Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 04-08-2014, 12:23 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Some have said the best 3 things about teaching are June, July, and August.

I think it all comes down to your situation. If you teach in a good school its great. Heck many teachers would take a big cut in pay just to teach in those situations.
  #52  
Old 04-08-2014, 04:49 AM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Might I ask where this is? Around here in the midwest they can get dozens of applicants for every teaching job including those harder to fill areas.
I am in Texas. But here is a list of shortages by state and subject. And dozens of applicants doesn't mean you have a viable candidate. Teaching hiring is done annually, not continuously, and people shotgun-apply. So you might get 12 resumes, but 6 of them are just non-starters: not certified, incoherently written, big red flags. The other 6 are the same other 6 everyone likes the look of, and so everyone calls them.

In terms of the original question: on one hand, teaching is really, really hard. I am pretty sensitive to anyone looking at my job from the outside and saying "that doesn't look so bad to me". For whatever it's worth, I'd never say that about anyone else's job, either--there's just no way to have a perspective on these things from the outside. On the other hand, righteous indignation is basically a competitive sport among teachers, and teachers do often have a bizarre idea that it's literally the worst job in the world, which it is not.

All jobs have good points and bad points, and in a few crucial ways both the positives and the negatives for teaching are somewhat different. For some people, that makes teaching a terrible choice because the bad points are things they really dislike and/or the good points are things that don't much matter to them. For others, the bad points are preferable to the sorts of downsides you get in a private-sector job, and/or the advantages are overwhelming. It's a personality thing.

So if the question is "Is teaching really that hard?", my answer is an unequivocal yes, at least when it's done right. But if the question is "Is teaching bad?", I'd say that's highly dependent on where you are, but even more dependent on who you are.
  #53  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:08 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
I am in Texas. But here is a list of shortages by state and subject. And dozens of applicants doesn't mean you have a viable candidate. Teaching hiring is done annually, not continuously, and people shotgun-apply. So you might get 12 resumes, but 6 of them are just non-starters: not certified, incoherently written, big red flags. The other 6 are the same other 6 everyone likes the look of, and so everyone calls them.

In terms of the original question: on one hand, teaching is really, really hard. I am pretty sensitive to anyone looking at my job from the outside and saying "that doesn't look so bad to me". For whatever it's worth, I'd never say that about anyone else's job, either--there's just no way to have a perspective on these things from the outside. On the other hand, righteous indignation is basically a competitive sport among teachers, and teachers do often have a bizarre idea that it's literally the worst job in the world, which it is not.

All jobs have good points and bad points, and in a few crucial ways both the positives and the negatives for teaching are somewhat different. For some people, that makes teaching a terrible choice because the bad points are things they really dislike and/or the good points are things that don't much matter to them. For others, the bad points are preferable to the sorts of downsides you get in a private-sector job, and/or the advantages are overwhelming. It's a personality thing.

So if the question is "Is teaching really that hard?", my answer is an unequivocal yes, at least when it's done right. But if the question is "Is teaching bad?", I'd say that's highly dependent on where you are, but even more dependent on who you are.
Excellent points there.

If I might add, many people go into teaching because they they have the right intentions, meaning to help needy kids and/or help the world, but seriously lack the skills it takes to become a good teacher. However they think things like good attitude and perseverance will overcome that. I admire them because their heart is in the right place but they are into something way over their heads.

Quick story: I know of one school here where the staff, in order to get rid of a bad principal, actually got the students to intentionally do crappy on the state exams just to make him look bad and get him removed. It worked! He was gone the next year.
  #54  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:15 AM
Rodgers01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USofA
Posts: 3,634
Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Antibob View Post
Is she really off?

All the teachers I know work 60+ hour weeks (they don't have time to grade or lesson plan during regular school hours), aren't actually off during spring break like the students, and usually also do some school related work during the summer, including summer classes and some administrative work.

There are plenty of people who work those kinds of long hours in other fields, but we aren't shocked when some of them burn out.
Good question. I don't know if she's really off this week for spring break, but she has told me in the past that she has arranged her schedule such that she gets all her grading done at school.

Interesting responses so far. I'm surprised that hardly anyone has mentioned the summer vacations. That was at the forefront of my mind when I started the thread, but it seems to hardly figure into people's estimation of the profession. Is the reality of having all that time off just not that big a deal when you actually have it? Or are the difficulties some people have outlined so bad that it's still not worth it?
  #55  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:40 AM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,735
I imagine that it loses its novelty after awhile, just like anything.

I also imagine if you start the school year already looking forward to the next summer break, your heart really isn't in the job.
  #56  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:56 AM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01 View Post
Good question. I don't know if she's really off this week for spring break, but she has told me in the past that she has arranged her schedule such that she gets all her grading done at school.

Interesting responses so far. I'm surprised that hardly anyone has mentioned the summer vacations. That was at the forefront of my mind when I started the thread, but it seems to hardly figure into people's estimation of the profession. Is the reality of having all that time off just not that big a deal when you actually have it? Or are the difficulties some people have outlined so bad that it's still not worth it?
I get my grading mostly done at school, but the way I do that is to be at school 65 hours a week.

Summers are very, very nice. Even if you work quite a bit (and I always have), it's this amazing relaxation. One of the most stressful things about teaching is how structured it is. Most professional jobs give you some sort of control over how you spend your time. When you teach, you can't even pee on your own schedule. You can't leave 15 minutes early to get your hair cut, or come in an hour late because you needed to get your car inspected. If you get sick, you can't allow the doctor to "squeeze you in" that day--you have to suffer until the next, because you need the lag time to set up a sub and sub plans. You have to take a half day if you are going to miss any work at all, and there's no flex--you can't make up 15 minutes late by working 15 minutes later.

