Opinion

Opinion

Veteran teacher responds to letter’s criticism

April 23, 2011

Advertisement

Oh, my, Barbara Paris. Your letter made me hitch my overalls up a notch with each thumb and take a stand with your April 16 letter in the Public Forum. As an elementary teacher for 35 years, I feel I have a right, as well as an obligation, to impart some knowledge to you and any others who may feel as you do, that teachers need to “EARN the raises.” (And you may call me Terry, Mrs. Ed, Ms. Ed or Mrs. Edmondson … makes no difference to me as long as you are listening.)

I am not sure where to begin, but I think I will start with teachers’ 12-month salary contract. You state, “teachers are in the classroom maybe eight months out of the year, what with vacations, holidays, school breaks, summers off, etc.” Teachers report for duty during the first week of August and check out the last week of May. Those are our “contract days.” Many of us are working long hours before and after what our contract requires, at home or school, making plans and getting units/lessons ready in July for the August onset.

Our salary is divided into 12 months and in the two months we have “off,” most of us are taking classes (at our own expense) to either attain our master’s or doctoral degree, taking college classes (at our own expense) for the eight hours needed to recertify our teaching license every five years, teaching summer school, or actually having a family vacation! (Yes, many of us have families of our own!) And many take on a second job just to make ends meet.

On days students have off during the school year, many of those days, (not holidays), teachers spend having in-services to receive instruction on how to better educate and meet students’ needs. During our duty days, we come in early and leave late — no time cards involved as that would go into overtime that would be insurmountable. We are the ones that are there for the morning greetings and at the evening programs after school to support the students whose parents couldn’t make it.

We use our own money to buy hats, coats, gloves, supplies, food, incentives, books, etc., etc., etc., for students so no child feels less fortunate, or goes home unfulfilled. Even if I wanted to calculate the total dollars spent by teachers in one year for these items and so much more, I would not. We do it for one reason only: We do it because we care.

And then there are the hours of grading papers, making plans, worrying about the students’ home lives and what we can do to make it safer or better, educating parents with phone calls, notes, etc., to keep them informed of what is happening in the eight hours we spend with their child each day (except for our 27-minute lunch time) as opposed to the limited time parents have with them. (I apologize for the run-on sentence. I could still go on and on!) Thank God for that quality time parents have while teachers are on vacation shopping for jeans and overalls to add to their extensive wardrobes, avoiding students who may see and greet them on a first-name basis!

No one in education went into the field for the money. We knew from the outset that it would not be a lucrative paying job. The changes I have seen in 35 years of teaching in the economy, attitudes, respectfulness, trends, clothing, etc., have not really been changes at all. They are all pendulums that I have seen go back and forth, with the causes and cures only being renamed.

And, lastly, to your statement, “unfortunately, too many of today’s teachers are not deserving of raises, just as they are not deserving of respect,” I take great exception. Across-the-board raises, as opposed to pitting class scores as the relevant factor affecting pay raises? Teacher trenches are not like professional sporting venues. Teachers don’t have agents working to get individual teachers higher wages and trades to better their worth. We work as a real TEAM, supporting each other with one major goal: to prepare ALL students for their future in whatever walk they choose. We don’t ask for your respect; we EARN it. And if you want to throw in a belt to hold our Levi’s up, I guess that could be called a “bonus.”

— Terry Edmondson is a Lawrence resident who taught fourth grade for 28 years and currently is the math specialist at Starside Elementary School in De Soto.

Comments

youngjayhawk 4 years ago

Well written ... on behalf of teachers everywhere, THANK YOU!

Janet Olin 4 years ago

Thank you for the thoughtful, detailed response. I retired after 34 years in secondary education, thirty-two of them in Lawrence, and I agree with you on every point. Thanks to you and to all teachers who continue to serve their communities despite low pay scales, waning resources, and inconsistent public support. After the job of a parent, there is no tougher or more rewarding job than educator.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

YES!!!

Thanks for taking the time to write. Loved the details.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

Sorry, Terry, but the rich say we're broke, so teachers must pay. Determinations about teacher pay will be made on the basis of that ideology and assertion, not the facts you so thoughtfully supply.

But you can be proud that you'll be doing your part to ensure the steady growth of all those contractually obligated bonuses on Wall Street and full funding of all those corporate lobbyists on K Street.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

Good letter. Now open the gates for the teacher haters of the world. I wonder if they were the kids who always were disrespectful in class, always breaking the rules, so it made it harder for those of us who wanted to learn. You know, the ones who already knew it all, and had no respect for any adults who would dare show that they had a lot yet to learn. They just never got over themselves when they grew up.

Getaroom 4 years ago

Bozo. Whatever point(s) you were hoping to make here are lost and should be.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

With all due respect - and I do - we have now heard the union talking points. Below is a response to their points

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/apr/23/teacher-professionalism-part-i/

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

You just don't get it, do you George? I truly hope that someday you have the opportunity to live closely with a teacher and walk a mile in their shoes.

kugrad 4 years ago

George likes to dismiss arguments by linking them to the Union as though that lessens their inherent truth.

notanota 4 years ago

It's an odd argument, anyway. If the union has the same viewpoint as a teacher (union status unknown), I'd think that would signal that the union was offering pretty good representation and not that the union was somehow out of touch.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

My wife is a retired teacher of close to 40 years in the classroom. She has taught at many levels and in many locations (my military service). Her career was unusually difficult due to our moves. That is why I have never attacked the teachers in this space.

What I have argued (apparently to no avail) is that true professionals are well rewarded and that there are concepts that support being a professional. I believe that you would be a lot more successful in gaining greater public respect if the teachers union portrayed you as true professionals and not as wage slaves.

The average citizen has seen little or no income increase (most don't get step increases) in several years. If you get a raise it comes from their standard of living not their wealth. Just why should they reduce their standard of living so you can increase yours?

The emergency funds your union is targeting are just that. They are not meant for a recurring cost that a salary and benefits increase represent. Your demands would exhaust that fund in just a few years. Unless Kansas sees a major recovery there will be no more money for education without a tax increase (which we did last year to fund education). I don't see that recovery

I respect teachers and the commitment the majority of them make. I oppose greedy people who want more for themselves at the expense of the standard of living of many others. The fact that you keep making it a referendum about respecting teachers instead of acknowledging that you mean to punish your fellow citizens makes it clear that you fully understand the situation and are busy selling the union talking points.

Why should I respect that?

notanota 4 years ago

So have you seen something where she says she's a union member? Or saying that she deserves a gazillion dollar raise? I think you're reading an awful lot into her statements, here.

I have, however, seen a lot of people hammering away about how teachers don't work hard and are overpaid for a part time job. I really doubt it takes union talking points to get your average teacher to argue with that. I've got a lot of teachers in my family, and I'd say they'd all argue that point for free.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

She is responding to a letter that called teachers lazy, slobs.

