Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Long Overdue Math

I see that Fort Wayne Community schools is finally doing away with this asinine policy of having two hour elementary teacher in-service training days sprinkled throughout the school year. SURPRISE! This morning your normal schedule is disrupted because of a non-weather related two hour delay! Find a sitter or take two or three hours of vacation time from work, juggle your schedule 'cause them teachers gotta have training!

It's not like they have, oh, ALL SUMMER FOR TRAINING! All these two hour bites could even be summed up into one or two full days either before or after the regular school year. But don't mention this to a teacher or else they'll get all whiney (being around small children all day tends to make the whininess rub off... or maybe it's because the majority of public school teachers lean to the left) about how it's hard to teach all day (all "seven" hours of it, including a break for lunch, recess, when your class goes to art or gym or music or Spanish) and how you get paid so little (apparently they had no idea of the pay scale while they were in college or interviewing for the job... but if you count up the actual hours worked [7 hours + prep time + spring break + CHRISTMAS break + summer break + regular sick days] you'll find that they get paid quite well!

I just did a quick check. The average STARTING teacher's salary in Indiana is $31,703, while the average teacher's pay is $46,597. That's not adjusted for time off, etc... Seems pretty durn good to me! Let's do some math, shall we?

7 hours a day - 1 hour for lunch/recess - 1 hour for special subjects + 1 hour of prep/grading time = 6 hours a day. Let's throw in an extra hour a day just to be generous.

7 hours a day X 5 days a week = 35 hours of work per week

52 weeks in the year - 2 weeks for Christmas break - 1 week for spring break - 1 week of vacation/sick - 11 weeks of summer + 1 week pre school prep + 1 week post school cleanup = 39 weeks

39 weeks X 35 hours a week = 1365 hours worked per year

$31,703 starting salary / 1365 hours worked per year = $23.23 per hour. Wow. That's way more than I make! More than most people I know make and this is just for a teacher starting out.

$46,597 / 1365 = $34.14 per hour... PLUS GREAT BENEFITS! QUIT YER WHINING!

My brother Pete used to be a teacher. Junior High. History. Do you think he earned his money every day, trying to get self-absorbed junior high schoolers interested in HISTORY!?!?! You bet he did, trying to come up with ways to get the interested! But he even said that it was a cush job. The first year, he admitted, is tough because you have to do a lot of lesson planning and prep work but every year after that is a cake-walk in that you just modify your plan IF YOU WANT. Remember that old teacher who seemed to be teaching the same things the same way for decades? He or she probably was.

But this long overdue rant is all for naught. DING DONG, THE SUPERFLOUS TWO-HOUR DELAY IS DEAD!



Elephantschild said...

The hours you work out there aren't quite realistic.

Teachers are often on-duty during lunch and recess, and it's not usually an hour long. And all their prep work, paper grading, and planning for the school year is usually done at home and during their summers.

That being said, however, I can't stand the whining from the teachers' unions. Drives me batty. I wish we had 1/2 the health care coverage most teachers have. Retirement plans, too. And a starting salary of $30k+ for a 4-year degree? Kwitchyerbelyakin.

There was a near-strike a few years ago in Wisconsin because *gasp* the school district wanted the teachers to pay $30/month for their health insurance instead of getting it free.

Give me a break.

Uvulapie said...

The children of mine that attend publik skool start their day at 8:50 and go until 3:20. Good luck trying to reach a teacher before 8:30 if you have questions. So I figured 8:30 to 3:30 = 7 hours as the base. But I see I had that wrong in the orignal blog... that's what you get from my sloppiness and inattention to detail.

jedijson said...

Here in Oklahoma, starting pay is also $31K for a teacher. Unfortunately, when my wife started teaching, it was $24K. She's been teaching for fourteen years, and NOW makes $31K.

Sucks. Big time.

Uvulapie said...

It's like that in corporate America too. The only way to get a decent raise is to leave one company and go to another.

Anonymous said...

You're off base on this. There are teachers who pit in the hours you're talking about but most teachers work longer hours than people who sit in cubicles all day. They take work home and sacrifice personal time for grading and planning that they never receive recognition or credit for.

