book "Teachers Have it Easy"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by athenssoest, May 9, 2010.

  1. athenssoest

    athenssoest Rookie

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    May 9, 2010

    Has anyone read it? I just finished it and it was very discouraging. Can anyone tell my how on target it is?
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I hadn't heard of the book, but after reading excerpts from it (the rest of the title is Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of Teachers, it's mocking how everyone thinks we have it easy)-there are testimonials from actual teachers that I think are pretty accurate.

    The fact of the matter is though, I have yet to meet anyone who went into teaching for the money. We know upfront what the salary is compared to the time we put in. My first education professor said, you may only show up at school 9 months out of the year, but you do 12 months of work in that 9 months-which I find to be true, if you want to be effective at your job. I wish some of the people in politics who are legislating for education now would read the book and realize the sacrifices we do make for the sake of our students.
     
  4. athenssoest

    athenssoest Rookie

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    Well, when I decided to be an education major I knew that I would work hard as a teacher, that part of the book didn't bother me. It was the teacher working multiple jobs and barely making ends meet. I'm not getting into education for money at all, but I didn't know it was that bad. I was wondering how accurate the struggling on a teacher's pay was?
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I am twenty-seven years old and have been teaching four years...I make just under $50,000. That is well over double what my father earns who works a heck of a lot harder than I do on our family farm. I'm not complaining about my salary.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I also can't complain. Our district starting salary is $40,000. There are also a lot of opportunities to make extra money taking on leadership roles on campus, mentoring, tutoring or teaching summer school. I realize there's inflation, but it's a lot more money that the average when I decided to go into teaching. Maybe if you were trying to support a family alone it wouldn't stretch as far.
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I don't even think teachers understand the one thing that makes our jobs difficult.

    Lots of jobs involve long hours for mediocre pay. And many of those even require a lot of education or training.

    And lots of jobs are stressful.

    But few jobs require the constant attentiveness of being a classroom teacher. This is a kind of stress that differs somewhat from that of firefighters, cops, ER doctors, and combat soldiers. In the military we had a term for that kind of stress - "Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror."

    The stress faced by teachers is different, and also quite unique among professionals.

    Think about how many minor decisions you have to make every day where you get little or no time to reflect. Suzie has to go to the bathroom. She says it's urgent and she's jumping up and down. But she already went three times today. Let her go and she might be gone for half an hour, bother other classes, or get in a conflict with another student due to being out of your supervision. Don't let her go, and she might pee her pants.

    Bobby is talking to another student during a lesson. Redirect him, and you've just had to pause instruction for the rest of the class. Don't redirect him and he might continue his distraction to the detriment of his and other students' learning.

    Becky can't find her math book. Help her look for it, and you take time away from helping other students. Tell her to wait, and she is off task and not engaged in learning.

    Alex calls out without raising his hand. He does this a lot. But if you write his name on the board, or give him any kind of warning, he's likely to have an outburst that could result in your having to call an administrator.

    Finally, there's Joey. You need to keep one eye on him at all times in case he decides to get up and kick Bobby in the knee when you are turned around writing on the board. Also, a lot of kids don't like Joey and have been known to accuse him of things he didn't do, so you really have to watch him and anyone who is around him.

    Sure, all of these decision are minor. None of them are life or death like those faced by other professions in public safety, medicine, or the military. But multiply the sheer number of minor, split second decisions a teacher has to continually make, and you have a constant level of mental engagement that leaves one wiped out by the end of the day.
     
  8. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    May 10, 2010

    I person can make $30,000 a year or $100,000 and still struggle financially.

    It's all about living beneath your means. IF you control where your money goes, you don't have to worry about "barely making ends meet."

    Those teachers in that book that can't make it ends meet are also probably trying to keep up with the Joneses.
     
  9. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    I guess making ends meet depends upon where you teach and the way you live.

    Example: I'm in my mid-twenties, fifth year of teaching, single, and quite content on a salary of less than 30,000 (far below average, I think-- private school). I'm able to live by myself in a place that isn't a dive, buy the necessities of life, go out to eat occasionally, and have enough extra to save a little. I've even managed to afford two trips out of the country on this salary, though they did set me back for a while.

    If I were considering buying a house or supporting a family any time soon, I would probably be more concerned about the amount of money I make.

    I personally find the time commitment more taxing than the lower salary. I can't imagine having the time to take on a second job if I wanted one!
     
  10. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 10, 2010

    Excellent point - Sarge. It looks like teachers have to have eyes in the back of their heads, and be on the alert every minute of classtime in the classroom. How do we do it?
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    May 10, 2010

    I agree, Sarge--I remember being just exhausted during my first weeks of pre-student teaching, just from not being used to being "on" all day.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I keep thinking the same thing! I knew I wouldn't be rich, but I didn't know things would be this bad...I make only $32,000 (average for starting out around here), and I find it hard to make ends meet. I did some calculations one day because I just couldn't figure out why I was making so much money, yet the only thing in my refrigerator is butter (I'm dead serious). I realized that I only bring home $23,000 per year after taxes. After calculating what I pay yearly for rent, other bills, gas, car maintenance, health costs, food, toiletries-just the things I absolutely need to survive-I had only $1,200 left for the entire year. Gee, no wonder I haven't bought new clothes since college, I go grocery shopping maybe once every few months, and I still can't afford a Mother's Day gift for my mom!

