March 29th, 2012
07:58 AM ET

My View: Don't ever judge someone by their paycheck

Peter Dressel PhotographyBy Taylor Mali, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Taylor Mali spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and SAT test preparation. He is an advocate for teachers and speaks at education conferences and teachers’ workshops.  His book, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World,” will be released on March 29.

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”– Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author

On one level, my new book, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World,” is an explication and expansion in prose of a piece of writing that first came to me in the form of poetry.

At a New Year’s Eve party in 1997, a young lawyer managed to insult me and the entire teaching profession by essentially saying that no person dumb enough to want to be a teacher should be allowed to actually become a teacher. The poem I wrote in the weeks that followed, "What Teachers Make," is the response I wish I had been smart enough to give to the lawyer at the party.

The simple truth is that you should never judge another law-abiding person. Ever. Of course it’s human nature to make comparisons between ourselves and others just to see how we think we measure up, but such comparisons inevitably lead to feelings of jealousy when we think ourselves inferior and feelings of contempt when we feel superior. OK, fine. Just stop right there and keep those feelings to yourself.

Everyone is different. You might try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but even then you’ll never know what it has been like to be them for their whole life, what their childhood was like, what struggles they had with their siblings and friends. What life of poverty or opulence they came from, or how great is their capacity for love, the history of heartbreak they carry around their necks like a cinderblock on a gold chain, the sheer firepower of their intellect or the hours and hours of hard work they are willing to put to the service of their vision of the future. How dare you judge from a place of such ignorance?

My father was a wise man, and I remember two things he told me about money.

The first was never to talk about money with anyone who makes more than you or less than you, which basically means money is not something you talk about with anyone.

The second had less to do with money and more to do with respect; he told me never to belittle anyone who works for a living no matter what they do so long as their job doesn’t hurt anyone else.

In his mind I think he was picturing breakfast waitresses, janitors and toll takers, certainly not teachers. Who would belittle a public servant for the size of their paycheck!? He died before I became a teacher, but I know he would have been proud of me. He held teachers in the highest regard. And I have no doubt that had he been there that night, he would have politely explained that only a mean-spirited ingrate lacking in simple human charity would say such a thing. A part of me wishes that had been my response, too, instead of a poem.

It is, of course, only a minor consolation that in the future, when we finally realize that there is no more important responsibility we can undertake as a society than the education of our children, that those who followed the calling to become teachers now, when the profession is not respected or supported, may come to be seen as martyrs.

Teachers, you do make a difference. And many of us know that you make decisions about what to do in life from a place inside your hearts. And although those decisions sometimes hurt your bank account balances, I swear to you they do wonders for your heart.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Taylor Mali.

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soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. sam

    Guys I'm not a teacher but I have a relative that is. She works anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week for that 35k. She has to go home and call parents on her time. She constantly has her schedule flaked out by last minute after school events that "have to be done". On top of that she has to deal with Irate lazy parents who didn' pay attention to what thier kids were doing until the report card came but then it's her fault not thiers.

    On top of that she has to pay into social security but she can't ever draw it because she's a member of the Teachers Retirement System. And the TRS pays out less than social security. She has that summer off but the school gets to require multiple training classes that are sometimes paid sometimes not, throughout the summer. It's not much of a vacation when your boss can interrupte it at will.

    ONly ignorant people that have no contact with teachers whine about how well paid they are. But thats OK at the rate things are going only the bottom 5 % of graduates will be willing to teach. No sane person would put up with the things teachers have to do day to day.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  2. One Point of View

    My whole venture was based on more the notion of "giving and influencing" rather than money. Other factors came into play and of course it varies from school to school. The factors were increasing responsibility, burnout and getting
    down the road in years ( less energy). As living costs kept rising, more money would indeed alleviate some stress. So I'm into trying to balance it all.

    Regarding that crass lawyer- met a few of them. They are trained to intimidate or fire the 1st salvo. It automatically
    catches you off guard and places you on the defensive. I'd rather not deal with the whole kaboodle.

