Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"
July 31st, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"

by John Martin, CNN

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

(CNN) – Chicago's mayor and the city's teachers union have come up with a plan for a longer school day for students: hire additional teachers, but don't extend the school day for most teachers. We asked our readers how this might impact students. The forum shifted from the impact on students to a lively debate over how hard teachers work compared to other professions.

Some readers questioned whether longer school days would benefit students, with some offering opinions on how a longer day could be structured:

Felix: This is only the 1st step....IMO the trend should be towards what the countries that have surpassed the US have done – longer Days...less Summer vacation if any at all (Some school systems don't have a summer break anymore...just weeks of hiatus during the summer), Less television, more after school sports/activities and more teachers.

Cindy: As a teacher, the days are long enough, what we need is a longer school year. More contact days. Students lose ground over the summer breaks (which 200 yrs ago were so they could work on farms...I don't think we need that farm help now.) Longer school years will allow more remediation time that is needed with some students or more time for deeper teaching of intense subjects.

teechr21: Extending the school day isn't the answer. It's about changing what happens DURING the day that makes all the difference. An ineffective teacher is still going to be ineffective, just for a longer amount of time each day.

Maggiemae: If the schools use this time for students to do their homework in a supervised environment I would definitely support it. Kids seem to have a great deal more homework than when I was in school. The education folks often bemoan the fact that parents don't make sure kids do their homework. Why not do this in a room with a supervisor who can assist with questions?

Robert: You can make the school days longer as you want, that doesn't mean anyone will learn. That's like sitting in a cardboard box for an extra 30 mins thinking you're about to learn how to save the world. IF you don't have teaching skills, it won't work...

Dave: Something that is often neglected in these discussions is the fact that research on longer days has shown they are not effective in increasing student achievement. The mayor's claim that lengthening the day to increase time in the core subjects will lead to a significant increase in academic achievement has no basis in the research. Look it up.

Dave, we looked it up. A 2010 study of other research studies found that sometimes longer school days are effective, sometimes not. They found that longer school days seem to work in some programs, but the research also suggests that students who already are mastering the curriculum may be better served participating in alternative learning experiences. The study's authors say their biggest conclusion is that more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of longer school days. So that debate continues.

Some might call the resolution of the dispute in Chicago a win-win. But as the debate shifted focus from students, to teachers, most of the comments centered around the length of a teacher work day, and whether teachers are paid adequately.

coloradom: Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!

Jolyn: That 296 minutes is the time spent in front of the students. It doesn't count the hours teachers spend preparing for lessons for each subject they teach and grading.

doctorguy: I just fail to understand why it is so difficult to put in an accountability system for teachers and why unions oppose it so much. As taxpayers, I feel like we give them lots of things that most people do not have. Teachers get great benefits, get summers to do as they please, get every weekend off and get instilled vacations for winter and spring breaks on top of their personal and sick days. I know that many teachers use their weekends and "breaks" to plan, but they get to use this on their own time and do not directly report to someone at these times and class planning time severely decreases after several years. However, I digress. I just think that given all these niceties, tax payers should get to see that the best teachers are the ones with the jobs and getting their money.

George: We don't believe a word about all that supposed extra time teachers say they put in. No one in the real world can imagine having 3-4 months a year off from their job. Teachers have this little habit of saying what their ANNUAL salary is, but not wanting to note that they only work about 8 months for that pay. A little more honesty from teachers would go a LONG WAY.

Teacher: My salary is for 9 months that I choose to have allocated over a 12 month period. I don't get paid for not working. I get paid less while I'm working so I have a paycheck when school is not in session. Furthermore, while I may not have students over the summer, that does not mean I am not working. I have spent this summer doing a summer movie program for my students because there is no where for them to go in our small town. This is not contracted time, but something as their teacher I choose to do. I also spend my summer at workshops and writing curriculum units. It would be best to not judge someones profession unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.

John in NY: What makes you think teacher's salaries are substantially less? Locally we have many teachers making over $90k a year, not counting any summer classes they teach and/or coaching they might do. Now add to this that it's only for 180 days a year and that each day includes less then 5 hours of actual teaching I have to wonder why more people aren't disgusted by this?

