Why Teachers Anger Me!

Why Teachers Anger Me!

Before I get into my rant, I have a lot of people in my life that teach…a lot.  They are all good people and they seem to be really good at what they do, but there are some things about this noble profession that just plain anger me!

Why Teachers Piss me Off

I think a lot of it has to do with their lack of understanding when it comes to the real economy.

Tenure

Who else can’t get fired in America?

Guaranteed Raises

Economy sucks? Who cares….I am a teacher and am guaranteed a raise?

Pensions

How many of my readers have a State backed defined benefit pension?

The Hours

They count down June like it is the second coming of Christ. Well you know who doesn’t get off all summer? Me, and everyone else with a normal job.

Perceived Stress

You can’t get fired, you are off for 1/3 the year, and some of you are ‘teaching’ 5 and 6 year olds, and yet you are stressed?!

End Rant.

68 Responses to Why Teachers Anger Me!

  1. dont agree at all with this post. if the job was so good, why wouldn’t more people be doing it? by simply stepping back and looking at the situation you can tell that the job isnt that great, otherwise more people would be getting into the profession

    • Actually at least in NY it’s very hard to get a teaching job. I have various friends and relative’s who are/were teachers. It’s a lot of kissing butt and knowing people inside. At least from what I see more so than the technical field I am in (that has no unions and no guaranteed jobs security)

  2. This may be the most beautiful rant ever. I agree that while no doubt their profession is noble, they are the biggest whiners out there. The kicker is once you have tenure you don’t even have to be good at your job to keep it. If three kids fail and stay back (no child left behind changes that, but go with it) you don’t get in trouble. Nothing happens to you. But in the working world if you were to mess up and lose a big account, you’d be gone.

    Once you have tenure, literally the one thing that will get you fired is touching a kid or punching a female cast member from the Jersey Shore in the face. That’s it.

    In your post the thing that especially rings true is the lack of grasping what’s been happening in the economy. People have been losing jobs in record numbers over the past 2.5 years, and now it’s filtering down to teachers. It sucks, but it’s effecting everyone. As far as the guarnteed raise goes, ewwww how selfish can you get? Some folks out there, myself included, have had wage freezes for approx. two years. Does it suck? Of course it does, but given the times you should shut your yapper and consider every paycheck you get to be a raise in itself.

    I know what I said is very anti-teacher, and I do respect what they do, but can’t stand the complaining. Especially when every teacher friend I have posts on Facebook ‘Today is def. a beach day, gotta love summer break!’ They’re also the ones more likely to complain about their job on Facebook, which baffles me.

  3. You’ve said what many of us have thought. It’s good to hear the “other side” of the argument as well. Here in West Virginia, the teachers are constantly threatening to strike for more money, and they actually do get most of June, all of July, and most of August off. Not to mention that they get most of January and February off for weather as well. I understand the “nobleness” of the profession, but you’re right when saying that some have a lack of understanding of the real economy.
    Great post. Thanks for putting it out there.

    • If teaching is so great…then why not go into teaching? Then check back with us after you have walked in our shoes. And no, we don’t get three months off. July is a “full mont” off but August you are back having staff meetings and setting up your room/roster for the next year. It is such a common misconeption. Again, please go into teaching and then tell us what you think.

      • Alisa,

        Not sure if you meant that for me or Jon but…

        If teaching is so tough then quit lol. No need to be the martyr it is fine, just quit.

        • Well..since Jon was the one who posted it then I guess Jon!I don’t have to quit…I already resigned when I had my duaghter 8 years ago, thanks. I taught in a suburb of NY for several years and lately I hear so many people teacher bashing. I think it is only natural to defend your profession. Best of luck to you .

          • FOR EVAN….also….

            Not once did I say I was in “misery” nor did I imply that it is “so tough” just simply addressing the misconception that we have all this “time off”. FYI…. I loved teaching.

