Know what? Teachers are da bomb.

(Mods, this started as IMHO, but then it was MPSIMS, verged on BBQ, but I only used profanity as adjectives, which I think is acceptable in IMHO.)

Last week, I found myself talking about the most important teacher I’d ever had, and it saddened me to wonder if he would even want to be a teacher these days. Really, what’s their big crime? Being too underpaid? Spending their own money to get additional school supplies for their students? Working much longer than 40 hours a week? Dealing with what passes for parents these days? And don’t bring up that BS about not working over the summer. Do you think they summer on the Continent? No, they don’t, because they have shitty salaries and have to summer at summer school (teaching), construction sites (constructing) and whatever other jobs they can get, or they spend their summer spending money to continue their own education.

Teachers get very generous pensions that give them, approximately, their shitty salaries! The bad teacher who manages to teach only one thing to one kid has already produced more good for the human race than anyone whose job involved CDOs or (financial) derivatives. I’ll start demonizing teachers just as soon as the least competent of them start getting $100 million bonuses pulled out of my pocket through my rectum because “we need to attract the best ones.” Until that time, don’t fucking give me any lip about teachers and their luxurious lifestyles.

Yes, there are bad teachers, and yes, bureaucracies can manage to produce negative work at very high costs (hey, I live in California), and FFS, unions are self-serving! Why is it reasonable for people to say, “Of course MegaDemonCorp outsourced its operations to South Korea; they’re responsible to their stockholders, and my emotional detachment from this is a demonstration of my intellectual superiority over you,” but unions acting in the interest of their members are anti-American? EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT, and it’s something that needs to be consistently supported over many years in order for our collective children to become educated, productive adults. The children are the noses we’re cutting off to spite our faces. Yay! We’re showing tough love by ruining one or two generations of kids so we can show our displeasure at administrative incompetence! And our goal is to subject the whole thing to the brutal, instantaneous honesty of market forces! Oh, what lessons they’ll learn as they sit down in their fifth school in eight months because the previous four didn’t balance their resources efficiently!

Do the fuckers who demonize our teachers and want vouchers and home schooling realize that it doesn’t matter if they’re the richest family in town if their town is in shambles? Hell, I’m never going to have kids, but I gladly pay my taxes to help the kids in my neighborhood become well-educated and prosperous, because I don’t want hordes of uneducated thugs wandering the streets terrorizing people and eating brainzz.

Arrgh! I apologize, because I’m going off in different directions with this post, but when I was in high school, I was pretty miserable. I was poor, but I attended a public school in an upper middle class district, and I was noticeably younger and smaller than my classmates. I was on the outside, and the most important thing in my life was to not draw attention to myself, but this one teacher would just not let up on me. He’d regularly say things like, “Mr GroosLastName seems to think there’s a whole RANGE (waving his arms) of answers to this problem, because the force could be going in the opposite direction. Like the friction is going to … change direction. Does anyone BUY that?” (This only sticks in my memory because of its similarity to the thermos joke).

He generally did this when I was right, but eventually he started throwing me up there when I was wrong. At no time did I enjoy the experience, because whether or not I was right, I was being different. He was giving this quiet, alienated kid more reasons to feel alienated. Except, of course, that a vague idea was gradually insinuating itself into my consciousness: the bizarre notion that being different was not always a bad thing. If you’ve survived the ages from about 13 to 18, you know how alien such a concept that is.

His approach might have completely shut me down, but I think he knew what he was doing. He knew my existence was generally quite miserable, but he engaged me in a way consistent with his personality and, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure he consciously embarked on a year-long effort to get me to the point where I’d actually believe him when he suggested I set my sights on MIT or Caltech.

So, sorry to brag, but yes, we just crushed Occidental in basketball, the culmination of our diabolical plan to not win a single conference game in 26 years just to set them up and POUNCE! If you get beat by a team now and then, it’s just what happens, but when you get beat by a team that’s gone zero for 310 in 26 years, you are just the biggest damn losers out there. Don’t contradict me on this, as I will not hear any dissent on this matter.