It would be really hard to do that 255 days a year. It's hard enough to do it 187 days a year. Is summer an important consideration? Absolutely. It might even be essential. But it's just one piece of the puzzle. This comes back to my earlier comments about the trade-offs being different than in the private sector. My personality is such that I really like working 65-70 hour weeks (and those are real hours--I track, because I am that kind of person) for most of the year, and then having big blocks of time where I am either not working at all, or am working in a much less urgent fashion (I probably average 20 hours a week during summer and Christmas). Other people hate that kind of pacing and prefer a steady 45-55 hour week all year long. It's just a matter of temperament.

One thing I always feel obligated to point out is that summers are unpaid. Your salary may be spread out over 12 months, but that's just making a loan to the school. This is not an academic distinction. If you get cancer or have a baby or your mom has a stroke and you have to miss a bunch of a school, each day they deduct 1/187 of your annual salary from your check, not 1/255, like most jobs. This has significant implications: if you miss a month of work, you lose 5 weeks or so of pay. If you miss 3 months of work, you are back at work a long time before you start getting paid again.
  #57  
Old 04-08-2014, 06:54 AM
John DiFool's Avatar
John DiFool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 18,262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01 View Post
Plus, the way I see it, there are bad bosses, coworkers, and clients in every profession.
I prefer my current situation, working for a mom and pop tutoring center, where said bosses are perfectly reasonable people whom I can talk to heart to heart and I know that they will listen to my concerns (even if they don't agree with me in the end). They give me a lot of slack too to do my own thing-the male boss even said he appreciates me for how I think outside the box. They usually nail the new hires; we've had exactly two jerks working there in my 14 years, and they didn't last very long.
  #58  
Old 04-08-2014, 06:57 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01 View Post
Good question. I don't know if she's really off this week for spring break, but she has told me in the past that she has arranged her schedule such that she gets all her grading done at school.

Interesting responses so far. I'm surprised that hardly anyone has mentioned the summer vacations. That was at the forefront of my mind when I started the thread, but it seems to hardly figure into people's estimation of the profession. Is the reality of having all that time off just not that big a deal when you actually have it? Or are the difficulties some people have outlined so bad that it's still not worth it?
It has been said that the best 3 things about teaching are June, July, and August. I know teachers who use that time to go on month long trips like hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Now that being said most teachers would wish they could be more flexible with vacation time.
  #59  
Old 04-08-2014, 07:06 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
I get my grading mostly done at school, but the way I do that is to be at school 65 hours a week.

Summers are very, very nice. Even if you work quite a bit (and I always have), it's this amazing relaxation. One of the most stressful things about teaching is how structured it is. Most professional jobs give you some sort of control over how you spend your time. When you teach, you can't even pee on your own schedule. You can't leave 15 minutes early to get your hair cut, or come in an hour late because you needed to get your car inspected. If you get sick, you can't allow the doctor to "squeeze you in" that day--you have to suffer until the next, because you need the lag time to set up a sub and sub plans. You have to take a half day if you are going to miss any work at all, and there's no flex--you can't make up 15 minutes late by working 15 minutes later.


.
I see that changing and it may just be a different district. My sons teachers take time off quite often. In fact its frustrating that he has a sub, AGAIN, because the teachers kid was sick or teachers kid had a Dr.s appointment. He had one teacher who had an hour off every day because she was breastfeeding and she needed to go pump. He had another who took 2 weeks off to get married and go on her honeymoon.

Now I dont blame them for wanting time off but kids just dont learn much with subs.

Also while I hear you talking about 60-70 hour weeks, at my sons elementary school the teachers get a planning period plus time away from kids when the kids have specials (ex. music, art, PE, computers) and they do not have to monitor recess so they get that time free also. Plus every quarter has a teacher work day where they go without the kids.
  #60  
Old 04-08-2014, 07:12 AM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
It has been said that the best 3 things about teaching are June, July, and August. I know teachers who use that time to go on month long trips like hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Now that being said most teachers would wish they could be more flexible with vacation time.
And a lot of teachers work during the summers. I know elementary school teachers that offer summer care. High school teachers that coach. Teachers who paint and roof homes. And, of course, teach summer school. Teachers pay isn't great because we figure they only work nine months (they really work ten - they have a few days before and after the school year that they NEED to be there, and most teachers I know spend a few days before and after that as well organizing and planning), so a lot of them use their summers to supplement their income.

And for a lot of teachers, there is continuing education that needs to get done in the summer. When I was a project manager, my boss gave me some time to get in my required training (for project managers they are Professional Development Units). Teachers may not get that time during the school year.
  #61  
Old 04-08-2014, 07:34 AM
even sven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
Summer vacation isn't all that amazing for a lot of teachers. To begin with, it's not as long as the kid's. You stay later and arrive earlier to do wrap-up and prep. And often you are working on between. And if your aim is to travel-- well, I hope you like crowds, because you are never going anywhere on low season.

It can be good if you have a real plan for those weeks-- If you are watching your kids or writing a book or something. But my vacations are much better with my current job, where I can bookend personal travel on to work trips.
  #62  
Old 04-08-2014, 08:15 AM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
I see that changing and it may just be a different district. My sons teachers take time off quite often. In fact its frustrating that he has a sub, AGAIN, because the teachers kid was sick or teachers kid had a Dr.s appointment. He had one teacher who had an hour off every day because she was breastfeeding and she needed to go pump. He had another who took 2 weeks off to get married and go on her honeymoon.

Now I dont blame them for wanting time off but kids just dont learn much with subs.
One solution to that is for a district to be willing to pay what it costs to hire descent subs. They effectively use the kids as hostages here: my son drank a lot of formula because I would only pump at lunch, because of exactly that trade-off. I had to somehow decide if the benefit of an extra 6 ounces of breastmilk a day was worth the damage to one set of kids' education. It is one of the shittiest things about this job ever, and I am still getting angry just thinking about it.

