Stay with me here….

Don’t get pissed and click on the deadly red X. in the top right corner.  I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days and am now going to attempt to put it into words.  First and foremost…Katy is a teacher.  A teacher of deaf students.  This is a total passion she has followed.  She earned her bachelors at Kent State University; then, went on to earn her Masters..she is an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing and has become involved in several societal organizations to enhance the life of deaf people.  She received an unaffordable education all the while saying this is what she wanted to do and she was going to go for it.  She makes a typical beginning teacher’s salary although she did get a bump after earning her graduate degree.  Apparently and obviously, she is willing to be a teacher…a specialized teacher…. whether or not her pay is good.  She is following her passion. She is enveloped in personal satisfaction and I hope to God she doesn’t burn out one of these days and raise holy hell because she is so lowly paid for the job she has done….but regardless, I say…IT IS NOT FAIR>

One of my very best friends was a teacher.  He taught life skills and band to his students.  He was an incredible teacher of his high school age students and his high school age student’s parents.  He, like Katy, was following his passion and would have continued some form of teaching regardless of his pay.  What took him were the politics of our sick society and lymphoma. 

When I was growing up, my teachers, in general, were worthless.  That’s the way I felt then and the way I feel now.  Sure…there were a couple of teachers who had passion and wanted me to learn something..but for the most part, I learned to read and write and spell and at one point, knew my grammar.  But I had a totally lame educational upbringing.  I used to wonder how teachers thought they had it so bad.  Goodness.  They worked 9 months out of the year what did they have to complain about?

I’m torn by my belief that good teachers….really good teachers…are going to be really good teachers no matter what they are paid.  Truly bad teachers are going to be paid exactly the same and be truly bad teachers.  Merit pay…in theory in a perfect world..absolutely, but determined by student scores…No..I don’t think so…determined by the administrator…no…absolutely NOT…I believe most merit pay is based on the sucking up factor rather than the job done.  It happens all of the time…

Teachers are the people hired to teach our children the fundamentals…Parents are still needed to raise the children.  Do we pay teachers a liveable wage and glow when they exceed expectation and ignore when they are bad teachers?  Isn’t that what we, as a society, do anyway.  We have an expectation of those receiving high salaries to do high level work for their pay…so is this a money issue or a societal expectation and acceptance issue.

Until next time….

4 thoughts on “Stay with me here….

  1. My thoughts…I understand where you’re coming from. I have a kid that went into education and although he isn’t in it right now, his heart was in the right place about it. He was in support at a local BOCES for awhile. HE got beat up everyday, he never once lost his temper with any of those kids. He understood their problems and never took anything personal. Believe me, if you had a kid with emotional or behavioral issues, he’s the guy you’d want there!  He left because he was underpaid and raising 2 daughters of his own. He hasn’t earned his masters yet so he wasn’t making a teachers salary. So he’s working to take care of his family and trying to figure out how to do that and get that masters. Should he earn more money for that? Damn right he should. But how much more? The adminiastrators make 6 figures. And here in NY there  is a principal and vice principal in every school (elementary, middle and high) in every town. Most of them were teachers first. Then they move on from school  to school, to the next better paying job so they never stay at one school long. IMO that is where most of the waste in our system is. When time are tough and they’re afraid their outrageous budgets won’t pass, they threaten to get rid of all the aides and art and music and sports, they don’t threaten to lower any of the admin salaries, or even combine any of those jobs.For me here is the other side of the coin…IF he gets his masters and is lucky enough to find a job, he’ll be great at it and deserve enough money to pay those school bills and make a decent living. He will already be assured good benefits and a retirement plan. One of the reasons I HOPE he DOES get back into it. He’ll already be better off than most working people. And when they raise the retirement age to 70 or above, he’ll even probably be able to still do the job, although chances are he won’t have to because of that retirement plan. My husband on the other hand who spends his days on a construction site working with his back all day will have a hard time doing that at 70 years of age…and he doesn’t get summers off…And yes, I also agree that the good teachers will be good no matter how much they make and the bad ones will be bad…but the bad ones might not stay because they’re not there for the kids in the first place.

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  2. Teachers earn higher than the median income in almost every city in the US.  So, I suppose that means that half the country is trying to get by on a less than livable wage.The grocery clerk who earns about a third of a teachers salary and goes home to her 2 kids has it rough.  She may burn out.  If she does, what will she do?  Her next job is likely to pay even less and be just as stressful, if not more.Folks do seem to actually get by while earning far less than teachers.  These people are just as noble.  Maybe more so because they are silent in their efforts.There are a few good teachers out there.  The more I look, the lower the percentage appears to be though.  The one thing I do see most have in common is that they bewail their wages.  I think about the cops who earn 33% less than teachers in most areas.  I think of social workers who earn half the salary.  I just can’t pull up the pity.  Teaching may be hard.  It may have great rewards.  There may be great teachers.  But this is just one more profession in a long list of professions. 

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  3. I am doing this on my iPad which doesn’t allow me to refer back to the article while I type this and it is late so let us hope this is coherent. My thoughts on teachers – good teachers deserve every cent they are paid plus a lot more. I have seen a lot of good teachers at our local district. I’m lucky that I have been able to live in a neighborhood that I really can’t afford. My kids have benefitted from living in such an affluent district. Teachers are paid better than average here. There are parents with lots of money who are very willing to make sure the classrooms have all the supplies they need. That being said I feel bad for the teachers because all these very well educated parents are in teachers faces all the time. And as the new rich moved in it only became worse. We have had a few bad teachers or teachers who shouldn’t have been teaching the grade or subject that they were assigned to that year. Obviously, that is more an issue with the administration not being on top of things. A small percentage of teachers were bad and just should not have been teaching. The freshman English teacher that picked on Erik in a “joking” way. The very old substitute that David had for most of third grade because the normal teacher for that class was out most of the year with a serious illness. That teacher had taught gifted, older students for most of her career – she did not know how to teach regular kids and so mostly she blew them off while she catered to the bright students in that class. Interestingly or oddly she taught in Craig’s junior high and she hosted a special event on robots but only the “gifted” kids were allowed to participate. Craig wasn’t allowed to participate because he wasn’t gifted and yet he probably knew more about robots than any of those other kids because he was always building stuff like that. Then Erik had her in junior high for the gifted class and she was a wonderful teacher for him. I think David lost so much ground in third grade because of the same teacher who like I said was really old at that point and still not interested in kids who weren’t gifted. So I get that sometimes it is wrong placement that makes a teacher seem like a poor teacher. But for the ones who are just bad there should be a way to remove them and this is where I have objections to the way the union handles it. They should not protect bad teachers. Reward good teachers and give underperforming teachers a chance to improve with some sort of program but if they can’t tow the line they should be fired. I think teachers have such a huge influence on kids that it troubles me to think that any school would keep bad teachers. I know it seems the thing to do right now is to vilify teachers but they aren’t the bad guys. And i dare anyone who thinks teachers have it so easy or are overpaid to substitute teach and get a feel for what they have to deal with everyday.

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  4. I agree.  My DIL (step) is a kindergarten teacher.  She buys all of the supplies out of pocket herself.  when she taught 2nd grade she did the same – including books so there would be enough to go around.  where I work, they turn out a ton of teachers and I have to say they can’t possibly be doing it for the pay.  It has got to be a passion….. the bennies don’t out-weigh the work and time spent and personal cash involved by a long shot.  but thank God there ARE great teachers and some our kids lives are touched and changed forever because of them.

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