Liberty275 4 years ago

What a crock. In the public sector, I work 40 hour weeks at work, then go home and research the solutions to problems I couldn't figure out during the day, study for certification tests and take the tests on my own time. I also read industry journals and articles at home to stay informed on the latest trends and methodologies.

You think teachers are the only people that take their work home? The only difference is I don't get two months paid time off to do these things. And if you think spending a few hundred dollars on gloves and pencils every year is tough, you should try working in a world that costs you $400 each and every month as an EMPLOYEE for hardware and upgrades paid out of your own pocket with no tax deduction.

Of course, I don't have to spend time in class trying to get my masters degree. I already have one.

KSManimal 4 years ago

Rather than complaining that unionized workers have it better than you, and should therefore work for less; why not ask yourself why you're willing to settle for what you're getting?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Why does only 13% of the working class have unions?

Liberty275 4 years ago

Because 87% are smart enough to not pay a corrupt group of thugs for the right to feed their families?

Liberty275 4 years ago

I'll settle for making more than teachers for now, for one reason. As soon as the housing market recovers, we are selling and moving to a better state. In the meantime, I don't want to open my own business only to abandon clientele that will grow to rely on me during the next few years.

When I get where I want to be and open my business, I'll settle for 10 times what a teacher makes. Unions need not apply.

Orwell 4 years ago

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Once the greedmeisters have spared us the "benefit" of their company maybe we can pull this state up out of the ditch they've pulled us into.

jafs 4 years ago

I assume you mean the "private" sector.

parco814 4 years ago

I know teachers aren't the only people who take their work home, yes. And I agree with you that aspects of your job are difficult or unfair.

But the point of this letter and the large conversation of which it's part is--stop scapegoating and stigmatizing teachers for the economic problems of this society. Enough with the divide and conquer crap generated by politicians and pundits who capitalize on this country's anti-intellectualism by pointing fingers at teachers.

Liberty275 4 years ago

My job is fair. I am employed and paid entirely based upon my performance. Teachers should be employed and paid based on a similar system.

Instead, what should be a noble profession has reduced itself to virtual extortion backed up by the courts to ensure their paychecks. I realize some of you think that is just how things should be, but most Americans recognize it is patent abuse of the legal system for nothing more than personal gain.

We don't need politicians and pundits to tell us we have weasels in the hen house. We can hear them screech every time someone takes back a chicken.

EudoraKelty 4 years ago

"Your performance" as a means for compensation is fine, but when a teacher's incentive pay is based on whether a student chooses to put forth effort on a standardized test, this is not accurately a reflection of that teacher's performance. A teacher I know told me about a student of theirs who performed sub-adequately on a standardized assessment one year but given an opportunity to retake the exact same assessment a year later with an additional year of instruction, only to DROP 14% on their score, how does merit pay address the fact the teacher busted their hump for ANOTHER year to have the student shrug their shoulders and say "I just didn't feel like taking it again" as their only explanation. When this sort of scenario can be dealt with in merit pay for teachers, you would have my attention. But in the meantime, soak up your salary now based on "your performance."

jafs 4 years ago

How else could we measure teacher performance, other than by student performance?

notanota 4 years ago

I'm assuming you're compensated enough to male up for this? Because if you aren't, and conditions are as awful as you describe, I'd suggest looking for another line of work.

Liberty275 4 years ago

I don't actually know because I never look at my pay stubs. I only find out how much I've made when I do our taxes. I make enough that I don't have to worry about it.

I'm not sure the conditions are awful. They are about average. And honestly, I wouldn't want to be in any other line of work. If god existed, I do just what he would have programmed me to do.

notanota 4 years ago

They may be average for your field, but they aren't average. Otherwise you wouldn't need to point them out, and you wouldn't be getting a reaction when you do. I'm glad you found a line of work you enjoy at a rate of pay that means you don't have to worry about it. Teachers at least have the love of their profession in common with you.

Raiden 4 years ago

Yes because they sure have to worry about their paychecks and declining benefits, job security, and less classroom support for those 25 variably skilled second graders, some ESL, some on autistic spectrum, some just plain old oppositional, and some homeless and WAY behind in school from missed content, a handful with severe ADHD (unmedicated) who can't seem to follow one direction between them all and do a splendid job keeping the class disrupted....you bet that teacher cares about a pay check that is woefully insufficient all thing considered,,,after paying the usual bills, medical expenses, professional development, groceries et, al.. there is that pair of shoes for that kid whose family is too poor to buy him some so his tracher buys them; ....and on and on...if you don't live with or knew very well a teacher you simply cannot understand......but boy you sure can critize

tomatogrower 4 years ago

You don't look at your pay stubs, and you want us to take you seriously? How do you know your employer isn't ripping you off or isn't making an honest mistake in your deductions? And your employer makes you pay for your own stuff and you aren't a general contractor? If you are a general contractor, then you could deduct those supplies. If your boss buys them for you he could deduct those supplies, so quite frankly that claim seems bogus. I sure hope you like your job; most people wouldn't put up with that kind of crud. And I'm glad you have an employer who doesn't just give raises to their buddies, hardworking or not. That happens quite often in the private sector. Or maybe you just know how to be a yes man.

Liberty275 4 years ago

"You don't look at your pay stubs, and you want us to take you seriously?"

There is too wide a logical disconnect there for me to address.

"How do you know your employer isn't ripping you off or isn't making an honest mistake in your deductions?"

I work on commission and I make sure I am credited when I am supposed to be. ADT does our payroll and they know more about deductions than I do. I have to trust them.

"And your employer makes you pay for your own stuff"

He doesn't make me do anything. I do it by choice. My job lies somewhere between employee and subcontractor. That puts me in the position where I have to own my equipment, but I can't write it off. OTOH, it also puts me into the position where I can become self-employed fairly easily.

"most people wouldn't put up with that kind of crud"

Most people aren't in the position where they don't have to worry about the size of their paychecks.

formerksteacher 4 years ago

First of all, Lawrence teachers DON'T get two months paid time off. Our pay is only during the school year. We have the option of taking some out of each monthly check to put aside for the two months we are out of work instead. Second, about the things you buy with your own money...'the only difference is' that you buy these things for your own use. We buy them for children we are not even related to. And again, this is OUR choice, not mandated. This only supports the argument that we teach because we love our students and we love our work. Not for the money. And for the record, I'm not a member of the union, but I do concur with all the points in this letter.

Raiden 4 years ago

CB here....well spoken my friend.

Raiden 4 years ago

CB here....well spoken my friend.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

I'm sure you work really hard Liberty275, and hopefully you are well compensated for your work, but how many times has someone written a letter to the editor calling you and your fellow professionals lazy slobs? How many politicians pass on the blame of societies ills to you? Has anyone ever made a movie about your profession, and blamed you because some smart a** kid, whose parents are probably drug addicts doesn't graduate or even learn to read? Teachers might not care about the small compensation if they got a little respect, but instead they get all the blame, and politicians, who think they know all about education, keep throwing more road blocks in their way.

thelonious 4 years ago

Wow - I'm shedding crocodile tears for you. If you are so abused by the marketplace and think teaching is such a sweet deal, why not quit your job, get your teaching degree and certification, and go teach instead of complaining about teachers and your own situation?