Quote:
Also while I hear you talking about 60-70 hour weeks, at my sons elementary school the teachers get a planning period plus time away from kids when the kids have specials (ex. music, art, PE, computers) and they do not have to monitor recess so they get that time free also. Plus every quarter has a teacher work day where they go without the kids.
This was my earlier point. All kinds of jobs look easy if you aren't the person doing them. I have no idea what it takes to keep an elementary classroom running smoothly, but I am pretty open to the idea that there's a lot more to it than I noticed when I was a student in one.
  #63  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:01 AM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,549
For my kids, a lot of the "specials" had been dropped. They had gym and music - which gave the teachers 30 minutes of prep every day. They had a 40 minute lunch/recess - during which time the teachers ate their own lunches - usually over homework. If a kid had to stay in for recess - to catch up on homework or because that was the disciplinary action, they had to supervise the kid in their classroom, cutting their lunch to 20 minutes. But no art - the elementary teachers taught art, and no librarian, so the teachers taught research and helped pick out books for reading.
__________________
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
  #64  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:15 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
And a lot of teachers work during the summers. I know elementary school teachers that offer summer care. High school teachers that coach. Teachers who paint and roof homes. And, of course, teach summer school. Teachers pay isn't great because we figure they only work nine months (they really work ten - they have a few days before and after the school year that they NEED to be there, and most teachers I know spend a few days before and after that as well organizing and planning), so a lot of them use their summers to supplement their income.

And for a lot of teachers, there is continuing education that needs to get done in the summer. When I was a project manager, my boss gave me some time to get in my required training (for project managers they are Professional Development Units). Teachers may not get that time during the school year.
Now a good point - or bad point on the summer thing is some coaches I know are making 6 figure incomes when the supplement their teaching salaries with all the on-the-side stuff they do by running camps, clinics, and doing private coaching. Most is over the summer but some do it after school.

Quite unfair to the regular teachers I know.

Which frankly if I had my way we would drop all high school sponsored sports. But that's another topic.
  #65  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:19 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Summer vacation isn't all that amazing for a lot of teachers. To begin with, it's not as long as the kid's. You stay later and arrive earlier to do wrap-up and prep. And often you are working on between. And if your aim is to travel-- well, I hope you like crowds, because you are never going anywhere on low season.

It can be good if you have a real plan for those weeks-- If you are watching your kids or writing a book or something. But my vacations are much better with my current job, where I can bookend personal travel on to work trips.
I totally agree with that and I have no problem with districts being more flexible on vacation tims. And again, I'm seeing more of it. Like I mentioned before when his 1rst grade teacher took 2 weeks off to get married and go on her honeymoon.

Provided of course that teacher goes WAY out of her way to leave detailed and thought out lesson plans for the sub and that sub has come in a day early to meet the kids and talk things over with the teacher. Yeah I know it would be pulling teeth to get a school to go along with that but it's what they need to do.
  #66  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:21 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
One issue not being brought up here is the move to year long schooling and 4 day school weeks.

With the year long schooling instead of the long summer break they get longer breaks between quarters. With 4 day weeks the school day is longer but fridays are off.

Now I've also seen where they might have a 1/2 day every week like on a wednesday and teachers can have that as work time.
  #67  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:27 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
One solution to that is for a district to be willing to pay what it costs to hire descent subs.
IF the district can even find subs at all. My wife worked at one school from hell where subs refused to work and when a teacher was gone they would just put the kids in other teachers classrooms. Oh, that was great for a 2nd grade teacher to also have to supervise 4-5 3rd graders.

Yeah having quality subs and working with them to make sure they are an integral part of the learning process is something schools need to learn.

The smart schools have gone to having full time or building subs where the subs get regular teaching salaries and work in a specific building so they get to know the kids and teachers quite well.
  #68  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:34 AM
aceplace57 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 26,304
I felt bad for teachers that drove the school bus for extra pay. Kind of sad that their pay is that low.

But, increasing property taxes for the schools is never popular.
  #69  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:43 AM
Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,701
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I guess you should ask my wife why she was willing to give winter clothes out of own closet to students who were too poor to be able to dress properly.

Answer: Because some people don't like to see children go without necessities. And - surprise - many of those people gravitate into teaching.
Then (and not to take anything away from those types of people) they don't get to complain that they have to spend out of their own pockets for supplies.

It's no secret that teachers DO that, surely nobody finishs their Ed degree and is shocked when they walk in to their classroom and see that they may have to do that.

Might as well just factor that in to considering the job offer: "Well, it pays 40k, but I'll spend 1k on supplies this year, so it's really 39k."

Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I felt bad for teachers that drove the school bus for extra pay. Kind of sad that their pay is that low.

But, increasing property taxes for the schools is never popular.
Totally depends on where you live; around here teachers are generally paid pretty well.

But it's true that some school don't have the tax base to support higher teacher pay.
  #70  
Old 04-08-2014, 10:51 AM
Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Then (and not to take anything away from those types of people) they don't get to complain that they have to spend out of their own pockets for supplies.
If they shouldn't have to do it, if someone else should be doing it instead, then they are right to complain.
  #71  
Old 04-08-2014, 10:59 AM
Great Antibob is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,325
Isn't that a bit of a double standard?

The community (via their school boards/district/etc) doesn't have money to pony up for school supplies for the kids but the teachers are expected to buy out of pocket because the kids are so important?

The kids can't be that important to the community if they think funding of a portion of their education should be left to voluntary contributions by their teachers.
  #72  
Old 04-08-2014, 11:08 AM
Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,701
CAN the teachers do their jobs with the materials supplied by the school? Sure, maybe they won't be able to do it exactly how they want to, but can they teach the material?

