Maddog Goes to School!

My head hurts.

I’m tired.

I’ve been arguing on Facebook again.  Well trying to.  I’m too tired to put together anything that makes sense.

It’s this whole union thing.

It’s this whole public/private sector thing.

Is there ANYONE in the world that thinks a teacher makes too much money?

The starting salary for a teacher in NYC is 45,000.  Anyone want to guess how far that will go?  Let me assure you that there are very few teachers living south of 125 street in Manhattan.

(side note:  a few years ago the city wanted to implement a rule that police officers had to live in the borough where they served.  It was abandoned quickly when it was pointed out that you couldn’t live in Manhattan on a police officer’s salary.)

The figure is the same in L.A.

In Amarillo, Texas it’s 42,000.

In Lexington, KY it’s 38,000.

In Boyd County, KY it’s 33,000.

I made more than that last year waiting tables.  And I only worked 140 days waiting tables.  Of course I have three college degrees but I know that I work with a few people that don’t even have high school diplomas.

I think it’s embarrassing that the people who are responsible for educating our children make less than waiters.

I taught high school for three years.  I know the hours that teachers keep.  Couple that with high school theater and you can guess how many more hours that meant for me.  I know how much planning it took.  How much time at home.  How much money out of my own pocket it took.

Speaking of that…ex-boyfriend David taught English in the public school system in NYC.  He never  handed out information to his students because that required him to go to Kinkos and get it copied himself because there was never paper and often the copier was broken.  Every time he gave a test, it took money from his pocket.

I know what it’s like to spend time after school with students who need help.  Or to come in early for parent teacher meetings.  Or those 8:00 a.m. faculty meetings.  Or those ridiculous department meetings.

I know what it’s like to stay up all night grading essays because grades are due the next day.

I know what it’s like to stay up late putting together homework for the kid who has mono.

I know what it’s like to spend countless hours rewriting curriculum that probably won’t be approved anyway.

Nothing I’ve experienced is special to me.  It’s things that EVERY teacher does EVERY day.  EVERY day!

So it appalls me when I see people on the news saying that teachers in Ohio/Wisconsin/New Jersey aren’t pulling their own weight.   That they don’t deserve the salaries they make.  The pensions.  The insurance.

This is usually followed by some bullshit about “bad” teachers.

Yes.

There are bad teachers who shouldn’t be allowed around children let alone teach them.

But.

There are also bad doctors, McDonald’s employees, judges, governors, subway conductors, etc.  There are bad apples every where.

Let’s face it.  I don’t think anyone ever became a teacher to get rich.  If you could get rich teaching, I’d still be doing it.

And if we cut the current crummy salary, and the insurance, and the pension…why would anyone want to do it?

We shouldn’t even be having this discussion.

Instead of finding a way to encourage good teachers to stay, they are being treated like second class citizens.

No one should be surprised to find out that our country’s educational system is failing it’s students.  I look at my own public education as proof.  I NEVER had a geography class in 12 years of school.  In 7th grade I could label a map of kentucky with the counties but I still can’t show you where Egypt is on a map.  I only took a foreign language because all of my friends were doing it.  After two years of public school, and two semesters in college all I know in Spanish is “Donde esta el bano?”  My civics class lasted an entire semester and was coupled with health.  Neither of the classes actually helped me any.  I can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution because I sing the school house rock song from the 70’s.  My senior English teacher’s baby was born with a defect, and they replaced her with a substitute.  She knew nothing of English.  I still don’t know how to properly document a research paper.  Couple that with the teachers that were bad and my public school education really sucked.   And I had it lucky.  It scares me to think what was going on in the parts of the country with less resources.

It’s late and my mind is wandering.

My point.

Pay teachers what they deserve.  In fact pay them double what you think they deserve.  Stop making them teach to the test.  Standardized tests are stupid.  They show nothing about what a student has learned.  AND RETAINED.  Give them more vacation time.  Better benefits.  A super duper big pension.  Pay them twice what politicians get paid.  Pay them more than just about anyone.  Make it so EVERYONE wants to be a teacher so that we can choose only the best.

Because.

As long as we continue to pay them shit.   Then we aren’t going to get the best.  And if we don’t have the best then stop complaining when our kids can’t compete with kids from the rest of the world.

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4 thoughts on “Maddog Goes to School!

  1. Lemuel March 2, 2011 / 06:33

    You. Are. Absolutely. Correct.
    I know of what you write. My father was a public school teacher and worked for shit. His fellow teachers who were good teachers quit and sold real estate. Dad did not because he loved to teach.
    My wife teaches (but not in a public school). She spends most of her weekends (non-pay time) working on her curriculum and far too much of her pay (not reimbursed) on supplies. Her pay is shit.
    I taught part time (community college level). I know how many of my evenings and summers were spent developing the courses I taught, grading papers and exams. Per “classroom contact hour” my pay looked pretty good. Per total hours worked, I could have made more working at McDoof’s.
    I agree that there are bad teachers. There are also bad politicians. Case in point: Wisconsin. We need methods to weed out both and to encourage the good ones. What is proposed in Wisconsin and elsewhere is *not* how to do it.

  2. Catrina March 2, 2011 / 09:09

    We only hear about the ‘bad’ teachers, but what about the teachers who give their time, money, and energy to students because it’s their passion—then get shot down by administration when they submit good ideas? I agree–pay teachers twice what politicians get (notice I didn’t say ‘earn?’). Weed out the bad teachers (and while we’re at it, the bad politicians, too!), and give our kids an education!

  3. Karen March 2, 2011 / 18:00

    I hope you don’t mind. I am going to copy your last two paragraphs and post it on my facebook. I’ll give you credit, don’t worry.
    Just FYI – I am a school librarian in New Jersey. I over see two libraries for 300 jr. hig kids and 500 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. It’s my 27th year but I”m not 50 yet, so it’s a long time until retirement. It’s really really scary to be a teacher right now.
    Love what you wrote. L O V E I T .

    Thanks!

  4. Urspo March 5, 2011 / 15:31

    Your posting was spot-on and sensible. I wish all would read it. I too wonder why we treat teachers so badly when they are training our country’s future?
    Because the USA is plain stupid – cheap too.

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