Bob Hechlor 4 years ago

So, are you under attack by the republicans and being called names and put down, just so your wages can be lowered? If not, then your comment is inappropriate. If so, then you need to join a union.

anonomous 4 years ago

Teacher don't get two months paid time off, they have their 10 month salary distributed over 12 months.

JustMyself 3 years, 12 months ago

Teachers don't get paid for their time off during the summer. Their salary is for nine months and that amount is divided by 12.

At least in the public sector, you can fire incompetent employees who don't meet your standards or do their work and then hire somebody capable to take their place. Teachers can't fire the students (or parents) who are disrespectful or won't work. Teachers have to keep ALL the kids (the good and the bad) and then be judged by their test scores. The education fields do not operate like the business world.

Oh . . . and I have my Master's degree too. I am as far over on the salary schedule as it is possible to go. The only raises I get are for "years experience" and I haven't gotten one of those for the last three years due to education cuts in the state budget. There is no way for me to earn a raise or bonus except through the "grace and mercy" of the school board and the State of Kansas. Pretty sure that this is also a difference between the world of education and the world of business.

If you think you can do my job and be successful . . . go for it. Most people couldn't do this job, be happy, and be successful. It is not an easy job to do.

JustMyself 3 years, 12 months ago

Teachers don't get paid for their time off during the summer. Their salary is for nine months and that amount is divided by 12.

At least in the public sector, you can fire incompetent employees who don't meet your standards or do their work and then hire somebody capable to take their place. Teachers can't fire the students (or parents) who are disrespectful or won't work. Teachers have to keep ALL the kids (the good and the bad) and then be judged by their test scores. The education fields do not operate like the business world.

Oh . . . and I have my Master's degree too. I am as far over on the salary schedule as it is possible to go. The only raises I get are for "years experience" and I haven't gotten one of those for the last three years due to education cuts in the state budget. There is no way for me to earn a raise or bonus except through the "grace and mercy" of the school board and the State of Kansas. Pretty sure that this is also a difference between the world of education and the world of business.

If you think you can do my job and be successful . . . go for it. Most people couldn't do this job, be happy, and be successful. It is not an easy job to do.

JustMyself 3 years, 12 months ago

Teachers don't get paid for their time off during the summer. Their salary is for nine months and that amount is divided by 12.

At least in the public sector, you can fire incompetent employees who don't meet your standards or do their work and then hire somebody capable to take their place. Teachers can't fire the students (or parents) who are disrespectful or won't work. Teachers have to keep ALL the kids (the good and the bad) and then be judged by their test scores. The education fields do not operate like the business world.

Oh . . . and I have my Master's degree too. I am as far over on the salary schedule as it is possible to go. The only raises I get are for "years experience" and I haven't gotten one of those for the last three years due to education cuts in the state budget. There is no way for me to earn a raise or bonus except through the "grace and mercy" of the school board and the State of Kansas. Pretty sure that this is also a difference between the world of education and the world of business.

If you think you can do my job and be successful . . . go for it. Most people couldn't do this job, be happy, and be successful. It is not an easy job to do.

KSManimal 4 years ago

I have suggestions for all the folks who insist our public schools are plagued by "bad teachers".

Rather than getting your information from Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan and others who use teacher-bashing to keep their names in the headlines; why not try asking school principals how many truly "bad" teachers they've known?

Once you've done that, rather than perpetuating the lies that bad teachers can't be fired, try asking those principals if they've ever had to endure a truly bad teacher because they "couldn't" fire them.

Get some REAL information, then fill us all in on what you learn.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Granted this was over thirty years ago in 1972, but my first husband was fired from his first teaching job. His offense? He (a 21 year old , just out of college, first time teacher) refused to spank a 16 year old girl. His embarrassment at the very idea literally over came his desire to keep his job.By the way, this was in the Hugoton school district; an indication that western rural Kansas was just as backward then as it is now.

Scott Morgan 4 years ago

KSManimal, I've posted this theme many times. Who or what business wouldn't hire Ms Ed?

Hiring firms used to simply ask staff at local schools who's the best teacher and go after them. Not sure they do this now.

Incredibly our schools are loaded with Ms Ed types.

We, especially in Lawrence lose great new teachers every year.

Ms Ed's job is much harder than Grandma Ed's in 1950. In fifty Johnny Delinquent was off to State school or the Marines. Now we insist Johnny D. and his rap sheet is Ms Ed's main job. Put in front row Debbie Depression, and Tommy, Tony, Tyler Truancy, and Preggy Paula makes teaching kids wishing for a great education much harder as well.

Oh, why didn't Tommy, Tyler, Tony, Debbie and Johnny pass the NCLB tests? Incredibly, they do, thanks to Ms Ed.

I can certainly tell you from knowing a few, constant bleating about lazy vacationing teachers hurt feelings more than you think. I also know from other sources first year teachers often face such serious challenges counseling often resembles caring for somebody going through trauma.

Then on top of this, we pay lower teaching salaries. What a fine message.

Oh, Preggy Paula will get fine home school teaching and daycare when she's ready.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

KSManimal (anonymous) says… I have suggestions for all the folks who insist our public schools are plagued by "bad teachers".

Exactly who suggested that? You are good at strawmen! How about a focus on the real arguments.

John Yocum 4 years ago

Way to go Mrs. Ed; beautifully said. Also, as a teacher myself, I would like to thank those of you who posted positive comments about our profession. Teachers are often slammed in the media by a frustrated populace or a politician out to earn points, so it's nice to see some still care for our work and support us.

The other day a parent called me at school and asked if she could bring me lunch. She told me that her daughter really had enjoyed the school year and that their family just wanted to show me their thanks. It made my day. A simple act that gave me the boost I needed to face an afternoon of state testing. We should all be doing things like this for everyone we know. Just saying thank you to a friend or a co-worker will do wonders for that person.

So, thank you, Mrs. Ed.

Patricia Green 4 years ago

Wow. What a letter. I would have been proud to have had a son or daughter in your classroom. Most teachers rock on!

jmatthews5 4 years ago

ding, ding, ding....we have a winner!!!!!!! A very thoughtful, intelligent response from somebody who is actually in the profession that so many claim to be experts on. I have a very simple solution for all those who claim teachers are over-paid, lazy, or responsible for any of the social ills our country currently faces: go spend 1 day as a substitute teacher. I guarantee you will leave that experience with a new-found respect for teachers.

Keep fighting the good fight, Ms Ed!!!!!!!!!!!! (I apologize for some of the sentence fragments)

volunteer 4 years ago

After four or eight years of Mr. Brownback as governor, I bet that fewer people will have teacher-salary envy. Folks may continue, however, to envy those who early on jumped through all the right hoops to gain employment in a profession they enjoy.

weegee 4 years ago

A wonderful and accurate description of a very rewarding, exhausting, and frustrating profession.