Actually, I was being cute and writing a long e-mail about NCLB to a colleague at work, but in the last two paragraphs, I finally laid it bare: I was actually talking about a new program management system at work, which revolves around some metrics designed to help identify programs that need help. My colleague is one f the higher level managers evaluating this system. Well, I’ve seen it in operation for a year, and I’ve seen that the goal (as interpreted by the day-to-day managers) is not to deliver metrics that help upper management identify programs in need of help, but rather to encourage people to find creative ways of generating numbers which show apparent improvement at all times and in all ways.

Like NCLB, the goal is, as in Lake Wobegon, for everybody to be above average. No matter how well a program is doing, it’ll have to do better next year. So they start hedging their goals, sometimes seeming to react with relief when they encounter “exceptional” problems that can justify underperformance, resulting in “they did well, but of course, they also had to contend with that big problem…” In another weird consequence, programs get called on the carpet for delivering things too early. I have to say this: WE DO NOT KNOW AND CANNOT QUANTIFY EVERY FUCKING THING. We know that tests are a reasonable way of gauging retention, but we should also know that human interaction is a complex and still a rather mystifying subject. Your kid might learn a litte more about fractions one week, or he might learn how to accidentally hurt a friend’s feelings, or he might be standing in front of a class, sweating, having just been told by a middle aged man that, for the next few minutes, they are effectively equals, and your kid can attempt to support an assertion that may contradict something the man just said. These things are not on any standardized test that I know of.

A test question asking for the product of two numbers is very different from a question about the total energy in a system wherein, reading between the lines, one picks up the idea that the questioner might actually be asking an additional question: what will we know when we know the total energy in the system? Wow, I’m deep, but I’m just trying to point out that there was an underpaid, abrasive, but usually kindly stranger out there who, when I was 14, started (figuratively) smacking me on the side of the head, challenging me to START THINKING, and again, I’m pretty damn sure he was not attempting to help me breeze through some standardized test. Would this miracle of a person, cut from the finest cloth, voluntarily take on a difficult, low paid job that nowadays comes with the added bonus of excoriation by imbeciles in the national media?

Oh; of course I had one most important teacher – he was the bestest. But I got really lucky and had at least a dozen more (public school) teachers who were merely awesome.

So, to summarize, here are my points.:
[li]Teachers: Good, underpaid and under-appreciated.[/li][li]Metrics don’t count for shit if they don’t exist within a comprehensive model of their environment.[/li][li]Hi, Opal![/li][li]Beavers Rule![/li][li]Okay, I’m going there: If you hate teachers’ unions on principle, go eat some food that gives you indigestion. For hours. If you have a specific instance of malfeasance that somehow managed to negatively impact a large portion of students’ educations and thus contributed in some way to the eventual downfall of our civilization, please contribute, as I obviously have an open mind about this.[/li][/ol]

So, were my experiences atypical? Should we just have a love-fest for teachers? Or are they lazy, greedy ne’er do wells whose idea of a party is trying to keep 30 kids on Amphetamine Salts from running amuck?

As a teacher, I’d like to thank you for your support.

As an English and Writing teacher, I’m going to tell you to sit down and re-organize your post as a logical series of thoughts, eliminate what is not essential, do a peer review, make necessary changes, and turn it in again.

My wife is a first grade teacher. She got into it because she loves little kids, and she loves teaching.

Her morale has been really bad lately because of all the teacher-bashing she hears on the news. It’s like they’re blaming teachers for all the ills of society. All she wants to do is teach little kids how to read, isn’t that something worthwhile?

All teachers are evil SOBs.

No, wait. That’s just me.

Teachers are fucking awesome. I don’t have any “changed my life” stories but I’ll bet that’s because ALL of my teachers did a small part. Maybe some more than others. Hell, I still keep in touch with my 4th grade teacher just because she’s a nice lady.

I don’t have any kids but I vote YES on each levy. I support teachers’ unions.

I have a friend who went to college for teaching. She would have been an amazing teacher. But, she couldn’t deal with the bureaucracy involved in teaching. She left the profession for something else.

