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Elementary School Teacher Insulted After Father-In-Law Suggests He Get A Better-Paying Job

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Would you trade happiness for more money? Many find themselves in careers that may not be top earners but offer something more valuable—fulfillment.

For one Redditor who loves their job the unsolicited career advice from a future father-in-law made things awkward. He turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (ATIA) subreddit for some outside opinions on the situation.

He asked: 

AITA for telling my fiancee’s father to stop making job suggestions?”

The original poster (OP) explained:
“This is my (26M) first year teaching first-grade. Admittedly, I am sufficiently exhausted trying to replicate a classroom for 6-7 year olds on Zoom. He came to our apartment to drop something of my partner’s off and he showed up just as I was wrapping class up.”

”To his credit, he was quiet as I said goodbye to the kids and they signed off. For the life of me, I could not get this one kid off of the call. She is usually not this active in class and so, after class, there were 30 minutes of her telling me the names of her dolls until her mom signed her off.”

“The entire time I was with the student after class ended, he was demanding my attention but not saying anything. He was becoming obviously impatient and walking around our apartment; my partner wasn’t home yet and I told him that he could just drop the item off and I would let her know that he stopped by.”

”But he insisted that he wanted to talk to her physically. He kept telling me about an opening for adjunct Chemistry faculty members at a local college. My undergraduate degree and first master’s is in Chemistry (BS/MS program) and my 2nd master’s is in Early Childhood Education.”

”I kept telling him that I’m not interested in teaching adult students and that I love where I am now. He asked me how I was going to provide for a family and I told him we do just fine now. He said he couldn’t understand why someone would turn down more pay and I said ‘joy, fulfillment, purpose…’ and he said those things don’t pay the bills.”

”I said that we pay the bills and that I wasn’t really interested in any more career suggestions. The next 10-15 minutes before my fiancee came home were tense. We didn’t say much to each other, but he was pretty normal with her when she got home.”

”I don’t even know if he mentioned the conversation to her, but so far she hasn’t said anything. AITA?”

The OP asked Redditors to weigh in and rule:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared that OP was NTA for seeking a career that gives him fulfillment.

“Thanks for teaching because you genuinely want to OP! Yay first grade scientist teachers!! NTA. Fiancee’s father is overstepping and stuck in a particular mindset.”

”Let’s hope he will somehow spend that energy learning to value your skills and job and start advocating for higher pay for primary and secondary teachers (and also, seriously, for most adjunct college profs getting getting paid even less!)”~sigh_yall

NTA at all, and as the mama of 2, hopefully soon 3 little kids, thank you for being such a caring, kind, and attentive teacher. My boys aren’t fond of school, but my youngest has a teacher like you, and it’s what keeps him from fighting me about going to school each day.”~GloTheDarkUnicorn

“NTA but I’d tell your fiance that this happened to avoid future misunderstandings. That said, I don’t have enough info on the relationship with your partner’s dad to know if you guys generally get along, but it’s possible that he’s just looking out for their future. Doesn’t make it okay, but it’s definitely a dad thing to do.”~yodel-master-yoda 

NTA, sounds like he just wants to be able to say his son in law is ‘chemistry professor’ rather than a first grade teacher, and he can pound sand about that. I wonder if maybe there was a different career he had more passion for but settled for something stuffy because it pays better.”

“People love to shame other people’s decisions to validate their own. I’m so happy for you that you have a job that you find joy and fulfillment in, especially one that does pay the bills. You future FIL sounds like a major buzzkill.”~hey-demons-its-me-ya

NTA! We need good K-12 teachers. Also, your future FIL doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Adjunct pay is notoriously terrible (you’re typically a contractual employee, paid per class with no benefits) and tenure track jobs are getting rarer and rarer, even in STEM programs.”~pieldriver

“NTA. Do what you love. I started my career working for money and burnt myself out in a few years. I switched to an actual passion of mine and I’m much happier and progressing faster through my career.”

”I still have stressful days but at least I can always find moments of joy in my work. Side note, I love the passion children can show for things. They get so excited when they believe someone has shown an interest in something they like.”~rep732

NTA 1st-How much money does he think adjunct professors make? Academia is way less stable than being an elementary school teacher!”

2nd-He should be keeping his nose out of your business. Sounds like he was just being impatient and grumpy. He had two option, keep his mouth shut or leave, and he went for the invisible third option: be rude about stuff that’s none of his business.”~lobsteristrash

NTA. Unsolicited suggestions are not only rarely appreciated, they’re not usually made with best intentions. Also, is FIL sure an MS degree is enough to be competitive for being hired as an adjunct at the college/university level?”

A cousin with an MS in Chemistry often joked his degree is enough for him to be placed in charge of a lab full of PhDs in a private chemical company after working his way up there for more than 30 years, but isn’t enough to make him a viable contender to adjunct at the local colleges/universities…including Community Colleges.”

Reason? Too many un/underemployed Chemistry PhDs clamoring for those very same positions who weren’t considered suitable candidates to be hired in his Chemistry Firm’s labs or those of their competitors.”~cpcfax1

The world needs more teachers that are passionate about their jobs. Good on OP for following what they love.

Written by Heidi Dockery

Heidi Dockery is a Maine artist & nature enthusiast with an affinity for libraries. She studies Criminal Justice with a special focus on psychology & sociology at the University of Maine. When not studying, painting, or re-reading the works of Terry Pratchett, she volunteers & enjoys various activities most would label nerdy.