Teacher SalariesMarch 5, 2011
I posted this as a comment on Mr. Teachbad, and I decided I wanted to post it here as well:
I spent 23 years as a programmer/network administrator for a small chain of bookstores. During that time, I typically worked about 50-70 hours per week. I have worked as a teacher for the last 5 years. During that time, I typically work about 50-70 hours per week during the school year.
Here’s the difference: Now, I don’t have my boss calling me in to work on my day off to fix an errant computer. Now, I don’t have my boss calling me at night because the server is offline. When I work at home, it’s my choice. When I was a programmer, I never got more than a week’s vacation at a time. I agree that it’s not “three months” in the summer, but it does add up to three months off per year.
My experience is not typical, but because I went from working for a small company to a large school district here in Texas, I only took a $1000 pay cut my first year, and I have since considerably outpaced my previous salary for a lot less work per year.
A lot of teachers complain about their salaries without ever having worked outside of teaching. This is as distasteful to hear as listening to those who have never taught complaining about teachers. I’m sorry, but I have very little sympathy for Ms. Parker who got herself into a boatload of student debt for a profession whose starting salary she should have researched. Also, as far as I know, no one is saying she can’t “go to the doctor”. She’s just going to have to pay more of the cost, just like everyone else.
As taxpayers, we are told over and over that we need to spend more money on education “for the children”, yet over and over, we see teachers complaining about how little they are paid. Likewise, we see again and again, that all of this money that we are spending doesn’t seem to have much effect on student achievement. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for taxpayers who are finding it difficult to make ends meet to look at schools and wonder what good more money will do.
I think teachers need to make more of a case that we are not the ones wasting the money. I think we need to do a better job of letting the public know just how much money is wasted on and by administration. I think, especially in a time of 10% unemployment, we need to stop complaining about our salaries–non-teachers will not be sympathetic, especially as spring break and summer approach.