Some readers compared the American education system to that of other countries.

yardbird1: Oh pahlease, not all children are educated in other countries. If a child can't cut it in many countries, they are only educated until 8th grade. In countries that do educate all, like Germany and Switzerland, teachers are respected and paid way more than here.

GabeK: Let's get the facts straight. Yes, most Europeans do go 13 years and yes, many only go 8. That's because they split off after "Junior High" and MASTER a trade for 4 years after the split. Not everyone goes to university, but everyone leaves the system with the skills to earn a decent living...

Lori Ceangailte (-High school teacher): "In Europe they go to grade 13." I dispute that. I live in Sweden, and obligatory schooling here begins in grade 1 (the children are 7 years old when they start) and ends in grade 9 (age 16). The school year is 180 days, 6 hours a day. High school is voluntary and, if the student chooses it, lasts 3 years.

bdougherty: Students in other countries who perform well are not coming out of public schools, they are attending the best private schools and most of their teachers are Americans. I know because I have been teaching at international schools for the past decade and would never return to teach in the US (in a public school) – the reason being that classrooms back home (and the kids in them) are not conducive to teaching and learning.

And finally, a teacher offers a comment about commenters:

julie: I don't want sympathy- I want to not be villainized. The average working stiff is not discussed on the internet by 8 million people. I like my job and even though I would love to be paid more- who wouldn't- I'm happy with my compensation. I'm unhappy with being accused of being a lazy loser all the time.

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soundoff (1,675 Responses)
  1. CTTeacher

    I clicked on this article as an educator interested in learning about a longer school day. The nasty turn this blog took is shocking. We can debate salaries and time put into our jobs. We can agree that being a teacher is a choice we have made. We made this choice to be an integral part of educating a child. We support children and their well being. We don't go into the teaching profession because we aren't smart enough to do something else. I was a financial analyst at a major corporation before I left to become a teacher. Education does need improvement. Criticizing and demeaning teachers and all that they do isn't going to help fix the gap in education in this country. Turning off the TV, silencing the hate, respecting one another, and prioritizing the value of education is a good place to start.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Lizzy10

      Thanks.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • mdamone

      Along with holding teacher's unions accountable for sheltering, protecting and rewarding a very large number of teachers (a.k.a. – union members who pay dues and vote the party line) who are flat out mediocre at best, lousy at worst.

      Limited workday hours? Summers off? Conventions to go to paid? Unlimited support from unions? Low standards for what is judged to be successful performance?

      Teachers talk about 'walking a mile in our shoes'. Let them all go straight to corporate, for-profit America, where to be successful workers must compete everyday for their entire careers. How many would last?

      The public school systems train our kids to work in government, the Post Office, or to be more teachers who train more generations to be government or USPS workers or teachers. And so on.

      There is a reason why private schools produce the results they do. If only parents who sent their kids to private schools could opt out of the portion of their property taxes that pay for public schools. Right now they are subsidizing failure and no amount of self-righteous "I'm an educator – it's the most honorable career" hot air blowing around can prove different.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • Carol R Brown

        To mdamone, I am so sorry to see you are so filled with hate and anger. Why not do something positive. Get involved in you local schools, volunteer an hour to work with problem students, observe a teacher at work for a day, offer you services to visit a classroom and talk about your work. Become part of the solution. Right now you are part of the problem.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • skepticnotcynic

        mdamone, if teaching is so great and corporate America is so difficult and challenging, maybe you should quit your job and become a teacher. We need more blowhards and zealots like you. That will help our children. Union baaad, private sector goood. Glad to see corporate America is in good hands.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • TrueSeeker

      Don't let the trolls get you down, they're only here to make themselves feel important. I think the majority of people appreciate how hard teachers work, and are thankful for all they do. Right everyone?

      July 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • VoiceOfReason

      Those that can...do, those that can't.....teach.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
      • Bob

        Boy, have you got that wrong. "Those that can do. Those that understand teach." Those doing only can because of someone who understood and had the patience, wisdom, and talent to teach.

        July 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
      • mary

        Those who can, teach. Those who can't do some less significant work.

