Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Excessive teacher absences adversely affect students

Substitutes are being used more often, for longer periods

Coyla Lockhart, a retired teacher, talks with Alexis Kriegh, 8, at Hillcrest School. Lockhart is now used by the Lawrence school district as a substitute teacher almost every day.

Coyla Lockhart, a retired teacher, talks with Alexis Kriegh, 8, at Hillcrest School. Lockhart is now used by the Lawrence school district as a substitute teacher almost every day.

January 24, 2008


Teaching not all it's cracked up to be

A new report lists teaching as one of the top professions that may not live up to the employee's expectations. As 6News reporter Lindsey Slater shows us, the students aren't the only ones learning in the classroom. Enlarge video

Reader poll
Think back to your days as a young student. What was it like when your class was monitored by a substitute teacher?

or See the results without voting


Coyla Lockhart, who retired in 2006 after teaching for 23 years, continues to be a familiar face in Lawrence.

She's a popular substitute teacher, and was back in her old stomping grounds at Hillcrest School last Friday. The day before she was at Central Junior High School.

Lockhart is one of about 65 substitute teachers Lawrence schools call upon each day to fill in for those who are ill, have illnesses in their families or are attending training, said David Cunningham, division director for human resources of certified personnel.

That's 7 percent of the teacher work force.

The district has 924 teachers, of which 70 are part time. A pool of about 110 substitutes are available.

Lawrence principals say they are fortunate to be able to rely on Lockhart and other area substitutes who have extensive classroom experience. Nationally, finding experienced substitutes has become a concern.

New research shows that a child can spend up to a year with substitute teachers from kindergarten through high school. This, according to a national report, can have an adverse effect in the classroom.

The problem isn't just with teachers home for a day or two with the flu. Schools' use of substitutes to plug full-time vacancies - the teachers whom students are supposed to have all year - is up dramatically nationwide.

Duke University economist Charles Clotfelter, among a handful of researchers who have studied the issue, says the image of spitballs flying past a substitute often reflects reality.

"Many times substitutes don't have the plan in front of them," Clotfelter said. "They don't have all the behavioral expectations that the regular teachers have established, so it's basically a holding pattern."

Clotfelter's examination of North Carolina schools is part of emerging research suggesting that teacher absences lead to lower student test scores, even when substitutes fill in. And test scores have gained heightened importance, because the 2002 education law penalizes schools if too few students meet testing benchmarks. The goal is to get all students reading and doing math at their grade levels by 2014.

Raegen Miller, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, is examining the impact of teacher absences on fourth-grade test scores in a large, urban school district that he chooses not to identify. His findings show that 10 teacher absences within a year cause a significant loss in math achievement. When the regular teacher is gone for two weeks, it can set students back at least that amount of time.

"Teachers often have to reteach material, restore order and rebuild relationships after absences," said Miller, who is conducting the research with Harvard University education professors.

The potential harm multiplies when subs are used in long-term roles in a classroom. Though long-term substitutes often have better credentials than those chosen for daily fill-ins, they are no replacement for regular, full-time teachers who have gone through the normal hiring process.

Nationwide, the number of schools reporting that they used substitutes to fill regular teaching vacancies doubled between 1994 and 2004, according to Education Department data. The latest data showed more than a fifth of public schools use subs in this way.

This year Lawrence is relying on mostly former or retired teachers to fill seven teacher vacancies, for the most part because administrators were unable to hire people for those positions to start the year, Cunningham said. Five of the vacancies are in special education.

District leaders want to be able to fill those positions, but they also believe retired teachers make good long-term substitutes.

"That is the difference that allows us to feel comfortable that we're not going to suffer academically," Cunningham said.

The district has been pleased with its evaluations of substitute teachers, he said.

Felton Avery, principal at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road, said it can be difficult if more inexperienced substitute teachers have to take a class for the day, although many retired teachers or more-experienced substitutes usually fill in.

For the most part, teachers leave detailed lesson plans, and administrators and other teachers also try to lend a hand to substitutes, he said.

"We've got some pretty dependable people there, so that makes a big difference," he said.

Staff writer George Diepenbrock and The Associated Press compiled this report.


nobody1793 8 years ago

I don't know about being a teacher, but I've walked miles as a student with substitue teachers, and I know that it was always disruptive to me. We didn't take things seriously, were often confused by inconsistant messages and methods, etc. I'm sure the subs are doing their best in a tough situation, but it's not the same as having your real teacher there.

staff04 8 years ago

This story has what I call a "John Madden" headline...

