November 15th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

One Teacher's Story: Danny Kofke

Courtesy Danny and Tracy KofkeEditor's Note: Danny Kofke is a special education teacher and author of two books – "How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher's Salary" and "A Simple Book Of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and your kids) How To Live Wealthy With Little Money." If you are a parent, teacher or student who has a story to tell, email us at

My name is Danny Kofke and I am a special education teacher. This is my 12th year of teaching. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and second grade. My wife, Tracy, was a first grade teacher for 10 years before becoming a stay-at-home to our two daughters, Ava, age 7, and Ella, 4. This September, after being home for 7 years, Tracy went back to work teaching Ella's 4 year-old pre-k class.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher after having Mr. Stutzke in 9th grade Civics class. He was an amazing educator and inspired me in so many ways. Upon entering college and declaring my major (elementary education) I heard from many about how I would not make any money and would probably be broke my entire life. I realized at that point that I still wanted to be a teacher even though the pay was not as high as some other professions. The basic fact is that if you spend more than you earn, you'll eventually be in trouble. It doesn't matter if you make $10,000, $100,000 or even $1,000,000 a year, the same principle applies.

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