  4. I’m a former public school teacher. I left for a reason.

    Salary for a 1st year teacher with a master’s degree in Chesterfield County, VA: $35,000/yr

    Salary for a 25 year vet teacher with a master’s degree: $55,000/yr

    There’s something horribly wrong with that. What if you are an amazing teacher, with the best lesson plans, got the most you possibly could out of your students, blah blah blah? The same raise you would have if you were average, unless you win a teacher of the year award, and you might get a token few hundred dollar check.

    Can’t get fired?! What state are you living in?!

    Guaranteed raises?! The county I taught in this year cut salaries of teachers, before moving them back to where they were after a budget surplus. Pay raises I believe had been frozen before then for a few years. The raises you did get were so small you usually ended up losing out in real dollars after inflation and health insurance premium increases. I taught for 4 years. I never got a salary increase that significantly outpaced inflation, and almost always ended up with the same or less real dollars after having to pay additional money in health insurance.

    The one thing public school teachers have going for them? Very high job security, and there’s a simple explanation why: very very few people are willing to put up with what the job entails for so little money.

    When I left, I had on average about 28 8th grade kids per class, with the highest being 34 in a class, which also the majority had learning disabilities, with no in class help from someone trained to deal with that. That class was so big, I had trouble fitting enough desks in the room for them all. My last year teaching was 2004, and they were just getting ready to replace the textbooks that were so old, they were literally falling apart, purchased in 1992. And this wasn’t an inner-city school system, either.

    I work in IT now. My first job in IT paid me twice what I made as a public school teacher in Charlotte, NC, so comparable CoL increase. My second job was about the same after factoring in CoL difference in Washington DC. My third I got a year later was about a 30% increase, and I just jumped to another company doing the same work and got another 10% increase. All but one of these jobs offered between 20-80% 401k matches on between 5-6% of my income. Most also offered significant bonuses for various things on top of salary, and many employees got them, and they were more than a measily few hundred dollars.

    My biggest complaint about inadequate resources in IT? My laptop isn’t as fast as I’d like it to be. Whoopty do!

    I worked once 36 hours straight at an IT job because an email system was down, and didn’t complain a bit. My clients were happy I worked so hard to get it fixed. Far cry from being blamed by parents that they can’t discipline their kids to ensure they actually *gasp* do what’s necessary to pass, despite you had done whatever it took as far as extra help after school goes, offering tutoring sessions you didn’t get paid to do, etc. Never have been as stressed in IT as I was as a teacher.

    And no, public school teachers do NOT get 3 months off out of the year, yet another common misconception about teachers. Most school systems do not give you all of June and August off. And teachers count down June because of the mounting stress they go through throughout the year.

    Go actually observe what a typical public school teacher has to deal with on a regular basis, then let us know how much they piss you off. I love the act of teaching, but I would never be a public school teacher again. And my hats off to those who remain and give it their all. It’s a valiant act of voluntary insanity, but I commend them otherwise.

    • The salary thing is VERY different on Long Island. VERY Different. I know starting elementary teachers making $55,000. I also know 30 something year old teachers with masters +15 making close to 100K. Albeit she teaches calculus which SHOULD be paid more.

      “Can’t get fired?! What state are you living in?!” New York. Actually in NYC they are so hesitant to fire they put teachers in “rubber rooms” where they can’t teach but still get paid!

      Guaranteed Raises – Chris Christie actually asked the teachers to forgo their GUARANTEED raises and he was met with death threats from the teachers union.

      3 months off – In New York – All of August, All of July, and multiple week/2 week off vacations.

      I am sorry teaching is rough down there, but up here is MUCH different.

  5. Many government workers in my county are getting pay cuts, 12 days NO pay via furloughs. But NOT teachers. They are getting raises. Turns out there is some state law that keeps teachers from getting pay cuts or something… Jeesh, how can I get a law passed for me so I don’t get pay cuts?

    The public schools are a joke… unions are partly to blame…. this has been the case for a long time and it’s not getting any better… teachers or the system say they need more money… tossing more $ at the problem does not help. I am thinking that today, teachers are little more than baby sitters for the kids.

  6. Evan, in NY (CA also) they are most definitely overpaid. There are other parts of the country where their pay scale isn’t so hot. Ironically it seems to be more in the red states. In the town where I grew up (West Islip, NY) some of the salaries back when I was in school was outrageous! I can only imagine now how much some of the teachers make.