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

deskboy04 8 years ago

Why didn't you become a teacher Central Kansan?

Escapee 8 years ago

I don't have a problem with the currently 'built-in' times off that teaching allows a person. That may, in fact, be why a person chose the career. It's ideal for a parent raising school-aged children. However, I don't like the excessive amounts of time out of the scheduled classroom periods that we are beginning to accept as the norm. It most definitely has an adverse effect on students -- especially the very young ones who must still be learning to trust all the new people in their lives in this environment. It breaks a bond that is necessary to be formed in the elementary grades.

I know of at least one district that has made efforts to address this serious problem by having a district training facility for which a regular team of subs is hired and dispensed as teachers come in for training. To the kids it means if Ms. X, our regular teacher is going to be gone -- then Ms. O, our regular sub will always be the one to replace her. It works well. And teacher expectations and bonds are also formed. Lessens the gaps....

booze_buds_03 8 years ago

It is not "paid vacation". The way I understand it is a teacher can choose to receive their paycheck throughout the year, so as to better budget money. Or they can just get paid during the time they work. The money is not good either way you look at it. Especially considering some of the kids they must put up with. 5/7 vacancies are also special education, so I think that says something about the type of working conditions.

8 years ago

I will listen to what either of you have to say once you have walked A DAY in the life of a teacher. You really have no idea what you are talking about....maybe you, formercentralkansan, should put your money where your mouth is and get educated to become a teacher?

booze_buds_03 8 years ago

If the job was so lucrative as FCK would lead you to believe, why are there shortages to begin with? Get a life and some knowledge while you are it. Then go give teaching a try and quit your "real" day job.

jumpin_catfish 8 years ago

My daughter teachs math in El Paso and has been threatened by gang member 11 years olds a number of times. Why does she do it, will it ain't for the money, she believes it important to the kids and to the country and our collective future. Teaching is not always a cake walk. A little respect! Please!

FormerCentralKansan 8 years ago

-3 months off in the summer -2 weeks off at Christmas -1 week off for Spring Break -Numerous half days -Most of you only work 6 hour days and rehash lesson plans you made 10 years ago.

How much more time off do you teachers need? I wish I could work 8 months out of the year and get 4 months paid vacation.

bobbie1207 8 years ago

Wow! I wish I'd have had THREE MONTHS of paid vacation when I was a teacher. Livin' the high life I'd have been since it would have added another $3,000 or so to my paycheck to raise it up to a whole $25,000 a year. It's unfortunate that this misconception continues to exist in our society. The school district my son is in goes until the first week of June (due to snow days), teachers are under contract until close to the end of the second week of June and if they are returning, they are under contract to return the end of the second week of August. During those two months of 'vacation' many are taking classes they pay for themselves in order to move up the payscale (which won't pay off for over a year) and to keep their certification or they are working summer jobs to supplement their income. And those half days are training days we are required to have by the state, so it's not as if we're sitting around eating bon-bons. And those six hours I worked a day? Ha! My peers and I would arrive before 7:45 am and often would leave well after 4 pm, and then we'd take work home with us. My job required a lot of lab preparation and it certainly didn't get done while the kids were in the classroom.

I've been both a full-time teacher and a substitue. Neither are an easy job, and I certainly wasn't in it for the money or the paid vacation. My success as a sub in a classroom is dictated by how prepared the classroom teacher was, the attitude of the children and how familar I was with the subject manner (and I would not accept jobs in chemistry, foreign languages or math because of my general lack of knowledge in those areas). I had a wonderful experience as a sub in an upper elementary classroom when the teacher had to have surgery (which could not wait until her 'vacation'). Everything was planned out, I had the materials to look over before I took the job and the kids were a great bunch. On the other hand I had some terrible experiences where I had nothing to really go by and the kids were terrible (and since teachers talk, I asked around and found out it was NOT me, they were generally awful for this teacher too).

I agree that substitutes can be a disruption in the classroom, but it isn't as if the teachers are taking those days off to have a day at the spa. Most are either sick (and most of us have to be throwing up sick to take our sick days), have sick children or have to go to a required training by the district. And in the case of high school teachers they may be doing their jobs as coaches and sponsors of events that require them to miss a class hour or two in order to fulfill that job.