Armored_One 4 years ago

If you have such a problem with teachers, give up your job and do it yourself, if you can do so much better.

grandnanny 4 years ago

It also might be noted that one-half of all teachers leave education within the first five years - not because it is an easy, high-paying job with great benefits and three months off in the summer. They leave because of lack of respect, long hours, and the demands of NCLB. Check out this article: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090222/articles/902220325?Title=Teacher-dropout-rate-higher-than-students- It will not get any better with the current attack on education by politicians and others who think they know so much about it. There has been a teacher shortage for years, and these attacks just discourage anyone from becoming a teacher. I feel for our future generations.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

There will be more funding when the shortage actually happens. We still have more teachers entering the profession than we have jobs. Yes - burn out is high. Maybe that is good. Teaching schools do not really measure aptitude for teaching. All the theory in education classes still requires tailoring to student needs. Not everyone is equipped to do that. Not everyone is equipped to address classroom management. Not everyone is equipped to address demanding and irrational parents. Not everyone is equipped to deal with a constant demand to do more with less.

Perhaps if the NEA put forward a comprehensive program to solve the problems that would not bankrupt the taxpayer and had a rational chance of addressing them, we might make progress. Theory in papers is meaningless unless it is presented to the American public with some logic wrapped around it. The media supports teachers. Why not use that support to make a real point - not just demand more money. Any wage slave can demand more money. Professionals offer comprehensive solutions.

notanota 4 years ago

Oh, you mean like classroom plans or guides for classroom management or dropout preventions and issues surrounding the achievement gap? That sort of thing? Yeah, with a quick glance to their website I can see that they already provide all that. But carry on ranting about the NEA, because I hear they created every single circumstance leading up to the achievement gap in our schools. I also hear they secretly kick puppies.

Stephen Roberts 4 years ago

Thank you to all of the great teachers out there. It is too bad that the bad teachers spoil the whole bunch.

notanota 4 years ago

I'm no longer going to eat at restaurants, because I once saw a bad waiter.

notanota 4 years ago

Half of all teachers do, in fact, leave within the first five years of their career.

BigPrune 4 years ago

I know a few teachers and I don't know if I'd trust them to teach my kids right. These teachers ALL take some form of psychotropic drugs, and quite frankly they all act a little strange - especially their pendulum swinging moods.

I feel sorry for the kids these days, and their teachers.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

I agree, but how do you keep politics out of it? How do you keep the principal from giving that great coach, but lousy history teacher a raise? And how do you keep the school board member who has a pampered lazy kid from withholding a raise, because the teacher honestly evaluated the kid with an F. I think good teachers would welcome merit pay if you could come up with a fair way. You could look at their state assessment scores, but then only reading and math teachers would get a raise. What about the great music or PE teacher?

I've worked in the public and private sector. I worked in a factory, non union by the way, where you got raises over a 2 year period until you reached regular pay. The manager could approve those raises to occur earlier, if the worker was good, but at the end of 2 years, everyone earned the same. Then every once in awhile they threw a 10 or 20 cent raise our way, but everyone got that raise, no matter how hard they worked. Those of us who worked hard did it out of a strong work ethic. I have worked in offices where the brownnoser got the promotion and raises, not the most skilled, or the most hard working. So merit pay doesn't often function in the so called holier than thou private sector. Why do you think it would be fair and work in schools?

kugrad 4 years ago

Excluding contract labor that bring their own tools, it is completely disingenuous to claim the employees in the private sector spend their own money regularly just so their job can get done. That is just bunk. In all the years I worked in the private sector in many types of jobs not once was I asked to spend my own money on anything other than perhaps some work clothes (which teachers need too). The point about teachers spending money is that they spend money for things that are needed for their job performance - in other words, things they can't do their jobs without. This is not true in the private sector, so don't pretend it is.

notanota 4 years ago

Same here. Out of all my private sector employment, the only out of pocket expense I've been expected to foot is transportation and wardrobe. That's excluding freelance positions, where the employer is essentially me.

llama726 4 years ago

"Here are some facts. Teachers sign a contract specifying the number of days to be worked. I believe that it's near 187 days, perhaps a few less. At 8 hours per day (about 6 if which are actually spent in the classroom) that amounts to a little less than 1500 hours per year. The standard work year for "regular" jobs is 2080 hours, about a third more than the teachers are contracted for."

How do you figure (six hours)? I don't know about Lawrence's teachers, but in the school district where I attended high school, most teachers were in the building by 6:30 AM (many earlier), and most did not leave until 3:30 to 4:00 PM. That's 9+ hours. Sure, some didn't show up until 7 but they typically stayed a little later. Almost every teacher I can remember in high school was available for at least one hour after class cut out. Factor in lesson planning, grading, sponsorship of extracurricular clubs for some teachers, "offseason" training and planning, continuing education, etc., I will bet that teachers come much closer to exceeding that 2080 per year than you want to admit.

"Yes, teachers spend money out of their pockets. So do private sector employees, but they don't mention it so often."

False. Excepting people who run their own businesses (not employees, buddy - those are employers) and contractors, there are very few costs for working at a job. Or none. Usually none.

"One reason those of us from the private sector are critical of the teaching profession is that teachers don't want to be held accountable for their performance."

False.

"They want an annual increase irrespective of how hard they've worked, irrespective of how creative they've been, irrespective of what kind of impact they've made on their students."

False. I thought you had some facts...

"I know something about the profession as I had a wife who was an excellent teacher, but who knew quite a few who "coasted" their way to retirement, using the same lessons year after year. It made no difference, since the lazy teacher got the same step increase as the excellent teacher."

That's a problem with any profession where you are only willing to pay $732 per week.

"The teaching profession rejects the idea of merit-based pay for performance, because they say no one can know whether they are performing well, or not, yet every teacher, if they're honest, can point out the good teachers in their schools as well as those that aren't so good. It's not rocket surgery."

A learning environment suffers if one instructor undercuts another. The competition you desire would harm education more than it would help. Get better administrators who know how to remove or counsel bad teachers. There are fewer bad teachers than you say, but you have heard through the media that there are many terrible teachers. The private sector is full of bad employees, as well.

Michael Throop 4 years ago

As someone who entered higher education very late in my career, I empathize with the letter writer. Conversely, while lauding her 35 years of service, I would ask "are you doing the same thing year after year? Is your district doing the same thing, or reinventing the wheel, or whatever?" because, for the most part, it's NOT working. I am dismayed, appalled, whatever you want to say, at the quality, or lack of, of incoming college students. Their grammar is poor, their attention level is brief, and more than a few (not all) want to be entertained and do the least to get by. Is this a new situation? Hardly. Is the ever growing collection of electronic distractions a cause? Yes. I suspect a reason there's as much teacher attrition as there is in the school systems is because of seniority-based decision making. New ideas seem to be dismissed, and the newbies are told to know their place in the pecking order. Whatever else goes on in many colleges, you get to apply real world solutions, not tradition-based repetitiveness. There are 21st century thinkers facing the wall of 19th century attitudes. THAT has to change. Now.

llama726 4 years ago

"As someone who entered higher education very late in my career, I empathize with the letter writer. Conversely, while lauding her 35 years of service, I would ask "are you doing the same thing year after year? Is your district doing the same thing, or reinventing the wheel, or whatever?" because, for the most part, it's NOT working."