  7. Eh? Why this rant, I don’t understand.

    Teachers hold the keys to our future! They are woefully underpaid, and have tremendous patience and giving!

    Teachers are getting fired left and right with budget cuts in CA. That ain’t right.

    • Maybe there wouldn’t be firings if there weren’t guaranteed raises, ridiculous state backed pensions and a little bit more equitable health insurance arrangement.

    • Sam,

      No one is going to argue with you the importance of education and education of our young.
      The beef is with the teachers, the unions and the education system (the way it’s design) itself.

      Under paid compared to who? Teachers in CA and NY get overall (including pensions and benefits) pretty damn well. I think I’m underpaid so that means I should get paid more?

      The beef is the poor results education and the amount of money we spend on it. You suggest spending more money? Watch this John Stossel episode for some ideas on how to improve and how poor our education is.

      http://www.hulu.com/watch/133747/stossel-thu-feb-18-2010

      Our education system is broken and it must start with the compensation of the teachers and their monopoly on their position.

      • First a disclaimer: I am an 8th grade science teacher in Texas, not New York, so my opinions and facts while valid may not apply to areas you live in, and I watched the Stossel program referenced in the above post.

        I believe that most private and charter schools (in Texas some of our school district have “Magnet” programs) have entry requirements. I do not think that a private or charter school will take every child who applies, put their name in a hat, and draw 100 lucky winners. I believe that they eliminate a large percentage of applicants before reaching the lottery phase (if the lottery is truly random at all). Think of it as an all-star team.

        Imagine the NBA (32 teams?) creating 3 new teams (now 35). The three new teams would be able to select any players they wanted for their team regardless of where they were playing or any contracts that player may have. In essence you have created 3 all-star teams and left everybody else. I believe that this is similar to private/charter schools and their selection process.

        The school that I teach at in a northwest Houston school district has 72% of its students classified as economically disadvantaged (this means that their parents income levels qualify them for free or reduced lunch prices). 16% are listed as having Limited English Proficiency, and 11% are Special Education students. I believe this to be vastly different than the makeup of most private or charter schools. Combine that with the difference in resources (see below), and I believe that we are trying to compare apples and oranges. You can visit this website for a host of state accountability documents: http://www.cfisd.net/dept2/campusimprove/200809/dean0809.htm

        Average Private School Tuition: 2007-08
        All Levels Elementary Secondary K-12 Schools
        All Schools $ 8,549 $ 6,733 $10,549 $10,045
        Catholic $ 6,018 $ 4,944 $ 7,826 $ 9,066
        Other Religious $ 7,117 $ 6,576 $10,493 $ 7,073
        Non-Sectarian $17,316 $15,945 $27,302 $16,247
        Source: Table 59, Digest of Education Statistics 2009, National Center for Education Statistics.

        According to the video referenced in the above comment, the US spends about $11,000 per child per year in public school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, non-religious private school cost almost $16,000 for elementary and almost $28,000 for secondary. The money we spend for public school (at least in Texas) pays for transportation (most, if not all, private schools do not provide transportation), books, teacher salaries, after school programs, before and after school classes and tutorials, electricity for the building, technology, and much more.

        Is the public school system perfect? NO.
        Is the public school system broken? MAYBE.
        Are private schools a bad idea? NO.
        Are there bad teachers? YES.

        But they do not take away from the thousands of teachers across the country who work to try to give students the best possible education – teachers who spend dozens of hours each summer in professional development classes trying to better themselves for the sake of their students. Most teachers don’t work in education because they want summers off – they work teaching children because they have a passion for it, because they care about each little person who enters their classroom, and because they want to see their students succeed.

        • Hi TexasTeacher,

          “Imagine the NBA (32 teams?) creating 3 new teams (now 35). The three new teams would be able to select any players they wanted for their team regardless of where they were playing or any contracts that player may have. In essence you have created 3 all-star teams and left everybody else. I believe that this is similar to private/charter schools and their selection process.”

