That may be true. My question is, what is the pay after normalizing to a typical private sector arrangement, ie. 40 hour week + time and a half overtime, 50 week year, in order to get an apples to apples comparison. Because every time this topic comes up people segment into 2 camps - one that says teachers work 3 days a week for 8 and a half months and the unions who say they work 8 days a week for 62 weeks/year.
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
Some quick napkin math, you can tell me how far off base I am with my assumptions:
Your typical day is 6:30-4:00. Assume you're a typical teacher. In most jobs that's base 9 hours base pay (1/2 hour unpaid lunch), plus time and a half for the 1 hour overtime. 9.5 hours/day paid.
You work a "couple" hours on the weekend. I'm not sure how literal to read that. I'll assume that means 4 hours on the weekend. All overtime pay, so 6 hours paid for that.
Now to figure out the school year. I don't know where you work, I won't ask. I grew up in the Osseo school district, I think its a typical enough district. Their calendar is here. School year runs Sept 3-June 5. During the summer there are 7 days staff training and 4 days for Open House before the start of school. So before accounting for holidays, the work year is 42 weeks + 1 day.
Holidays in District 279 during the school year (not including staff training days, Labor Day, or Memorial Day):
Christmas: 8 days
Spring break 5 days
MLK, Presidents Day, and other random holidays: 8 days.
Assume that the typical teacher will work half-time during the holidays. Instead of 21 days, 10.5 days of holiday during the year.
So the actual work year then is 40 weeks, 1.5 days, where each week is 53.5 paid hours paid (after overtime) and the 1.5 days equates to 14.25 hours paid (after overtime).
Total paid hours then after including time and a half for overtime is 2154.25 hours / year.
According to this, average 1st year k-12 teacher salary in MN was $33,009 for the 2010-2011 year. Average teacher salary in MN was $53,680 for the same year. Assume no COLA increases since that year.
The apples to apples, hourly wage then, works out thusly:
First year teachers: $15.32 / hour
Average teacher: $24.92 / hour
Is that a fair estimation?
Hard to say because part is the age level you teach. the early grades are far more taxing than the upper grades. I would imagine most teachers put in close to that. Some certainly coast though.
Originally Posted by glunn
And don't get me started on union stuff, I appreciate their efforts on many fronts but on ensuring teacher quality they are far and away the biggest problem. like any union these days they don't protect quality workers, they protect all workers. Even the awful ones with no business influencing kids.
Your estimation seems right Hammer and even if I do more than average those rates aren't real inspiring to draw high quality people into the field. Ben was right, we supress salaries in the fields of education and social work because we minimize the jobs importance\difficulty.
The teachers union doesn't care about the kids. If they did, they'd be making sure the good teachers got rewarded. Instead the good teachers get laid off and the lazy ones keep their job. And obviously I'm saying this in general. There are some good tenured teachers, but far more bad ones than there should be.
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
The wages may be limited and the hours long, but sheesh 11 weeks PTO!
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
Since this thread is no longer about Alex Meyer and about teachers it's being moved to 'The Sports Bar' for continuing discussion.
If that was true and such a huge perk, less teachers would quit in the first five years.
Originally Posted by Willihammer
Also, most districts allow you to get paid for the nine months instead of 12. Assume a new teacher around 36,000, that teacher would make the equivalent of 45,000 for the school year. Again, not going to acquire many of the best people out there.
If we don't want bad tenured teachers, we should incentivize the job more. Like they do in many of the best educational countries in the world.
With my sister it was the opposite ... she was paid for 9 months but she could pro-rate her weekly pay in order to get a check all year round, i.e. the summer months are not paid time off.
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
As a single mid to late 20's AP Calculus/Physics teacher I was inevitably in various circles with 'professionals' and like anyone, would get the question - "so what do you do?"
Originally Posted by Marta Shearing
"I'm a math teacher."
What would typically ensue at this point would be one of three things, 1) their personal horror story of how they began to hate Math, 2) how much they loved their AP Calculus teacher/class, or 3) they'd look for someone else to talk to as I was not going to make enough to warrant the type of lifestyle they wanted to live (Dallas area).
I got where I was pretty good at spotting the 3rd even before it happened and would interject the disclaimer, "hey, those who can't, teach right." :)
I got into teaching because my education - double major in Mathematics & Chemistry, just missed a Physics major as well - accompanied with while working on my parents hog/grain farm and catering business wasn't exactly a combination employers wanted to see when I tried to apply for jobs in industry. There were a lot of similar cases. International publications, Pre-Med students who didn't get into Medical programs, but also, people who were in teaching for the long haul. Some of those had truly mastered the science and were calculated in all they did, truly amazing to behold. I will say, I love watching even a good plumber, or anyone who's really good at their trade. So I will acknowledge that bias if you will.
