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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post
    I'll respond more later (I have a meeting to run to) but again, I think you are drawing conclusions from what I am saying that I am not really intending. I CERTAINLY don't think teachers necessarily work harder than anyone else. I do, however, think they are barely properly compensated for their work, and I do think it is a job that will basically chew up and spit out anyone who approaches it without a willingness to put in a lot of extra work. I think you also have a somewhat unrealistic view about tenure and the rest. .. but I'll maybe explain it more later

    Unfortunately, as you note, both my wife and I are teachers, and living in a very expensive state (although off in the mountains and woods of that state so what is happening right now in education is a very "important" issue for us both, especially moving forward as she might be out of work to have a child soon and then go back into the system as a "new" hire, where a lot of the "damage" is being done. Apparently we are about to discuss a potential pay freeze as well at the meeting I am running off to... good fun!

    I honestly will try to cut back any snarky-ness that peeks through; just know that if it does, it is very much tied into my family situation and that I do view teaching as a very "noble" profession
    I'll take your "snarkiness" as a teacher and your dedication to the job over InSpades apparant disrespect for the profession anyday.

    He also is basing many of his observations on things that are no longer true, are myths, or are exagerated. And since he does not work in education , and I have been a teacher, school system administator, university instructor at a school of education and an educational resaercher I have a feeling I am more correct than is he. I also have a feeling he doesn't care who is right or wrong, that he just has a bone to pick with the teaching profession, and he is best ignored.

  2. #42
    My guess is that there are crappy teachers who are overpaid in every school district in the country. To judge all teachers based on those, hopefully, few individuals is not fair.

    I think teaching is much more difficult than it was "back in the day" when I was in elementary through high school. I was brought up in a family where you respected the teachers/principals, even if they didn't deserve it, and getting in trouble in school was the least of your problems. Coming home and facing the disappointment in my parent's eyes was much worse than any detention. It seems that now that a lot of parents want the schools to do the teaching/raising of kids without their involvement - unless it isn't being done the way they want. I have a friend that was substitute teaching a few years ago. She quit the day that she came home with bruises from her students. She found out later that the substitute she replaced broke her ankle when students caused her to fall down the stairs. Another friend didn't renew his contract this year because the principal didn't support the teachers in terms of discipline and didn't even know the rules of the school/district in terms of what required suspension - i.e. fighting in school is an automatic 3 day suspension.

    I commend Lord Ash and all the teachers that genuinely care about their students, take time to find interesting ways and things to teach, and continue on through times they feel underappreciated. They are working with the future of our country and world.

    ETA: I know a lot of families that still teach their kids to respect teachers and are actively involved in the schools. I probably let the "few" who don't color my view. Of course, those few are the ones that make the news.

  3. #43
    I'm not really all that anti-teacher... I just think things are currently out of whack (in NJ). When the gym teacher makes 50% more than the english teacher doesn't it make you wonder about if things are fair? Do we have our priorities in order? I hear things like "we had to cut middle school sports" and "we had to fire our dance teacher" and I wonder what's going on in this state.

    I think a large amount of the problem in NJ is not teacher salaries, but everything else that goes into education. Compare NJ to Pennsylvania for example... NJ spends about 30% more per child on education. Yet NJ teachers get paid about 5% more. Where is that other 25% going? To me it seems like teachers are complaining about the size of the pie instead of complaining about getting their fair share of it. There are too many school districts, too many administrators, too much waste.

    This is not to blame NJ's problems on education... there are plenty of other things on the list. Education just seems to be taking the brunt of it right now (and that's probably due to it being such a large portion of the budget). I'm willing to give our governor a chance to clean things up... he's only been in office 100 days. If all he has on his agenda is bashing teachers then I'll be right with you in calling him an idiot. For now I will cut him some slack... being put in the position of a multi-billion dollar deficit is not exactly easy.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    I'd think 50 hours a week is a minimum for most, with 60 being the very high end of average. For newer teachers the rate is usually quite a bit higher.
    My better half has taught for a long time and that's consistent with her experience. It seems as though almost every school has a person or two who game the system and, for the public looking to complain, they become the "standard."

    Our daughter worked for Teach for America out of college and worked in Coach Carter's high school (remember the movie) in the Bay Area. The school had no windows and her door had multiple bullet holes. TFA considered her a rock star because her proficiency scores were more than three times the district average, but she had absolutely no interest in becoming a career teacher (even though her mother and grandmother were). The lack of pay and, even worse, the lack of respect simply weren't worth it. So she does political and corporate communications consulting in D.C. now.