Teachers have to put up with so much these days. Seems that they get more responsibility heaped on them each year, along with more parent and community pushback. And less support from the administration.

It nearly drives me to tears, the way people have been bashing teachers this year. I had to hear it last year too during a levy push (failed). Everyone is an expert on how to run a school and how teachers should do their jobs. But nobody is actually doing those jobs except the teachers.

Teachers are indeed da bomb.

Okay; here goes:

The recent events in Wisconsin (and now Ohio) have caused me to reflect on the positive role that public school teachers have had on my life, and I’m very upset that various demagogues have convinced the less intelligent among us to become angry and then to direct that anger at teachers.

Benefits negotiated by unions have not brought this country to the brink of disaster; in fact, quite the opposite is true. There is not a single person in this country who can honestly claim credit for their prosperity without acknowledging the roles that unions have played in improving their lives. Pandering to peoples’ fantasies of self-sufficiency does a disservice to the fundamental value of our civilization.

In the case of Wisconsin, the governor has displayed his complete lack of integrity by attacking the collective bargaining rights of teachers while sparing two unions - those for police and firemen, whose unions helped get him elected. Railing against teachers’ benefits becomes even more ridiculous when we consider that their overtime is not acknowledged, whereas other unions’ members can greatly increase their income and retirement benefits through overtime.

I only bring up the recent troubles regarding teachers’ unions because in addition to every other way our society has long undervalued their contributions, they are now being made into scapegoats, apparently to blame for our financial woes. In truth, I think their unions have contributed to some of the problems we face, but that’s because I believe that pretty much every union, every company, every politician and every voter share some of the blame for our current problems.

In any case, whereas teachers previously suffered by having low salaries and a general lack of respect, their jobs have gotten more and more difficult over the course of my lifetime. As our society has become accepting of parents abandoning their responsibilities, teachers have had to fill in the gaps. Additionally, teachers are increasingly at risk of being targets of violence, they’re having to teach larger classes and their hands are tied by excessive regulation. The final insult is the No Child Left Behind legislation, which risks turning their entire profession into a joke.

I could not possibly be living my generally prosperous life without the contributions of many public school teachers who did their jobs very well. Though all of them deserve praise, one particular teacher stands out as the person who affected me greatly, because he caused me to start to make fundamental changes in how I thought about myself and how I viewed the world. The story about how he helped me would probably make a good movie on the Hallmark network, but suffice to say that, 33 years later, he still holds a place in my heart.

Yet he was just a public school teacher, earning a pittance, and he and his profession were not regularly excoriated in the national media for somehow causing our financial ruin. He was obviously a dedicated teacher, but at this point, deciding to be a teacher is like deciding to stay behind to manually set off the nuke that destroys the asteroid before it destroys the earth. (Sorry; this is how I communicate.) I’m concerned that we’re very close to or have already passed the point where the most noble among us might decide that there’s just no point in trying to make the world a better place if their only reward is to be insulted and abused.

What makes me angry beyond words is that by making teachers pawns in this political theatre, we are hurting our children, and that turns the situation from “very bad” into “tragic.” If we fuck them up, we could lose everything.

By the way, as an engineer, I get very irritated when people reduce a complex issue with myriad degress of freedom into an overly-simplistic model. This can create mischief if people subsequently forget the intent and assumptions involved in creating that model, and they can dig themselves even deeper if they attempt to perform social engineering based on flawed models. Basically, some questions can’t be answered with spreadsheets. We can predict that one plus one will always equal two, but numbers cannot possibly answer questions such as, “Why do some people who claim to be Christians have such hatred in their hearts?” I find it ironic that, though I don’t believe in a god, I seem to have gotten more out of reading the bible than some who claim to believe its more fanciful passages. But these are subjects best left for another day.

(Some of the blank lines were deleted. They’re annoying when the post is quoted.)

Whenever I have to write a difficult lesson plan, I just ask myself “What would silenus do?” :smiley:

Given their respective contributions to society I suggest professional athletes and teachers exchange salaries. And I loves me sports teams!

