I don’t think we’re all that far apart, Bryan. We agree on why teachers get into teaching, and we generally agree on why they leave. And we both think it’s a Bad Thing that good teachers are forced out by the demands of the system.
I’ve been a teacher for most of my professional life. The only reason that I don’t have a teaching position today is that I was forced out a few years back as a result of organizational politics, and the conditions I’d have to work under if I were to try to find a new adjunct job are intolerable (I’ve tried it). Writing about teaching and related things is a lot like teaching. The best experiences are often humbling, when you realize that you still have a lot to learn yourself. And that’s a Good Thing.
As some of the other comments show, the rewards of teaching don’t lie only in the paycheck (although that’s important). They lie in the interactions with students, colleagues, administrators, even parents. But when those interactions become corrupted by the system, then the calculus of rewards is thrown out of balance (see, there’s a calculus you can use all the time). And the job can become a burden rather than a privilege.
Obviously, we need to improve teacher pay. But we also need to rethink the whole educational process, so that the interactions again become a source of joy rather than disgust. And that’s going to take all of us getting involved.