Some interesting correlations: -Not quantified (yet) - increasing societal disrespect of educators, worsening performance of students.

-Far increased requirements for standardized testing, which prevents teachers from being dynamic and giving lasting impressions on their students: Still worse results from students.

I could go on. There are a dozen third variables which are possible here.

"I am dismayed, appalled, whatever you want to say, at the quality, or lack of, of incoming college students. Their grammar is poor, their attention level is brief, and more than a few (not all) want to be entertained and do the least to get by."

Don't know where you teach, or what you teach, but I'd agree with you here. I do want to point out that a student spends less than thirty percent of their time in the presence of an educator during the school year (typically about 8 AM to 3 PM in the school, which is about eight hours, five days a week excluding holidays, days off, breaks, etc). The other (more than) seventy percent of the time, they're influenced by parents and society. And parents (and society) fail them frequently by saying that the teacher is a moron, in essence. Why respect a teacher if your parent does not? From whom do we learn respect? I suspect that increasingly unavailable parents have a larger role in this, but people do not want to admit or confront this reality.

"Is this a new situation? Hardly. Is the ever growing collection of electronic distractions a cause? Yes. I suspect a reason there's as much teacher attrition as there is in the school systems is because of seniority-based decision making. New ideas seem to be dismissed, and the newbies are told to know their place in the pecking order. Whatever else goes on in many colleges, you get to apply real world solutions, not tradition-based repetitiveness. There are 21st century thinkers facing the wall of 19th century attitudes. THAT has to change. Now."

To be fair, I don't think we are teaching the old way. I don't know. I haven't gone to school more than in my own academic career and to some extent I'm sure there's some classical "old school" ideals kicking around. I also understand that education has changed from an emphasis on the teacher reaching each student as best they can, individually, to the student's performance on a generalized test being the most important focal point. Perhaps that has a greater impact than any of us can know, because it has trivialized the goals of education. It could also be that the pay is inadequate to draw more talented people to the profession. Like I said, the third variable problem.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

When I was working as a para at a high school, teachers knew which students could make it in college, and which ones couldn't, but they were told that they should try and prepare all students to go to college. There wasn't much vocational training available for those who really didn't need to go to college. Many students nowadays brag about not reading books, even textbooks. Anti intellectual is the norm amongst the kids and their parents. Kids, even kids from well to do parents admit they don't even have a dictionary in their house, let alone books, magazines, or newspapers. As far as I'm concerned admission to college should only be for the best of the best, poor or rich. Higher admission standards should be created and maintained. Money should be put into vocational training in high schools. Not everyone can or should go to college, but that is the onus put on schools by parents and politicians. Don't blame the teachers if the kids didn't become learners. There are a whole lot of sources out there that tell the kids that learners are nerds and losers.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

Oh, and there's the whole movement to raise the child's self esteem. When I was growing up we talked about making ourselves better, living the examined life. Now these kids are told that they are already wonderful, that there is nothing to improve, so they don't. That's why there is also so much teen depression, because many see the unreality that everything they do is just wonderful, especially when they get to the real world, and people are honestly evaluating them. They can't take a real examination of their talents or lack thereof. The good teachers in high school who honestly evaluate their kids are considered mean.

devobrun 4 years ago

I have been a high school teacher now for 8 years. Before that I ran a business and occasionally taught engineering at KU.
The problem I see with teaching today is not the act of teaching, or the pay, or the testing. It is with the education of the teacher and what is valued (or not) in education.

College teaching degrees are not good preparation for teaching. A lot of time and effort are spent in the ed school codifying that which is just common sense. Respect for students and they for you. Love of the subject and for the students. Honor. These are simple, but difficult.

Sophisticating the job does no one service. It obfuscates the job. Teachers need to be grownups who exhibit honorable traits in a human. In addition, they should love to teach. After that, it all falls into place. Teach teachers to be of high moral character. Teach those who manage teachers to recognize honorable qualities, like truthfulness, diligence, and love of knowledge and humanity. Pay the teachers for that, not degrees, or years of service.

The best teachers are those who demonstrate the above traits. Value those. Pay for those. Select for those and the students will be better educated.

notanota 4 years ago

Since I know from your other posts that you're a teacher at a private school and have entered into teaching as a career change, tell me, do you actually have a degree in curriculum and instruction or is this just a guess on your part?

devobrun 4 years ago

Of course I didn't take any classes in curriculum and instruction. I was taking classes in calculus, physics, and business management and technical report writing. After 132 yours of undergraduate study, I had taken 3 hours of elective........It was difficult and demanding. No partying for me.

After I retired from engineering and started teaching school, I went to my department head and showed him my plan for teaching and he and I talked about it. I admitted that I didn't know the buzz-words or proper "teacher speak", but that I had a plan, a method, and the knowledge of the material to pull it off.

He said it looked great. That was 8 years ago and I'm still doing it the way I think it should be done.

So I asked him what I had missed by not taking ed classes. "Nothing", he said, "It's mostly b.s." Hence, my blog entry above.

notanota 4 years ago

Ah, so your opinion is based on an "atta boy" from your supervisor over at the selective-admissions college prep school filled only with motivated leaners. Gotcha.

notanota 4 years ago

And that isn't meant to say that you're a bad teacher or that you don't offer constructivist pedagogy without having any idea what those words mean. There are plenty of great cooks that never went to culinary school and never learned how to make remoulade but will happily serve you homemade curry mayo sauce. That doesn't mean that culinary school is a waste of time or that most of what they do in chef school is spend time codifying common sense.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

And another thing, I had plenty of professors in college who were more concerned about their research, than teaching, so please don't get so high and mighty with the higher education crud. Fortunately I was an independent learner who worked to improve myself and learn despite those professors who couldn't teach themselves out of a paper bag.

notanota 4 years ago

Higher education is often the worst place to find great teachers. They hire subject matter experts and researchers, not teachers, and there's no required course in teaching in instruction necessary for most jobs. I'm not saying that they don't have some great teachers, too, but I think we all have a story or two about "the mumbler," and a good portion of my undergrad classes were taught by some bright-eyed grad student that had barely completed the class him or herself.

