7 Things Teachers Wish They Could Tell You
1. "Actually, I didn't have the summer off." A new study by Sam Houston State University showed that 40% of teachers moonlight to make extra money, and 56% of teachers have second jobs during the summer. (http://www.reporternews.com/news/2010/jul/22/more- teachers-have-second-jobs/) According to a survey of teachers by the NEA taken in 2003, 35% of teachers were participating in professional development activities and courses hosted by their school districts.
2. "School is not the place you remember." Ever since A Nation at Risk and No Child Left Behind came into play (not to mention IDEA, FERPA, and ADA), schools have been held accountable for every penny, every test, every teacher, every hour. You may remember that "Mrs. Jones" sat at her desk all day, but you would be hard-pressed to find a teacher or a classroom like that today. As schools have replaced chalkboards with whiteboards and SmartBoards, typewriters with PC's, desks with tables, coat hooks with cubbies and lockers, PA's with phones, so the classroom learning environment, teacher expectations and best practices have also metamorphosed.
3. "You know, just because the students are only there for 6 1/2 hours, doesn't mean that my work day is only 6 1/2 hours long." While contractual teacher workweeks range between about 32 and 38 hours a week (less than standard full-time hours), actual teacher working hours (including administrative paperwork, parent meetings, IEP meetings, departmental meetings, student tutoring, grading papers, entering grades, planning lessons, corresponding with parents, writing curriculum, reading books, etc.) are estimated by many sources at between 50 and 60 hours per week.
4. "OK, so you went to school. That doesn't mean you can do my job." About half of all new teachers quit the profession within five years, according to the NEA.
5. "Contrary to popular belief, teaching is not something you should aim to do when you retire." In 2004, teaching and social work topped the UK's list of the most stressful jobs. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3573075.stm). In 2008, teachers ranked #4 on Career Builder's list of 8 High-Stress Jobs (http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB- 1005-Job-Search-8-High-Stress-Jobs/).
6. "Merit pay and bonuses would not make me work harder." A new study of 300 math teachers over three years showed no appreciable difference between the test scores of students taught by teachers who received bonuses, and those of students taught by teachers who had not received them. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class- struggle/2010/09/first_controlled_study_teacher.html)
7. "I do know what I'm talking about. I have two bachelor's degrees, a teaching certificate, and a masters' degree." Over 50% of teachers have masters' degrees. The NEA puts this number at 57%. (http://www.nea.org/home/12661.htm) One-hundred percent of them are required by law to have teaching degrees, and in almost every state, this means a bachelor's degree. (Not to mention the strict requirements for tens to hundreds of hours of coursework or professional development needed to re-certify every few years.)
Speaking of Which...
- Gift Ideas for a Teacher by Kotori
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