Tom Bloch: First of all, it surprised the heck out of me when I made this decision to step down to pursue what I thought was maybe a higher calling, it was viewed as such a novel thing. When I appeared on Oprah and a story in People Magazine and written up in the New York Times, because of a novelty of a CEO who would willingly give it all up to become just a teacher as we too often seem to think of the profession in this country is an unfortunate thing. But I really do believe that a teacher can have a wonderfully satisfying career, and every bit as satisfying as that of a CEO. Financially, no. I think my first year as a teacher, I was part-time because I was working on my teaching certificate. I made, for the school year, for the whole school year, as much as I made in about one week as a CEO. Now, I had to remind myself, I didn’t change careers for the money, but in other ways it is a very rewarding profession.
We have a lot of people who’ve achieved great, personal wealth in this country in their business, and I think this would be a fantastic way to give back. We’re talking about people who are highly qualified, intelligent, and probably could be just enormously successful in a classroom setting. And so I can tell you over the last 13 years, I’ve met a lot of people in business, very successful business people, who have confided in me and said, “I would love to be a teacher. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.”
And I go, “Well, why don’t you?”
And they say, “Oh teachers don’t make much money,” or, “The status is just not a very glamour… it’s just not for me.”
But I think what they would find is that there is a great potential fulfillment that can be achieved by being a teacher.
Recorded on: October 13, 2008