Bobbi Walls 8 years ago

Hey enforcer, did you know that kids now go to school with head lice... also as long as they are not throwing up or running a fever, they can attend per the state guidelines. So sending kids to school sick is not the reason there are absentee teachers. My daughters teacher has a health condition, that causes her to be gone for testing etc. So do your research before thinking it is the parents fault. I send my kid to school based on the guidelines set up by the district and the state, and those include when she has a runny nose, cough, etc.

lelly 8 years ago

Nice, put a picture of a Lawrence Substitute with an unclear title and we all think that Lawrence teachers are coasting through life. Read the article and the research about subs was done in another state? Wow. Some responsibility would be nice. I guess we know what the LJW thinks of the school district.

How about a title that says "National research indicates..." ???

In my experience as a parent, our teachers have been prepared and professional. Substitutes worked from lesson plans provided by our kids' teachers and were often retirees with years of education and experience.

Until people afford teachers the respect they deserve for a truly tasking, heartbreaking job, we cannot begin to address other issues like pay or the problems facing our kids in today's society.

Bobbi Walls 8 years ago

No enforcer, most parents do not need guidance about keeping their kids home. However, keeping a kid home because they have a slight runny nose or cough is stupid. I took mine out last week and took her to the doctor for these symptoms. He told me it's a virus, and take her back to school. So who is smarter you or the doctor?

monkeyspunk 8 years ago

For 2006, the US Department of Education's discretionary budget was US$56 billion and the mandatory budget contained $13.4 billion.

Almost $70 Billion for a department that really does nothing but dole out funds. $70 Billion that could be channeled back to the states for their education programs.

In 2006, Kansas had just under 1% of the total US population, so taken against that $70 Billion, Kansas would be entitled to $630 Million dollars that could be used for education. You think we could use that here or not?

tolawdjk 8 years ago

"Being a teacher is no different than any other job. The pay is also pretty good compared to other jobs in Lawrence. "

Translation: Pay for most jobs in Lawrence sucks.

wl318 8 years ago

I think the majority of teachers use their leave in a responsible manner. There are always a few who don't. In my opinion, the major barrier in teacher accountability is the NEA (the teachers' union.) They protect teachers from getting fired who probably shouldn't be teachers, and they prevent schools from paying market value for great teachers. Tenure makes it difficult for schools to address individuals with excessive absenteeism.

Baille 8 years ago

"How much more time off do you teachers need? I wish I could work 8 months out of the year and get 4 months paid vacation."

You can. Quit your bi- complaining and become a teacher.

salad 8 years ago

"teaching lower elementary grades being the most difficult of all."

I found the grade school easy and fun to teach. Little kids generally like their teachers and are sweet. High school and Jr. High are the worst. Try teaching remedial HS math for a day....that's the kind of job that could drive one to drink. I knew some 1st year math teachers who used up all their sick days in the first quarter because it was so stressful. Face it, if the sick days are there, it's human nature to use em. Even as a former teacher, I have to agree: if you don't like how you're treated in your teaching job or that the public is mean to you, leave and do something else. You can do that in this country ya know.

cherry1 8 years ago

i am a teacher in lawrence. my last duty day is may 23. i report back august 7. in those 69 days off i will work 30 of them as an educator/director at a summer youth workshop in another state. i will spend 21 of them creating materials for next years courses because the textbooks are outdated and do not reach my students. i'll have about 18 days off this summer. i work from 7-5 everyday, and if i assist with an afterschool activity i am here til nearly 6 some nights. i go home and grade papers, create materials, and think about how to help my students. i work saturdays to stay caught up. i read books about my discipline and attend trainings to be more prepared in my ever evolving classroom. i have a masters degree and a teaching credential which means my student loan payments are the same as my house payment.

if i need to take a day off to see the doctor, i'm going to. i'll leave detailed notes for my sub and my para, and i make sure my students know i'll be gone, and what i expect of them in my absence, i refuse to feel guilty for taking care of myself. the healthier i am, the better it is for my students.

this article suggests teachers are not unprepared, less than conscientious people. as an educator who loves her job and is dedicated to students, i find this entire discussion offensive.