    In DD's very problem-riddled high school, more teachers fit the stereotype InSpades pushes than in my wife's upper middle class district, surely, but that's largely undertandable given the obstacles they face. Bucking the system over the long-term is hard. Very hard.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    I'll take your "snarkiness" as a teacher and your dedication to the job over InSpades apparant disrespect for the profession anyday.

    He also is basing many of his observations on things that are no longer true, are myths, or are exagerated. And since he does not work in education , and I have been a teacher, school system administator, university instructor at a school of education and an educational resaercher I have a feeling I am more correct than is he. I also have a feeling he doesn't care who is right or wrong, that he just has a bone to pick with the teaching profession, and he is best ignored.
    I'm sorry I actually care about the financial ruin that my state is headed towards. The teachers should care too because it is their pension that is not being funded.

    If teachers are so underpaid as most of you seem to suggest... why is there no teacher shortage? Why instead is it near impossible to get most teaching jobs in NJ? It just doesn't add up... $50k starting salary? What college grad right now wouldn't kill for that?

    As for myths, exaggerations and "no longer trues"... I would use those words to describe the fact that teachers are underpaid in the state of NJ.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by InSpades View Post
    If the average is $58,000 and the median is $40,000 then that is a problem with how the money is divided and not a problem with how much money there is to divide. I'm not speaking to qualify of life... just the amount that the NJ taxpayers are spending.
    That's certainly a fair argument.

    For what it's worth, I believe it is the government's job to ensure that the median teacher salary is reasonable. If they can't do this because salary is divided too unevenly, they need to fix that. If they can't because they don't have enough money, they need to cut money elsewhere and/or raise taxes.

  7. #47

    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by darthur View Post
    That's certainly a fair argument.

    For what it's worth, I believe it is the government's job to ensure that the median teacher salary is reasonable. If they can't do this because salary is divided too unevenly, they need to fix that. If they can't because they don't have enough money, they need to cut money elsewhere and/or raise taxes.


    The median teacher salary is over $57,000, in NJ.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by darthur View Post
    That's certainly a fair argument.

    For what it's worth, I believe it is the government's job to ensure that the median teacher salary is reasonable. If they can't do this because salary is divided too unevenly, they need to fix that. If they can't because they don't have enough money, they need to cut money elsewhere and/or raise taxes.
    FWIW, everybody's pay is based on supply and demand, just like every other product. You can increase pay rates by reducing the supply of qualified workers by unionization, licensing and other means.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by theAlaskanBear View Post
    I don't know about NJ salaries, because I'm in NC, but throwing out that "10-months of work" is complete nonsense. If you clocked how much work teachers do at school and then at home, you would find most teachers work over 60 hours a week. My roommate leaves at 6, doesnt get back until 6, and then after dinner she is grading papers or lesson-planning until she goes to bed. Part of the problem is that the school has her teaching material she is not qualified for (earth science, when her degrees are physics/chemistry) so she has to learn the material herself before teaching it to the class (high school).

    So they work WAY more hours than they are "salaried" for. Beginning teachers, if you divide salary by hours worked, it truly is a dismal statistic.

    But the biggest issues with high school is discipline. By the time kids reach high school they are becoming adults, and a lot of the burden of learned shifts to THEM. But they are not ready or prepared for it. And when you have classes with kids who are average or struggling, just one or two "bad apples" can ruin a whole class. This semester my roommate has been yelled at, cussed at by students, and PHYSICALLY PUSHED by a student. Its not a healthy learning environment! Kids don't care when they get suspended or are out class in ISS, or maybe they do care but they dont know any other way to act or show it.
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    My experience (I am a former central office administrator for a large urban school system and am currently employed in a nation-wide research study regarding school effectiveness) is that 60 may be a bit higher than my experience. Most high school teachers I know arrive about 45 minutes before the school day beginns and stay about 60 minutes after it ends (the more dedicated ones I know often stay 90 minutes late 4 days a week to offer after school tutoring). In addition, most I know work about 90 minutes each evening on average in grading and preparation. I'd think 50 hours a week is a minimum for most, with 60 being the very high end of average. For newer teachers the rate is usually quite a bit higher. Teaching the same course for a few years might reduce the preparation time you need to prepare lessons.