Most people in professional fields work more than 40 hr weeks. Teachers earn their entire salary while working a reduced work year so the ability to work through the summer months represents a 25% bonus in comparison. On top of that, teachers enjoy a higher level of job security than their counterparts in private business. And as was stated earlier, teachers benefit from a good retirement program.

Every job category has it’s positive and negative aspects to it and the job of Teacher is not without it’s ups and downs. As a group, they are neither the worst paid or the best paid.

Huh. When my Grandma was a teacher, she was a salaried employee, but she only had two options:
a) get paid more during the school term and not at all during the summer
b) receive a reduced paycheck spread out over the entire year

There was no ‘‘bonus’’ at all… just a reorganization of the base salary.

How are you figuring 25%, when they get off in mid June and go back in early or Mid August? They’re there before and after the kids, after all.

By my figuring, that’s *maybe *8 weeks of “summer vacation”, or 15% of the year.

olives, that’s still how it works, but **Magiver **is saying that they have the summer vacation open to work at another job to bring in 25% more income, I think. Y’know, because it’s so easy these days to find temporary work that pays a full time salary for a few weeks every summer.

I suggest Magiver gives teaching a go - he will enjoy all the proffessional considerations that must be given over to equal opportunities, enabling the aspirations of all learners, not just the attentive ones, but also to those who never believed they were capable of more.

He will also enjoy the lesson planning, schemes of work etc, none of which have much of an application to a genuine lesson which usually has to be taken on the hoof with lots of experience built in, these documents are merely intended to introduce a controllong mechanism, rather than the improvement of education, perhaps he migh also enjoy the process of CPD, so that he does not stagnate.

In between he could also look around at the next series of waves of state and national initiatives in education from politicians who have absolutely no idea of the ethos of teaching, and have only the uninformed views of their voting public in mind.

The more that teachers are regarded lowly, the more you blast your own brains out, this will pay a dividend in the longer run - we can see this in the tea-partiers, the birthers and the Limburgh believers - non-critical thought patterns by a large percentage of the population - this is the reality of making teaching an unattractive proposition.

He might even ask himself why it should be that the fall out rate for student teachers is so high, yes there are jobs with worse pay and conditions, but few jobs have such an impact on society, and yet demand such a long time to achieve genuine competance for the amount of money on offer.

Saving lives or making lots of money important things, however, who is going to teach people to do these, and who will inspire others to take up such roles?

Yes it sounds so difficult compared to working all day, making conference calls at 9pm to overseas groups and then working through the night grinding numbers for a 9am conference call. School teachers have the luxury of teaching the same basic course work over time compared to ever changing business projects with deadlines and consequences.

All jobs have their down side but school teachers hardly have it tougher than other jobs of a similar educational background.

Excellent final draft. Consistent style, correct grammar, word usage, and spelling. Good organization and flow. Persuasive argument and good support.

You have earned a solid A

No, no, and no.

First, teacher contracts are negotiated by pay per day with the specific number of class days for the school year. Teachers are then given the opportunity to deduct a fraction of their paychecks to be paid out over the summer when they are not earning. This is not the same as “free time”.

The summer is not vacation for teachers. The vast majority of teachers I know invest their time in summer in seasonal jobs to make extra money, taking classes and going to professional seminars to meet Continuing Education requirements for state licensure, redesigning lesson plans and curriculum to meet new standards, finding new resources to bring into the classroom, or dealing with a thousand things - professional, family, and personal - that simply cannot be done during the school year.

Second, teachers do NOT have a higher level of job security. Maybe they once did, thirty years ago or so, but that’s no longer true. Currently, there are far more teachers looking for jobs than there are jobs. Not because we have an overabundance of teachers, but because budget cuts have forced schools to squeeze as many as forty students in one classroom, instead of the ideal twenty to twenty-five.