If they have no suplies with which to teach, then that's the school's problem. If the the teacher feels that they are inadequately supplied to teach the material as they see fit, it's the teacher's problem.
  #73  
Old 04-08-2014, 11:11 AM
silenus's Avatar
silenus is offline
Isaiah 1:15/Screw the NRA
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 51,650
Teachers quite often have different priorities than the community at large. Or the parents, for that matter. We're funny like that.
  #74  
Old 04-08-2014, 11:45 AM
even sven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
The difference is that if my job doesn't give me the tools I need to succeed-- well, it's literally their loss. I don't feel too bad about it. I do what they pay me to do, and that's that.

When teaching, it's the kids who are let down, and they don't deserve that.

That's another thing I don't miss. The guilt. I love being able to call in sick, not bring work home with me, have an off day, etc. without feeling like a horrible person. In teaching, you can ALWAYS improve your student by investing more time in your job, and it's tough to draw the line. You can spend hours planning amazing lessons, and it's awesome. But you can't spend 8 hours a day planning forever. Unfortunately, then when you don't, you feel terribly guilty. You can never really say "well I did my best" and tend to the rat of your life.
  #75  
Old 04-08-2014, 12:39 PM
skylyn12 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Teachers quite often have different priorities than the community at large. Or the parents, for that matter. We're funny like that.
They do? I taught for years (in public K12), worked in admin and consulting for districts and work in higher ed (with teachers!) and they don't seem any different than other college educated professionals I've come across.
  #76  
Old 04-08-2014, 01:03 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,735
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
The difference is that if my job doesn't give me the tools I need to succeed-- well, it's literally their loss. I don't feel too bad about it. I do what they pay me to do, and that's that.

When teaching, it's the kids who are let down, and they don't deserve that.

That's another thing I don't miss. The guilt. I love being able to call in sick, not bring work home with me, have an off day, etc. without feeling like a horrible person. In teaching, you can ALWAYS improve your student by investing more time in your job, and it's tough to draw the line. You can spend hours planning amazing lessons, and it's awesome. But you can't spend 8 hours a day planning forever. Unfortunately, then when you don't, you feel terribly guilty. You can never really say "well I did my best" and tend to the rat of your life.
I'm not disagreeing with your overall gist, but you're extrapolating your own feelings to others. There are a ton of teachers out there who don't feel guilty and don't worry about not doing enough--and not all of them are crappy. They just have to be someone who has a healthy, realistic sense of their personal boundaries and duties.

It's the people who get too emotionally invested who don't last.

Last edited by monstro; 04-08-2014 at 01:04 PM.
  #77  
Old 04-08-2014, 01:29 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,576
Two stories illustrate some of the frustrations I have with my job. I'll put them in quoteboxes in case you wanna skip them; I'm nice like that.
Quote:
The first story isn't really a story, so already I've lied to you. It's a comparison of two restaurant models.

Some restaurants are franchises. The owner basically buys a bunch of recipes, equipment, and uniforms from a central authority. They then hire people to create these recipes. The food they create should come out the same, as long as the ingredients used are the same. If customers don't like the food, the owner checks to see if the workers were faithful to the recipes. If the workers followed the recipes faithfully, you don't blame the workers; you look to see what else went wrong. Maybe this latest batch of ingredients had some issue?

Other restaurants follow a different model. They hire good chefs, and then give the cook general guidelines--"Make sure the menu has our three signature dishes, and then be sure you offer a beef dish, a poultry fish, a seafood dish, and a vegetarian dish"--and let the chef get to work. If customers don't show up, you might check to see if there was some issue out of the chef's control, such as a blizzard or some issue with ingredients, but otherwise the chef is accountable for results.
Quote:
The second story is a joke, so I'm almost not lying to you now.

A cop working the graveyard shift saw a drunk crawling around on his hands and knees under a streetlight. "Can I help you?" the cop asked, after about ten minutes.

"Yeah!" the drunk said. "I can't find my car keys!"

"Where did you lose them?"

The drunk gestured broadly. "Somewhere on this block, or that one, or the next one."

"But you've been looking in this one spot for ten minutes!" the cop said.

"Sure!" the drunk said. "It's dark everywhere else!"
Okay, explanations.

When I became a teacher, I was motivated in part by my desire to be in a creative profession, in which I'd analyze problems and come up with solutions. In this case, the problem is that students don't know what they should know; the solution is to create lesson plans that engage students and along the way help them develop the skills, concepts, and knowledge base they need to gain. I want to do this, and I want to be accountable for doing this (with the understanding that not everything is in my control). I think I'm very good at this; on the strength of my skills in this area, I've been awarded grants, scholarships, and National Board Certification.

When I'm able to teach this way, I'm passionate about my job. I'm a chef.

Increasingly, however, the buzzword among ed administrators is not accountability, it's fidelity. They want to see that teachers are faithful to the curriculum, to the granularity of following daily curriculum guides. Have my students generally mastered fractions-on-number-lines and are bored with another day of practice? Too bad: day 132 of the school year is to be spent on another day of practice. Are my students totally bewildered by where to place 5/4 on a 0-2 number line, and they could really use another day of practice on this skill? Too bad: day 133 of the school year is to be spent on a different skill.

I'm not interested in being the equivalent of a line-order cook. I don't want to follow someone else's directions with fidelity, no matter the appropriateness of those directions to my students. It's really dreary for me, and far more importantly, I think it does a massive disservice to my students.

This is frustration#1: I'm trained to be, and qualify to be, a chef, but I'm required to be a line-order cook. In my opinion, we need to work to make sure all teachers are chefs and then treat them as such.

The drunk under the streetlight store is, of course, about testing. I'm required to teach common core standards in reading literature and reading informational text and writing and language mechanics and math and social studies and science and speaking and listening skills and health standards and technology standards and a handful of others. Some of these skills are "under the streetlight," so to speak: they're easy to design tests for.