Then there were those teachers who, by this poster's post, probably experienced. And for that I'm sorry. I had some pretty rough teachers too. And I understand as a youngster (pre-18) those formative years typically have emotion tied to their experience more than a person who encounters a professional of another trade in his mid to late 20's for the first time. There's way more exposure to teachers too, and much like names, it often can take just one bad/poor teacher to ruin the entire profession/experience for a person. If you're a parent, you now get doubly exposed to the possibility of a bad teacher and you will have an emotional response to your child's emotional response.
Some of those teachers are beat down by administrations and regulations that just don't make sense. From shoving kids in AP classes as 'no pass no play' doesn't apply to not holding kids accountable for grades and no child left behind - these all have wildly different affects on how a teacher can do their job, which often includes writing curriculum, grading papers, and also talking to the kids' agents, er parents. Add any of those other things where I have to write up to 5 different versions of an exam because of ridiculous learning modications, and you just took away any hope of a social life for my week. Many in America, often don't look at a teacher with much respect, we are after all what's between them and their kid going to the college they want to go to. Or for more short term, their kid playing in the Friday night football game.
Let me share a story or at least something to shed light on how teachers are looked at in America versus say South America or in the East, like China, Japan, and the like. I love Chinese food, especially buffets. The quality is a little worse, but you get more choices. So Most weekends I'd choose either a Chinese buffet, a coffee shop, or pub with some good local craft brews to do grading and write the quizzes/exams for the coming week. I got to where I found a Chinese buffet I really liked and when I'd come in there they'd see all my books and naturally, the first time, asked what I did. And though their understanding of English wasn't that great, they understood: "Teacher."
You should see the look on their faces anytime I would walk in, the whole front end of the store would often exclaim, "Teacher. Teacher. Welcome! Come! Come! You sit here. Is this alright for you?"
It was if I was some celebrity. Why, well, you see, all the servers at that Chinese buffet were actually from China, they were working here to send money back home. But in China, teacher is perhaps the most respected profession of all or at least up there with doctors, lawyers, and the like. So I don't blame anyone who looks down on a teacher as meager profession, they live in a culture that says that and unless they gain a fuller understanding of their own culture and of the world - that's a view they would probably hold, even if a teacher they had in their formative years was a horrible portrait of a teacher.
As far as the hours compared to industry, of which I am now in, I worked typically from 630AM - 5PM with a 14 min lunch break. I had one planning period which was an hour. I also had to write curriculum at my job, which often consisted of all day Sunday while watching football. Equations editor, browsing 15-20 Calculus texts for problems that won't blow the kids out of the water, yet are at an incremental level of difficulty. I got to watch football this entire time, but still, it was work. I had 140 students, and had to put at least 3 assignments into the grade book each week and no more than a 2 day turn around for minor assignments (non Exams). So I had to grade papers at least 2 days a week during the week and even if I took just 1 minute to look over a quiz it would require 140 minutes. So I had 10.5 HR days plus grading (2.25 HR, 3x week) plus 8 HR on Sunday. Then there's Exam grading which was every 3 weeks, which would typically take me around 10 hours with entering all grades into the gradebook, writing comments, partial credit, etc.
We worked 38 weeks a year at 67 HR a week, plus one exam every 3 weeks. So 12 exams at 10 HR a pop. That's 2676 hours a year. Take that over 50 weeks, it comes out to 53.5 HRs a work week.
I work 48-55 a week now in Marketing Analytics. So it's about equal.
There are exceptions, Phy Ed teachers to Golf coaches, etc - with no lesson planning and no real graduation requirements (Math, Science, English, Social Studies) have it easy provided they aren't coaching either. They also get paid almost the same. For these - life is a dream. But they aren't the norm.
Teaching is tough, I'm glad I did it. But ultimately, as USAFChief said eloquently put it, for me, the combat pay wasn't enough to go through what a teacher has to go through. Teachers put up with a lot - we get annoyed at work when a college educated mid 20's to mid 40's adult acts up - try dealing with people where NO ONE has a college degree and NO ONE is over 18. And try to reason and rationalize with them.
I would say, if anyone has a low view of a profession, they should try it for themselves. The CEO of Waste Management had his eyes opened when he went out on the ground floor. If teachers, or any profession really, could get more people to do this, they probably could get better help from administrators, government officials, parents, and the like - as to do their jobs better. We all could.
"Those who can't, teach." :)
As a former school board member, I love this post. You provided a lot of insight as to the plight of great teachers.
Originally Posted by twinsfan34
I wonder what you think about the idea of a uniform national math curriculum (with multiple tracks). It seems to me that this would reduce the burden by providing lesson plans for teachers, and it could be paired with online support for students. I also think that math would be the best subject to try this, because there should be less regional variation compared with other subjects.
