Please don’t tell anyone but I’m supposed to be sitting by the pool sipping a margarita . Why? Well because I’m a teacher. You know, easiest job on the planet. I only have to work 187 days a year and 5 hours a day. Heck, that’s 935 hours a year. I am scamming, big time. I have friends who work a 40 hour week and only get two weeks vacation each year. They end up having to work 2000 hours every year – what losers. Not me. And, if I play my cards right I’ll get paid like a doctor or a lawyer because I’ve got my union rep telling everyone I need to paid like one of those “Professional” workers. Yup, that’s me, a true “Professional.”
If you really look at it, let’s say I made $50,000 and my friend, the loser, also made $50,000. Then he’d be making $25 an hour and I’d be making over $50 an hour. When you add in the money my teacher friends make from their second jobs they’re making more like $60 an hour. That’s some tall cotton we live in.
I know people who have never been a teacher but they are on school boards in their town. And there are other people I know, with kids, who have their own opinions on the teaching profession. Just last night I heard someone say: “They get the summers off and then (gasp) they think they need to be paid like doctors and lawyers!” And, that guy wasn’t just poking fun at my profession; he was sincere.
It’s time the teaching profession got a PR and Marketing firm to help. In other countries teachers are revered. They are honored for their profession and they are admired for their service to their country. When I taught in Japan and in the Netherlands people would be indifferent towards me when they found that I was American. But, when they found out I was a teacher then you could see their opinion of me swell. I felt important. I felt needed. I didn’t feel that I was being blamed for the state of affairs in the country. None of them mocked me for “having the summers off.”
But here in my own country I represent what is wrong with education. My two master’s degrees (Mechanical Engineering and Education), my bachelor’s degree (Math) and my 20 years of service to our country as a Naval Officer don’t mean very much – I’m just a teacher. I’m not really a professional.
The fact that almost every hour of training I have received as a teacher was paid for with my own money including the cost of travel and lodging isn’t important. That’s how it should be, I’m not a professional. And, in a few school districts I have worked in I have had to take personal days to attend training because I’m not really a professional.
If I spend 6 or 7 weeks of my 9 weeks off in the summer training teachers or being trained that doesn’t count because I’m not really a professional. If I meet Sundays with co-teachers and arrive 30 minutes to an hour before work and stay 1 or 2 hours past my contractual hours that doesn’t count because I’m not a professional. If it takes me 8 to 10 hours after dinner during the week to finish grading and to plan for class, that doesn’t count either.
Darn this sure is a cushy job. I need to find someone to get me a drink because it’s after the school day and I don’t have to do anything. Where did that cute waitress go? This hammock is starting to cut into my back and I need a pillow… the kids don’t care about school so why should I work any harder. It’s not like I’m a professional….
You forgot the part about the bon-bons…
Of course we're not really "professionals." All we do is teach kids–SOOO easy! They practically teach themselves! And as far as value to society–banking and lawyering are much more important.
It is not whiny at all–WELL SAID. As a teacher, I can't say enough how angry these type of comments make me. I invite anyone who thinks it's a cushy job to spend a week with my classroom full of 8th graders. I'm certain that after a week–or heck, even a DAY, they'd understand that cushy is not the adjective one should use to describe teaching.
This is a great post.
Thank you WildSngrNY, Sakadah, Erin, and Bobbi. This was written and thrown up in about 15 minutes and I've been amazed by the comments on my FB page and already on here. Lots of us feeling the pain, I guess.
If only more than our fellow teachers understood our pain…