So my schedule is set: 90 minutes of reading each day, 60 minutes of math, 20 minutes of word work, 20 minutes of read-aloud, 30 minutes of intervention (this is where I get to be creative, coming up with units that address specific student needs; it's the part of the day I live for). And then there's the 30-40 minute block every day for writing AND science AND social studies AND health AND technology skills AND everything else.

Why are writing, science, etc. relegated to such a small section of the student day? Simple: they're not tested. They're still vitally important for students, but for an administration judged on test results, they're not as important.

Even within reading, certain skills are testable and therefore more important. Sure, it's an important skill to be able to read a question carefully and figure out the key words in the question and find specific evidence in a text that answers the question and verify that you've answered the question. But the amount of time spent in teaching this skill is, I think, far in excess to its importance relative to skills such as being able to formulate a research question, choose appropriate texts for conducting the research, taking notes, and synthesizing the notes into a written product. We spend so much time teaching the first skill because it's so easy to test, so it's tested, so we teach it.
  #78  
Old 04-08-2014, 02:19 PM
skylyn12 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Two stories illustrate some of the frustrations I have with my job. I'll put them in quoteboxes in case you wanna skip them; I'm nice like that.


Okay, explanations.

When I became a teacher, I was motivated in part by my desire to be in a creative profession, in which I'd analyze problems and come up with solutions. In this case, the problem is that students don't know what they should know; the solution is to create lesson plans that engage students and along the way help them develop the skills, concepts, and knowledge base they need to gain. I want to do this, and I want to be accountable for doing this (with the understanding that not everything is in my control). I think I'm very good at this; on the strength of my skills in this area, I've been awarded grants, scholarships, and National Board Certification.

When I'm able to teach this way, I'm passionate about my job. I'm a chef.

Increasingly, however, the buzzword among ed administrators is not accountability, it's fidelity. They want to see that teachers are faithful to the curriculum, to the granularity of following daily curriculum guides. Have my students generally mastered fractions-on-number-lines and are bored with another day of practice? Too bad: day 132 of the school year is to be spent on another day of practice. Are my students totally bewildered by where to place 5/4 on a 0-2 number line, and they could really use another day of practice on this skill? Too bad: day 133 of the school year is to be spent on a different skill.

I'm not interested in being the equivalent of a line-order cook. I don't want to follow someone else's directions with fidelity, no matter the appropriateness of those directions to my students. It's really dreary for me, and far more importantly, I think it does a massive disservice to my students.

This is frustration#1: I'm trained to be, and qualify to be, a chef, but I'm required to be a line-order cook. In my opinion, we need to work to make sure all teachers are chefs and then treat them as such.

The drunk under the streetlight store is, of course, about testing. I'm required to teach common core standards in reading literature and reading informational text and writing and language mechanics and math and social studies and science and speaking and listening skills and health standards and technology standards and a handful of others. Some of these skills are "under the streetlight," so to speak: they're easy to design tests for.

So my schedule is set: 90 minutes of reading each day, 60 minutes of math, 20 minutes of word work, 20 minutes of read-aloud, 30 minutes of intervention (this is where I get to be creative, coming up with units that address specific student needs; it's the part of the day I live for). And then there's the 30-40 minute block every day for writing AND science AND social studies AND health AND technology skills AND everything else.

Why are writing, science, etc. relegated to such a small section of the student day? Simple: they're not tested. They're still vitally important for students, but for an administration judged on test results, they're not as important.

Even within reading, certain skills are testable and therefore more important. Sure, it's an important skill to be able to read a question carefully and figure out the key words in the question and find specific evidence in a text that answers the question and verify that you've answered the question. But the amount of time spent in teaching this skill is, I think, far in excess to its importance relative to skills such as being able to formulate a research question, choose appropriate texts for conducting the research, taking notes, and synthesizing the notes into a written product. We spend so much time teaching the first skill because it's so easy to test, so it's tested, so we teach it.
But do those things make the job hard or just sometimes frustrating? I have to admit, those frustrations seem (to me) pretty minor in the grand scheme of 'work' and work life. Unless you work for yourself, you generally don't just get to do whatever you want to do at work (even if you are right). I have found (not saying this is you) that some teachers who are in the field for a long time (and with many of them having never done anything but teach) lose perspective and take things very personally.
  #79  
Old 04-08-2014, 02:37 PM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Antibob View Post
Isn't that a bit of a double standard?

The community (via their school boards/district/etc) doesn't have money to pony up for school supplies for the kids but the teachers are expected to buy out of pocket because the kids are so important?

The kids can't be that important to the community if they think funding of a portion of their education should be left to voluntary contributions by their teachers.
They dont at my sons district. The teachers all get something, I think $200 a year they can use to order supplies from the district. Then the PTA gives each $200 to order whatever they want plus if they need any emergency money they just have to ask and the PTA can provide it.

That's another issue - PTA. It helps if your school has a one.

Do your schools have PTA?

PS. Teachers also get to write off those personal expenses on their taxes.

Last edited by Urbanredneck; 04-08-2014 at 02:38 PM.
  #80  
Old 04-08-2014, 02:38 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,576
Quote:
Originally Posted by skylyn12 View Post
But do those things make the job hard or just sometimes frustrating? I have to admit, those frustrations seem (to me) pretty minor in the grand scheme of 'work' and work life. Unless you work for yourself, you generally don't just get to do whatever you want to do at work (even if you are right). I have found (not saying this is you) that some teachers who are in the field for a long time (and with many of them having never done anything but teach) lose perspective and take things very personally.
I've worked other jobs--admin positions in nonprofits and academia, mostly, but also worked my way through college doing foodservice. The frustration of being a teacher far outweigh the frustrations I encountered in other fields (with one notable exception when I subcontracted for IBM).

I don't say that teaching is the worst job, or that somehow our work frustrations are worse than any others, or anything like that. I do think, however, that the frustrations I describe above are important because they negatively impact student learning. It's not that I take them personally: it's that I'm passionate about education, and I get frustrated when things hurt our educational system.