          And what’s wrong with this?? Why should this be any different than getting into college?? Education should be treated like any other business in a free market system. It should be allowed to fail if it does not perform (I know some this is blaspheme). Not everyone will be a star player either. That’s the way life is, not everyone deserves a trophy (which is a whole other topic). If devised properly the overall education of everyone will improve because of the competition. No competition _always_ leads to mediocrity. Public school really don’t have competition.

          In order to attract the “star” players, the other schools will have to try harder in order to get/keep them. As I mentioned previously, where’s the motivation to do better now? Telling me we (the teachers) work hard because we like teaching and like our students. While I’m sure there is truth to this and it sounds all nice/warm and fuzzy, the question in the end is are we producing results?? Our education system unfortunately is an epic failure. So instead of looking at it and saying it’s broken, I instead hear from most public school systems, more of the same. We need more money being the #1 issue. Obviously money isn’t the answer as it’s has absolutely shown not to work.

          • Investor Junkie — I hope that you misunderstood me. I hope that you thought that I was referring to the private schools selecting TEACHERS when you read the section you quoted.

            Because I meant that that is the way they select students.

            The reason this should be different than getting into college is that not every person needs a college education, but every single child needs an elementary and secondary education. Every student needs to be educated to the best ability of this nation.

            In the section you reference, I simply mean to point out that you cannot justly compare a school that only takes the best and the brightest (think the NBA) with a school that accepts everyone at whatever readiness level they are (think YMCA basketball league).

            We cannot think of education as a business. When I eat at a restaurant, or by a product from a business, I expect the very best raw materials. I want the best quality meat and vegetables; I want the best sprockets and widgets in my product, and I don’t want it damaged in any way – if it is I will return it and expect a full refund.

            But we cannot do this in education. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD, ADD, autism, junior rheumatoid arthritis, and English as their second language. We take each one of these students, put them into the same classroom, and teach them all to the best of our abilities. We can’t return them. This is why education is not, and cannot be run like, a business.

            • This thought process will then always lead to the same results we’ve had. The same status quo. Poor results.

              I certainly do want the best results for my children. Each person wants what’s best for their children. Everyone is greedy in this respect and is a good thing. This in turn causes education to improve. The parents determine what’s best for the children, not the teachers. To use your example if a public teacher or school is defective I would *love* to return them. This has _nothing_ to do with the student and their possible learning issues. You miss the point of why teachers and schools exist. They exist because of students. In the end teachers do not have vested interest to ensure a child succeeds (nor should they), that’s only the parents. Uncaring parents is a whole other issue. No schooling will solve that ever.

              Education certainly IS a business and should be run as such. How should schooling be outside the logic and the way the rest of the world and our economy works? Could this be why we have such a major disconnect from what is done in school, to what skillsets are needed to function in the real world?

              Higher education is optional? Since when? College education is becoming what used to be just high school level only education. While I’m not saying everyone should go to college (which is a whole other topic), or is college costs worth it (which is another can of worms). You need it for most decent paying jobs.

              • To begin with, I did not say that higher education is optional. I said “not every person needs a college education.” You said “I’m not saying everyone should go to college.” I believe that these are essentially the same statements.

                There are about 300 million people in the US about a quarter of which are under 20. 75 million school-aged children and their parents want the very best education for them possible. What is the very best? Let’s say the top 10% of schools are the best. Naturally, all 75 million students cannot attend these schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics there are about 75,000 schools in the US (including private schools). If we put 1,000 kids in each school, the top 10% best schools would only be able to accommodate a tenth of the total student population. Which kids get chosen to go the “best” schools? What about the poor kid who loses the lottery and winds up in the bad school? And how much would the good schools have to pay to retain their top teachers?

                You can’t run a school like a business because you can’t scale up the services. Once you find the best school and the best teacher, you can’t just have the factory pump out more. And you can’t just put a sign on the classroom door: “Sold Out.” Not everyone is a good teacher, therefore there is a limited number of good teachers. You can’t just make more because you have a demand for them.