cherry1 8 years ago

i am a teacher in lawrence. my last duty day is may 23. i report back august 7. in those 69 days off i will work 30 of them as an educator/director at a summer youth workshop in another state. i will spend 21 of them creating materials for next years courses because the textbooks are outdated and do not reach my students. i'll have about 18 days off this summer. i work from 7-5 everyday, and if i assist with an afterschool activity i am here til nearly 6 some nights. i go home and grade papers, create materials, and think about how to help my students. i work saturdays to stay caught up. i read books about my discipline and attend trainings to be more prepared in my ever evolving classroom. i have a masters degree and a teaching credential which means my student loan payments are the same as my house payment.

if i need to take a day off to see the doctor, i'm going to. i'll leave detailed notes for my sub and my para, and i make sure my students know i'll be gone, and what i expect of them in my absence, i refuse to feel guilty for taking care of myself. the healthier i am, the better it is for my students.

this article suggests teachers are unprepared, less than conscientious people. as an educator who loves her job and is dedicated to students, i find this entire discussion offensive.

salad 8 years ago

...and I was so PO-ed I posted it twice!!!

aeroscout17 8 years ago

I taught for eight years and finally got tired of attitudes of many of my student's parents. Some of the comments/attitudes of the parent's were similar to posts on this thread. Eight years ago I left teaching for a higher paying job, with better benefits, which has also resulted in less stress.

I remember when I first changed jobs. The first few weeks I didn't know what to do with myself after I got home; no papers to grade, no lesson plans to improve, no labs to develop, etc.

If you think teachers only work 8-5 eight months out of the year you don't have a clue. As posted here before, if you think it is so great to have "three months off" etc., blah blah blah, then quit your complaining and become a teacher. There is a shortage that will be increasing over the next few years. Otherwise, STFU.

BTW, I don't miss having a break in the Summer. It always made it harder to go back and face the increased demands (just throwing that in for info, especially if any teachers reading this are thinking about giving up the profession and thought losing the Summer break would be hard to get over).

salad 8 years ago

"How much more time off do you teachers need? I wish I could work 8 months out of the year and get 4 months paid vacation."

I think the real point of this comment is the well founded need to move to year round schools, which would require 12 month teaching contracts and 12 month pay. Neither the economy, working parents, or the schools require kids to have the summer off anymore. As voters this IS something we can change.

Lori Nation 8 years ago

This is why teacher here in Lawrence don't deserve a raise. I have 4 kids in the Lawrence district. I pay more for them to go to school here than in California. And the teachers out there worked harder. My kids that are in elementary come home with homework everyday that we have to go over with them (sometimes we don't know how to figure out, go figure!) and this is up to sometimes an hour each night. Our freshmen child doesn't bring home as much homework. What is going on with the teachers now days??????????????

Bottom line break down the cost of public education and then maybe we could think about giving teachers raises.

**and another thing why are the teachers and other staff dressing professionally. When we went to school our teachers dressed up now days they dress down.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

teachks 8 years ago

Hmm...I'm trying to figure out where to start here... Offtotheright: Which "teachers" on here are b!tching in your opinion? It seems to me they are just stating facts because some people are so ingorant about what teaching entails that we have to clear it up for them. The teachers that have spoken up on here have mentioned that they do it for other reasons than pay. Would we love to get paid more? would you I would assume. Most people would like to be paid more. I wish teachers were paid based on merit, not how long they've been teaching. I would love to see tenure go away, but I hardly doubt that will happen anytime soon. Doing away with tenure would help ensure that we are providing students with the best teachers. School districts wouldn't be "stuck" with someone just because they've been in the district long enough. As far as leave goes...when you see 120 kids a day, that adds up to a lot of germs. It's easy to get sick. It also sucks to have to take time off of school to be home sick. There is so much planning involved and then picking up the pieces when I return...I would just rather be at school.

teachks 8 years ago

Offtotheright: Have you tried teaching? I'm not saying it's the hardest job to perform, but it is very challenging. I would never condemn your job by saying it's easy so lay off.

dotteboy 8 years ago

We call teachers heroes, but treat and pay them like chumps. Teachers make sacrifices for their students, and their student's families, that most people wouldn't make for their own. I personally couldn't put up with 1/16 of the crap the teachers I know deal with on a daily basis. Most school districts would love to have the pool of teachers full time we draw on for substitutes. The Journal World got this one wrong. George Diepenbrock spent more time focusing on the negatives of subs with data from researchers studying districts elsewhere. 75% of this story deals with national data as opposed to 25% of local data. Have an axe to grind, Mr. Diepenbrock?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 years ago

Schools can get rid of bad teachers, if they really want to. Many times administrators are too wishy washy or busy with other things. They can build a case with evaluations that would withstand any challenge. I would like to be paid by merit too, as long as there was a way to keep the politics out of it. How can you be assured that not only the kiss ups get a raise? What if you have the super's or principal's child in class, and they fail? Etc. When I worked in business we were given a raise by year, until we reached the max, then everyone would receive raises when there was a profit.

salad 8 years ago

"Year round schooling is ridiculous."

