Friday, June 19, 2015

Teacher Myths

There are a few myths surrounding teachers and summer break that I'd like to discuss this evening.

Myth 1: Teachers are paid to do nothing over the summer.

At least in my district, here's the gist.  I am paid for nine months of work.  My nine month salary is paid over a twelve month payment.  This means my school district does not have to pay me unemployment over the summer.  This also means that 25% of each paycheck is technically withheld, then given to me months after I've earned it.  

Myth 2: Teachers are overpaid.

This is one of my favorite myths.  I am three credits shy of my masters +32 level.  That's essentially two masters degrees.  Often, I wonder why I didn't just get a second masters instead of random classes (and a technology endorsement), but that's neither here nor there.  My overtime options are quite limited (trainings or tutoring) but I actually spend 10-15 hours at work each work unpaid.  Yup, I technically am volunteering my time to get all my work done.  I can't think of any other job where extra work is required, but unpaid.  The "teachers make so much" complaints irritate me beyond belief.  I can't remember the last time I only worked my contract hours (8:26 - 3:36).  Most days it's more of a 7 - 4:30 situation, plus work on weekends.  I love what I do.  I wish I made more so that I wouldn't have to supplement my income with two other part time jobs.

Myth 3: Teachers do nothing over the summer.

I have been on summer break for 14 days, weekends included.  In that time, six of those days have consisted of trainings.  One of those trainings was a complete snafu, but more on that later!  Some of the trainings were beneficial...and some were not.  I've got a three day math training in August and a week long teacher institute in Washington DC as well.   

I'm also using the time to finish up novels for small groups for next year, work on creating mini-lessons (especially for language since I feel I am lacking in that area), meet with coworkers to work on planning, research new ideas (okay, look on pinterest and blogs...but it counts!).  I'll also be working on small craft projects like spray painting rescued metal containers to match my classroom decor.

Yes, I will have some down time on my summer break.  B and I escaped to Arizona for a weekend adventure and it was wonderful.  I figure I'm playing catch up with all those Saturdays I spent working, so it evens out!

Myth 4: Teachers shouldn't make more money because we do it for the outcome, not the income.

I love my job 96% of the time, which is pretty darn good.  I love learning new things and when students finally grasp a concept with their "brain fireworks," it's beyond rewarding.  There are wonderful outcomes from teaching.

That being said, it's a lot of hard work.  It's work I love, but it's hard work.  It's a lot of long hours and seemingly endless to do lists.  

Yes, I love the outcome of a successful lesson. Know what else I love?  Making a livable wage!  I like being able to do silly things like: funding my savings account, paying bills on time, going on dates with B, being able to take vacations, and have a comfortable life style.  We've had some large expenses lately (security door, new dishwasher, lasik surgery) and if I had to pay for all these things on only my teacher salary, they wouldn't have been possible.  So yes, the income is necessary and a little more of it would be appreciated.  

However, I'm not getting a pay increase this year.  My next pay increase will be when I finish my masters +32 credits, which will be by the November deadline.

In fact, due to budget issues, all teachers in our district are actually getting a "temporary" (6 month) pay cut.  Yes, a pay cut.  There are funds to give hiring bonuses to teachers who recruit out of state teachers to come to Clark County as a thank you gift, but not enough to keep our salaries consistent.  Oh, and they've raised our insurance co-pays as well this month.  Not okay school district, not okay.

What are your favorite myths about teaching?

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