People with the greatest talents will gravitate towards the top of their profession. What brings the most prestige, personal benefit, or pay? Top athletes get to pick where they play based on where they can win, get paid and/or be the Man on the team (see marbury). Most teachers get into teaching for the love of kids and a desire to make a difference in young lives (I have not met one that did not say this but I will leave room for error saying most) when we do not respect the profession, pay poorly, and the benefits are gone because they work other jobs in the summers, how do you expect to draw greatness into the profession. Like the Houston Astros, you get what you pay for.
I am a Special Education Teacher. I have been assaulted several times this year and I am told by administration that if I get hit or kicked it is my fault for not moving out of the way. Students cannot be restrained without consequences (hours of paperwork or administrative discipline) even when assaultive due to recent state law changes. Don't put down what others do until you've walked in their shoes. It is a fairly thankless job.
Tomorrow I will be in my office working to get caught up on paperwork. Several teachers are planning this together so we can also have a lunch together. The grass is always greener in the neighbours lawn isn't it?
Common Core, especially for Math, is catching on in most states. Minnesota will likely adopt. The problem is that different curriculum's offer different strengths. But most all of them come with a great deal of lesson planning and companion support.
Originally Posted by glunn
Levi, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but I always thought teacher salaries were suppressed due to basic principles of supply and demand. I don't mean this to demean what teachers do, but it seems to me that there's a larger portion of the population that is "qualified" to go into education. Perhaps I don't understand the requirements, but I believe it take a four year degree and/or a teaching certificate in most states. Given that, the fact that salaries are where they are is likely due more to the teachers union... whether we like them or not.
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
That said, on a separate note, my son has had trouble in school for several years now. We requested and were given a specific teacher in the fourth grade and have watched him go from hating school to enjoying it far more. It is amazing the difference that one person can make. My daughter could do well with just about any teacher in just about any system, but my son is a very high energy little boy who has had a ton of difficulties with school up until this point. One teacher has changed all of that.
Only because we've lowered the standard to justify lowering the pay. The union plays a role, but the societal investment we put in education limits the dollars to go around.
Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan
But the union is also the biggest stumbling block towards incentive pay for good teachers.
A Standardized Mathematics Curriculum
Originally Posted by glunn
You hit the nail on the head. Mathematics is a universal language. 2 + 2 using whole base 10 positive integers is always 10 whether you're in Japan, Germany, Brazil, or Minnesota. It would be the most logical choice to standardize and there's some leeway in this regard - at least on state levels. It would help for kids transferring districts to states and the like.
The problem is with Mathematics they're trying to re-invent the wheel. Gauss, Newton, Leibnitz, LaPlace, et al - all their math still applies.
School districts have administrators who are basically politicians. They're in a lot of pies. What's a big factor of housing costs? School quality or reputation. The ever so pressing: "You want a good education for your kids, don't you?" "Your kids' education is worth the extra money, aren't they?" They have to differentiate their school as 'innovative' and that means having something different, a better presentation, and 'improved methods' and 'new technologies' than other school districts. So administrators who are into jumping up jobs and getting districts popular and increasing revenue will dump the teachers every time. They can adjust. If they don't, can always find new teachers.
In Texas, every kid is now starting at Tier 1 level. It basically means a teacher is now primarily responsible for discerning the inner workings of all 140 of his students. Learning styles (tactile, audible, visual, etc) and we have to write reports on it and have learning accommodations for each students' learning style. Try teaching a single lesson plan to 25-35 teenagers. Now they're stacking the bar and saying you have to teach 25-35 individualized learning plans. Then add the parents who don't want to deal with their kids and get them tested for everything to get accommodations. My kid has autism. Nope. My kid has ADD. Nope. My kid has ED. ED, as in emotional disorder. Ever watch Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs are testing the fences to find a weakness. If they can given a treat each time (positive re-inforncement) to try a weakness, they will continue. School becomes a game. Oh, and any kid with a 'learning disorder' (real or not, not saying some aren't real), I have to write another set of assignments for.
Then, kids can re-take any assignment, quiz, or Exam for a 70. That is, if you get a 35, because you didn't prepare for the exam on Friday because you got drunk or played CS Black Ops (Counter Strike - a video game for those of you watching at home) - well, no worries, because you can just retake it and get a 70 on the exam. By that time you will know the type of questions on the exam and your teacher (me) now has to write another version of the exam and write an exam key. Their irresponsibility led to my weekend getting an extra work load. When I went to school, there no re-takes. You get 1-2 drops a year. Exams only account for about 30-40% of the class, so it's easy to make up a B with even a 70 exam average. If I have any kid who's below a 70 for any quarter, we had a 15 page report we had to fill out outlining all the learning modifications we tried to make sure they passed. We had to document trying to contact the parents, what learning options were discussed, etc. Guess what most teachers do? Would you like to write 15-20 15 page reports (in addition to your 67 hour work week) beginning on Tuesday through the weekend? For $50K?