                I agree with you that school exist because students – they exist for all students – not just the smartest one who can afford a $17K tuition.

                What makes teaching in a public school system difficult is that the students are a heterogeneous mixture of different readiness levels, experiences, and learning styles. Students enter my classroom from multiple countries, speaking multiple languages. They come from every combination of home environment you can imagine. Their learning styles range from analytical to creative, from auditory to visual to kinesthetic, and from they all need to learn the same lesson at the same time. They need to learn skills that they are not interested in because at twelve years old they don’t know for sure that they won’t need them.

                Imagine working in a crayon factory. Your job is to sort the different colored crayons into boxes. Each box needs to have a set of the different colors, just like you would expect to find when you buy a box. If there are only two, or three, or even eight colors, this job is not that difficult. But, if there are 20, or 30, or 256, or (how many different colors can machines print now) 2 million, the job becomes daunting. Every day I see 150 students. Each of them wants the same thing: to learn everything they need to about science. Each of them want me to deliver that knowledge to them in the way that they, specifically, learn best. And all of them want it at the same time.

                I love my job and I wouldn’t trade it for any other.

  8. I kind of agree to some parts of your rant and kind of disagree to other parts =)

    I think I would be kind of stressed as a STARTING OUT teacher… I have some teacher friends and they have to make lesson plans, pay for their own pens, projectors, and paper; mark homework in addition to planning lessons, and all this for no extra pay.

    However, as you teach over and over again, I’m sure teachers re-use their lesson plans and are much less stressed.

    I am also very envious of the two month holiday they have.. during peak season when their own children will be off school too.

    It is difficult as a beginning teacher to get a good position here in B.C. Canada- they have to be substitute teachers for a good year before they often get a position at a school.

    However, that being said AGAIN, being a substitute teacher, albeit for only a year, probably is really easy. THAT is no stress! Unless you have stress of being ridiculed by the students you’re baby sitting. =)

    • Teachers shouldn’t be using their lessons over and over again – you need to change them to keep up with current information and new teaching methods. Substitute teaching can be incredibly stressful. Any teacher who is just babysitting is not doing their job. Teaching is so much more than babysitting! You have to follow a set curriculum, even as a supply teacher. A supply teacher gets calls at 6am to travel to schools an hour away and when you get there there may not be any plans for the day and you have 15 minutes to plan for 6 hours of teaching. Not to mention, classroom management is very stressful for substitutes. Try teaching Core French (45 minutes of French class with 7 different classes of around 30 students) with no plans and no materials and then try to say that supply teaching is babysitting.

  9. I half-way agree with this post. While I do feel that teachers tend to complain quite a bit about having a rough job (and forget the fact that they have a lot of time off during the summer), I believe that they work a lot of unpaid hours. For example, when a person with a 9-5 normal job comes home, they have no obligations to their job. However, with teachers, they have to prepare lessons plans and grade papers. This can tend to eat up a lot of their time.

    • If you’re management, then you’re not stopping at 5 either. You have the same types of homework as teachers, including evaluating the staff (children) and planning how to improve their productivity. Yes, there are those that don’t, just as there are teachers that don’t really plan their lessons. When projects fall behind, as they frequently do, overtime is expected. I would match my hours up with any teacher that wants to, but I continue for the rest of the year, without the Christmas break, spring break and summer break.

  10. You are misinformed.

    Tenure
    Regular teachers DO NOT have tenure. My husband was put on the excess list when his school was forced to cut 20% of their employees due to their budget. They let people go based on seniority with each specific school, so even though he had 4 years teaching experience but only 1 year with his specific school, he was told goodbye.

    Guaranteed Raises
    Again, not guaranteed. My husband started at $41,800 in 2006 and was cut making $42,400 4 years later…he had one $600 raise in 4 years…that’s not even a cost-of-living adjustment.

