Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do They Really Understand? (warning, this is whiny...)

     Please don't tell anyone but I'm supposed to be sitting by the pool sipping a margarita . Why?  Well because I'm a teacher.  You know, easiest job on the planet.  I only have to work 187 days a year and 5 hours a day.  Heck, that's 935 hours a year.   I am scamming, big time.  I have friends who work a 40 hour week and only get two weeks vacation each year.  They end up having to work 2000 hours every year - what losers.   Not me.  And, if I play my cards right I'll get paid like a doctor or a lawyer because I've got my union rep telling everyone I need to paid like one of those "Professional" workers.  Yup, that's me, a true "Professional."

     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....