    Intertestingly, teachers who teach honors and AP courses often work fewer hours. If the course you teach has 6 or 7 students with disabilities mainstreamed in, and the other students range from those who struggle with the material to those who are dead-on average students, it takes a lot more time to be well prepared. Teachers who have advanced students often are able to assign interesteing work to already motivated students and therefore have less preparation to do ahead of time. It is also simpler to evaluate and grade outsanding work than work that is less than stellar. Of course, it is the veteran teachers who have worked their way up who get the honors and AP courses, and the beginner teachers who are still getting their sea-legs who get the tough classes. So in terms of work load/hours, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    Like almost everybody else, teachers overestimate the amount of time they spend on work. The average is about 40 hours per week when school is in session. http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2008/03/art4full.pdf

    This is not unique to teachers. Every lawyer I know will claim to work 60+ hours a week, but every study shows that the number who actually do work that amount is very small. Most work in the low 40 average.

  10. #50

    billable

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian913 View Post

    This is not unique to teachers. Every lawyer I know will claim to work 60+ hours a week, but every study shows that the number who actually do work that amount is very small. Most work in the low 40 average.
    Claim 60 plus or bill 60, I knew lawyers who bill over 80 and work 40

  11. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    Claim 60 plus or bill 60, I knew lawyers who bill over 80 and work 40
    The miracle of the ten minute minimum phone call.

  12. #52
    Okay, a few thoughts...

    First, Spade: teaching is, indeed, a job that you simply cannot do without working a lot of hours you don't get paid for. I get about an hour during the day to each lunch, grade papers, give makeup tests, run detention, have parent meetings, or do whatever I need to do. Obviously, there is no way to do it then. I get about 15 minutes in the morning before the kids show up, and a half hour after school, which is normally meeting time. That ends up leaving a teacher with no time to plan or grade. These take a LOT of time to do... hours and hours and hours. As a teacher you simply could not do the job without spending tons of these hours working. It can't happen; you can't just not grade tests or you will get fired.

    Are there teachers who "get by?" Of course, unfortunately. But generally speaking almost every teacher works a lot of hours that they don't get paid for and they are not contracted for.

    About tenure... it is very important to know how important it is. I know tenure gets a bad rap, but there are two key things to remember about it.

    First, it is very easy to get rid of a teacher who has tenure... just plunk them where they don't want to be. Sixth grade teacher you don't like? Drop them to kindergarten... they won't stay

    Secondly, tenure is VERY important because without it districts would simply fire all teachers once they got any sort of experience. In a profession where there is no money being made, it becomes very easy for people to say "Well, do we want the $35,000 teacher, or the $70,000 teacher?" Far too often, people will believe that they should simply take the cheaper teacher to babysit. Without tenure, no teacher would stay employed once they gained some experience... districts can be ruthless when trying to get rid of experienced, "expensive" teachers.

    Spade, I actually didn't get what you meant at the part where you said you wonder what is going on in this state when we talk about cutting middle school sports and the like... could you explain?

    As for relative pay (comparing English teachers to gym teachers) I am not sure what sort of reasonable solution can be made.

    There are many teachers who actually do complain, loudly, about administrator pay and waste... unfortunately, we are the VERY bottom of the totem pole. In fact, do you know that the first amendment does not protect teachers? It is a bit scary how limited we are, to be honest... we can complain, but it doesn't mean anyone will listen.

    I do agree with you that a lot of NJs problems are not about education; there are some BIG, longstanding issues... and honestly, making fiscal changes in education is not even something I am opposed to... what really makes me angry, however, is Christie's approach to it... his rhetoric has been positively venomous, and it really breaks my heart to hear, especially when I see this man has my future in his hands.

    I have to say this though; when you say "What college grad right now wouldn't kill for that?" is a bit misleading... and I am not sure any of the current college grads I know would accept that, to be frank.

    And I haven't even argued that teachers are underpaid in NJ; all I am saying is that I sure as heck don't want to be paid thousands less than I am already paid

    Brian: Where did you get your median teacher salary info? Also, I think the site you linked is a bit... well, off. For example, look at how they gathered info on hours worked... through a phone call about "How much did you work yesterday?" When were those calls made? Weekdays? All days? I wonder how accurate that is.

    When it comes to work, I can only speak for myself and the folks I know.

    Also, all pay is not based on supply and demand. Pay is often based on the profit a person brings, which in the case of teachers is either A) nothing or B) so much it cannot be calculated, or C) someplace in between

    Anyway, I have only a few minutes and am dying to use the bathroom... tonight I'll have to post a picture of something I got at school today that folks will enjoy.



