- Education and Science
Teacher Myths Exposed
Hello friends, followers, and visitors. This hub will be different from my others...kind of a rant, as they say. I have been an educator for over 20 years and have listened to a lot of criticism and downright insults aimed at me personally, and at my profession. Even my own family has participated in this 'bashing' from time to time, which prompted me to write this hub. I cannot believe the stuff people will believe, but as P.T. Barnum once said..."There is a sucker born every minute." Most of the bashing comes from misinformation. I find that unacceptable. If you are going to criticize someone or something, get the facts, Jack! It is so easy just to listen and read things and accept them as truth, but do your research! It isn't that hard and getting the TRUE story may save you from looking like a complete ass. I have broken this topic down into several areas that I hear often when people just plain dump on me.
Myth 1 - Teachers only work 9 months a year, but get paid for 12 months.
Man, is that a load of you know what! No teacher I ever knew received pay for 3 months for doing nothing! Before, I address this, did you know teachers are among the lowest paid professionals of all? I am not talking overpaid administrators, I am talking about the regular classroom teacher that is in the war zone every single day, sometimes even putting their life at risk from dangerous students.
As for pay, we are paid for 9 months of work...NOT 12 like the uninformed believe. Many of us just select those 9 months of pay be spread over an entire year for budgeting purposes. So, our salaries are spread out over the entire year, but are only paid for the 9 months.
And did you know, that teaching is one of the few careers that REQUIRE an advanced degree? Yes, new teachers have to have their Master's Degree within 5 years of receiving their Bachelor's. Most of us don't mind getting a Master's though it is hard to do when you are working full-time and spend a lot of hours of our OWN time on school works...grading papers, planning lessons, etc. not even mentioning having a family to care for also.
Like I said, I have taught for over 20 years. It took me 10 years just to have my GROSS pay break the 30K mark....10 years!! That is being overpaid? I think not! I know of college graduates that make at least 40k with NO experience whatsoever.
So, all those that think teachers are overpaid...well, go stuff your head in a bucket.
Myth number 1 - Exposed!
Myth 2 - Teachers have 2 months off for summer!
Well, I will admit, this one is true...to some small extent. But we are not OFF all summer sitting around a pool relaxing. It is true that most teachers work a 9 month school year, that is they TEACH in the classroom for those months. But being on vacation all that time? No way! I sure never did that!
If I wasn't taking classes at the local university, and sometimes this came out of my own pocket, I attended workshops and other activities to learn the latest teaching strategies and cool activities to share with my students! Even during our so called vacation, here we are again, putting our careers first. I like these workshops, myself, since I am single and have no family, but many are married and have children of their own. The sacrifices these dedicated teachers make just thrills me! I admire and respect them deeply and without them, our children would suffer.
I love meeting new people and sharing things with other teachers. I learn so much from them and it comforts me to know I am not the only teacher out there that has a lot of these frustrations.
So all that crap about playing all summer is just that...crap.
Myth 3 - We are all one big happy family!
When I wrote this caption, I about barfed. Now, I am not saying this is true everywhere, but it is more common than you think. Teachers have very little or no support from their administrators...and not much respect either. When things go wrong, guess who gets the blame? The teacher, of course. The scapegoats of the educational system. If a student attacks a teacher, guess whose fault it is?...the teacher's. Don't believe me? Well, I am living proof.
I had a 5th grade student, yes, an 11 year old student attack me for no reason. He just got mad and went Rambo on me. I had to physically restrain the little madman in order to protect some vital organs I couldn't live with out. To make this short, I was the one that got reprimanded for touching a student and it was a huge legal nightmare. It didn't matter that this delinquent child attacked an adult on school grounds, I got nailed for just protecting myself. He was never punished, suspended, expelled...nothing. So, I was hung out to dry because of a principal that had no guts and was afraid the school district would be sued if we pressed the issue.
