By: Miriam Hall – Slate
Every weekday morning, Jasmine Riley, a single parent, drops her three children off at day care and school by 7:30 a.m. so she can start a long day as a teaching assistant at Greenville’s McBride Pre-K Academy. Many afternoons, she has only an hour and a half to spend with her kids. She supervises homework for her girls, a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, while the 1-year-old baby plays. At around 5 p.m., after she’s laid out their pajamas, Riley’s mother or sister arrives, and Riley says good night. She then drives 45 minutes to attend classes at Mississippi Valley State University, where she’s studying business. Riley gets home at around 9:30 p.m., after the children have bathed and gone to bed. Early the next morning, she does it all over again.
Despite the long hours and low pay—she makes just under $21,000 a year—Riley has an enviable situation compared with many residents of the Mississippi Delta. She can pay most of her bills, works a family-friendly calendar, has health insurance, and might soon pull herself into the middle class—if her studying pays off and she can move from teaching assistant to teacher.
Read the full story – In This Poor Mississippi Town, Teacher Assistant is a Coveted Job – It Pays $9 an Hour