If you really look at it, let's say I made $50,000 and my friend, the loser, also made $50,000. Then he'd be making $25 an hour and I'd be making over $50 an hour. When you add in the money my teacher friends make from their second jobs they're making more like $60 an hour. That's some tall cotton we live in.
I know people who have never been a teacher but they are on school boards in their town. And there are other people I know, with kids, who have their own opinions on the teaching profession. Just last night I heard someone say: "They get the summers off and then (gasp) they think they need to be paid like doctors and lawyers!" And, that guy wasn't just poking fun at my profession; he was sincere.
It's time the teaching profession got a PR and Marketing firm to help. In other countries teachers are revered. They are honored for their profession and they are admired for their service to their country. When I taught in Japan and in the Netherlands people would be indifferent towards me when they found that I was American. But, when they found out I was a teacher then you could see their opinion of me swell. I felt important. I felt needed. I didn't feel that I was being blamed for the state of affairs in the country. None of them mocked me for "having the summers off."
But here in my own country I represent what is wrong with education. My two master's degrees (Mechanical Engineering and Education), my bachelor's degree (Math) and my 20 years of service to our country as a Naval Officer don't mean very much - I'm just a teacher. I'm not really a professional.
The fact that almost every hour of training I have received as a teacher was paid for with my own money including the cost of travel and lodging isn't important. That's how it should be, I'm not a professional. And, in a few school districts I have worked in I have had to take personal days to attend training because I'm not really a professional.
If I spend 6 or 7 weeks of my 9 weeks off in the summer training teachers or being trained that doesn't count because I'm not really a professional. If I meet Sundays with co-teachers and arrive 30 minutes to an hour before work and stay 1 or 2 hours past my contractual hours that doesn't count because I'm not a professional. If it takes me 8 to 10 hours after dinner during the week to finish grading and to plan for class, that doesn't count either.
Darn this sure is a cushy job. I need to find someone to get me a drink because it's after the school day and I don't have to do anything. Where did that cute waitress go? This hammock is starting to cut into my back and I need a pillow... the kids don't care about school so why should I work any harder. It's not like I'm a professional....