False. The USA is the ONLY industrialized country to still be clinging to this relic from our agrarian past. There's plenty of available research that shows improved student performance with year round the rest of the world does. To further crush your contradictory argument, home schoolers are schooled year round. Did you not know that? If teachers want more pay and respect, then the way NOT to get it is continue complaining and expect more money without anything for the tax-payer in return. No one likes a whiner. I think that taxpayers would be in favor of more funding for education if we got: 1. Year round schools 2. Merit pay and higher pay for science, math, foreign lang., special ed. 3. Alot fewer district administrators 4. More rigorous qualifications for teachers 5. End of tenure

justthefacts 8 years ago

Read the article. It does not say that the teachers are only gone on sick leave or vaction. It says that substitutes are also being used b/c there is NO TEACHER for a class.

There is a teacher shortage. In the nation and in Kansas.

The state is looking at ways to attract people (old and young) to the career. Many avenues are being explored, including free tuition in exchange for services in areas where teachers are really hardest to find/keep, and allowing "life experience" of older people to count towards getting teaching certificates. There is also something to be said about paying teachers on par with people who do other jobs. Take your average plumber's annual salary, subtract 3 months of pay, and you will find that the average teacher's salary is far less on average. We pay almost every professional a higher wage then we do our teachers. And yet we want them to do such important work; taking our children and teaching them all they need to know to survive. By all means insist on quality in teaching. But you get what you pay for. And as long as the average teacher gets less pay then the average (fill in the blank with other people earning livings), and is required to have AT LEAST a 4 year college degree, we are going to continue to see teacher shortages.

Advice to young parents. Start thinking about home schooling.

jonas 8 years ago

teachks: Don't worry about it. It's almost a rule here that if a poster has "right" or some breakdown of conservative in their poster name, then they will chalk full of strong opinions, usually negative, and criticisms about subjects they know next to nothing about.

salad 8 years ago

Facts is correct. If we're gonna preach the glory of the free market, then you gotta expect talented people to go else where when working for the public good is bad for ones bottom line. BTW, teachers are required to have a 5 year degree, not a 4 year degree. I think elementary education is going to have no problem retaining quality people far into the future, but I would encourage any young person thinking of teaching secondary to do something else. College is expensive and you wanna be in a career where your skill is valued, esp. in science & engineering. Teaching isn't it. That's where we'll really get hit with a shortage, but HEY...the market rules, right?

commonsense 8 years ago

People who are personable, experienced, professional, and caring are worth their weight in gold as substitute teachers! Thank you for all that you do.

kansastrish 8 years ago

It's takes five years of intense education to become a teacher, and the pay for teaching with those kind of credentials is low compared to other fields that require that much education. A lot of college students recognize that fact and are reluctant to become teachers. With the baby boomers retiring, there is a shortage of teachers. As for substitutes, I think Lawrence has some of the best around. With KU in our backyard and baby boomers retiring in droves, the substitute pool is full of qualified teachers.

salad 8 years ago

I disagree that there are "bad" teachers out there. No one goes into this career that isn't interested in working with kids and thinks that they can't make a difference. The problem is that parents, kids, and administrators all seem to think that if you aren't Jaimie Escalante (stand & deliver), or heck..... Jesus Christ himself, that you are a "bad" teacher. Here's what I learned from 12 years of subbing and teaching (6-12): 1. No good deed goes un-punished. 2. No job that an Administrator wants a teacher to volenteer for will be paid. 3. You might think that one person can make a difference, but you aren't MLK, and you really don't make much of a difference. 4. Having high standards is a sure fire recipe for increased misery. 5. We teach the dumb kids too much, and we don't teach the smart kids enough. (this applies only to high school) 6. There's always room in the head-shed for another over-paid administrator. 7. English teachers have it the worst. (I taught math/science)

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Business Week noted education is a worthwhile investment. It is education money that still flows while USA corporations are sending jobs abroad.

