Thursday, August 04, 2005

Teaching, the easy life (snort)

Ever stop to think about rewards for work in the context of teachers? I mean, stop and think about it rather. Most peoples' intuition is that a teacher gets to the school a few minutes before the student, goes home on the students' heels, and gets nine months off plus all those huge breaks in the middle of the year. And they want HOW MUCH MONEY? hmmph, we wish we had it so easy.


8 to 9 hours per day at school every day for class with one 30 minute break for lunch and such which can be overridden by needs of the business. (Yes, that means no 15 minute breaks or bathroom breaks.) One to two additional hours at school for staff meetings, and another couple for parents who have questions, one to two additional hours at school for supervision of an extracurricular activity, another two to four hours at the school for "school spirit" (sports and other events), all mandatory, make the at-school workweek in the vicinity of 50 hours. Add in the two to four hours per evening at home to grade assignments and prepare for the next day, and you've got a job sucking 80 hours a week.

And as for that long summer, three things kill it pretty solidly. First is summer school - and most schools require teachers to do at least one session. Second is continuing education - a couple of college classes a year, crammed into the "free" summer - take a month to six weeks pretty close to full time. Finally the tendency toward year-round school. Down here in these parts (North Georgia) school is starting near the beginning of August (my daughter started today - August 4 - and she's envied by friends in a neighboring county who started earlier). As school ended the last day of May, that makes a whole two months available for the teachers. Less, actually, as they had to stay an extra week at the end of school and had to start last week - a week before school.

So two months, minus a month for continuing education, minus another three weeks for summer school, leaves... 1 week. And the end of the year break - about two weeks. And Spring Break, and (around here) Fall Break, except part of those have teacher meetings and they overlap holidays that most folk get, so... Four weeks of vacation a year spread over the entire year is pretty good. But it's not three months.

Around here a beginning teacher gets about $26,000 a year to have 40 weeks of 80 hour workweeks, another three to four of "only" 40 per week, and have to pay for a semester of classes crammed into yet another four weeks.

The next time somebody tells you teacers are overpaid, stop and think how much YOU would want to be paid for doing those kind of hours.


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