    My dad was like yours. He taught me to respect everyone.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:51 am |
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    April 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
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    April 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  5. Quadg

    Those who can't do teach, those who cant teach have to manage. why the world is buried under middle management...

    April 5, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  6. KHale

    I always want to smack the face of those who tell me that it must be nice to have "all those holidays off and a long summer vacation". Really? I teach elementary school, which means I am responsible for preparing lessons for all subjects: Reading, writing, spelling, math, social studies, science, P.E., music, and art. (And, heaven forbid, don't forget test prep.) After teaching students all day, I spend hours correcting work and preparing for the next day. Every single weekend I spend hours devoted to my job. Don't even get me started on the amount of time I put in when it's time for report cards. Let's not forget that not everyone in my class is on the same level. I have students who can barely read and others who are reading 3 years above their grade level. Yet I am expected to give each student individualized lessons according to what he/she needs. During the summer I teach summer school and tutor just so I can make ends meet. My job is DAMN hard. The ONLY reason I stay with it is because I love my students and I love to help them succeed. Quit bashing me! I know there are bad teachers out there, but I am not one of them. And sometimes those "extra days I get off" are the only things that keep me sane!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
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  8. KeepsTeaching

    The real point of this article is that if we turned a blind eye to the pay of each of our professions, we would be infinitely better at our work. Second guess the reward you receive for the effort you give and your performance suffers.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  9. 4commonsensenow

    Doing what you love in the first place crushes anything fincially related as reward. Tell that to someone who may be starving, might not feel the same way.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. Todd

    Teachers are getting paid fairly, They are getting middle class pay for middle class work.
    In my area teachers pay is about average of $45,000 a year. The average Technology Professional Makes $50,000 a year.
    I am going to figure a teacher works on the average of 10 hours a day. (Some days they may do 12-16 hours, but other days they will stick to 8 or less, so 10 hours a day seems fair) Now I am going to say the Tech Professional does 8 hours a day (I have pulled a 42 hour non stop once). I know this isn't true because I know they work much more then that actually getting close to 10 hours, but teachers complain that they work sooo many hours.
    Now the tech worker will get 10 days vacation plus 6 holidays. and the teacher with breaks, and holidays they get 70 days off. So over the course of the year The teacher will work 1900 hours. the Tech Professional will work 1952 hours.

    So you figure out the rate per hour you get the teacher with $23.68 per hour, and the tech professional of $25.61 per hour. They are on par with each other.

    Teaching like a Tech professional is a Middle Class job, You need to be educated to do the work, you need to go beyond the job requirements to really do your work. You get yelled at at least 3 times a week for something that isn't your fault... You have a crazy set of requirement that you need to follow that seems to try to stop you from doing your work better.

    The reason teacher complain so much is because the education system for the most part is a closed system and unfortunately they don't see what happens in the real world. You are a student you go to college you go into teaching. Your life resolves around education. So when they see other professions that seems to be making a lot more money they really do not know what else those people are doing to make the extra money.

    I am not saying teachers need to get paid less, but I want to point out that teachers are getting paid fairly for their work.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • WiscBadger

      Did you figure in the 2.5 months the teachers have off in the summer? I'll bet that raises teachers hourly wage.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • blueeyedgrl

        Did you ever consider that I am going to workshops and taking on extra paying jobs over the summer? I teach summer school every year to help continue caring for my family. I do not sit around on the beach with my toes in the sand. Oh, if I want to do that, I have to run a club or coach a sport during the year AND teach summer school. If my job is 'middle class' work, and I can agree it is, then don't make an issue of the 70 plus days I get off that you don't. Those days are work filled for other employers. My on the job training takes much of those days and the other 5 weeks I seem to be so free, I am teaching your child what they failed to grasp during the year.

