The Value of a Teacher

Our school year has 10 extra day built into it to accommodate for snow days. Teachers are paid by salary so they make the same amount whether those snow days are used or not. As of this writing, we have used 8 of those 10 allotted days and school boards are scrambling trying to decide if those missed days need to be made up. If they decide yes, then they need to figure out how.One proposed method was Saturday school. It would only require a few Saturdays to make up the lost time, but still. Saturdays? Apparently it’s been done before elsewhere. I’m guessing it would go over like a lead balloon here. With the kids already gone from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, weekends are a bit sacred. I know there are a number of people who think teachers don’t work enough. However, I know those same people don’t want their kid working more. Then there’s the matter of the teacher’s union. I’d be shocked if they’d allow it, too.

Another option for making up the days is to take away the teachers and schools professional development days, also known as in-service days. Normally, this would be a time when the school’s staff comes together to discuss various processes of their system. It may be subject related. The math teachers discuss the material they’ve covered, what they have left to cover and the best possible way to do so. Or the administration may discuss discipline, special events, or brainstorm ways to improve students’ experiences.

Teachers are overpaid anyway. Make them go to school on Saturdays. I mean, really, what do they do all day? They get a lunch break that’s at least 30 minutes long. They also get a planning period for 30 minutes every day. That’s an hour with no kids, every day! Then snow days they get to stay home while the rest of the working world still has to go. AND they get paid to stay home!

So what happens when all of the days built into the schedule for snow have been used up? Take away teachers’ professional development days and make them learn on their own time. No need to add on extra days at the end of the year when they’re already built into the yearly schedule. Instead of getting a relaxing day not really doing anything, make it a school day so the kids can have their summer vacation. The teachers get a nice long paid vacation, too. What’s up with getting 2 months paid vacation? No other profession gets that extended leave, why should teachers?

If a school day is from 8:30 to 2:30, why are teacher being paid what they are if they’re not really working “full time” hours? That only adds up to six hours per day. That’s only thirty hours per week! Over paid and under worked.

I’m a teacher, I’ve heard most of this myself. I married a teacher so we could understand all of this together (never mind that’s she is also stunningly beautiful and smart). The Saturday thing will fall through. The union won’t allow for it, nor will parents. Some one made the argument to change the professional development days to Saturday as if teacher don’t have family, too. That would be no different than sending kids. Make teachers do their professional development on their own time? They already do. Quite a few, if not most, take evening courses on-line and summer courses.

The students’ day may start at 8:30 (give or take a little depending on where you live), but I guarantee if you were drive by any school parking lot prior to 8am you would find it nearly full. Teachers get there early to prepare. School doesn’t end at 2:30 when the students leave either. Wouldn’t that be a dream? There’s still more planning. There’s grading and marking assignments and entering those marks into the computer system. There are phone calls to parents to be made and there are parent conferences to be had.  A significant number of teachers volunteer their time with extra-curricular activities such as sports, band, yearbook, clubs, committees and various other after school projects. Most professions leave work at work. However, a teacher’s work is often taken home to complete.

Don’t even get me started on summer vacation. I believe this was built into schedules a very long time ago to coincide with farming and harvesting – yet another thankless, under-appreciated job for another post. But now it seems to be a sore spot with the public because they see it as two months of paid vacation. What they don’t see are the teachers returning to the classroom as students to further their own education. Teachers attending conferences to collaborate with their peers to stay update on the latest teaching methods. What the public fails to see is that without this time off teachers would become so mentally frazzled they wouldn’t be able to function.

It’s been estimated that teachers have more interaction in a day than most other professions have in a week. Teachers don’t simply stand at the front of the room and talk and talk and talk and talk and blah blah blah all day while the students sit and absorb everything the teacher says. Imagine sitting in a meeting with your peers and while you are trying to present the latest information, every 30 seconds someone raises a hand or interrupts with a question or a related story or needs a drink or go to the bathroom.

What the public doesn’t see is the mounting responsibility. Grades, report cards, accountability, differentiated instruction and standardized testing, a growing list of physical, mental, and social needs are just a part of what teachers have on their plate. Bullying – physical, cyber, or otherwise – is a huge issue to help students cope with. Teachers are responsible for ensuring that every student is successful, that every student is happy and that every student learns this year what they will need for next year.

Lets look at the big picture for just a minute. Some years we use all 10 allotted snow days. Some years we don’t. Looking back in 10 years will it have mattered that a few extra days were missed? Teachers are already becoming over burdened with responsibility while the pay remains the same. Lets not make mountains out of mole hills here and please, for the love of a teacher’s sanity, lets all just get along.


