[Regarding “Burned Out: Preserving Asheville’s Teacher Corps,” May 3, Xpress:] Both my mother and father taught in the Asheville City Schools system all their lives. During my early years, I remember that we were relatively poor and lived in West Asheville, where we were not a lot better off than most of the blue-collar working class who made up the large majority of people living in West Asheville then.
Neither of my parents ever complained about the low pay; they just loved their work and were not doing it for money. As to the hours, both of them put in long hours, and my dad practically lived at the schools he taught at and did coaching jobs after school for extra money.
I realize that we live in different times now, and Asheville, especially West Asheville, is much more expensive, but there are still, I am sure, many who now work in the Asheville City public school system who do the work because, like my parents, they get their rewards when former students tell them years after that what they did as teachers changed their students’ lives.
— John Penley