        March 30, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • crazypete

      The problem with your argument is that a tech professional is (generally) not as important as a teacher. Don’t be offended by this, I’m in the private sector as well. I make low 6 figures, and would never go into teaching because of the low pay. However, I also recognize that, from a societal point of view, teaching is MUCH more important than my job. I had (mostly) terrible teachers in high school: ambivalent and uninspired, and in some cases, drunk. I drifted from the sciences I had once loved, and only serendipity later led me back. Better pay for teachers will bring better teachers, which will in turn inspire students to greater careers, and thus greater success for the country as a whole. The problem is that the investment will take time to mature, and voters are not patient. Do it in four years or don’t do it at all.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Dan

      Depends on the value of the work performed. What is more valuable – making sure electronic equipment is working properly, or preparing the next generation of citizens for their roles? This could be argued from soooo many perspectives.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Michael

      Son, you don't have a clue as to how much time a teacher invests in their annual work. I am not a teacher; I've seen the teaching profession and I would not be able to do it. Teachers spend hours upon hours preparing for each and every day of class. Many have to spend their own time (and oft times, finances) gathering supplies for school years; they have to deal with parents that refuse to accept responsibility for the kid's lack of progress. Johnny can't read because Mom & Dad never spent the time or directed the kid to an encyclopedia for the answer instead of parking them in front to the TV. Teachers spend most of the summer with teaching or preparing for the upcoming year. I would hazard a guess that your "average" teacher actually gets less than 21 days off during any given calendar year ... and that INCLUDES weekends. And the pay? If teachers were paid in proportion to their responsibility for teaching the next generation, they would be getting double what I earn as a Tech Geek (73K) ... and I would not begrudge them that pay at all ... EVER. So get a grip, Todd ... go visit your local school, walk a mile in a teacher's shoes ... and look at the Big Picture. Perchance your vision shall clear ...

      April 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  11. crazypete

    The problem is that the young lawyer had a point. Because the pay IS very low, the majority of teachers are dumb. Not all, but in a capitalistic society you, in general, get what you pay for. Sure, you will get a couple % of altruistic folks who could be making a lot more money in the private sector, but they are the minority. I had an alcoholic English teacher, a science teacher that forbade me from asking questions in her class (I now have a PhD in Chemistry), and a slew of uninteresting and mediocre teachers. I had TWO good teachers from grades 1-12. Again, this is common sense. In a capitalistic society you cannot expect people to go into a low paying profession out of the goodness of their hearts.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Dan

      I had a couple of teachers who were very, very bright when I was a student. Couldn't get much out of them, because they were so brilliant they couldn't communicate effectively. I have found that some of the best teachers are those who struggled themselves and are now able to understand why other students struggle, and therefore are able to reach out to those students and help them get through their hard times.High dropout rates are indicative of teachers and/or schools that have not been able to provide a program in which students feel that someone understands them and their problems. True, the teacher must also know his stuff, but if someone does not want to listen, all the knowledge and intellect in the world does no good.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Susie

      Did we go to school together? Because my experience was the same.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • teacherandproudtobe

      Saying the majority of teachers are dumb is typical judgement from someone uneducated with the profession. I have a Master's Degree in linguistics and have taught in several countries. I do teach out of the goodness of my heart. I love kids and love what I do. I've had a passion for teaching since I was a 6 year old teaching my dolls with an old chalkboard in our basement. Be careful about criticizing those who are responsible for the future. I don't make much in money and would love to see teachers being paid more, but spiritually I feel like a millionaire and praise God every day for the ability to do what I do.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • crazypete

        @teacherandproudtobe: Wow. Talk about case in point. Although my initial argument involved anecdotal arguments, they were backed up by extrapolations to the general based on basic capitalistic theory. You, however, countered my argument on purely anecdotal terms. I'm making the assumption that you believe that your Master's degree is evidence that you are not in fact dumb. This is of course ironical for two reasons (1) the attainment of a degree is not evidence of intelligence (I know, I have a PhD in Chemistry) and (2) the use of anecdotal evidence to prove a general thesis is not logically valid. Therefore, not only did you fail to prove that the majority of teachers are not dumb, but you also gave good evidence that you specifically are dumb. Ha!