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31 thoughts on “The Value of a Teacher

  1. Teachers are underappreciated these days. I know how hard it is for teachers. Two of my aunts were teachers. One of them was my grade 1 teacher, in fact. My cousin was a teacher. I teach English to teachers. They’re all so busy with many activities after school, and don’t have that much free time. In summer, they’re often going to work to supervise school clubs. They need to be paid more! They’re responsible for children getting an education so they can be fully functioning adults who contribute to society. That is extremely important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jay! I wish everyone understood what goes behind the scenes. Sometimes I worry that school boards themselves don’t understand the classroom, either. I often dream of teachers making an athlete’s salary with their own collectors cards. Wouldn’t that make for a good “what if” story? 🙂

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      • Someone should write that 🙂 I’d like to go into my old high school and check out the photos of the students and teachers, though. Close enough to collector’s cards. But my high school was demolished and a new one was built in another neighbourhood. I’d like to see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun and commented:
    In my opinion, teachers should be paid more. They work longer hours than most people. They’re responsible for the education of children who will grow up to contribute to society. They need to be prepared. Teachers aren’t appreciated enough. They used to be valued by everyone. Now, they’re underappreciated.

    When my daughter goes to school, I will thank the teachers and give them respect. They deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Being a teacher is tough…With big responsibilities…and yet so often overlooked. The preparation that goes into lessons are hard work and many don’t see that. And they are extension of us parents who are dependent on teachers with our kids’ education. It’s a very respectable profession…at times, unfortunately, marred/burned out by bureaucracy. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Ann! The burn-out rate I think is higher than we think. There is enough burocratic red tape to circle the Earth a few times. You’re rigt about the dependency, just wish more people understood the responsibility and passion that goes into it. To be fair, there are many parents who do understand.

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  7. How about paying the teachers for all the work thy do at home like grading too?
    White collar folks have this included in their salaries as they go up the responsibility / salary ladder after all!
    Alternatively, maybe the teachers could do the Saturday thing and just take 8-10 more days to grade and complete the year when summertime comes. Let’s see how happy the parents would be about getting to know if their kid makes it to the next level or not by mid-July?
    And in any case, if the calendar is so tight that those days are so important :
    A- the education system is not so good to begin with ( let’s address THAT )
    B- why not just outlaw snowstorms and be done with it ( pesky nature ).

    I wish parents were asked to teach one week a year so they could get a better idea of what the job entails ( including how their brats behave for many of them ).

    There are three jobs that should be taken seriously in any society IMHoO :
    Educators, doctors and those tasked with security. Those we should ask a lot of but
    then protect at all costs.
    The comes providers ( farmers and factory workers ).
    The rest is entertainment for the most part.

    Two thumbs up, Stomper Dad, Tay.

    Like

    • Thanks Tay, and you raise some great questions that each deserve a post of their own. Part me feels that this post was only seen by either teachers or by those who already understand what being a teacher means. I totally agree about such a “tight” schedule. In hind sight, will it really matter? I’ve had a few parents come in to my classroom and were surprised at how/what I did. Fortunately, they were always impressed with me/my classes, but those were the times I feel parents had their “ah ha moment”. I wish I knew why entertainers seem to have an unlimited salary cap while educators and farmers (those who teach the masses and those who feed the masses) are left scrambling for income. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  8. I hate it when I hear people say how easy teachers have it with summers and holidays off, short hours, and other nonsense. I know several teachers, and I know that they work long after the school bell rings. They can often be found grading papers and preparing assignments at 10 pm after putting their own children to bed. Not to mention the amount of money they spend out of their own pockets to provide necessary supplies for the classroom, all the while being evaluated on how well a student scores on a standardized test. It is something you must do for the love of it- it can’t be for the money or the recognition.

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  9. Wow, as an ex teacher I can say I have never ever in my life heard anyone say that teachers were paid too much??? I know my first year I was paid 30k, with a 1k raise per year…I can’t believe anyone would ever say teachers were overpaid. Ridiculous.

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  10. I saw your post on A Momma’s View. I totally admire teachers these days. I come from a family of educators. I am a part-time lecturer at a university (just retired from day job) and I’ve heard horror stories at all levels of teaching. I am lucky that I teach in the field of recreation and leisure and was a practitioner for 35 years, which is highly valued by our university. Look forward to reading more!!

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    • Thanks for stopping by to read. Yeah, there are horror stories from every level. I have some more teacher posts planned, i just need to getthem written. But I need to find the time for it first. Thanks for commenting! There is definitely more to come!

      Liked by 1 person

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