While I am thoroughly enjoyed your series of articles on the teaching profession, I fear that you may have painted too bleak a portrait. Perhaps my experience can provide a different perspective.
When I graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1983, my family was proud and my future was bright. I had only to pick the "right" career. (I had long flirted with the idea of becoming a teacher, but it was made clear to me on several occasions that such an action would dash my family's fondest hopes and expectations.)
I rather reluctantly started a non-teaching career, and tried to ignore the manner in which my heart raced whenever I drove by a school. Finally, though, I could bear it no longer. I entered a teaching credential program.
I now teach at South Gate Junior High for L.A. Unified. I love my students, and I love my job. So to all those prospective teachers out there, I humbly advise--go for it!
WILLIAM D. McCANTS