    Seriously though, I am sorry this took such a political/monetary tone... that really was not what I was focused on discussing originally, and honestly it is just such a huge issue in my life right now that I hate coming to DBR only to be reminded that my job is going down the toilet

  13. #53
    My point about middle school sports and dance teachers was to question why we have either of these things in the 1st place. If I wanted to take a dance class or play sports in middle school my parents paid for it.

    As for tenure... there are 2 sides of the argument... 1 is that tenure protects good teachers from being fired. The other is that tenure protects bad teachers from being fired as well.

    Your argument that it doesn't protect bad teachers is that they could be moved to another teaching job? Seems a little suspect to me. What if they just accept the new job happily? Now you have 1 bad teacher in Kindergarten... do you move the next bad teacher to 1st grade? Also how do you know how they treat bad teachers if you've never seen one .

    Your argument that it protects good teachers is that if we didn't have it the districts would just fire all experienced teachers? You mean the districts that keep giving you raises every year? The districts that approve the payscale to be so much higher for experienced teachers? Those same districts would suddenly fire all the experienced teachers?

    So basically your argument comes down to that the people don't value education enough so they would prefer to hire cheap bad teachers instead of expensive good teachers. So tenure is meant to protect education from the public who doesn't value it... Then why do we spend 25 cents out of every dollar in our budget on it?

    Do private school teachers have tenure? Do they get fired whenever they start to make more money?

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post
    Okay, a few thoughts...

    First, Spade: teaching is, indeed, a job that you simply cannot do without working a lot of hours you don't get paid for. I get about an hour during the day to each lunch, grade papers, give makeup tests, run detention, have parent meetings, or do whatever I need to do. Obviously, there is no way to do it then. I get about 15 minutes in the morning before the kids show up, and a half hour after school, which is normally meeting time. That ends up leaving a teacher with no time to plan or grade. These take a LOT of time to do... hours and hours and hours. As a teacher you simply could not do the job without spending tons of these hours working. It can't happen; you can't just not grade tests or you will get fired.
    Are there teachers who "get by?" Of course, unfortunately. But generally speaking almost every teacher works a lot of hours that they don't get paid for and they are not contracted for.
    Actually, you're not "working a lot of hours you don't get paid for." You job expects you to be prepared to teach everyday and grade papers. It's no different than many, many other jobs which require preparation time outside of "normal" business hours. I take on a criminal case on a flat fee basis. My fee doesn't just pay for my time in court. It pays for the prep time I spend.


    About tenure... it is very important to know how important it is. I know tenure gets a bad rap, but there are two key things to remember about it.

    First, it is very easy to get rid of a teacher who has tenure... just plunk them where they don't want to be. Sixth grade teacher you don't like? Drop them to kindergarten... they won't stay

    Secondly, tenure is VERY important because without it districts would simply fire all teachers once they got any sort of experience. In a profession where there is no money being made, it becomes very easy for people to say "Well, do we want the $35,000 teacher, or the $70,000 teacher?" Far too often, people will believe that they should simply take the cheaper teacher to babysit. Without tenure, no teacher would stay employed once they gained some experience... districts can be ruthless when trying to get rid of experienced, "expensive" teachers.
    We have to disagree about both of these points. This is coming from someone who has experience in representing teachers in tenure fights.

    what really makes me angry, however, is Christie's approach to it... his rhetoric has been positively venomous, and it really breaks my heart to hear, especially when I see this man has my future in his hands.
    There has been equally venomous rhetoric coming from the NJEA. More to the point, there is a fiscal crisis in this state. Every other public employee has had pay freezes and reduction in benefits. Teachers refuse to even discuss the issue.

    The pension system as it exists is not sustainable.

    Brian: Where did you get your median teacher salary info? Also, I think the site you linked is a bit... well, off. For example, look at how they gathered info on hours worked... through a phone call about "How much did you work yesterday?" When were those calls made? Weekdays? All days? I wonder how accurate that is.
    The median salary information is from the DOE website. The minimum salary information is from the NJEA website.

    The work week information is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the more relible source available

    When it comes to work, I can only speak for myself and the folks I know.
    I am sure that you perceive you are working many more hours than you actually are. You are not alone. For example, in an average workday: you arrive at school at 7:30; teach until 2:30; stay at school another hour for work; drive home, stopping on the way at the store for an hour; eat dinner; sit down and grade papers from 7:30-9:00. You are going to feel that you put in a workday of 12 plus hours, but you really have not. Keep a detailed diary during a normal week and you will be shocked.

