A building wave of hatred against teachers?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Peregrin5, Jul 8, 2012.

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  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I am sure many of you are acutely aware of this sentiment, and as I am new to the profession, I only now starting to see that a large portion of the public feel that teachers are spoiled, overpaid, corrupt their children, etc. etc.

    It's not just teachers too, it's pretty much any public employee. The people discussing such generally believe that education should stop being public and should be a private only venture with vouchers, and charters, and other such nonsense.

    A week ago, I was getting burrito and was eating it alone, and this rather large group right next to me of wealthy business people began to complain about teachers. It started off with how one of their students teachers required yadda yadda of their child, and then quickly built into how teachers never work, get summers off, get paid so much, (after all the deductions, we don't get paid much above the poverty level), how bad they are at their jobs, etc. etc. I just got up and left because it was it was making me angry.

    It's all over the internet too. People complaining about public workers and teachers, especially on political articles and such. Generally it is conservatives who hold this view.

    You would think that parents would be more grateful that we're raising the children they they ignore all day for them.

    Have you experienced anything similar?
     
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  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I haven't experienced anything quite like that personally, but the Governor of my beautiful state (and it is really beautiful!) absolutely hates anything having to do with public schools and public school teachers!
     
  4. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oh, yes, I have heard it all. Yes, it makes me angry, however, I am learning to walk away. You can't change people and their opinions. Trying to talk to these type of people will only agravate you and ruin your day.

    I do find that I am less eager than before to admit I am a teacher. Mostly because I don't want to hear comments from other people.

    The irony of it all is that these wealthy people are wealthy thanks to an education provided in most cases by a public school teacher!
     
  5. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    In the two states I've taught, Utah, and Mississippi, I've always had the public thank me for being a teacher.

    I know what you mean though because I read about it in the press.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That attitude hasn't been really prevalent here for the past 15 years or so. It is, however, heating up as we our contracts are up at the end of August and negotiations will not be pretty. The guidelines for contract terms are determined by the provincial government and the provincial teachers' federations (unions), and details are negotiated at the school board level.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I see glimpses of that but I have learned over the years that people in general are clueless. So, I pay them no mind and go about my business.

    I prefer to worry about where my next chocolate fix will come from than to worry about clueless people. :whistle:

    I get my paycheck regardless of what other people say. :hugs:
     
  8. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I don't really see that where I live now. If anything, I see the opposite. Teachers are treated very well here. That being said, when I used to live about 40 minutes west of here, I saw it quite a lot, especially in the middle school.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    When I overhear people making comments like that, I generally speak up. I don't act belligerent, but I let them know that I'm a teacher and I just start a conversation. Sometimes they aren't receptive, and I can tell they aren't going to change their thinking. I move on at that point. But more often than not, I can actually get them to *listen* and have a conversation about standardized testing, elected school board officials who have no training in education, unfunded mandates and parent/student apathy.
     
  10. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    I've confronted people in my own family about their ideas of what I do, and how I'm "overpaid". I've recently had to explain how paying for my health insurance cut my pay by almost 100 dollars a month. They just say "join the crowd", but none of them have had that large of an increase in what they pay this year, and they make more than I do!
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I seldom encounter such attitudes or opinions in person. Rather, I find them in the comments sections of online newspapers.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

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    I do think there's more vitriol out there than there's been in the past. It's become a talking point this year with states moving toward school vouchers and unions becoming evil incarnate.

    We do have our supporters. I love Jon Stewart's reports on what the pundits are saying and comparing it to things they've said in the past. Diane Ravitch has done a 180 and is writing more to support teachers.

    Most people when I tell them what I do are positive about it. I do think parents are worried about their child, not realizing you have 20+ "their child's" in your classroom.
     