    Pensions
    Yes, they have pensions. So does my dad who worked at DOW Chemical Company and my grandfather who taught in the prison system. I will say that pensions are one benefit that teachers actually stay for…

    The Hours
    Yep, this makes me jealous too, but not during the school year when he has to put up with ignorant parents (“my kid turned in his homework but you lost it” even though the kids have to sign a sheet when something is turned in and that kid obviously didn’t…), gangster kids that actually brought a gun to HIS classroom, and “special ed” kids that have no mental disabilities but “behaviorial problems” like peeing into trash cans and hitting random people like my husband because they were raised wrong.

    Perceived Stress
    It is the most stressful job I have ever witnessed. My mom is a strong lady, but she taught for 6 months before having a small breakdown. My husband literally was forced to tears twice in his first year and he doesn’t cry. Imagine having kids that refuse to listen, literally threaten you on a daily basis, parents that argue that those kids problems are due to blah, blah, blah and you have no right to write them up for those threats, principals that hold it against you if you send those same kids to the office because they don’t want to deal with them either, and coworkers that shirk their responsibilities so you end up planning the majority of all the lessons by yourself with hardly any experience and no one to back you up (plus those lessons have to teach a standardized test instead of actually teaching a real life lesson since the test scores are how you are judged). That is the life of a teacher.

    Unless you have experienced the bureaucratic horror that is teaching, please keep your misplaced jealousy to yourself.

  11. Oh, and even though they only get paid for 7am-3pm, teachers regularly have to bring the grading home to be completed in another 2-3 hours 2-3 times a week.

    They also have to buy their own supplies due to budget cuts, so that is another $300 a year in notebooks, pens, pencils, and all science lesson materials.

    Substitutes aren’t respected by the principals or the kids, so their job is literally to be put down all day.

    My husband’s health insurance boils down to a mid-deductible plan…$750 off the top by the school, the next $1500 by the teacher, and the rest split 80/20 until we reach the out-of-pocket maximum of $6000 a year.

    Have any of you complainers ever really done this job?

    • “It is the most stressful job I have ever witnessed”
      – Seriously? How about almost any doctor? how about some lawyers (absolutely not most)? How about my FDNY brother running into burning buildings in NYC? Whether some random 4th grader understands fractions and that you may or may not get yelled at by a parent does not make it beyond stressful.

      Regardless, to call me misinformed when everything I said accurately describes teaching on Long Island, where I live, is simply rude.

      • You titled the list “Why Teachers Piss Me Off”. How were we all supposed to know that you were referring to Long Island teachers specifically?!

        Also, making a whole post about why you’re pissed at teachers but only meaning a specific place’s teachers (without telling anyone) is like me writing a whole post on why firefighters suck when I’m only referring to the bad apples in the bunch. It’s offensive.

        How did you expect teachers and those of us related to teachers to take it?

        The following is my husband’s take on the matter – he’s writing this:

        I will grant you that teaching is not as dangerous as the job of a firefighter or a police officer (except on days where the students bring guns to school) and that the stress level is not really created by an outside influence (say a burning building). Teaching is stressful because the teachers care about what happens to their students. A doctor’s job is not stressful if the doctor does not care about what happens to their patients. It is only because they truly want to help their patients that the job is stressful. The same is true for teachers. Teachers only have a limited amount of time to pass on everything a child needs to know about a particular subject. They know that if they are not fully prepared for the next grade level, they will not be successful. If the teachers did not care about what heppened to the students then, no, the job is not stressful – it’s babysitting.

        • “How were we all supposed to know that you were referring to Long Island teachers specifically?!”
          – Nope but that is my experience which I am learning as are some of the other commenters that things seem to be very different across the country when it comes to teaching.

          – Does that make misinformed as you put it? No maybe under-informed, and I am glad to have some dialogue about it.

          Your husband makes some great points, but I don’t think I attacked the profession as a whole I just pointed out that teachers don’t exactly live in the real world economy (again, at least the ones that educate the 10 or so million that live near me…but I didn’t know that when I hit the publish button).

  12. Evan, replace teachers with the UAW, or any other union hanging on to their fantasy of keeping pensions and full health coverage and I’d agree with you (except for summers off).

    But not teachers, the few I know do not benefit from tenure or guaranteed raises and do a lot of extra work in non-school hours.