        March 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • missR-C

      When I chose the teaching profession, the pay was good compared to the cost of living. Unfortunately, pay has not increased proportionately over the past twenty years. And, THANK YOU for persevering and pursuing a degree in a field you love; despite the hinderance of an unprofessional educator.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  12. crazypete

    Quote: "The simple truth is that you should never judge another law-abiding person. Ever." Really? Judgment is something that is intrinsic to human nature. We judge all the time: judge which career to choose, which people are trustworthy, which brand of automobile to buy and what you think your opponent in chess is going to play for his next move. Judgement can be regarded as good or evil, important or petty, but that is irrelevant since we do not have a choice. We ALL judge, as naturally and constantly as we breathe. The human race would have went extinct long ago if this was not the case.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  13. ali

    This is good saying {Non of you truly be honest till he loves for his brother as if he loves for himself.}this is similar to what teachers do.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • ali

      It is well known to all of you no one can do anything without others cooperation so keep in your mind that teachers are human being they need student respect ,interaction ,care,hard work and seriousness to introduce what they have.

      yours sincerely

      March 30, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  14. Hate arrogance

    Why go in debt over a few hundred grand and 6 years of advanced schooling to get a law degree to be a lawyer earning a few hundred grand when you can have a fat butt from sitting on it all day like kim kardashian and get paid millions, whose the sucker now lawyer!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  15. miriamspia

    This just seems typical to me, in terms of coming across as a 'class issue'. To the lower economic classes, teachers are exemplars of upward mobility and a middle class ideal. For the wealthy, teachers are public servants who sacrifice 'real pay' to do a little something like teach – and often suffer as severe lack of appreciation as parents for parenting.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • ama01

      Teachers are role models, they are tireless, they mold the minds and hearts and souls of children who will come to take their places in society. Without teachers we would have no doctors, no trash men, no pilots, no plumbers, no scientists, no artists, and no skydivers. We all learn from others, and our public teaching establishment is the foundation of that. Teachers are horribly underpaid and under respected for the supreme responsibility they undertake. Not all teachers are perfect, but as a whole, they deserve more than the ire and blame they too often receive. It doesn't matter what your social status is; they do the same job for every child.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  16. brenda

    YES TEACHERS DESERVE MORE MONEY, MORE RESPECT, CHILDREN DESERVE SOBER PARENTS, THE PUBLIC DESERVES A POLICE FORCE THAT'S NOT CROOKED, I DESERVE A BAILOUT LIKE THE BIG CAR COMPANIES GOT, BUT KEEP WISHING, BECAUSE IF WISHES WERE FISHES WE'D ALL HAVE FULL STOMACHS AT NIGHT. IN THE REAL WORLD THERES A LOT OF UNFAIRNESS. DOROTHY WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE... GOODNIGHT!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • crazypete

      You probably wish you could afford a computer with an unstuck caps lock key.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  17. hemo

    teachers are the worst. one time in my "Biology I" class for HS, he tried to teach us evolution! WE DO NOT TOLERATE THAT IN THE SOUTH. he was fired and sent back to the evil north immediately

    March 30, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Dailyreader

      Perhaps you could have used a better English teacher with the way you write sentences.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • C.L.Robertas

      Apparently, your English teacher was defficient as well.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Michael

      Evolution has been tought in the South, North, East and West for over a century. Before you spout off about it being "only a theory" understand the difference between hypothesis and theory. Pythagoras started off with a hypothesis and after much testing and validation, arrived at his famous Theorem. Anything supernatural can, by definition, never be anything but a hypothesis. Welcome to the 21st Century, Buckwheat ...

      April 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Vlad

    Why does it come as such a surprise that teachers are not valued in this country. Just look around at the greed and corruption that is pervasive in our society and that is your red flag. If an individual does something to better others they are considered as incompent yet if they better themselves with a bigger house and car they are the model that must be emulated.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  19. enkephalin07

    Lawyers make far more than they're worth and they know it, this is why they have to put anyone who contributes something of value to society beneath them.

    March 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Annie

      Not all Lawyers. Didn't you read the article? Don't judge them by the paycheck you assume them to have. I know many good attorneys that are struggling.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  20. Dagobert II

    Anyone seeking to be paid "what they're worth" needs to get off the government payroll and go professional, like other professionals that set their own standards, hours and rates of compensation. Anyone wanting professional service needs to hire a professional rather than depend on a government employee.