If I thought that "fidelity to curriculum" was good for students, I'd quietly watch my soul wither and die, figuring that soul-crushing despair is one of the perks of modern capitalism. But it's not good for students. And one avenue for protesting it is to make sure that parents and the electorate are aware of the issue and can consider it when making educational choices.
  #81  
Old 04-08-2014, 03:06 PM
vivalostwages is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lower half of CA
Posts: 14,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I've worked other jobs--admin positions in nonprofits and academia, mostly, but also worked my way through college doing foodservice. The frustration of being a teacher far outweigh the frustrations I encountered in other fields (with one notable exception when I subcontracted for IBM).

I don't say that teaching is the worst job, or that somehow our work frustrations are worse than any others, or anything like that. I do think, however, that the frustrations I describe above are important because they negatively impact student learning. It's not that I take them personally: it's that I'm passionate about education, and I get frustrated when things hurt our educational system.

If I thought that "fidelity to curriculum" was good for students, I'd quietly watch my soul wither and die, figuring that soul-crushing despair is one of the perks of modern capitalism. But it's not good for students. And one avenue for protesting it is to make sure that parents and the electorate are aware of the issue and can consider it when making educational choices.
Unfortunately, many people buy into the idea that if we just "get rid of all the bad teachers," the poor little kids will suddenly be better served and will excel.

Teachers are only one link in a complex chain. They're screwed if their admins won't back them up and if the parents are causing as much trouble as their kids are, yet it's somehow all their fault if the young'uns don't get high scores.

I'm just glad to be teaching at the college level. If somebody is acting up or cheats, they get be tossed out of the classroom or even out of the college. If any parents try to butt in--and this does happen sometimes--they are shown the door.
  #82  
Old 04-08-2014, 03:07 PM
vivalostwages is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lower half of CA
Posts: 14,288
What do you folks think about this writer's proposal--to get rid of compulsory K-12 attendance?
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/03/
  #83  
Old 04-08-2014, 04:11 PM
silenus's Avatar
silenus is offline
Isaiah 1:15/Screw the NRA
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 51,650
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post
What do you folks think about this writer's proposal--to get rid of compulsory K-12 attendance?
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/03/
If you want to bring about a 21st Century French revolution in the USA, complete with Reign of Terror, I can think of no better way. The reasons why are highly political and left as an exercise for the reader.
  #84  
Old 04-08-2014, 04:24 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 15,757
My wife was a teacher for 21 years; she stepped away from it two years ago.

She still loved the actual teaching, but the things that seemed to have gotten worse over her career, and led to her leaving the field, were:

1) An increase in the attitude among parents that teaching their children was 100% the teacher's job, and who couldn't be arsed to participate in anything.

2) Kids who are lacking basic life / social skills, which one might've thought would have been ingrained at home. They don't have manners, they don't know how to (or don't realize that they should) do basic things like clean up after themselves. It's one thing to have kindergarteners or first-graders who lack these things, but when you have a room full of 10 and 11 year olds who lack in basic socialization, you spend too much of your classroom time working through those things, too.

3) All the political crap, with the school board, local and state regulations, etc.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 04-08-2014 at 04:25 PM.
  #85  
Old 04-08-2014, 04:41 PM
alexandra is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 622
I have friends who are teachers. They are earning roughly the same early-career level salary as me, but they are working far more hours, lesson planning into the night, and are subject to a huge range of things outside of their control - kids' personal issues, curriculum changes, inspections of various kinds, parents' attitudes. I generally go to work knowing what's to come. I get my coffee when I want to, work pretty much at my own pace, don't feel responsible for anyone's personal problems, report to my boss but don't have her watching over my shoulder as I type. I'll work extra hours occasionally and on weekends for a few hours very infrequently. I take annual leave when I want - yeah, I have less time off but I don't have to do admin when I'm on holiday and I can go abroad when flights and hotels are cheaper.

Frontline workers of all stripes often experience burnout. I think being a social worker is harder - as SciFiSam said, teaching is tiring for the soul, but with social workers you're seeing far more traumatised kids than not so it's even worse. I also suspect teaching gets much easier with experience, but I'd still never, ever do it.

Last edited by alexandra; 04-08-2014 at 04:42 PM.
  #86  
Old 04-08-2014, 05:15 PM
california jobcase is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: S. GA
Posts: 3,398
Teaching does get easier with experience. In Georgia, at least, whimsical new programs that make you have to change everything you've worked to build up every couple of years is the current problem. Oh- there is also a new teacher evaluation program, that if done the way the powers that be would have one do it, is said to take up nearly all a teacher's free time. I can't think of another job that has gotten so much more difficult due to absurd paperwork and expectations as teaching has in the last ten years.

Last edited by california jobcase; 04-08-2014 at 05:17 PM.
  #87  
Old 04-08-2014, 06:39 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,576
Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
Teaching does get easier with experience. In Georgia, at least, whimsical new programs that make you have to change everything you've worked to build up every couple of years is the current problem.
Ah, yes--initiative creep. I'm not of the school of thought that says, "If it was good enough for Mimaw, it's good enough for Junior." There's plenty of room for innovation in education. But many folks in educational administration justify their jobs by pushing new programs, new initiatives, new requirements on teachers every year. What they don't do, of course, is to say which old initiatives/curricula/requirements were dumb and should be scrapped.

If I had my way, I'd start Opportunity Cost Consulting, an educational consulting firm. I'd tell admin that when they were considering any new program, they'd need to add these two questions to their consideration:
1) How many minutes per week do we expect teachers to spend fulfilling this program's requirements?
2) What specific things should teachers stop doing each week to free up those minutes?
  #88  
Old 04-08-2014, 07:21 PM
silenus's Avatar
silenus is offline
Isaiah 1:15/Screw the NRA
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 51,650
Every time we get a new program from On High, you can bet that some Assistant Superintendent just got a new EdD.