Tristan Moody 4 years ago

The way most colleges seem to work now, especially in STEM fields, professors are judged first and foremost on two criteria: 1) How many papers they publish, 2) How much money in the form of research grants they bring in. Professors who are superior educators but fall short in bringing money to the school are denied tenure, while those who go after the latest political buzzword-ready research are promoted, regardless of how well they actually teach. Colleges these days are in the business of bringing in research grants. Educating students is just an unpleasant side effect.

That, however, is a completely different editorial.

devobrun 4 years ago

Actually top professors at the university are usually required to teach occasionally. They use this otherwise odious task to recruit grad students.
The job description for a full prof usually includes some duties regarding teaching and committee work, but the serious professor is hired to build a program.

Not just bring in money, but build a program. Prestige, money, and public awareness is the goal of all ambitious young profs.

And why not. Most things that are taught to students have little or no relevance to the job market. If you take a class from some arrogant and manipulative prof, you may learn how to build your own career as an arrogant and manipulative real estate mogul, politician, or marketer.

Bank presidents don't need to know how to balance the books, they need to know how to appease the regulators when they don't balance. And that takes skills that don't come from attending class.

Hey scooter, going back to the house?

Michael Throop 4 years ago

Then, Tomatogrower, you were in the wrong institution.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

I went to 3 institutions. A junior college, KU, and a private religious based college for my masters. Found good teachers and bad teachers. In "real" life I have had good bosses and bad bosses. I have survived them all. What's funny many of these teacher haters will defend the right of a company to give bonuses to CEO's who are running the business into the ground, but are obsessed about paying bad teachers. When CEO's of corporations are paid on their performance, instead of creative accounting and reporting, and kissing up to the right people, then you can come to me about teacher merit pay.

Armored_One 4 years ago

How many other professions out there are as restricted as an elementary or secondary instructor?

Look at the utter BS they have to put up with on a daily basis and yet they are not allowed to stand up for themselves. Violent children, disrespectful children that interrupt classes on a regular basis. Children that are simply handed off to the next grade level, regardless of mastery in any of the core areas.

I'm in VERY regular contact with my child's teacher. If not every day, at least three times a week, I stop into the classroom at the end of the day to find out how my child has been doing. Is there something I need to help my child concentrate on at home that they are having problems with in class? Is my child being a hinderance to the teacher's job?

Look at what they are doing in Omaha, as an experiment. They are not even requiring students to complete their homework to receive a 65%. The reasoning behind that is that a 0 on an assignment is "damaging to their self esteem."

What we should be more worried about is positive reenforcement in the child's academic career and stop fretting if the child feel "picked on" by the teacher. Maybe if little Tommy Smith wasn't busy trying to be the class clown and gather all attention to him, the teacher wouldn't be singling him out and feeding his whole paranoid delusion that the teacher doesn't like him.

Do you realize that schools have policies against lauding winners too much, because it might hurt the feelings of the kids that didn't perform as well? Removes any incentive there might have been to succeed if the last place person gets as much praise and reward as the ones that bust their tail feathers clear off and blow the boat out of the water, so to speak.

Kids do NOT go to school to learn how to be popular, or how to be nice, or anything else beyond getting an education. That should be, and sadly isn't, the lead priority. The teachers are still massively concerned with it, but the school boards and what not have, for some brain damaged reason, forgot that the kids are there to learn, not be coddled and told that everyone is special and no one is better than anyone else. Stop shackling the teachers to nearly impossible, and often conflicting, rules and regulation and let them do what they are hired to do: TEACH!

Parents: You child, while unique and special to you, is not some special litle snowflake that will melt the first time someone is ever cross with them. There is nothing wrong with a child being told to write on the blackboard 100 times after school whatever the teacher says to write. There is nothing wrong with being sent to the principal's office for telling the teacher no. Do you let your child get away with that at home? I pray not, but I have seen it entirely too many times.

notanota 4 years ago

Or little Tommy Smith has an undiagnosed LD and is misbehaving in order to hide the fact that he really doesn't understand the assignment and feels stupid for missing something all the other kids get, or maybe he's bored and understood that assignment two years ago.

I'm not saying that I like the idea of grade deflation for the sake of self esteem - I don't, and I'm not saying that parental attitudes and involvement don't play a heavy role in education - they do, but just because a child is misbehaving in class, don't assume you know the reason why or that bad parenting is to blame.

jafs 4 years ago

Part of being a good parent would be finding out why your child is having problems, I would think.

notanota 4 years ago

Sure, when that's possible. When it's your oldest or only child, you may not necessarily recognize behavior as aberrant. Susie is hiding her homework and pretending she finished it. Tommy is an extremely picky eater and is only interested in Pokemon. Learning problems or just typical kid stuff? On top of that, a child's behavior at home will not necessarily be the same as it is at school, and unless they have clear channels of communication and teachers trained specifically to recognize LD (and not discouraged from admitting it by administrators that don't want to foot SpED costs), then it's easy to assume that little Tommy is just a misbehaving child that gets no discipline at home and Susie would have an easy time writing that paper if she'd just do the work.

Armored_One 4 years ago

MTv is not a teaching tool and neither is a cell phone.

Confiscate the remote. Deactivate the damned cell phones.

Will Smith said it best.

"You go to learn, not for a fashion show."

If you hobble how a child is taught, then that child's education is hobbled across the board. You cannot have both ends of this problem at the same time. Back off the teachers. They get thanked less than narcotic officers are by the people that they bust. I thank my child's teacher every time we talk, not just for her time, but for the fact that she does the job that she does.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

When I worked as a para I was in many different classrooms, including subbing several times at the elementary level. Many students learned the subject, but once out of the room seemed to forget everything they were taught. They weren't making any connections. The high school teacher complained that kids didn't know what a noun or verb was, so it must be the elementary teacher's fault for not teaching it. But I was there. I saw her teach it. I saw the kids practice it. Students who went to science, didn't take their math skills with them. Students in a basic English didn't take their grammar skills with them to a writing class or to a foreign language class. They would read something in literature class that they had learned about in science, but it was like the were learning it for the first time. Now not all students did this, but perhaps those students who could make the connections are the ones we should allow into the universities. The others can go to junior colleges, and maybe eventually see the connections, but they shouldn't be at a university until they can.

Alceste 4 years ago

Reads like the letter writer is also a double dipper: "...who taught fourth grade for 28 years and currently is the math specialist at Starside Elementary School in De Soto...".

She writes: "in the two months we have “off,” most of us are taking classes (at our own expense) to either attain our master’s or doctoral degree, taking college classes (at our own expense) for the eight hours needed to recertify our teaching license every five years, teaching summer school,...". How many years does it take to get that Master's degree? Why wasn't it obtained during the first go around? Plenty of people take night classes and summer school, IN ADDITION TO WORKING to "better themselves" and they do NOT have the 3 months off. Too, many "professionals" must take "continuing education" in order to renew their respective credentials. She writes as if teachers are the only group who are required to do this!

Who cares if she chooses to spend her money buying clothing for her charges? Most certainly, Alceste does not and sees the practice as rather foolish.