  13. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    That reminds me... one of my sisters just recently realized that I'm not "off" for the entire summer - that I'm busy taking PD classes & working to get ready for next year, lol!
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    It's really interesting the way people's faces change when hearing about my job when they first meet me:

    1. On learning that I'm a teacher, they sometimes (not always) have a "knowing smile" and sometimes comment about my summers off, etc.:rolleyes:
    2. On hearing the name & location of the school at which I teach (I teach in a very low income urban area), the reaction is shock :eek: or "you poor thing," as if I couldn't get anything better :eek:hmy:
    3. On learning that I provide many of the supplies for my classroom, a few get angry :mad:, others don't believe me :confused:
    4. When I tell them how much I love :wub: my kiddos & how smart so many of them are, and how far most of them come as soon as they have (academic) help and interventions, they are (a) surprised, (b) disbelieving:naughty:, or (c) sure that I am studying for the priesthood, :angel: lol

    I quite often feel like I'm :beatdeadhorse: so I just shut up and smile. :D
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I think it's a perfectly hideous time to be a non-elected public employee of just about any sort. The American people as a whole are increasingly being told, and seem increasingly ready to believe, that, when things aren't going as they'd like, there are always culprits - bad people with wicked intentions who deserve to be identified, punished, and humiliated - rather than fellow human beings who happen to see the world differently and with whom discussion and compromise are both reasonable and necessary.

    I cannot begin to tell you how much this makes me afraid for us.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Excuse me??
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This was me inserting some of my own vitriol. I am aware that the majority of parents do care about their children and raise them carefully.

    But I'm sure we've all had parents who simply ignore their children's progress and refuse to speak with the school or teachers, and in turn complain about the horrible job we're doing.
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sometimes I get horribly stuck in the middle of anger because I teach at a charter school. If I'm not being accused of sitting around and eating bonbons all summer (my summer school class is doing just fine, thank you), I'm told that my job is stealing money from the public schools that need it. This obviously isn't everyone saying these things, but it's enough to make me weary.
     
  19. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    When I tell people that I teach the overwhelming response is appreciation for the job teaching kids. Most of them tell me that they themselves would be unable to handle the job of a teacher. This says that they place value on the job and an awareness of some of the difficulties experienced trying to teach kids.
     
  20. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    I think a good majority of the general public have certain presumptions about teachers that are very hard to shake. I am a member of several other online forums and I see assumptions being thrown around all the time...

    It's a job that concerns children. Other peoples children, so of course certain parents are going to feel threatened by someone in that position, someone who is in charge, for six to eight hours a day, of educating and guiding their kiddos. If anything goes wrong, the blame directly goes to the teacher, because they are the easy target. If the parent feels like the teacher is doing something wrong, they defend the child and fight the teacher tooth and nail. It all makes perfect sense really... a teacher is an easy scapegoat.

    I'm not saying this is the attitude of all parents, but I will say, from what I've observed, that many will put blame on the teacher/professor before they have the student shoulder the responsibility. I added professors in their as well, since helicopter parenting is rampant in college. Universities and professors are facing these same challenges, though not quite to the extent as the k-12 bracket is.

    Educating, in any form, is not an easy job. Most people who do not teach do not have that understanding.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I can see how that's tough as well. I still don't know where I stand on the whole public vs. charter thing either. As teachers, we just go where we're hired.
     
  22. Mathemagician

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    I haven't experienced many hateful comments, but I have heard more or less ignorant comments. Things along the lines of "it must be nice having summers off" and such. I don't think it's ever hateful (besides some comments I've seen online), but it's just ill-informed.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that if we were to visit a parenting forum during the school year, we would very likely see an equal number of stories about ignorant, or abusive, or ineffective teachers. I know I certainly have one or two I could share.

    It seems to me that fueling he fire of "us vs them" does nothing to solve the problem.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It doesn't and shows immaturity on my part.
     
  25. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    Certainly, parents and teachers need to be allies, not adversaries. But even acknowledging that does not solve the problem.
     
  26. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    Confidence, Peregrin, confidence! Nothing wrong with stirring the pot once in a while. ;)
     
  27. Ms. I

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    Either I don't get out much or I don't know what. Never in my life have I ever been out in public & overheard anyone talking negatively about teachers. They aren't looked down upon in my area.
     
  28. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I hear comments all the time in person and online in regards to how awful all public schools are, and how teachers don't do their job. Most of the time, I bite my tongue but sometimes I chime in. It just really grates my nerves that people who have no clue what it takes to be an educator think they can judge us. I've had many parents thank me for my what I do because they could never do it!
     
