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Today I will use a great perogative of a blog owner…I will vent.  I will also introduce my husband’s first forray into the world of blogging.  🙂

I came across a post at My Journey to Millions,Why Teachers Anger Me!.  The whole post was 5 reasons “Teachers Piss me Off”.  Needless to say, as a teacher’s wife, I was…ummm…let’s just say, I wrote this post about it, lol.

The reasons Evan decided to write his post were:

1. Tenure
2. Guaranteed Raises
3. Pensions
4. The Hours
5. Perceived Stress

My Initial Reply

You are misinformed.

Regular teachers DO NOT have tenure. My husband was put on the excess list when his school was forced to cut 20% of their employees due to their budget. They let people go based on seniority with each specific school, so even though he had 4 years teaching experience but only 1 year with his specific school, he was told goodbye.

Guaranteed Raises
Again, not guaranteed. My husband started at $41,800 in 2006 and was cut making $42,400 4 years later…he had one $600 raise in 4 years…that’s not even a cost-of-living adjustment.

Yes, they have pensions. So does my dad who worked at DOW Chemical Company and my grandfather who taught in the prison system. I will say that pensions are one benefit that teachers actually stay for…

The Hours
Yep, this makes me jealous too, but not during the school year when he has to put up with ignorant parents (“my kid turned in his homework but you lost it” even though the kids have to sign a sheet when something is turned in and that kid obviously didn’t…), gangster kids that actually brought a gun to HIS classroom, and “special ed” kids that have no mental disabilities but “behaviorial problems” like peeing into trash cans and hitting random people like my husband because they were raised wrong.

Perceived Stress
It is the most stressful job I have ever witnessed. My mom is a strong lady, but she taught for 6 months before having a small breakdown. My husband literally was forced to tears twice in his first year and he doesn’t cry. Imagine having kids that refuse to listen, literally threaten you on a daily basis, parents that argue that those kids problems are due to blah, blah, blah and you have no right to write them up for those threats, principals that hold it against you if you send those same kids to the office because they don’t want to deal with them either, and coworkers that shirk their responsibilities so you end up planning the majority of all the lessons by yourself with hardly any experience and no one to back you up (plus those lessons have to teach a standardized test instead of actually teaching a real life lesson since the test scores are how you are judged). That is the life of a teacher.

Unless you have experienced the bureaucratic horror that is teaching, please keep your misplaced jealousy to yourself.

Evan’s Reply to Me

“It is the most stressful job I have ever witnessed”
– Seriously? How about almost any doctor? how about some lawyers (absolutely not most)? How about my FDNY brother running into burning buildings in NYC? Whether some random 4th grader understands fractions and that you may or may not get yelled at by a parent does not make it beyond stressful.

Regardless, to call me misinformed when everything I said accurately describes teaching on Long Island, where I live, is simply rude.

At this point I’m questioning his understanding of the word “misinformed”.  I’m also home from work and told my hubby about what was going on…

The Response from My Husband and Me

You titled the list “Why Teachers Piss Me Off”. How were we all supposed to know that you were referring to Long Island teachers specifically?!

Also, making a whole post about why you’re pissed at teachers but only meaning a specific place’s teachers (without telling anyone) is like me writing a whole post on why firefighters suck when I’m only referring to the bad apples in the bunch. It’s offensive.

How did you expect teachers and those of us related to teachers to take it?

My Husband’s Response

I will grant you that teaching is not as dangerous as the job of a firefighter or a police officer (except on days where the students bring guns to school) and that the stress level is not really created by an outside influence (say a burning building). Teaching is stressful because the teachers care about what happens to their students. A doctor’s job is not stressful if the doctor does not care about what happens to their patients. It is only because they truly want to help their patients that the job is stressful. The same is true for teachers. Teachers only have a limited amount of time to pass on everything a child needs to know about a particular subject. They know that if they are not fully prepared for the next grade level, they will not be successful. If the teachers did not care about what heppened to the students then, no, the job is not stressful – it’s babysitting.

My Husband’s Other Reply

My sweet, laid-back hubby was hurt and pretty mad himself.  He also responded to another comment thread about this video with this research project of an answer:

First a disclaimer: I am an 8th grade science teacher in Texas, not New York, so my opinions and facts while valid may not apply to areas you live in, and I watched the Stossel program referenced in the above post.

I believe that most private and charter schools (in Texas some of our school district have “Magnet” programs) have entry requirements. I do not think that a private or charter school will take every child who applies, put their name in a hat, and draw 100 lucky winners. I believe that they eliminate a large percentage of applicants before reaching the lottery phase (if the lottery is truly random at all). Think of it as an all-star team.

Imagine the NBA (32 teams?) creating 3 new teams (now 35). The three new teams would be able to select any players they wanted for their team regardless of where they were playing or any contracts that player may have. In essence you have created 3 all-star teams and left everybody else. I believe that this is similar to private/charter schools and their selection process.

The school that I teach at in a northwest Houston school district has 72% of its students classified as economically disadvantaged (this means that their parents income levels qualify them for free or reduced lunch prices). 16% are listed as having Limited English Proficiency, and 11% are Special Education students. I believe this to be vastly different than the makeup of most private or charter schools. Combine that with the difference in resources (see below), and I believe that we are trying to compare apples and oranges. You can visit this website for a host of state accountability documents:

Average Private School Tuition: 2007-08

                                   All Levels     Elementary     Secondary      K-12 Schools
All Schools                $ 8,549        $ 6,733                   $10,549          $10,045
Catholic                    $ 6,018        $ 4,944                   $ 7,826            $ 9,066
Other Religious         $ 7,117        $ 6,576                   $10,493          $ 7,073
Non-Sectarian          $17,316       $15,945                   $27,302          $16,247

Source: Table 59, Digest of Education Statistics 2009, National Center for Education Statistics.

According to the video referenced in the above comment, the US spends about $11,000 per child per year in public school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, non-religious private school cost almost $16,000 for elementary and almost $28,000 for secondary. The money we spend for public school (at least in Texas) pays for transportation (most, if not all, private schools do not provide transportation), books, teacher salaries, after school programs, before and after school classes and tutorials, electricity for the building, technology, and much more.

Is the public school system perfect? NO.
Is the public school system broken? MAYBE.
Are private schools a bad idea? NO.
Are there bad teachers? YES.

But they do not take away from the thousands of teachers across the country who work to try to give students the best possible education – teachers who spend dozens of hours each summer in professional development classes trying to better themselves for the sake of their students. Most teachers don’t work in education because they want summers off – they work teaching children because they have a passion for it, because they care about each little person who enters their classroom, and because they want to see their students succeed.

Have I ever mentioned that I’m absolutely head-over-heels in love with my husband?  Yep, totally lost in love, that’s me.  🙂

What’s your take on the matter?

PS  Just in case you were thinking of sending hate mail to Evan at My Journey to Millions, please be sure to read the whole post and comment section first to draw your own conclusions.  Evan wrote his post with Long Island teachers and teacher unions in mind.  He didn’t know that teachers like my husband aren’t in unions and don’t get all of the benefits he complained about.