Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
We have a major communications problem in this country about education as shown in this letter to the editor:
To the Editor:
It is a mystery why teachers fail to understand the public perception. They do not work a full day, they have significant time off during the day, they have extensive vacation time, they can be granted tenure and they have a retirement benefits package that is the envy of all except top corporate executives. Any additional activity, like being a coach, club leader or adviser, is generally compensated.
Now don’t get me wrong. The uniformed unions also have overreaching benefits that need renegotiation. But it is the teachers with whom the public has the greatest contact and who regularly whine about how poorly treated they are and demand raises from struggling taxpayers on whose shoulders their compensation falls.
It is high time they wake up and begin to understand that they do not exist in a vacuum and that their ivory towers need a dose of reality.
Huntington, N.Y., March 3, 2011
This writer and others who believe this don't get it. The misconception of the teacher is a serious matter. First of all the pay is far below a salary many other people would not tolerate. The benefits come because of the numbers of teachers who can negotiate a good deal in any area like health, transportation, because we have numbers. I don't know other professions that bring work home on a regular basis like teachers. For example, The National Council of Teachers of English recommend that a high school teacher spend at least 15 minutes grading each essay. Sometimes more time is needed, but let's work with fifteen minutes per essay. In NYC, high school English teachers teach 5 classes of on average 30 students per class. That's 150 students who each write an essay which then takes 37 and one half hours to assess. Now consider the quiz or two given, the homework, the test and other work that is needed to assess and we are talking a lot more then the 6 and one half hours we are in school. Many high school teachers spend another 6 hours a day assessing and then preparing for tomorrow's class. That's a twelve hour day. When other workers leave work they leave work, not teachers. If I made the money a corporate leader made, I'd have no problem, but I don't make that kind of money and that corporate worker wouldn't do my job. What the public doesn't understand about teaching is that being on the job is just half of our job. The other half happens after school, after work when we bring our work home that no other worker in this country does nor would it be tolerated by their family.Oftentimes I hear parents talking about their own children and the amount of work it takes. Now try that with 30 different children every hour of the school day.
Teachers don't make the school calendar. When they work extra hours as a coach or during a vacation, they should be compensated just as any other worker is with time and a half pay. Just try to get a doctor, a lawyer, a contractor, an accountant to do something else without compensation.
Oh, Mr Huntington, we understand the wrath of the public. Everyone hates their teachers. Perhaps the real mystery is that the public doesn't understand the teaching profession. They only see what they want to see. I do know teaching isn't for everyone, it takes a very special person. Now if it weren't for teachers where would we be?