  13. I find this post quite offensive.

    I have a Master’s in Elementary Education, although I am not currently in the classroom.

    Hours….there are ALOT of hours for teaching. You think you just show up and make it up? No, there is research, lesson plans (and in my former school, you had to submit a lesson plan for every lesson, in every subject, and alternate plans for special ed). Plus grading papers. Plus conferences, and PTA events, and misc other things.

    Teaching 5 or 6 year olds…do you have children? If you have 1 child that needs help…ok. How about when 22 need your help? And while you think the material is so easy….it isn’t easy to explain it to a child who doesn’t have the cognitive ability of an adult. Teaching isn’t making ditto sheets and hoping that the material is absorbed.

    Summer….did you know alot of teachers get paid for 10 months, not 12? Yes, that means they don’t get paid in the summer. And those that get paid for 12 months….they more than put in those hours from Sept to June.

    I am not sure if you really understand this profession at all.

    • Mysti,

      Thanks for commenting, I think you may have misunderstood the post a bit. I get why teaching is tough, but its the bitching and complaining that gets to me. It is tough, but so is being a doctor, lawyer, nurse, paralegal, fire fighter, policeman, financial planner, insurance salesman, investment director, garbageman, etc. etc. etc.

  14. Congrats on the new edition!

    But you don’t think that doctors, lawyers, etc bitch and moan about their jobs? Long hours, little pay (in some circumstances).

    I have a feeling once you are a parent, you will feel differently. You will be entrusting the educational system with your child for 6.5 hrs a day, for 13 years. When you see it first hand, what these teachers do…you may feel like the complaining might be justified (sometimes….bitching for the sake of, not a fan of that!!!)

    • As a student of public school I have less trust in it now. My wife went to private school (which is not that uncommon in the 5 boroughs of NYC because NYC are really awful), so she had no idea what’s in store.

      In fact trying to figure out if we afford to send our three children to private school when they become of age.

  15. So you don’t think that private school teachers moan a bit too?

    My problem with private school teachers is that there are alot of them that do not have teaching credentials. They may have a degree…but it isn’t in education. So in their case, they are making it up as they go, without a foundation of how to teach.

    • “My problem with private school teachers is that there are alot of them that do not have teaching credentials.” So? So education degree = great education for the student??

      In the end I could care what qualifications a person has, effectiveness is what matters. I’ve met and known some very bad teachers in public school, I assume they all had the proper degree for NYS.

      Let me give you an example I can directly relate. I graduated in CompSci, so that means with your logic people that don’t have a degree can’t program?? In fact, some of the most talented people I’ve known never had a degree in CompSci let alone any science or technical degree.

  16. No,my point is that without a minimum standard (aka, a degree in education) how do you know that what they are teaching is correct?

    And by your logic, someone who has read some law books is qualified to be a lawyer? Or maybe you have some field experience…so now you can be a doctor?

    You have to have some accountability and a minimum requirements. Maybe you can teach some things without having a “degree” per se…but maybe that same person would be even better with some theory behind their methods.

    The same goes for homeschooling….many people think that the material is “easy” so “anybody” can do it. (and for the record, I am not saying that homeschooling is bad, I am saying that in some cases, it might not be educationally the most effective).

    Paying more for something doesn’t always mean it is better.

    • Like any career the people in it have to justify their position and create a barrier of entry for others. Does it assure some minimal standard? In many cases yes, but either way doctor, lawyer, or teacher I would not pick on pure degrees alone.

      Out of the three which are you pretty much stuck with for the year with your son/daughter? After all, I cannot just pick the public school I want my child to go to, nor pick the teacher. At minimum my choices are VERY limited if any. I am stuck purely because of the town I live in (if I choose public). What an asinine system. This is just one of the many factors that is broken in our education system. With public schools you as the consumer have very little option. You literally choose with your choice of house or must choose a private school. This makes little motivation for the school, board, union and teacher to excel. There is little competition to keep students. What happens if a teacher does a poor job? In NYC, you pretty much have to rape or hit someone to get fired (no joke).

      “Paying more for something doesn’t always mean it is better.”