Bah!
  #89  
Old 04-08-2014, 08:28 PM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Ah, yes--initiative creep. I'm not of the school of thought that says, "If it was good enough for Mimaw, it's good enough for Junior." There's plenty of room for innovation in education. But many folks in educational administration justify their jobs by pushing new programs, new initiatives, new requirements on teachers every year. What they don't do, of course, is to say which old initiatives/curricula/requirements were dumb and should be scrapped.
And when it isn't the administration, its the politicians.

This one is sweet - the school is mandated to have so many school days a year. This year we had more than the allowed number of school closings, so we need to make up days to meet the legal requirement. The districts wonderful solution - which tells you how much educating the kids matters - add nine minutes to each school day. Now, MAYBE in elementary school you can do something with nine extra minutes a day (I doubt it), but for my middle schooler, it adds one minute to each class - yeah, I'm sure a lot of education happens in sixty seconds.

I can't say I'm too disappointed that they aren't adding days at the end of the year, but this solution is a checkmark on number of educational hours.
  #90  
Old 04-08-2014, 09:45 PM
Llama Llogophile is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,064
Here is an article about a brain surgeon. He talks about how he intended to work for a few more years, but is now planning to retire earlier. Why? Because he was threatened with a disciplinary action for wearing a wristwatch in a hospital area where this wasn't allowed.

Call him an arrogant prima donna if you want, but I sympathize with him. He feels the policy was heavy handed and applied indiscriminately. Then he points out that in any workplace, or human system, there is a small percentage of people who won't follow some rules. And if you design a system focused largely on thwarting those people, you end up pissing off the vast majority of the people who are trying to be good workers and act correctly.

That's why I left teaching after ten years.

You know the expression, "Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care"? That was me. The kids were never the problem. It was endless battles over minutia, failure of admin to join battles that mattered, and increasing micromanagement. I understand how a hierarchy works; I didn't expect to work without supervision. But it reached a point where I had to ask, "I've got ten years experience, a master's degree and I'm a published author in my discipline - at what point will you trust me to do a few things on my own professional judgement"?

Hasn't always been easier in other fields, but I don't regret making the change.

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 04-08-2014 at 09:49 PM.
  #91  
Old 04-08-2014, 11:35 PM
2gigch1 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 2,315
Just a quick chime-in regarding purchasing supplies one would think should be acquired by the workplace: not so uncommon. I believe most mechanics supply their own tools, and in my business (tv news) I personally purchase a lot of the significant items that help set me apart in my job field.

Within my close family I am the on non-educator. My dad was a principal, mom a teacher, sister and brother-in-law both teachers. I am proud of all of them and yet I am equally sure I would not have done their jobs nearly as well.

In the end I think I could add the line "In reality it sucks everywhere" to many of the threads in this message board. Teaching is tough, as are so many other jobs, and not everyone is fortunate enough to have their career & dreams match their personalities.
  #92  
Old 04-09-2014, 12:05 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post
What do you folks think about this writer's proposal--to get rid of compulsory K-12 attendance?
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/03/
Well in his model schools would be able to kick out any troublemakers, making it easier to work with the kids who actually want to be there. I've been in a school where about 5% of the kids were absolutely nothing but a waste of air and who kept others from learning. I wish anything the schools could get rid of these jerks but they cant.

So its not a bad idea.
  #93  
Old 04-09-2014, 07:19 AM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gigch1 View Post
Just a quick chime-in regarding purchasing supplies one would think should be acquired by the workplace: not so uncommon. I believe most mechanics supply their own tools, and in my business (tv news) I personally purchase a lot of the significant items that help set me apart in my job field.

Within my close family I am the on non-educator. My dad was a principal, mom a teacher, sister and brother-in-law both teachers. I am proud of all of them and yet I am equally sure I would not have done their jobs nearly as well.

In the end I think I could add the line "In reality it sucks everywhere" to many of the threads in this message board. Teaching is tough, as are so many other jobs, and not everyone is fortunate enough to have their career & dreams match their personalities.

Mechanics take their tools with them as they move from job to job, and a lot of them see it as an initial investment in their own eventual shop. For a teacher, most of the supplies are consumables - paper and glue and pencils. Especially elementary school teachers. And it isn't just supplies - its hat and mittens for the kid who doesn't have any for recess. Its food for the kid who never gets lunch and whose parents won't fill out the free lunch forms. So every year its hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

There ARE lots of jobs that suck. Personally, I can't imagine being a pediatric oncologist, or a divorce lawyer. The job I never want is washing windows on big buildings (scared of heights, don't know how anyone does that). But this thread isn't "who has it as bad as teachers?" Its reasons teachers burn out (and obviously, not all do).
  #94  
Old 04-09-2014, 08:03 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 62,572
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gigch1 View Post
Just a quick chime-in regarding purchasing supplies one would think should be acquired by the workplace: not so uncommon. I believe most mechanics supply their own tools, and in my business (tv news) I personally purchase a lot of the significant items that help set me apart in my job field.
Are there other jobs where you have to supply tools for those that work under you using your own money if you wish the job to be done right?
  #95  
Old 04-09-2014, 08:32 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Mechanics take their tools with them as they move from job to job, and a lot of them see it as an initial investment in their own eventual shop. For a teacher, most of the supplies are consumables - paper and glue and pencils. Especially elementary school teachers. And it isn't just supplies - its hat and mittens for the kid who doesn't have any for recess. Its food for the kid who never gets lunch and whose parents won't fill out the free lunch forms. So every year its hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