Nope, the Alceste clan has 3 "educators" in our midst and they've the courage to own they've stayed with that industry due to ever so comfortable schedule and the genuine lack of pressure they've seen other Alceste family members deal with in the corporate world, the medical field (2 M.D.'s), the industrial field (3 factory workers); the governmental field (5 in state or federal service); the military field (2 "serving"); the entrepreneurial world; blah, blah, blah. We even have some bums who somehow got themselves elected.

The 3 "educators" ALL are paid over $60k each working in the JoCo districts; they travel to Europe each and every year (not together); live in paid for houses; and know they got it good. They're honest about the easy life they picked and work in. It's pretty dang funny listening to the cackling in the barnyard. Keep those cards and letters coming in. They make for mighty fine entertainment....

jmatthews5 4 years ago

Like the other few posters who have responded negatively, you are missing the main point of the letter. The letter is in response to another letter which basically called teachers slobs and said they don't deserve respect. It seems to me that Ms Edmondson is trying to inform the original writer as well as folks like yourself why that isn't true. You may not consider the education jobs your family members have to be as difficult as the other professions (I strongly disagree with you), but I'm hopeful that we can at least agree that a majority of teachers deserve our respect...especially those teachers like Ms Edmondson who have devoted 35 years to bettering children's lives.

Alceste 4 years ago

The point went without even being discussed, relative to this "respect" issue. The fact Edmondson was so insulted that she sat down and wrote a letter about it is what is really rather amusing and fraught with a sense of entilement. The school custodian earns as much respect in my book as the teacher. Maybe even "deserves" it more, too.

Them teachers slugging it out in the inner city schools of Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Miami, Detroit, etc., etc., etc. are the ones working. I'm just a little annoyed with all this talk from teachers about how hard they work and how little they're "respected". It's reached a point of absurdity it's laughable; and it's my own family members who hold such letters in stronger disdain than I: They KNOW....they're THERE.

jmatthews5 4 years ago

Why is it "amusing" to you? A teacher of 35 years is insulted because her profession is demeaned in a public forum and writes a letter presenting her point of view to respond. I'm not following why that is funny. It is kind of funny however that a person thinks it's funny to respond to an original letter when they themselves are responding to a letter. Some English teachers in Detroit or DeSoto might even call that "irony".

Perhaps you should have these family members of yours that you keep referring to provide some additional details as to why they are able to live the high-life on a teacher's salary. I am pretty tight with a former joco school board member and have never heard of such success. Also, just curious, do you tell these same family members that you respect the school janitor's work as much as you do their profession?

Let me know if you’d like me to add you to the sub list for Johnson County. I think it would be really useful for you to bring the stories of your relatives to some of the schools there so that teachers can see the light. Maybe they would finally stop complaining and get their passports ready for Milan instead.

Alceste 4 years ago

You BET I let 'em know that the custodian is every bit as important as they are. And you know what? THEY AGREE.

tedmondson 4 years ago

And I would sit down and write a letter defending our custodians, cooks, nurses, secretaries, etc. if I felt they were being written about disrespectively and unfairly. I have been with my school district for 35 years, taught 3rd grade, 4th grade, and now work with At-Risk math children in grades K-5. So no "double-dipping" as you suggest. Not much time to elaborate on this letter right now as in 15 minutes I will begin one of 3 nights I tutor after school. I am not asking for your respect, Alceste, but if you could shoot a little dignity rather than sarcasm to the teaching profession, that would be nice. Teachers KNOW...they're THERE.

Alceste 4 years ago

Since the custodians, cooks, nurses, secretaries are TREATED with disrespect, what's holding you back? A fear of being "found out" and ostracized? Real mover and shaker you be. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

So, you get a FAT check from "teaching" and moonlight as a tutor? I thought, according to the letter writer, you'd be busy grading papers, planning, or going to a seminar. Rather, you're making more money. GOOD FOR YOU!!

tedmondson 4 years ago

If a letter was sent to the Public Forum degrading anyone's profession that I respected, I would put my FAT check where my mouth is. As I did. Found out and ostracized? I have put myself out there! I think you may have some issues you may want to address. And the $15 dollars I made tutoring today.. I think I will just put that toward my next trip to pay for the gas to get to school tomorrow. I would challenge you to teach a day in a classroom, but I would think you would not have the time as you would rather use that time criticizing those trying to make a difference. I wish you the best in whatever walk of life you are in. But we walk in very different directions!!!

Alceste 4 years ago

IF your "job" is in Lawrence (DeSoto>>>???), that $15 goes a LOT further than if your job is in KC or Topeka and yet you reside in Lawrence.

$15 for tutoring? Was that for ONE HOUR?

If anyone or anybody has an issue here, it's those with this sense of entitlement that because they're teachers they're somehow immune to the marketplace.

Oh, and tedmondson, I notice you did NOT address the fact you're DOUBLE DIPPING. Why is that? Perhaps I am wrong, but I doubt it. How'd you warrant that double dipper job? All the connections you made during your tenure doing what you were told rather than educating pupils? Too busy going to KOHL's purchasing those clothing articles were we? Jeeezzz....

Alceste 4 years ago

Woops! My error: I read now that you claim to NOT be double dipping.....and yet you warble on about 35 years of the work. Ever heard of "burn out"? And "tutoring" with the attitude you've demonstrated here on this message board and your letter to the editor? Get real, please.

Let's see your letter supporting a huge pay increase for the custodial staff. It don't exist, do it?

tedmondson 4 years ago

Yes. Your error. No burn out here. Love my job and am proud of it. That's why I wrote defending it. And I tutor because I know it is helping. No more time to respond to you and your insinuations. Turning 60 soon and have spent more than half of my life doing good. I have better things to do...like grading papers of 5th graders that have more respect and substinence in them than you could ever write. P.S. But you did get one thing right...Love Kohl's! :-)

Alceste 4 years ago

Woops! My error: I read now that you claim to NOT be double dipping.....and yet you warble on about 35 years of the work. Ever heard of "burn out"? And "tutoring" with the attitude you've demonstrated here on this message board and your letter to the editor? Get real, please.