    March 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Clay Vollers

      Perhaps "government employees" are paid "what they are worth" and the problem stems from "professionals" thinking they are worth what they are paid. The services of a doctor or lawyer can save your life but that hardly justifies them living like royalty and looking down on the peasants. Enjoy your Mercedes...the widows, orphans and the guy who broke his back doing your yard work can get by on bread crumbs.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • blueeyedgrl

      They must not have taught you the difference between 'that' and 'who' and when to use which, in the private sector.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  21. Name doug

    Teachers police and firemen underpaid and over worked. Where would we be without them.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  22. DREAM15X

    In my opinion teachers should be one of the highest paying careers in this country. We seem to forget when state government wants to cut the education budget and staffing that the students they teach are America's future and they should get the best of the best. After all one day our youth will be the business owners, politicians, and entrepreneurs of our nearing future. We should show some common sense and treat our teachers so much better than we do now.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Andrian Harsono

      Absolutely agree. Here in the UK, school teachers and nurses are some of the worst treated civil servants in the country. Where would we be without them? I used to go to school in Singapore and they celebrate "Teachers' Day" every year in early September. This is a day when pupils would get together and put up performances to entertain their teachers.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:05 am |
  23. Charlie

    Well said, very honest, I respect that. I agree with what you are saying but back in my home town I remember teachers going on strike every 2-3 years and got 7-9% raises each time. Since they are serving the public the amount of money they make is public knowledge and believe me six figure salaries for some of these teachers, even the ones who had a reputation of being a terrible teacher is not fair to anyone. It isn't fair to judge someone based on their income but when they go on strike like the teachers in my hometown did and got the raises they did says a lot about their character.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Rachel

      So a 6-7% pay raise every 2-3 years. Well, with inflation averaging around 3% a year, why is it that you think that would be inappropriate?? The real tragedy is that they had to strike for it.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  24. faboge

    who would be anything at all if it was not for teachers! That high flying cardiologist had tons of teachers before getting there, your right wing congress are largely educated people, a good number of them lawyers who also had teachers. Your spelling on this forum looks good; courtesy of some teachers, so bashing them because they have a few more days off a year is quite short sighted!

    March 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  25. the truther

    If they were atheist, they would have been paid more

    March 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  26. imastarchick

    The average public school teachers salary in the Bay Area is $67,861; the range being between $47,000 and $100,000.That dosnt include all the great benefits and 3 months vacation. NOT TOO SHABBY!

    Teachers should quit complaining and get a clue about what wages are in the private sector. If a person wants to make a lot more money they can take the risk of job instability, poor benefits, 60 hour weeks and little vacation. If they want more money out of life they could choose a much more expensive college educations at better schools.

    My point is where can one go for a low cost 4 year education at state school and be guaranteed such a great job? Im not criticizing the choice, to become a teache. Iit is a good one for people who want a guaranteed comfortable life. Teachers should quit complaining and get a clue about working conditions and wages are for the rest us non public employees.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • leila

      I don't think teachers are complaining. We join the ranks of the middle class. Our teachers usually seek pay raises that are 'cost of living'. We also are concerned that our health care premiums are eating more and more of our salaries. The majority of us do not complain. We love our jobs.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • chemteacher

      I am sick of people like you. Go shadow a teacher for a day. Live their life, their schedule from when you get up to when you go to bed. See if you only work during your contractual hours and how easy being a teacher actually is.

      They have actually proven that teachers in their 180 day contract work more hours then most full year corporate jobs. And think of those summer breaks as unpaid. After all the excuse for giving highly educated people with Masters Degrees a $40,000 salary is that we only work 7 hours a day for 180 days. Tell that to me after working my 7 hour days, then working 2 hours more a day, and then at least 4-6 hours on the weekends every week.

      I miss working for a corporation and being able to go home and be an adult. But my passion is teaching, so I put the time in and deal with continual insults and disrespect. Unless you have ever worked full time in the classroom, stop thinking you know what my job requires. Remember the old one about walking a mile in someone elses shoes?