Teaching provides a best bang for the tax buck. Give them a raise. Let's cut pork barrel highway spending and move it into education. Expand the curriculum and put more teachers to work. It's good for business because so much of their money is spent locally.

Build a Vo-Tech campus and plan for the future. Education has been good to Lawrence. Turn the failed Tanger Mall into a useful project. Begin training for the "Green Collar" jobs a booming new industry.

Education is a substantial industry....bring more to town!

Cut the bogus war on drugs and bring the money home to educate the children.

Close down the luxury Baghdad embassy, close the 4 permanent bases in Iraq, the bases in Saudi Arabia and bring the money home for all levels of education.

salad 8 years ago

Ripper, actually, it's most of the entire last YEAR that student teachers have to work for free, AND pay tuition! So it's actually worse than working for free, it's paying to work for free!

teachks 8 years ago

And, while you are student teaching, you are also required to enroll and attend classes. Some universities make you meet twice a week! I was fortunate enough to only have to student teach one semester and I had to meet with my advisors 4 times throughout the semester. I did, however, still have to complete about a 200 page document to earn my grade. I would like to note that the same 200 page document I had to complete while student teaching is now a state requirement to complete your first year of teaching in order to obtain your license.

Salad-English and Social Studies probably have it the worst. I teach math and when I want something, I typically get it. However, I have seen English and Social Studies teachers ask for stuff and it's dismissed. They are not as high as a priority as math and science. I don't think it's fair but it is the truth.

kansasteacher1 8 years ago

First off, yes I am a teacher, from a family of teachers to be more specific. As for teachers dressing professionally, I wear a shirt and tie more than most of the administrators in my district.

I am a math teacher and as a math teacher, I take pride in trying to educate my students in as many real-world applications as I can wrap their minds around. If this means I need to do some research in engineering or computer programming to give them a taste of these potential careers, I try my best. I have had to memorize most of the commands on six different models of graphing calculators to try and keep up with technology and give students the best opportunity to use it in their studies.

As a father of two, yes, I have children with runny noses. Yes, I have had to use sick days to stay home with my girls when they are sick and have had to go to school until 3 a.m. to prepare materials for a substitute (and came out of the building to find a police officer running the plates on my car because he wanted to know who was working so late). It is easier to come to school with a runny nose myself than to prepare lessons for a substitute, especially in high school math. I'll make it to school those days, but when my daughters need something, it's much more rational to drop my books and pick up on Daddy duty.

Of course there are teachers who abuse sick days. This will happen in any profession though. The discussion over teachers' salaries will go on forever, but a key portion to the argument is that a teacher is expected to continue their education towards a Master's or higher and do so on their own dime. Raising expectations but keeping the same payoff the same seems to be a double-edged sword and I'm not sure how to address it.

Lastly, I work during the summer time at a variety of jobs. I believe this gives me a new library of real-world examples to use in my classes, because I can sometimes look for linking concepts at those jobs that my students would not otherwise recognize. These summer jobs are beneficial to me, and in turn, my students as well.

JayhawksandHerd 8 years ago

Actually, FormerCentralKansan, when I was a band director in the public schools, I got two weeks off in the summer, and my typical work week usually ranged from 55-80+ hours. Oh well, just another moron who thinks he/she knows more about a job than those actually involved, I suppose.

dotteboy 8 years ago

Right on Merrill, except we can't cut bridges out of the highway money.

ndmoderate 8 years ago


Although I'm sure some teachers take extra classes so they can eventually hold enough of an advanced degree to move into Administration (otherwise known as "Being Tempted by the Power of the Dark Side"), the majority of teachers must take extra classes just to be able to renew their teaching licenses. Just FYI.

Kuku_Kansas 8 years ago


You are correct about the primary motive for teachers taking extra classes.

I now have 2 master's degrees in education and am completing an educ. specialist in administration.

I'm so sick of public schools, I'm looking to create my own school.

james bush 8 years ago

Teachers should stop supporting the NEA! It protects unworthy teachers like most self serving unions do; that is, it keeps deadbeats from being fired.

