Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can we get some things straight, here?

I made the ill-advised decision to read comments on something on the internet, and I came across one person who said, "I laugh every time I hear teachers complaining about their salary. They get winter break, spring break, holidays, and summer break!!!"

CAN WE CLEAR SOMETHING UP HERE: Teachers don't get paid for any of those breaks. It's not a nice little paid vacation. Let me PLEASE explain how it works, in my district at least: we are paid based on our 186 WORKING DAYS in a school year. As in, days where either class is in session, or there is an inservice day. WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE HOLIDAYS AND BREAKS. For all intents and purposes, think of those days as furlough days, because those are days where you DON'T work and DON'T get paid. In fact, they encourage us not to show up, though lots of people do anyway.

Honestly? If I could still show up to work during breaks and work all day alone in my classroom (because, good luck trying to convince KIDS to show up during break) and get PAID for it, I would totally do it. I could use the money, and I enjoy the quiet - sometimes I suck at getting work done at home, so the only place I can really work is AT work, but staying after school late is not an option for me. As such, I can come in during breaks if I want to (and occasionally I do), but I won't get paid for it. Just like I'm not getting paid for the hours I spend before the year actually starts, preparing my lesson plans for the year. (Like today, I spent two hours lesson planning. And NOT getting paid for it.) KIDS are the ones who get holidays and breaks off. Not the teachers. Just because kids and teachers show up to the same location every day, it doesn't mean that what is true for them is also true for us.

People in industry or whatever... go ahead, I dare you: take off the same amount of days that teachers have off in a school year without pay. I bet if we compared you to a teacher with the exact same training/educational background and years of experience, you'd still have higher pay than a teacher. I also bet that you would actually be able to spend those days off relaxing and not working. I only truly relax for about 5 weeks of summer before I start getting back to thinking about school again. (But it's always there! In the back of my mind! Lurking and creeping...)

At any rate... please shut up about things you know nothing about. And just because you were a student once, it doesn't mean that you know what it's like to be a teacher. As the saying goes, opinions are like ____: everyone's got one.

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