    I've been thinking about getting a 2nd job, but I don't know when I would actually work, considering I work 50-60 hours per week already!

    Also, I think much of it has to do with where you came from. I came from a family where I have been buying my own clothes since I was 16. My parents literally buy me nothing. They didn't fill my refrigerator for me when I was in college, pick up the cost of books one semester, take me shopping for my birthday, etc. Because of that, I have always had car loan debt, and I have a lot of student loan debt. People who are given a car, whose parents pay their car insurance and cell phone bills through college, or who put them through college are starting off at a different place than someone like me. I left college with about $55,000 in debt between school loans, credit cards, and car loans. If I didn't have all of that debt, I could survive ok on what I make.

    Still, I don't regret my decision to become a teacher. Sometimes I'm afraid of what the future of education is going to look like, but I still love my job. I very rarely think to myself, "I don't want to go to work" when I'm driving in the morning...I'm always thinking about the fun things I get to do that day!
     
  13. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    May 10, 2010

    Hah, I totally remember those days, too! I used to come home from student teaching and take a 2-hour nap right away. I was so tired! I still have to be in bed by about 9, but it's funny how you get used to it.
     
  14. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    I also think that the notion of teaching being a low paying job really depends on your location. Most teaching jobs in my neck of the woods start anywhere from $42,000-$46,000. I really don't think that's a low wage for a 10 month salary.
     
  15. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    May 10, 2010

    I'm totally on board with Sarge. My husband works way more hours than me, but his job is a lot of hurry up and wait. It is not the constant stress. It is hard to make a million split second decisions and not be exhausted. I actually think that is the part of the job I really don't like because I'm new and constantly second guessing myself on a hundred things a day.
     
  16. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    May 10, 2010

    I agree with

    Sarge and DrivingPigeon. To add to the stress Sarge talked about we also deal with violence on a daily basis. Some of us deal with that more than others. My intuition is right on and I've been able to stop plenty of fights before they happen. My sister was visiting one day and didn't even realize what was going on and I already had everyone separated and on to new things! As far as the salary, there is such a disparity in salaries. My district starts in the low 30's and other districts nearby start in the mid 40's. The low-socioeconomic areas pay lower and carry much more stress! I have 3 children, a husband, a house, tons of school loan debt, and of course I'm in grad school making more debt. I am not living above my means and we are just getting by. Yes I was a teen mom and it seems that getting ahead is never an option and yes it took me 9 years to get my BA. But if I had to do it all over again I would! I absolutely love what I do! So these are all valid points but in the end no matter how much you make and no matter what your career path may be...you have to be passionate about what you do!
     
  17. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    May 10, 2010

    My friends don't appreciate the mental toll teaching takes on me. I had one tell me this weekend that he didn't understand why my house wasn't dusted on a Saturday morning, after all, I got out of work at 3 every day and had plenty of time to come home and clean. YEAH RIGHT!! The last thing I have at the end of my day is energy to grab the dust rag and mop. I offered him a position as my housekeeper since he doesn't have a job! He laughed it off...I was serious!
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I still haven't gotten used to it-I have days like that. I was just talking to my friend complaining about how tired I am and she said "but you guys went on a field trip today". Hello, do you know how tiring that is-the anxiety of making sure everyone is safe every minute? I agree, until you actually do it, you can't understand the toll it takes. I love the t-shirt that says "You know how tired your own child makes you, now multiply that by at least 20".
     
  19. pontiac8411

    pontiac8411 Rookie

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    May 10, 2010

    This is on my list to read. I'll read it when I am looking for reality. For now, I'll live happily in my fantasy :)
     
  20. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    May 10, 2010

    Unless you're a teacher, then nobody understands what the day entails. Like today, we went on field trip to the library (our school doesn't have one), and a friend wanted to go to the movies. i said I was tired and they couldn't understand why, since I was at the library for 2 hours...ummm....right...I was at the library making sure kids were doing their research, not looking up dirty words in the dictionary, not running, not photocopying their butts, not teasing other patrons or playing video games on the computers. Then making sure they all had library cards and remembered to take their slips that told them when their books were due. In two hours...yeah....
    Also with salary, I make 42,000 3rd year at this school....Between student loans, rent, car payment, credit cards insurance, etc...I have 120 dollars at the end of the month...I pray no emergencies pop up!
     
  21. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 10, 2010

    True. Our area is in the top 5 highest costs of living nationally so while salaries are higher, it doesn't go very far.
     

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