I also served as an officer of my teacher's union for 4 years. Since I knew how to negotiate, I was on the negotiating team during contract talks. Our salaries had been frozen for 3 years...3 YEARS. While the administrators were getting raises that would make your hair stand on end. So, I went in with my team and asked why they were getting HUGE raises while the teachers got zip. You know what they did? They looked us straight in the eye and said, "If your team is here to cause trouble, we are going to leave." And they did. They just got up and left the talks without one word further. They knew they were wrong in getting those huge sums of money while we working stiffs got nothing for 3 years already and it was going to be 4 years now.
So, myth number 3 goes up in smoke.
Myth #4 - Teachers are well supplied!
This has got to be the biggest joke I have ever heard. Adequate? What do you consider adequate? Just having necessary, and I mean NECESSARY supplies to teach should not be an option, but it is in many schools. I literally have spent thousands, yes THOUSANDS of dollars out of my own pocket for NEEDED supplies, not some fluff. Would you work for a company that didn't provide you with necessary office supplies? I doubt it, but teachers are supposed to accept that without any thought. It is for the children, they say. That term is so misused..all it is used for is to lay guilt on people that love kids...that is all!
If I took all the things I have purchased over the years out of my classroom, I would not even have the bare minimum to teach. Mostly, I would have just textbooks and not much more. Certainly not enough to stimulate and encourage young minds to learn and grow!
Every teacher I have worked with has spent tons of their own money, taking away from their own families, in order to meet the needs of their students. We get no thanks..we don't want it anyway, but at least give us credit for caring enough to provide what these kids need!
Myth 5 - Teachers only work 6 hours a day!
Boy, is that a load of you know what! Six hours a day? Try 10 on an average day. It is true, we are in the CLASSROOM for 6 hours, but we don't sit around on our butts before or after that. My classroom day starts at 8:15 AM, but I have already been at school for 2 hours. No, I wasn't sucking down coffee in the lounge. I was preparing for that day's activities. Running copies, getting necessary materials together since I cannot leave the classroom when there are students in the room.
Even going to the bathroom when you want is a luxury teachers don't have! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Then class begins and you have 6 hours to cram in everything your district or school requires. Think that is easy...I will let you walk in my shoes for a week! By the end of the day, when the kids head home, I have put in my 8 hours. Am I done? Not a chance.
Now comes the other part of teaching...grading the papers, going to meetings, calling parents, being the sponsor for one of the clubs, etc. I usually stay 1 to 2 hours everyday after school doing things that are school related, or if I do go home, take that work home and do it there.
So, I am putting in around 50 hours a week and getting paid for only 30-35. Overpaid? Not a chance! If we collected overtime for all of this, perhaps we would be. All teachers are dedicated and this is routinely done. We sacrifice a lot for our students and most of the time nobody even appreciates that! No wonder teachers are a tightly knit, very bonded group of professionals!
Myth 5 - Parents are your ally!
You think so, huh? Well, I will say that MOST parents do support you and will make a good effort to assist, but that isn't always the case. I have had parents threaten me, badmouth me in public, you name it. But those I can handle. You know the ones that irritate me the most? The ones that you never hear from, no matter how often you try to contact them. Case in point.
I had one 3rd grade student that was really having problems academically. She was a nice little girl, but just couldn't keep up. I wanted to see if she had a possible learning disability, but had to have the parents' permission to request testing. I must have called that home 2 dozen times...sent letters home with the girl, even mailed them by registered mail. Nothing...not a blasted word! I even tried to go over to the home, but was denied by the administrators to do it. Know what I did? I said the hell with them...I was going to help this sweet little girl and if I got fired...so what. Yep, this is me...the turkey chaser, apple snitching, pool hopping little boy that you all know. ROFLOL I learned well from my past!
So, I did go over to her house one day. After months of trying to contact this parent, I finally got my foot in the door. The child was absolutely ecstatic that I was trying to help her...whoever says kids don't know, is full of it! Anyway, the little girl's joy quickly evaporated. I didn't even get started and was told, "I do not know why you are here and don't care.! Well right there that told me volumes about this loser. The parent then continued, "When my child is at school, she is your PROBLEM, not mine. I don't want to hear ANYTHING from you or the school!" Then the parent just shut the door in my face. I was speechless. I cared more about the little girl than her own parents! I wanted to just ring that person' neck! I felt so bad for that child and she witnessed all of it. Luckily I restrained myself instead of kicking that parent's fat butt all over the house!