  29. jwteacher

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    I live in a rural area so believe me, I hear how lazy and overpaid we are all the time. Yet I never hear them complain about CEO's who work a single day, resign, and collect $44 million in severance.
     
  30. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    I wish my insurance was $100 per month. For the family plan I pay over $600. It's painful to think about.
     
  31. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    In my specific area, teachers are highly respected- but that's because our salary is so incredibly low in comparison to the COL. Parents know what we make vs. what they make in the business world. Of our high SES families, the great majority of them only have one parent working and the wealth they bring in is still incredible. To their credit, the non-working parents typically do spend a lot of time volunteering in school! My low SES hispanic parents had so much respect for the school system/teachers that it was almost daunting. When they came in for IEP meetings and such I would tell them that they could call me by my first name and they would, but they'd still add a "miss" in front of it, lol. They also always thanked me profusely and talked about how much they appreciated everything we were doing for their child. Our ESL teacher who is from the same region in Mexico that most of our families are from said that it's just part of their culture. When I tell people I'm a teacher I've never gotten anything but compliments/respect.

    In my hometown area, it's a completely different story. Not that anyone has the right to bash another career anyway, but I think part of it is due that teachers do make a comfortable living there compared to what we make here (relative to the COL). I've literally had people make rude comments directly to my face! I fly a lot since my family lives in that state and often other solo travelers will make conversation. Last time I was sitting next to this little old lady who was telling me how nice it was that I was going to see my family- and then she asked me where I went to school. When I explained that I was actually a teacher, her attitude totally changed and she made some snide comment about how it must be nice to have all that "free vacation time" and promptly quit talking to me! I almost quit talking to one of my best friends from home who suddenly went on some big political rant about how teachers are sucking up all the money, and my dad quit going to his church breakfast group because it had turned into a teacher bashing session every week- he'd been a part of that group for years! Of course he would try to speak up and they would say, "Oh, we know you work hard, but you're totally the exception."
     
  32. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Our family rate is just as much, but I'm single. Our co-pays are high, so is our deductible, and now our prescription insurance won't pay for anything off of their list unless you appeal it. That means I'm paying for some of my medication. We didn't pay any portion of the cost of insurance until last year, and it ate the tiny raise I got. It will again this year. I know many people haven't received a raise in two years, but don't tell me that my salary is going up, and then raise my insurance rates so that it has a negative effect.

    I'm all done ranting now.
     
  33. Cerek

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    Frankly, I consider health insurance to be one of the best benefits of teaching or any other job. Our state provides individual coverage for free or you can pay a very low premium (less than $50, IIRC) for a lower deductible. Some teachers in my previous district were complaining about a proposal that would force them to pay $22 per month for their insurance.

    With my Crohn's Disease, there was a looooong time I could not get individual health insurance at all...period. As soon as the company heard "Croh's", I was automatically denied. So I pursued jobs that offered group insurance. Even then, my premiums for individual coverage (rather than family coverage) was about $300 per month.

    Currently, I have a plan offered by my state. They offer three levels of coverage. I chose Plan C which had the lowest premium, but the highest deductible. I currently pay $240/month and have a catastrophic deductible of $5,000 (yes, thousand, not hundred). ALL medical costs are out-of-pocket until I've spent $5,000, then the insurance pays 100% after that.

    So I would be doing backflips and cartwheels to have an insurance premium of $100 month. Guess I better start practicing, because I will FINALLY have insurance with a low premium when I start my new job in August.

    As for the rude and ignorant comments I see and hear on the news and online, I just remind myself that I can only be insulted by those whose opinions I value. The rest mean nothing to me. Most of the comments I see and hear are based largely on ignorance and reflect that ignorance very clearly. In my personal life, I have always received very positive and supportive comments from others when I tell them I am a teacher.
     
  34. Myrisophilist

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    This demonstrates my observation. It seems that many people are quick to demonize teachers as a whole or the entire teaching profession, but they have a different perspective when it comes to individuals. Few people will actually treat teachers badly to their faces because of their profession (although some posts on this thread have proven that that is not always the case).

    I think we all have the tendency to label groups but consider individuals...well, individually.
     