Each year, teachers become more and more liable legally for a student's success and mental health. We have to report everything, if we don't, we stand a chance of legal stuff. Then you have students who might try to say you cheated them or didn't treat them fairly or they came in for tutoring and you didn't give them enough attention - they actually had to work with the other 12-15 students who come in regularly. They tell their parents, who contacts the principle - and we have a meeting. Another eat in to my evening.
Sure, there's bad teachers who don't care anymore. And they'll sit on good classes, I got lucky to be able to teach AP Calculus. Except, I had to write my own curriculum. Some districts will have a good Special Education dept who can help (project management) with a lot of the learning modifications - but you still have to write the exams. Try writing an exam that isn't over a student's head. It's hard. I know Calculus like breathing, I don't see the difficulty level without some sort of feedback. You find all their deficiencies in Algebra, Geometry, spatial understanding, etc - because teachers passed them beforehand. Guess who has extra work (tutoring, assignments, etc) to make sure these learners pass?
You can't make plans as a teacher. Your evenings are at the disposal or anyone's inability to take any responsibility for their own learning. There's over 5,000,000 videos, webpages, and learning tutorials online on algebra alone. Over half of my kids had smart phones, so they had access to this stuff all the time.
Education should be about learning to solve problems, learning to find a way through the obstacles given to you. Relationships will require this, your future job will require this.
The reason secondary education (k-12) is a joke is because everyone passes. We've said everyone deserves an education, but rather we've given them all diplomas and called it an education. We reduce to the lowest common multiplier. There's a reason 'pop' (or popular) music is so mundane - it has to appear to the largest group and thus has the lowest common multiplier. Everyone has to like something about it.
Same with health insurance, giving everyone health insurance doesn't mean health care. We have a dichotomy here where we're crossing our i's and dotting our t's. One doesn't mean the other. It can.
Obviously, my experience isn't everybody's experience and it shouldn't be taken as such.
But, I was a fun teacher, honestly. Imagine a farm kid (mechanical minded, familiar with livestock processes) with a Physics & Chemistry background teaching your Mathematics and Science courses. You get to design a potato gun and you get to launch a potato at your teacher and if it hits him (or within 3 yards) while he's standing 200 yards away, you make $100. Create your own video games. Explode watermelons and use CO2. Make your own vander graaf generator and make people's hair stand up. Then figure out why. Study Reighley Scattering and refraction of light. Mess with optics.
I was voted Most Inspirational Teacher in just my 2nd year. But I walked away because I had to give up my life to do so. I liked teaching and was looking forward to coaching baseball as well. But, I hadn't even gotten into coaching and I was already no longer be able to live and thus to inspire. I could no longer think or dream with the kids, because I was writing learning modifications or correcting retakes for 70's on every little assignment.
Or meeting with a principal and a parent because their daughter decided instead of trying to do their homework or come to tutorials that they found something online that says students associate 'red' with correction and have lower sense of self esteem when they see red correction marks/ink on their exams as opposed to other colors. (Not peer reviewed) So I'm in this meeting and I know the kid is just trying to not be grounded. So I stand up after a minutes of this discussion of grading in purple or black, walk over to the copier in the room, put the exam in there, hit copy, and bring it back, put the paper in front of the parent and student, "Whatever color I grade in will become associated with it being 'wrong'...here's your paper, it still says a '44', do you feel any better about this exam now that I've put it in black and white?"
The Problem with Bonuses or Teacher Performance
Not all kids are created equal. Look at the problem with the Twins and the Yankees. It's the have's and the have not's. The problem with bonuses for being a 'good teacher' is you'd get teachers changing grades (already do)...so if you do EOY testing, that's based on the students you have. Already see this, teachers trying to get top kids from the previous year. Ultimately, something along the lines of a kid was 'here' and you took them 'here' - you see those stories. But kids are such a dynamic data point. I had a few kids who did horrible on EOY exams as someone told them they don't matter, they can graduate without them. Which is true, but killed my test scores! The other problem is most of the standardized tests are from curriculum from the year before, not the current year. This is a whole other discussion and my post is probably already too long to endure.
Yep. Replacing a teacher is easier than all the paperwork. Lawsuit or fire a teacher. No brainer.
Originally Posted by goulik
Teachers are disposable, thus back to Marta Shearing's post - "Teachers are a dime a dozen."
That's what administrators, laws, parents, and students have demanded they be. They don't want real teachers, because real teachers practice discipline and accountability. Learning is something to be owned, not given.
I subbed for a time in Indiana. I believe I made about $55 a day after taxes.
Also, the historical connection between teaching originally being a "female profession" and low-pay should probably not be overlooked . . . just sayin'.
This is the guy who's got Education's ear.