    Also, all pay is not based on supply and demand. Pay is often based on the profit a person brings, which in the case of teachers is either A) nothing or B) so much it cannot be calculated, or C) someplace in between
    All pay is based upon supply and demand. I will pay more for the individual who can bring in more profit to me. Those people are in limited supply and demand a higher salary.
    Last edited by Brian913; 04-27-2010 at 03:32 PM.

  15. #55
    Okay, you all win; I can't spend time arguing about this on a message board, it is too depressing and too all-consuming.

    I'll put up that picture of the funny thing when I get home

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Seoul, Korea
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian913 View Post

    I am sure that you perceive you are working many more hours than you actually are. You are not alone. For example, in an average workday: you arrive at school at 7:30; teach until 2:30; stay at school another hour for work; drive home, stopping on the way at the store for an hour; eat dinner; sit down and grade papers from 7:30-9:00. You are going to feel that you put in a workday of 12 plus hours, but you really have not. Keep a detailed diary during a normal week and you will be shocked.
    Detailed diary of my fall:
    Monday: In at 7am, school ends 3pm, stay with film club til 5pm. Work for about an hour in lesson prep/grading.
    Tuesday: In at 7:15am(less details to take care off than off the weekend). School ends at 3pm. Faculty/departmental meetings til 5. Again, about an hour lesson prep/grading.
    Wednesday: In at 7:15am, school ends at 3pm. Referee volleyball matches til about 6pm. Home to work for another hour or so.
    Thursday: In at 7:15am, school ends at 3pm. Stay til 4pm for extra help sessions. Home to work for another hour.
    Friday: In at 7:15am, school ends at 3pm. Referee volleyball til 6pm. Oh, for those 3 hours of refereeing, I get paid an extra $50. Woo hoo(and yes, it is refereeing school teams for the school, not out of school work).

    And I didn't even bring up the 3 day/night weekend retreat with the seniors or the prep involved getting the spirit week/field day going as those are 2 atypical fall weeks where the hours go longer. Sum total of my diary entries: 54 hours.
    Am I supposed to be shocked now? I'd respond more, but its 6:10am, and I need to be in school in half an hour(and no, that's in no way shape or form a joke).

  17. #57


    For those who have a hard time reading this... it is a note from my boy with undiagnosed aspergers...

    "Mr. So and So,

    I will like to donate my flame lego piece and give it to you for your lego collection.

    (From so and so)"


    And just to be clear, I did not have a lego collection. Also, to be clear, I am totally going to treasure my one-piece lego collection

  18. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post

    For those who have a hard time reading this... it is a note from my boy with undiagnosed aspergers...

    "Mr. So and So,

    I will like to donate my flame lego piece and give it to you for your lego collection.

    (From so and so)"


    And just to be clear, I did not have a lego collection. Also, to be clear, I am totally going to treasure my one-piece lego collection
    I can understand why you would treasure your one-piece lego collection. This just reinforces the old saying that it is the thought that counts. How sweet.
    Last edited by DukieInKansas; 04-27-2010 at 05:40 PM. Reason: removed picture

  19. #59

    Tenure

    Lord Ash and others, my wife and I are big champions of the local public school system. We (mostly her) have worked countless hours helping in the classrooms, working to get the right candidates to the school board elected, donated hundreds of legal hours to help get rid of the one toxic head of the school board, provided most of the funds to support junior high academic bowl when their funds were cut off, drive kids to away tennis matches, support and worked for a tax hike for the school district. etc etc. Some readers on this board might even use the "L" word to describe me (Liberal)

    But as a small business owner and someone who has seen first hand the corrosive effects of it, I am absolutely against tenure. You can make a lot of arguments for it but at the end of the day it protects the dead wood. Teaching is a challenging profession and great teachers can make a real difference, BUT a lousy teacher can do real damage. You cannot manage an organization if you cannot fire chronic under performers, it really is as simple as that. There are work place rules in lots of places that protect against abuses of firing just because you eliminate tenure does not mean that the union work force is subject to the whims of management. The predominant effect of tenure is to protect lousy teachers IMHO. In my profession medicine what if we had tenure for doctors? He is a lousy surgeon and he maims a lot of people but he has tenure at the medical center and there is nothing you can do. If you want to elevate the respect for teachers chop out the dead wood and raise the standard of the profession, eliminate tenure.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post
    And just to be clear, I did not have a lego collection. Also, to be clear, I am totally going to treasure my one-piece lego collection
    This is awesome.

    For me, this is what makes teaching (and in my case, serial volunteerism) so much more rewarding than my paid profession.

    That one-piece lego collection is priceless!

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