Monday, February 6, 2017

Teacher Thoughts: Why Don't People Like Us?


It's been awhile since I've written a Teacher Thoughts post, but I have some things on my mind right now.  Where better to get them out?!

With the new change in our Nation's administration, the topic of education has been popping up in the news.  In Pennsylvania, there are some new bills in the works, and while I am not asking for a political debate or to discuss politics on my blog, it has all brought to mind some things I don't really understand.

Why Don't People Like Educators?

Summers Off
I've mentioned before that people are pretty bitter about teachers getting summers off.  This seems to be one of the biggest reasons why people hate educators.

I'm sorry that I don't have to work for most of June and August and not at all in July.  But that is the schedule for my job.  In this country (or at least most states in our country), we choose not to send our students to school year round.  How is that MY fault?

People don't realize that many teachers have summer jobs to make ends meet.  I am fortunate enough that this is not a necessity for our household.  My salary is spread out over the whole year, and my husband has a very good job.  So while I COULD work in the summer to make extra, I haven't HAD to.

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I spend A LOT of time on my summer vacation preparing for the next school year.  I work on new ways and approaches to my lessons and teaching to try to find ways to keep learning exciting and productive for my students.  Once I am able to access my classroom after the thorough summer cleaning, I am in the building getting my room set up, making copies, and preparing for the students' arrival in August.

I love being able to be available to spend time with my husband on his days off and before or after he goes to work.  This year, I am going to be able to enjoy my summer off with my first baby!

It is certainly a benefit of my job.

But should it really make people hate me?

"Those who can't...teach."
I despise this quote.

People seem to believe that teachers are just a bunch of idiots who went into teaching because they weren't smart enough or good enough to do something else.

Are there teachers of whom this is true?  Probably.

Most of us are not.

I went into teaching because I love kids.  When I was a kid, I used to spend hours playing "school" in our playroom.  I had a little chalkboard and chalk.  I would always help my teachers to correct papers (I remember doing this even in FIRST GRADE!)  Many of my teachers would allow me to take home extras of worksheets we had done in class so that I could use them to play.

Like any job, there are good days and bad, but overall, I love helping my students learn and watching them grow as people and as learners.

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We have good benefits.
I am an employee of the State of Pennsylvania.  While school districts vary in some areas, it is required across the state that each school district provide a minimum of 10 sick days per year.  There is a Bill right now that would eliminate this requirement and make sick leave part of contract negotiations.

Again, I'm "sorry" that I have good options for paid leave should I need it.  For the record, I hardly ever use sick days.  At the beginning of this school year, I had almost 70 stored up.  This turned out to be a good thing because my school district's policy is that I need to use up all of my sick days prior to getting FMLA.  So I will be able to take off from May-June to have my baby, have my summer off, start the next school year, and still have a very good stash of days.

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Let's be honest.  Teaching is a pretty traditional profession.  Teachers are able to have a more traditional family dynamic, which is something that appeals to many who enter the profession.

I don't understand why people hate us for being able to be available to take care of our families.


I could probably go on, but I won't.

The fact is that unless you are an educator or work in a school in some capacity, you really don't know or understand what it's REALLY like to work in education.

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We face a lot of obstacles each day including state mandates & requirements, uncooperative students and/or parents, demands of your individual school district, and ultimately the responsibility of providing the best education possible to our students (despite EVERYTHING previously mentioned).

Yet we still do it.

Most of us do it because we want the best for the future citizens of our nation.

We do it despite constantly being under fire from federal and state governments, as well as the "haters" in society.

And if that doesn't mean that I deserve a summer off, I don't know what does. 

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4 comments:

Joey Hodges said...

The way educators are treated absolutely disgusts me. A few of my good friends are teachers and you guys are the hardest working bunch I know. The whole "summers off" thing is vastly misunderstood. People don't realize that unless you select the 12 month pay option (which people also don't realize basically cuts you off at the knees), YOU AREN'T GETTING PAID. Everyone can take the summers off if they're willing to not take a paycheck.

Kristin said...

Summers off doesn't even factor into it for me. It's not a draw to the job. It's just what goes along with the job. No one does this for the summers off. Literally, no one. I'd argue that Christmas vacation is ten times more valuable than a summer off.

Jane said...

It's total insanity for people not to like teachers because of any reason, but especially these ones. You earn those summers off, and I highly doubt that's why anyone starts teaching, it's just a job perk!

Sarah Alway said...

People who don't like educators are assholes, and that is my final thought on the matter. Teachers are some of the hardest-worked and most underpaid people on the planet, and their job is one of the most important. They also work way, way more hours during the school year than they are paid for, often paying for their own supplies and materials, which no one recognizes. Sorry, this is a hot button for me since my mom is a teacher. Thank you for all you do!

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