      We agree on something, but obviously not the way you are stating it.

      In the Stossel video I link above you’ll see how much is spent per pupil in DC (22k) and look at their results. The public sector, like in most cases, is typically much less efficient in spending the capital, than the private sector.

  17. “I get why teaching is tough, but its the bitching and complaining that gets to me. It is tough, but so is being a doctor, lawyer, nurse, paralegal, fire fighter, policeman, financial planner, insurance salesman, investment director, garbageman, etc. etc. etc.”

    Let’s divide this list up a bit.

    Including teaching, the above that require typically at least a college degree (with average yearly salaries for the ones which require college degrees):

    Doctor (general medicine) – $186,000
    Lawyer – $90,000
    Nurse – $52,000
    Financial planner – $61,000
    Insurance salesman – $60,000
    Investment Director – $80,000
    Teacher (K-12) – $49,000

    Those that don’t:
    Garbageman
    Police officer
    Firefighter

    Of the above that require college degrees, which is paid typically the least? Teachers. Other than nurses, they’re significantly paid less than those other professions. Gee, wonder why teachers complain more? Maybe it’s because they’re grossly underpaid.

    And FYI, I believe police officers and firefighters are grossly underpaid, too. If I noticed any of them complaining, I certainly wouldn’t blast them for it, either.

    • I think NYPD and FDNY require some college, but I am not sure about that. That has nothing to do with anything though lol.

      I said it above, but I think my real frustration has to do with not knowing how good they have it. I think we can both agree, to an extent, that they (along with some other civil servants or very unionized industries) operate somewhat outside the rules of a normal occupation/career. Maybe it is different all over the country, but in the northeast the teachers union is NO JOKE. Getting fired is a hard – you have to basically hurt a girl on a hit cable tv show (Jersey Shore reference).

    • There’s also the benefits and pensions for teachers, so the base salary is not necessarily a good comparison. In my part of NY state, the benefits are quite a lot better than in the private sector. And teachers can collect pensions and collect them much younger than in the private sector, so we continue to pay much longer.

  18. Wow, you fired up a hornet’s nest on this one! Evan, I love your stuff and I often agree with you, but I think you just haven’t lived with a teacher like I have and you’d feel differently if you did. I felt passionate enough about it, that rather than leaving a 1600 word comment here, I did a post on it. I politely linked back here and gave my 2 cents, but to summarize, I think your rant was directed improperly at teachers when it should really be directed at unionized workers in the US in general (public sector especially since taxpayers don’t have the ability to negotiate contracts while companies do). Here’s my take, enjoy!
    http://www.darwinsmoney.com/in-defense-of-teachers/

    • What an excellent post! I was definately not aware that union dues were garnished out of teachers wages up there. Texas is a “right to work” state, which I believe is the reason that being a member of a union is not required down here.

      Personally, I am not a memeber of any unions. I belong to many professional organizations, but I don’t pay dues and as far as I am aware they are just a way to share ideas.

  19. They trade good pay for job security considering the work demands and required skills and education.

    I don’t know about the Northeast specifically, but remember your original blog post did not single out that geographic area.

    Look, I know teachers can complain excessively, often about things that make no sense, but it’s because the job sucks considering the skills needed, the responsibilities, the lack of support from parents and society, and the pay. It just hits a nerve when people slam teachers in general. They got it bad enough, this coming from a 4 year teaching vet from years past.

  20. Let’s not forget that teaching is the ultimate comfort-zone job. Think about it. “Well, I spent my first 12 years in a classroom. Then 4 more years in a classroom. Now, with the entire world as my oyster, I think I’ll…spend my time in a classroom.”

    The teachers who have commented in indignation of the post are proving its point: if the job is so stressful, pays so horribly, and doesn’t give you the appreciation and recognition you deserve, why are you doing it? And don’t give me that nonsense about the non-monetary rewards of nurturing young minds. Most teachers, whether they admit it or not, took the job for the summers off. That and the “ambition ceiling” – no matter how great a teacher you are, you’ll never be more than a teacher. Makes it easier to justify your career choice when there’s only so high you can go.