PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Travis Lueth grew up in a family of teachers and despite their warnings of the challenges, frustrations, and low pay that come with being a teacher, he went into the profession. His wife is even a teacher.
- Pinellas County School Board held meeting earlier this month
- Teacher Travis Lueth expressed struggles of profession
- Became emotional when sharing daughter's interest in teaching
- FULL VIDEO from board meeting
Now with a family of his own, he says those struggles have become a reality.
When he addressed the Pinellas County School Board earlier this month about the struggles of being a teacher, he admitted a tearful realization about his 5-year-old daughter who wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
“When I grow up I want to be a teacher who teaches art,” Lueth said his daughter told him. “I smiled at her and I told her that would be awesome. You would be so great teaching kids how to draw. And in my head, all I could think was please don't let her become a teacher.”
His tears flowed out of a passion he and his wife share for teaching. For him, it’s teaching some of the most needy and most at risk kids at Pinellas Secondary School. His heartfelt plea to the school board didn’t fall on deaf ears.
“When you hear things like that, it is very heart wrenching,” school board chair Rene Flowers said. “Myself, along with my colleagues, each and every one of us, have stated we support increasing teachers' salaries. We need the help from the state legislature in order to do that.”
Flowers said Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature are looking at a measure to increase teachers’ annual base salary to $50,000. This issue however, involves much more than money.
Leah Veal left her teaching job with Pinellas County Schools to start her own nonprofit tutoring business because she felt it would make her a more effective educator.
“I just wanted to take that on a grander scale,” Veal said. “I can reach 18 to 20 per year in the classroom, but we served 300 students last year.”
Despite his frustrations, Lueth said he plans to keep on teaching because it’s his passion.
“I'm not gonna stop teaching anytime soon,” he said. “Because, I mean, there's no more important place for me to be right now.”