There ARE lots of jobs that suck. Personally, I can't imagine being a pediatric oncologist, or a divorce lawyer. The job I never want is washing windows on big buildings (scared of heights, don't know how anyone does that). But this thread isn't "who has it as bad as teachers?" Its reasons teachers burn out (and obviously, not all do).
Again I bring up the point that many schools have PTA's and other funding sources for such incidentals. Plus that money they spend out of pocket is tax deductible.
  #96  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:04 AM
CrazyCatLady is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 8,223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Again I bring up the point that many schools have PTA's and other funding sources for such incidentals.
PTA money is almost never used for the sort of thing people are talking about here, at least not in the school system where my mom taught for 35 years. It's used to buy things for the school/class in general, usually either durable goods or experiences. Playground equipment, anatomical models for science/health class, educational bulletin board kits, having a speaker or going on a trip, that sort of thing. They don't have a fund to take care of the kids whose parents buy two notebooks and a box of pencils in August and think that ought to last all year.
  #97  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:17 AM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Again I bring up the point that many schools have PTA's and other funding sources for such incidentals. Plus that money they spend out of pocket is tax deductible.
Many do. But when I was on the PTA for our school, the PTA funding was inadequate. Some teachers have all the resources they need, they teach in rich districts - that solves a lot of problems (and creates others - one of my teacher friends really prefers working with students whose parents aren't busy dreaming of Ivy League for their kids). Other teachers don't. What burns one teacher out (say, not controlling their own lesson plans) might be something another teacher loves (thank god I don't need to decide every year what they'll read, someone will tell me and I can put the responsibility of them getting a cohesive education on the district - instead of having them read Of Mice and Men four times). Teachers are individuals and each teaching situation is also unique.
  #98  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:30 AM
Pai325 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Again I bring up the point that many schools have PTA's and other funding sources for such incidentals. Plus that money they spend out of pocket is tax deductible.
No PTA at my school, and the limit is $250 for the deduction.

I spent much more as an elementary teacher than I did as a middle school teacher because I had so many bulletin boards, and the younger kids seemed to need so much more than the older kids.

The hardest part was the lack of discipline and the lack of support, and I taught in a pretty good school. Two kids got in a fight, and one ofthe male teachers broke it up. One of the parents got upset because her child (one of the fighters) was touched as the teacher broke up the fight. The administration backed the parent.

I went in one parent meeting with the other teachers on my middle school team only to be stopped by the district's lawyer and be told, "We don't want to go to court. If one of you has to be bloodied, so be it."

I had a class where the IEP of one child said he needed a quiet atmosphere and I was to keep all distractions and noise to a minimum, but the IEP of another student said he needed to be able to express himself and get up and walk around at will.

Our Institute Days and early-out days were usually speakers who came in and talked about reading strategies (I didn't teach reading), state testing, or new district policies. They were rarely work days.

A couple of years ago I went on a website that would tell me what the value of an amount of money from the seventies would be today, and I realized I made about the same as a waitress while I attended college as I did as a person in her fifties with a master's degree. But I will say I don't want to go back to waitressing! Although when I left the restaurant I left all thoughts of work behind.

I had some great administrators and wonderful parents, and I miss the kids, but there's a lot I don't miss.

Last edited by Pai325; 04-09-2014 at 09:30 AM.
  #99  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:37 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pai325 View Post
No PTA at my school, and the limit is $250 for the deduction.

I spent much more as an elementary teacher than I did as a middle school teacher because I had so many bulletin boards, and the younger kids seemed to need so much more than the older kids.

The hardest part was the lack of discipline and the lack of support, and I taught in a pretty good school. Two kids got in a fight, and one ofthe male teachers broke it up. One of the parents got upset because her child (one of the fighters) was touched as the teacher broke up the fight. The administration backed the parent.

I went in one parent meeting with the other teachers on my middle school team only to be stopped by the district's lawyer and be told, "We don't want to go to court. If one of you has to be bloodied, so be it."

I had a class where the IEP of one child said he needed a quiet atmosphere and I was to keep all distractions and noise to a minimum, but the IEP of another student said he needed to be able to express himself and get up and walk around at will.

Our Institute Days and early-out days were usually speakers who came in and talked about reading strategies (I didn't teach reading), state testing, or new district policies. They were rarely work days.

A couple of years ago I went on a website that would tell me what the value of an amount of money from the seventies would be today, and I realized I made about the same as a waitress while I attended college as I did as a person in her fifties with a master's degree. But I will say I don't want to go back to waitressing! Although when I left the restaurant I left all thoughts of work behind.

I had some great administrators and wonderful parents, and I miss the kids, but there's a lot I don't miss.
Sorry to hear about those bad experiences. I used to be a teacher so I know how you feel.

On top of all that's been said, some district have another issue - race. Sometimes black, white, or hispanic teachers, parents, and administrators just do not get along. I was working in the Kansas City Missouri district while they were going thru their desegregation mess where you definitely saw this issue come up.
  #100  
Old 04-09-2014, 10:31 AM
skylyn12 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I've worked other jobs--admin positions in nonprofits and academia, mostly, but also worked my way through college doing foodservice. The frustration of being a teacher far outweigh the frustrations I encountered in other fields (with one notable exception when I subcontracted for IBM).

I don't say that teaching is the worst job, or that somehow our work frustrations are worse than any others, or anything like that. I do think, however, that the frustrations I describe above are important because they negatively impact student learning. It's not that I take them personally: it's that I'm passionate about education, and I get frustrated when things hurt our educational system.

If I thought that "fidelity to curriculum" was good for students, I'd quietly watch my soul wither and die, figuring that soul-crushing despair is one of the perks of modern capitalism. But it's not good for students. And one avenue for protesting it is to make sure that parents and the electorate are aware of the issue and can consider it when making educational choices.
You have research that shows your methods (that aren't being implemented) are better than those that are? And you also have research that shows that what you are doing now is putting kids in a worse position than those of say, 25 years ago? How have the educational results trended in your district over the last 25 years?

A bigger question, should teachers just be able to do whatever they want in the classroom?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:30 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017