  35. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    << (after all the deductions, we don't get paid much above the poverty level)>>

    It is this type of comment that makes people hate us, and frankly, makes me not very fond of the public face of teachers in general myself.

    I don't care what anyone tries to say about it, I am very well paid for the job I am asked to do. I own my own car, have no outstanding student loans, work less than half the days a year and have no debt except for my home all the while working 7.5 hour days.

    The parents of my students, if they are lucky enough to work period, often work 12 hour days doing hard physical work. They make roughly 1/3rd of what I do as a teacher despite working at least twice the hours.

    If you were in there situation and heard people in our situation complaining don't you think you might start to get a bit resentful too?
     
  36. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I'm a mother. I'm a teacher. I am not ignoring my daughter all day, I am working hard to feed and clothe her, not to mention provide shelter for her. We cannot survive on only one income.

    Regarding your other point, I think some people do hold this negative opinion of teachers, but I'm not sure it's the vast majority of people, though I could be wrong. Many people outside of education hold opinions about education without really knowing anything about it. They are forgetting that we teachers are educated and enjoy working with children (not something that everyone enjoys), and are educating/preparing their children for the real world.
     
  37. YoungTeacherGuy

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    :yeahthat:
     
  38. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I believe that the difference and the bitterness for where this comes from; is how much schooling they went through to get those jobs and how much school we went through to get ours. "We knew going," Yes I have heard that many times, but it does not change something that isn't right.
     
  39. geoteacher

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    I think that there is a lot of vitriol directed toward teachers and public employees as a group. There are many members of the public who support what I do as an individual teacher and will then state that changes need to be made with regard to paying public employees. I just don't understand this! Employees in the private sector work hard - I would never say otherwise - and they deserve to make a living wage. I also work hard - not the 7.5 hour days mentioned by another poster but more like 10-12 hour days - and feel that I should get that same consideration.
     
  40. Aussiegirl

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    I have mixed feelings about all this. We don't have unions directly involved in our raises in the way other states do. I think the word "union" is the one that starts the hackles to rise on many people.

    About the comment on this thread that we are raising other people's kids... In some cases that seems to be the truth. It isn't because parents are working. Most working parents will spend time supporting their kiddos' school work/study/play/family time. We are referring to the parents have no regard for education, may not have finished HS themselves, who want nothing to do with teachers/bad mouth the child's teacher without even communicating, don't spend any quality time with their child, and then come into school with both barrels loaded for bear. I guess this kind of parent is found in rural and urban schools.

    The comment that gets under my skin the most is when people refer to our (lack of) hours worked. My best friend was one of those until she saw just how much I DO work. She was shocked that I mostly work 50-60 hours per week between regular school hours, after-school tutoring, after-school meetings, lesson prep (planning, copies, creating powerpoints), grading... She was shocked when she learned that I spend a good amount of each week during the summer reading professional materials, taking courses, doing research to make sure I'm as up to date as possible in my subject and pedagogy...
    I'm not sure she is totally converted though, because a comment about the summer off slipped out recently...

    I am earning the lowest salary I ever have and working at least twice as hard as I ever have. I love what I do, I care for my students and want all of them to succeed - it is the politics and ignorance of the society around the job that gets to me.

    I consider the summer my virtual work time - I don't work in the building 8-3; I work on my time schedule. That's the big difference, and I don't have the extra grading etc. I for one, have a tough time turning off school. I'm going away for a REAL vacation for 8 days and keep reminding myself that I'm not bringing ANY school work with me, not even taking my laptop. I have two books (already read 7) with me that have nothing to do with school! Ok, I may bring my writer's notebook.
     
  41. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    #1 and #2 are perfect. People always comment about summers off as if you chose to be a teacher for the sole purpose of getting your summers off. If it was that easy why are so many people leaving the profession?

    As for #2 I teach in a rough urban area. Typically most teachers where I live basically have to work a few years there before they can get a job in the suburbs. So people automatically assume that I'm working in the city because I couldn't get a job anywhere else and that as soon I can I'm going to try to get a job in the suburbs. EVERYONE assumes this, even other teachers. It couldn't be further from the truth. I have no desire to leave where I'm teaching even I had a "perfect" little suburban district knocking on my door with the perfect position.
     
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