Let's see your letter supporting a huge pay increase for the custodial staff. It don't exist, do it?

tedmondson 4 years ago

I am not double-dipping. I have been in the same district all of my 35 years. I just changed my position. Double-dipping means you retire and then go to another district to teach. Maybe you weren't aware of that. I owe you no explanations. I am proud of who I am and what I do. I have always lived in Lawrence during my teaching career and have always taught in DeSoto. I am finished defending to you what I know is good. I love what I do and am proud to be a teacher! The lives I have touched, changed, and made better is all I need. If appreciation and respect is thrown in, too, I will call that a 'bonus". Hope you can say the same about whatever it is you do!

jmatthews5 4 years ago

Amen! Ms Edmondson-- Clearly those 35 years of dealing with children has given you the patience to deal with folks like Alceste. Not totally sure what his/her agenda is here, but the fact that he/she keeps ignoring the issues and firing back with such venom leads me to believe that it is definitely something personal against teachers. Enjoy that FAT $15 you earned tonight. After taxes, that might pay for the gas it costs to drive from Lawrence to DeSoto. I'll look for you and the rest of the super-rich teachers at the wedding of William and Kate or some of the other glamorous European spots you teachers hang out in.

notanota 4 years ago

I pay my babysitter more than that.

hmati 4 years ago

Absolutely classy!! My husband works in the same district as you do and the manner with which you have spoken up is outstanding. My husband is one that works in a support position and we have found in this district that all staff recieve raises at times, no matter their position, so I guess for our district at least, a letter for a raise for the custodians is not necessary.
There will always be an internet bully.....most people that read these things view it as just that and dismiss it as having no meaningful value to the conversation. I am thrilled that you did not engage in any sort of name calling, insulting, degrading, speculation, or other disrespectful rhetoric on behalf of teachers or the district you work for. It is one thing to discuss issues openly; it is another to be critical and insulting. You have avoided participating in that in an admirable way! Even with your letter and professional replies to the criticism, you have educated any student that can open this forum. You have shown them how to remain classy, professional, calm, and respectful, even when that courtesy is not being offered to you. With your tactful replies, you have shown them to always be cautious of what you put on the internet because you never know who is out there reading. You have shown them why you are a trustworthy teacher with their interests at heart. I am sure that you are well aware that people that criticize like this are a much smaller handful than the people in your life that offer you great support. You have family, Principals, staff, teammates, students, parents, community members, etc., etc., etc., that do appreciate you very much. Take care Ms. E. and thanks for speaking out!!

tedmondson 4 years ago

Thank you, whoever you are out there that backed me up! The students are what it is all about and I appreciate your words. I will continue to do what I have done for so many years...and your belief in that is what makes it work. Thank you!

Beth Ann Bittlingmayer 4 years ago

Dear TEdmonson, First- your patience with Alceste has been amazing. He/she has a mountain of hostility for some sad reason. And thank you for your insightful and well thought out response to the letter writer. I was appalled when I read the letter. I am the daughter of a high school English and Social Studies teacher. So I grew up understanding that a teacher's workday extends into the evening and the weekend. Teaching is a woefully underpaid profession that demands enormous amounts of time and creativity. I am grateful to those who choose to dedicate themselves to investing in future generations.

ferrislives 4 years ago

To the good and great teachers, kudos! Keep up the good work.

To the bad teachers, find another profession and stop ruining it for the good teachers.

From my experience, there are more good teachers than bad ones. However, what teachers seem to fail to realize is that the entire American economy is in a crunch. This is not the time for anyone, regardless of the nobility of the profession, to continually ask for a raise.

Secondly, everybody can agree that the American school system is not even near the top of the list of the best school systems in the world, yet we continue the status-quo. What all parents and teachers need to accept is that what we're doing is not working for a lot of American children. In any profession, a 25% drop-out rate would be unacceptable! So the teachers themselves need to get together and come up with some new ideas to this huge problem. If they don't politicians will do it for them, which will never work.

Our teachers are the only one's that can save our system. They need to stop asking for their next annual raise, and start talking about how we all, teachers and parents, can fix this system together!

roadwarrior 4 years ago

I would hope we always value service people we encounter in our lives. If you want to expand your child's teacher's benefits, write them a check. Consider you have given a teacher 3 children to educate on a portion of a propety tax contribution of $ 1'300.00 a year. What do you expect a teachers salary and responsibility to look like ? Support a teacher, limit your family size and buy a really big house. Oh, and while we are addressing gratitude, to all those people contributing to the system who have never put a child through the system ? thank you.

standup13 4 years ago

I rarely read the opinion section of any paper. About the only time someone's opionion matters to me is on Amazon.com and they can tell me what they thought of a product prior to me buying it. However, the original letter (Barbara Paris's, and this reply caught my eye). I guess by reading this section I am reminded why I don't bother with these sections. The Veteran Teacher sounds like she was simply trying to tell Barbara that her assumptions or stereotypes, or experience with those who teach that she knows- dont' apply to everyone. I think Barbara would have been fine with her letter had she just left it with her praise for not raising taxes to pay teacher wages- that's her opinion (yes I am aware that this was for the opinion section), Where Barbara went wrong was by saying things that she cannot prove and are unfair statements to blanket everyone in an entire profession.
I think as far as politics go, you can rah-rah the decisions that are made that reflect your own- it's why we have elected representatives. Therefore, you can also kick the dirt when you don't get your way, but I don't think anyone has the right to criticize an entire profession, especially one they are not in, or ever have worked in. I like my job, and I don't look down on anyone who has anyother job. Sure there are jobs I'd like, but I know my skills and talents and where I am at right now, is a perfect fit. I am very happy with my life- I chose it, and thankfully we all have that freedom- just the same as we all have the freedom to speak and vote.
I think everyone who is taking the time to comment on here, needs to take into consideration how anyone would feel if someone attacked/ criticized your job, and your lively hood. I'm sure you wouldn't care for it. I believe everyone could use a little more education on topics that are outside your normal day to day life, especially if you plan to criticize. So, in the future when you do respond or want to post something in the paper, keep in mind these words; "When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical."

Also, Barbara, a quote for you, regarding your fear about the future, "These kids are tomorrow’s leaders, and God knows we need some decent ones."- Keep in mind this quote, that I learned, probably from a teacher- "Before you go and criticize the younger generation, just remember who raised them." Stay on the topic you originally wrote in for, not to point fingers and give half-truths on someone else to try to justify your feelings, Barbara. And for Alceste, if that is your whole purpose in life, I feel sorry for you. I don't have that much time to 'hate' people because of their choices, nor do I want to. I could make lots of assumptions about you, but what will I gain? Nothing- I'll keep those opnions to myself because I know that is not fair to merely judge someone based only on what I "think" I know about them.

Beth Bird 4 years ago

Wonderful letter! And to those not-so-nice comments about teacher's getting summers off paid, you need to understand how it works. Yes, teachers can still get a check. This is because they planned AHEAD and had their salary for the school year averaged out to 12-months worth of pay. Otherwise, no check.

salad 4 years ago

Still waiting for all those righteous conservatives to put their money where their mouths are and fill the ranks of teachers with the ideologically pure in order to change the system from within! .....crickets.......crickets.......

Alceste 3 years, 8 months ago

"There are requirements in the world."

Education isn't for everyone--Thomas Sowell

Sowell opines as to why we're stuck, for the most part, which such terrible "educators".

1:36 into the video: "It is not society that is forcing these people to do this . These people have been looking for ways of evading academic work for generations." "Who is they?"

"The teachers the administraors....they love anything that is non academic." You get the dregs of the academic world becoming teachers. You have education courses that repel able students from ever studying the subject. Anyone who has the ability does not want to take these ridiculous courses in college."

The man is simply telling the truth, I fear.....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.