to plug your book in some article. But then it occurred to me that even if his 86-page book doesn't leave every reader financially inspired, Mr. Kofke was on to something. After all, he has been able to support a family of four on his teacher's salary and has done so for a good portion of the 10 years he has been in the profession. His E-mail raised interesting and legitimate questions: What is happening to teachers who can't make ends meet during these tough economic times? And what can they do to avoid the fate of so many others who quit teaching because of low pay?
So there you have it, Mr. Kofke. You succeeded on two fronts: You got me to plug your book, and you have me thinking about doing a story about struggling teachers in a sluggish economy. Any teachers out there care to tell us your stories? (Note: Preferably not in a published format.)