What is the meaning of your life? What is most important to you? Have no clear answers? Well, then maybe you need to take a step back and reevaluate things. Life means different things to all of us. Because I am a teacher, I feel that the field of education is an important aspect of my life. The future depends upon teachers. We must help meet student needs while preparing them for the real world after high school. Its important that teachers make a positive impact on the students that will be carried beyond the classroom threshold. Teachers need to be positive role models for the next generation. Unfortunately, todays public has a negative opinion of teachers. But many of these same people have no clue how many hats a teacher must wear on a daily basis. Not only are we teachers, but we must act as parents, disciplinarians, counselors, mentors, nurses, etc. Too many of our students come to us broken and in need of help. People often think that teachers have it made because of scheduled contract times, holiday breaks, and summer vacations. The public thinks that teachers are paid too much. This may be true in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, but its not the case here in Vermont. Did you know that Vermont is one of the lowest paying states among the 50 when it comes to teachers? I suppose this teacher negativity develops because of slackers. Slackers ruin it for those professional teachers who truly care about their students. The slackers come and go according to contract times; they go through the motions, barely engage their students, and simply collect their paychecks. On the other hand, Vermont has many teachers that go above and beyondthe day never ends for these professionals. In fact, many of us give up our weekends and vacations to further explore opportunities for students. A lot of the behind-the-scenes activities of teaching goes unnoticed by the public. There are numerous meetings, endless paperworkespecially for those of us teaching English. Of course, too, there are federal and state demands placed upon teachers adding even more to daily and yearly work. Due to all these demands, the average new teacher quits the field within three to five years. From my own experience, teaching has been one of the most demanding and challenging jobs when compared to any of my prior corporate positions. Teaching consumes life out of the classroom in many respects, too. Another reason why teachers leave the profession involves petty politics; this aspect often causes many teachers to forget the reason why we first entered the teaching field. The truth of the matter is that we are here for the studentsnot for our needs. So why should materialism, selfishness, and stubbornness ruin teaching for the benefit of our students? And why should teachers be subjected to various power struggles inside and outside of school? Teachers, administrators, parents and taxpayers all need to get along. I am reminded of a quote from Avis Nothing But the Truth: Sometimes you have to go along to get along. Even if we dont like the people were dealing with, why cant we just get along and be civil about it? Why not make enduring and lasting positive impacts on our students now? Petty issues that seem large now are really not in the long run. Think about those around the world with no clothing on their backs. Think about all the trials and tribulations that so many of us endure, and may continue to endure, inside and outside of school. Attitudeit depends on you. Be grateful. Dont take others and things for granted. Each day is a giftwhy else would they call it the present? Catherine M. Oliverio lives in Vermont. She worked in the corporate world in various capacities and holds undergraduate degrees in marketing, business organizational management and graduate degrees in writing and teaching. She is New York and Vermont state-certified to teach in English language arts, grades 7-12, and has been in the field of education for six years.