Well, of course, the next day I got reprimanded for going against a direct 'order' from my principal. What is this..the military? Seems the parent called the Central Office and complained. So, the little girl got nothing and I was mad. I had an official reprimand placed in my teaching file, which is not good. So, I did what a teacher should do, live up to my promise to help my students. The parents and my own school officials hang me out to dry and reprimand me for doing the right thing. The reprimand...no big deal, but it sure gave me an eyeful of who I was working for. Just disgusting!
Whenever I see school leaders or board members on TV and the say, "It is for the children." Don't believe it! I don't like to say this, but it is true. There are so many corrupt, greedy, and selfish school officials it makes the Mafia look tame. What they are doing is nothing short of criminal! I have seen this with my own eyes over and over. I have contacts in many school districts in my state and it is the same thing. Want to know why there is a teacher shortage? I think reading this hub will give you a good idea! I think we should dump them all and let the teachers run the show. That would turn this country's educational system around and get things where they should be. Most administrators haven't set foot in a real classroom in years...they have no clue. Little sweet Johnny and Suzie, Dick and Jane, have been replaced with Bart Simpson and the South Park darlings. Not many June Cleavers around.
Many teachers go the extra mile like I do, and this is what they face. Really makes you want to show you care, doesn't it? Talk about having your dream destroyed. Teachers love children and are very caring people. That is why we put up with all of this crap...for the kids! We truly do care about the children, not just give lip service when on TV when trying to get a tax levy or bond issue passed.
The next time you see a teacher, maybe you will remember that behind that smiling caring face your children see, lies a very disillusioned public servant, but we swallow that and move on..because we LOVE kids!
Conclusions and Thoughts
Thank you for letting me vent a little. I worked for one school district for most of my career and was just recently laid off due to budget cutting at a community college. It has upset me greatly since it came with no warning at all. They didn't even have the courage to call or meet with me, they just sent a cold letter stating my contract for the next school year had been cancelled due to district financial problems, and that I needed to clear out my belongings at the school.
Well, what can you do? Trying to get another teaching job in this area is probably very unlikely since there are several colleges that have education students graduating plus this huge number of unemployed teachers saturating the market.
The entire area in which I live has been experiencing this huge teacher elimination trend. One district in particular, a very highly respected one until recently, has really been exposed to some very unethical behavior. This district hired 2 totally unnecessary administrators which was bad enough, but each was given an almost $30,000 a year INCREASE in salary... that is more than many teachers earn, but that was an increase to their already high salaries. So, what do they do? They fire the teachers and again, we pay for the mismanagement and misuse of money by our 'leadership' Then, to top it off, that district is asking for a bond issue to be passed in the fall!
Total disregard for anyone but those greedy SOBs running our schools. The newspapers here have been having a field day with this...and what is sad is the this district got caught, but many more things like this are happening even now that nobody knows about. Also it makes the teachers look bad too, and they had nothing to do with it, but will be held accountable.
CONCLUSION! Don't misunderstand me...I love teaching and always will. It is a rare gift that God has given me, and I am grateful. Not everyone can teach...that is a fact. Anyone that says that has never stepped foot in a classroom, or doesn't know what teaching really is. I can think of no other profession I would rather do...even with all the crap I have mentioned above. I am sure any teacher will say the same...they put up with much of this garbage, but will not leave a career that truly is rewarding in many ways. The children are what keep me going and always have. Without them, I wouldn't even do it. They are my reward and know that in some way, I gave them each a part of myself that I hope they will carry the rest of their lives. One of my greatest pleasures is to see a student that I had 20 years ago come up and chat with me. It is an incredible experience...it makes it all worth while. To see what that man or woman is now is just priceless when I remember them as a second or third grade kid...now they are adults with children of their own. THAT is why we teach....our love of people, especially children...who really are our future! And we had a part in that!
GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU TEACHERS OUT THERE! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!