      March 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • Working professional

        I'd kill for a 9-hour day.

        Respectfully,
        a much-maligned attorney

        March 30, 2012 at 8:27 am |
      • Ruby

        Agreed. You know you're a real teacher when you want to slap the next person who says: "Oh, it must be nice to have holidays and weekends off!"

        April 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Chimp

      A couple of points of fact...47K is not the low end of the salary range (more like 35K)
      The Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the US... 35K is adjusted for the SF area!
      You need more than a four year degree to teach
      Going to a more prestigeous school doesn't improve your salary as a teacher

      March 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Rachel

      Seriously? In the bay area? Are you aware the a middle income family of four makes around $200,000/year to make it in the bay area? Consider cost of living before you speak.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
      • Robin

        $200k a year is NOT "making it" in the Bay Area – people making that kind of money are doing extremely well. There are plenty of people living on less than $30k a year there.

        March 30, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  27. Neil Gutowski

    Wow! Applause, applause... what a refreshing article! My Mother and Father raised me to respect those that educate. I admire that you are Investing in another’s life it must be rewarding beyond description. Please accept the gesture of “thank you”…

    March 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  28. Birther plus

    Yes I never forget the blessed teacher who taught me that computers will never be good enough to print with and failed me for my computer printed material. Or the math teacher that said I had the right answer but failed me because I didnt use his method. I miss the english teacher who said my opinion was wrong and my speech failed.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Queen of Geeks

      Or Ms. Cross, my first grade teacher who gave me detention for coloring outside the lines and having my mother walk 5 miles to pick me up because I missed my boss.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  29. India Berlin

    Thank you for your words and efforts. It is a constant barrage of negativity towards teachers right now that is driving many away from the profession. For some reason, teachers are said to be everything from incompetent to lazy to greedy. My only thought is that these comments come from people who have never ever worked as a teacher are are most likely parents who did a poor job of parenting and/or family planning (as in, they don't have enough time or money to properly raise their children and therefore want to blame others for their shortcomings.) or they aren't enlightened enough to investigate anything and believe what conservative talk show hosts brainwash them with.

    It saddens me, but I have actually had to have serious discussions with students about the profession. The kids who are determined to teach, I encourage them, but I always explain to them that they will make a waiter's salary, even with a Master's degree, during their first five years–especially if they work in a smaller district, or a rural or urban district. Our best and brightest middle-class students are not heading for professions in education, science, or research, rather they choose to head for legal, banking, and medicine. While these are great professions, most all of my lawyer friends explain how unhappy they are because their jobs are isolating, require a lot of reading, and dealing with large numbers of people who have made extremely poor choices in life.

    What happened to the idea that parenting was the most important part of the equation? Manners, responsibility, and the love of reading and learning begins at home, with the parents. The second part is the child, who must do his or her part in the process. The teacher is there as the expert and guide to lead students to subjects and information, and to teach how to analyze, learn to think critically, to be creative, and how to ask the right questions. The utter lack of parental and student responsibility is killing the education profession–parents want the appearance of rigor, but then allow students to take easy courses or drop French after the second year because 'it's just too hard', and complain about the 'hard' teachers.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  30. Teachers Pet Dragon

    Good luck hawking your book. I won't be buying it... but your chances of lining your empty pocket may fill that hole in your life.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  31. Cindy Maddy

    I once heard the expression 'teachers are like candles, they consume themselves to light the way for others'. The current pay scale of educators is likely the inspiration for the "consume themselves", as their income typically is not enough to maintain, but rather causes a drain. What-ever the inspiration, I too hold educators in high regard, right up there with firemen and (non-corrupt) policemen. Their personal sacrifices are paramount to a successful future.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  32. WhatNow

    Good point. I grow tired of people saying that those who can do and those who can't teach. Teaching is a tough job and I've "done" and I've taught. Teaching was harder. We live in sad times where people feel it more important to belittle others than look at their contributions. Success is not just about dollars.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • One Point of View

      Anyone with a decent education would examine all cliches. That one becomes more full of holes every time I hear it.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:55 am |