You say they should have known what they were in for when they decided to go into teaching and then complain that your benefits aren't as good as theirs. You could have chosen a field that would have provided better benefits for you and your families and apparently chose not to. Don't point at teachers and say they should do without - your welcome to become a teacher and enjoy the fluf job with great benefits you say they have.

Teachers have one of the most difficult jobs in our society and these sorts of attacks are not just unfounded but offensive.

Uvulapie said...

I'm not sure where to begin.

How about: I certainly hope this wasn't written by someone who is being paid by my tax dollars to educate my children. Note the many spelling errors. Is proof reading or spell checking ("fluf" or "teachers who pit in the hours"?) too much of a bother?

This is not an attack, a loaded word that isn't backed up... Where, for example, is a sentence where I attacked? I merely presented facts as seen through my viewpoint. My viewpoint is not your or particularly anyone's viewpoint but it IS valid, even if it disagrees with yours.

As for putting in long hours, I am sure there are some who do. I am also sure that there are teachers who use their prep period to gab in the teachers break room and then have to do their prep/grading work after school hours. I'm just sayin'. Sure there are times when extra work is needed. For teachers it's essay grading time. For office workers is a quarterly report or a big project.

I would disagree that teachers have one of the most difficult jobs in our society. If it's difficult it's because PC laws have prevented teachers from holding kids, and their parents, accountable. More difficult would be police officers, anyone who has to deal with trial lawyers, and anyone who has to deal with the public (e.g. customer service desk as Wal-Mart). Okay, that was a low shot but the point is that every job has positives and negatives.

Finally I would like to add that if you're not willing to put your name on something, and instead hide behind "Anonymous", then you've already started your argument with a cowards streak on your back. Yes, I'm speaking to YOU University of California, Santa Barbara.

Anonymous said...


I wrote the anonymous response because I wasn't signed in and figured you'd probably realize who I was since you'd see I'm at UCSB. If you didn't put that together, it's Chris Ford.

I used to think teaching would have been a pretty easy job after all, too. You should really include all the money teachers could make if they got a second job during the summer in you calculation - then your 'facts' could really show how great the job is, right?

When I met my wife, she was a high school English teacher. I assumed teachers got everything done during their prep periods -or at least they should be able to - but it didn't take long to realize how wrong I was. My wife ( now a college professor) works harder than most people I've known and I know what she's gotten paid for it over the years. I made more when I was a twenty two year old at Lincoln with no degree.

There are bad teachers sho do the minimum or even less bug most do far more than we realize. They also do their work under stresses we generally aren't aware of and will probably never have to deal with. Lumping the majority of good teachers in with blanket statements about the bad sound like an attack on them to me. I'm sorry if you feel that's too harsh a word.

I probably shouldn't have let this get to me since we generally don't agree on a lot of social issues but I did. I felt that what you had written was disrespectful to my wife, her parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, all who have devoted their lives to helping kids of all ages and backgrounds from within the public school systems of this country.

Finally, I'm sorry about the spelling errors and typos in my first response and probably this one too. I'm not on a computer and they keyboard on this thing isn't the greatest. We can have a spell-off when I get back to the office if I you need any proof of my literacy.

So, once again, we can agree to disagree (maybe) and that's that.

Chris (anonymous coward) Ford - currently on campus at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Uvulapie said...

D'OH! And here I thought I had a new reader. Ring one up for my inability to read SiteTracker, Mr. Santa Barbara - ucsb.edu.

I never said teachers had an easy job, just that one hears a disproportionate amount of complaining about conditions, hours, pay, etc. from teachers than you do most other professions. Maybe they just have better PR firms while, say, the Refuse Collections Union, isn't so vocal.

Chalk up yet another one to "agree to disagree" I suppose. Maybe.

Uvulapie said...

On further thought, let's NOT agree to disagree. I challenge you to a good ol' fashioned joust! May the best man win this age-old argument of teacher pay/benefits!

Elephantschild said...

Anon. wrote: "You could have chosen a field that would have provided better benefits for you and your families ..."

I can't think of any job field, except perhaps Congress itself, that has a better benefits package that even the package for teachers here in our little town out in Flyover Country.

Show me a teacher who pays $120/month for one adult and one child with NO copay and a $5,000 deductible, and I'll quit picking on them.

I agree on the hours, though. Most teachers' hours stink.

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