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TEACHING IS AN HONORABLE PROFESSION – DONT FORGET THAT

THIS IS REPOSTED FROM (haroldshawjr.com)

Ataturk teaching the children of Turkey the La...Image via Wikipedia

This is a bit of a rant, so be aware of that upfront.
People (politicians, parent and the general public) do not realize how much teaching does actually take out of a person, they don’t actually do it.

I will only speak for myself, other teachers will do the same I am sure in their blogs/conversations and if you listen at all, you will hear a common theme that seems to appear in the teaching profession – by mid-June we are all pretty drained.

I can hear those who don’t think teaching is very difficult saying “oh cry me a river” “you guys get so much time off – how can you be tired?” “go get a real job” (that one is my personal favorite – because I have a real job damn it and I am proud of what I do to make a difference in our future – I have had “real” jobs and I am back to teaching, something which I love doing and believe I am pretty damn good at), “those who can’t – teach” and all those other comments we hear snipping at our butts about my profession.

I AM TIRED OF THE CRAP!

Whenever someone begins to put down my chosen profession, they will need to be prepared to defend their comment as much as I am going to defend my profession.

Time-Off:  I do not get paid for Federal or State Holidays, I do not get paid for the days that I am on “vacation”.  I get paid for 184 days of work.  Yes I get sick days and 3 personal days but that is all and yes I do have a good benefits package (which I contribute a very good chunk of change to also).  By the way did you know that I pay for my own vacations – do you?  I voluntarily choose to have my pay reduced to have a bi-weekly year-round paycheck, otherwise I don’t get paid for all that time off that you think I have.

It is NPTO – I think that many will know that acronym who are in the business world.

Short Working Day:  My hours are 7:00 A.M. – 2:15 P.M. those are the hours I have to be in the school building, pretty sweet hours right, except for the fact, that I am expected to teach and be with students all but one 45 minute period each school day and a 20 minute lunch period (which I voluntarily allow students to come to my room, so that a few of my students that don’t have great social skills can make it through lunch).  Most PET’s are at 2:00 P.M. and we all know those don’t last 15 minutes (at least I didn’t have any this year).

That means I can get all my special education paperwork, plan lessons, correct student work and any other meeting or committee work that needs to be done within that 7 hour and 15 minutes I have to be in the school building.

I can’t and don’t – there are not any other teachers that I know that do either.

No the expectation by administration, parents, students and others is that we remain past our quitting time, take our work home and do it during the evenings or on weekends.  We don’t get “comp” time for doing this extra work and don’t get to leave early, set our own hours, work from home or take longer lunches to go to the gym which does happen in other professions to compensate for the extra time that salaried employees “give”.

Pay:  “Teachers are overpaid for what they do”, this one sticks in my craw pretty dry.  I will stack the number of hours that I work against the average of most professions who are also on salary. I know that I stated in my TEACHER COMPENSATION – USE APPLES TO APPLES blog post that we are paid more than we think.  But I also believe that we are paid much less than we should be for the amount of work we do and what we are actually doing.  The public gets a very good deal on the actual amount of time that I spend on education related work classroom “management” or attempting to become a better teacher.

In reality most teachers put in many more hours than the “public” realizes just to ensure that our students do get a quality education.  How many other professions have a specific tax break in addition to the normal professional tax breaks, because we have to spend so much of our own money to supply our classrooms.

Competence: “Anyone can teach”  I have heard this so much lately it makes me wonder how much blame the teaching profession can take for creating the society we now enjoy?  This is such a stupid statement and I find it very insulting to me and my profession.  That is why professional development opportunities (after school) in my area usually have a waiting list for educators to attend on their own time.

Almost all teachers today have at least Bachelor Degrees and are Licensed by the State we work in to provide our professional services.  I will compare today’s teachers (K-12) against the professionalism of any other profession that requires similar requirements.

I don’t believe that teacher competence is the issue as much as the moving target that the education system has become in the last 30 years.  It is like a rudderless ship, our education system just goes with the current “next best idea” without truly looking where we have been or where we are actually going and the long term consequences of those politically motivated decisions.

Caring:   “There are so many teachers who don’t care and are just in it for a pay check.” or “Teachers don’t care about their students” This is the one that simply to use my student’s vernacular  “really pisses me off.   I know that I and many of my fellow teachers bring in extra food and go without lunch several times a week to ensure that a student eats.

We stay late, come in early to provide extra help for students who are willing to let us help them, find a way for jackets, hats, mittens and other clothes or needs to “suddenly” appear in a needy student’s locker.  I am not trying to say we are all saints, but teachers for the most part go far beyond what many professions do for their “clients” on average.  DON’T EVER TELL ME THAT I OR OTHER TEACHERS DO NOT CARE ABOUT OUR STUDENTS!  Yes I yelled and I will continue to yell on this one until I can’t anymore.

Those are the one’s I hear about the most around and about.  I just get sick of it.  I know that I am a hard-working teacher who tries his best to ensure that the children who are in my classroom and school learn as much as they possibly can.

I just get tired of non-teachers telling me how cushy I have it and how easy it is to be a teacher.  I have a partial solution, when we hear someone discussing how bad education and teachers are today – accurately and passionately let that person know the truth.  Do not let others try to drown out our words with innuendo and half-truths or their yelling/screaming, don’t allow others to intimidate us into being quiet.

Keep putting the truth out there that teaching is a honorable profession that deserves respect and does a great job of educating our students with the tools and limitations that we have today, not the negative stereotyping we seem to have received so much of lately.

So when someone attacks me and says that I am whining and complaining that I should be out in the real world where people are loosing their jobs and not getting pay raises (they forget teachers are too), I will calmly ask them to describe their point of view, continue to push the truth and offer them a simple idea, why don’t they become a teacher.

Ask those that complain the most about teachers to “walk a mile” in a teacher’s shoes.  You will be surprised at the responses that simple request gets from those that won’t or can’t teach.

Have you made a difference today? How?

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