Ralph Reed 8 years ago

Let's see. Teachers (I have taught, thank you) work longer hours than do most other people. An average day is: -up at dark -getting to school after sometimes an hour commute -last check to make sure everything is ready -"on stage" from 0800 to 1530, with a 20 minute "lunch break" - One hour plan time during the day if you're lucky. -working with students after school for an hour or more. -meetings, meetings, meetings -home about 1730 -quick dinner -grade papers and plan for the next day (about 3 hours)

In all it works out to an easy 12-hour day. This doesn't include college classes your must take, that you pay for yourself and take on your own time, in order to maintain your certification. The classes kick it up to a 15-hour work day.

In addition, teachers put up with irate parents, indifferent parents, disrespectful students, students that refuse to do their homework, parents that complain because little Suzy or Johnny failed a class because they didn't do their homework (they then blame that on the teacher).

What makes it worth it are those few students that come back, sometimes years later, and say thank you for all you did. You made a difference.

Teachers do this, and more for comparatively little pay. In 2004-2005 Kansas ranked 41st in the nation in average teacher pay ( , Keep in mind that teachers don't get paid extra when a student or parent calls with a question at night or on the weekend. A plumber charges extra when called out at night (just an example). In essence, teaching is hard, it does require a baccalaureate in education as a minimum, and in KS teachers are not paid well. Many education students , even at KU, say they won't teach in KS because the pay is terrible. Yet, after having graduated from a professional school most people do not look on teaching as a profession, rather they degrade those who teach. (I've actually heard people ask a teacher, "Why did you go into education, couldn't you do anything else?")

As a note, unless things have changed recently KS does not require 5 years for teacher education, the Univ of KS does.

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) writes: "Americans are good at knowing how to do any job around, except for the one they currently have. Done well, and with sufficient passion, there is nothing harder than teaching school..."

Great post Paul

I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

dotteboy 8 years ago

jimincountry (Anonymous) says:

Teachers should stop supporting the NEA! It protects unworthy teachers like most self serving unions do; that is, it keeps deadbeats from being fired.

Enjoy your weekend jimincountry...brought to you by organized labor (most self serving unions). As well as every other right in the workplace.

Susan Mangan 8 years ago

I work in a trauma hospital taking care of sick and critically injured people...the ones who are too sick to come to school, but come, anyway, and infect you. We spend most days around infections people, often with MRSA, or VRE. If anyone I worked with missed 8 or 10 days a year for "sickness" they'd be fired. The shortage in nursing is as bad, if not worse, than the one in teaching, but I know people who have been fired for fewer missed days than the average Lawrence teacher. I can't give the exact figure today, but a few years ago it was reported, by the Lawrence School District, in the Journal World, that the "average" teacher in Lawrence misses 11 days a year for sick days, appointments, family sickness, etc. What in the heck is wrong with these people's immune systems?!?!

I'm sure the stress is overwhelming trying to deal with upset kids and parents, but people can die if we have a bad day. You don't know stress until you've spent an hour trying to save a dying person, only to lose them, and then have to go take care of their family and explain that their loved one died. Guess what??? We have to take continuing education classes, too! And we don't get three (sorry....just two, in some of your cases, apparently) months off to do it. We schedule it around our normal work times. Like police and firemen, we're at work to take care of you when you crash your sled over Christmas vacation, or over eat on Thanksgiving and think you're having a heart attack. We don't get holidays off...or spring break, or winter break, or summer break.

But, most importantly, aside from the occasional rant on a message board, we don't organize and bitch that we're overworked and underpaid and unappreciated by all of the uneducated out there that just don't understand. We knew what we were signing up for and we do it because it's our job.

Get over your self-pity about the "horrible conditions" poor teachers work in and either do your job or quit.

Susan Mangan 8 years ago

And for those that assume I have some hatred for teachers, I have six close family members who are teachers. They also understand the benefits of their jobs. Only two of them work during the summer and, in both cases, it's because they got bored sitting home all summer. They manage to get their continuing education in and several even got master's degrees while they worked. They are good people and good teachers and they appreciate the good jobs, with great benefits, that they have. And we all have a mutual respect for each other for doing our respective jobs with passion and commitment and without the pathetic self-pity that characterizes many "professionals" nowadays.

deskboy04 8 years ago

Everyone works hard at their job. Teachers are no different. If you want to have a discussion about people who are overpaid, it would seem like there are more likely candidates in Lawrence than teachers.

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