Even then, if a teacher has a full-time job, it is no sinecure. Sure, California grants tenure on the first day of the third year of teaching for a district, but that means only that if you are accused of gross malfeasance, you have the right to due process within the system. If the district is low on funds, you can be laid off at a moment’s notice. Every year in California, March is known as the pink slip month, because districts, to cover their financial ass, send lay off notices to every single teacher they might have to consider cutting, because the budget is still an unknown. Usually by May, the majority have received notice that their jobs are safe, but I’ve worked at too many schools where the principals have described having to decide between keeping this teacher and that teacher when both are excellent educators, because they simply don’t have the budget to pay both.

If a district doesn’t want you around but doesn’t have a budget excuse to lay you off, they put you in the crappiest school with the crappiest kids with no administrative support. Under those circumstances, most people quit rather than go insane.

And retirement plan? Please. The days of golden parachutes for teachers are long over. There were ten, maybe twenty years, even in the land of liberality known as California, where teachers got anything resembling a sweet deal - pension with medical benefits. Now? Yes, there’s a pension, but it’s no better than Social Security - oh, and by the way, if you worked a regular job that took out FICA and can collect SS when you retire, you either have to choose between your pension and the SS money OR you take a big hit on your pension. You can’t have both.

Medical benefits for working teachers have been drying up like the Aral Sea. The first year I taught, the PPO full coverage for a single person was right at $100 a month, and the lowest level HMO was covered by the district… Now, you can’t get full PPO coverage. You might be able to get midline PPO coverage for a single person at a minimum of $200. Lowest level HMO costs around $75 a month and has terrifying deductibles. For any teacher looking at retiring today has at best the opportunity to pay 50% or more for the medical coverage they were promised. I don’t believe dental is even available anymore. My guess is that in five years, there will be no more medical care for teachers when they retire.

In addition to the above, teachers do not work the same hours as students. My niece’s husband is at the school a minimum of two hours before and after students arrive and depart. In the evening, he is grading tests, reading term papers, preparing for certifications, and reviewing his next day’s activities. Additionally, he has to put up with YOUR brats’ poor behaviors and negligible attention spans. I wouldn’t work as a teacher unless I was starving.

This is not true as I have seen it in person.

Plans do change and constantly.


Besides the already mentioned dangers with dealing with students in places like the inner cities, teachers are indeed dealing with many students with parents that do not do much in the way of discipline.

That’s incorrect. As said, the salary is based on a certain payment per school day. This salary can then be paid in two ways, in most districts: over the course of an entire calandar year, or just over the school year. So the entire annual salary can either be paid in one-twelfth installments every month including the summer months, or in one-ninth installments skipping the summer months. In either case the total salary is the same.

In other words, those teachers who get paid over the summer get a correspondingly smaller paycheck during the school year.

Just another example of ignorant teacher-bashing that’s so prevalent in our society nowadays. Is it any wonder that morale is so bad when even the most basic facts are distorted?

Yes, it is. It doesn’t matter how it’s dispersed. If a teacher works through the summer then they get paid extra. If they work another job in the summer, they get paid extra.

I’ve already stated that twice. I got news for you, lots of private sector people work their way through additional schooling while holding down a full time job. There’s no summer break to take classes. It’s done at night.

I’ve never seen a school go out of business although I have seen teachers downsized due to a shrinking populace.

That has nothing to do with job security. That would be job availability. A teacher with 10 years of time in is less likely to be laid off then someone in the private industry. Unless a community like Detroit blows away in the wind there is a much higher level of job security. The kids of unemployed parents still go to school.

The golden age of parachutes died in private industry. I’d take a teacher’s pension plan any day.

Try working in the private sector and see what has happened to health care costs. Do you think it just skipped over everybody else and landed on teachers?

Teachers are not da bomb. They are people like everybody else who works for a living.

You don’t teach material, you teach students. And not only do your students change every year, but you’ve got 30 of them to teach at once. At least with your ever-changing business project, it’s only one thing at a time.

As for time spent working, I’ve never yet heard of an office job where you couldn’t take a break to use the restroom, or step out for a quick cup of coffee or a smoke. Teachers, though, can’t. If you’re lucky, you’ll have enough time off at lunchtime to make a quick potty run, but even that’s not guaranteed: Teachers typically have to work through lunch, too.