        July 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
      • petewillett

        Toni Morrison is one of the best writers alive. Also a teacher.
        Antonio Sanchez; perhaps the best drummer on the planet. Teacher.

        There are, of course, many, many more, but I am tired and don't feel like looking it up. Suffice it to say, that's a dumb proverb.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • Ah, there it is, the famous teacher quote!

        And soooooo moronic. Didn't listen in class. Guess Woodrow Wilson "couldnt?" Bwahaha, who taught you how to write, use logic, or even log on to your computer at your parents house oh my voice of reason?! "Those who cant have a good debate use bad quotes from other people." blah blah blah sling mud, message board fight, stomp stomp, rant rave....sheeeeeesh...

        July 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • skepticnotcynic

        Another cliche by the clever Voice of Reason. Some of our citizens are just so intelligent 🙂

        July 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Carol R Brown

      Amen to that! Teacher bashing is never going to improve our education system. Respect for the job teachers do would help build moral in a profession that is now under siege. Love for everyone's children and community support for parents would also go a long way to strengthen our communities as well. The negativity in our culture and our politics is affecting our nation in a very destructive way and that spills over into our schools.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • Dan

        Thank you. There are many more bad situations than there are bad teachers. Teachers need to be setup to succeed. The best teacher can be made ineffective if they are setup for failure. It happens more often than most people realize. Parents have too much control. School are scared to discipline. The kids run amuck and teachers get no respect. They are expected to teach in these ridiculous environments and little Johnny's parents want their heads if he brings home a bad grade or has to be disciplined at school. It's insane, and appears to be getting worse. Schools need to take control back from the parents.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • ACT/SAT

      I'd buy a little more of the "Super-Teacher" stuff if I didn't know that those choosing Education as a major had the absolute lowest ACT and SAT scores. Perhaps one of the reasons why they have to work so many hours is that too many just aren't that smart and need to compensate for it? Want a frightening number? It's 15.4. That's the avg ACT score for Chicago Public School teachers. I learned that the other week as the Teacher's Union was complaining how the new IL "Basic Skills Test" was too tough for them and many were failing. I know that many teachers are hard-working and dedicated, but it's a bit much when they always blame someone else (student, parent, administrator, curriculum, lack of supplies, etc.)......except themselves. Want me to take you seriously? Disband the unions. The nation learned a lot about the unions in WI and how they gouged the taxpayers. Lastly, NY teacher and writing about how you contribute to pensions – just like the rest of us. Well, newsflash – the vast majority of us in "the real world" don't have pensions and those that do can't retire in our 50's! Underpaid? The AVERAGE pay in our high school district is over $90K – and the avg tenure is 12 years. Can you understand OUR issues?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • skepticnotcynic

        ACT/SAT, where did you find that information? I didn't know people's college boards were public record. Seeming that you must have scored so high on both of these tests, I would think you could formulate a more cogent argument to support your teacher bashing.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
      • Dan

        Well, I have to agree on the unions. However, the system is still setup for failure. Pensions are there to attract better teachers. You want the pay lowered and pension plans removed, yet you somehow expect more intelligent people to come flocking to be teachers? If you want better teachers, the job has to be attractive to potential applicants. Pension plans and summers off is a big factor. Teaching kids is extremely taxing and teachers are slap worn out by the end of the school year.

        Now my thoughts on standardized testing scores are that it really doesn't matter much for lower grade levels. The averages you quoted aren't all coming from high school physics and calculus teachers. There are many more kindergarten and elementary school teachers that don't test well. That doesn't mean they can't be very effective teachers. You only have to know more than the kids. There's a hell of a lot more to being an effective teacher then your SAT score. Mine were very high, and am a registered engineer. But I suck at teaching. Mr Miagi was a great teacher, but didn't come across as someone boasting a 1600 SAT score!

        July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  2. Beni Jobes

    Dear Just Liberty,
    You obviously don't know the amount of time required to follow the students on your Sp. Ed. case load, collaborate with their general education teachers, write their I.E.P.'s while still creating classroom lessons with a mix of students which may contain students who range from 3rd to 7th grade reading comprehension skills and widely varying visual, auditory and tactile/kinsthetic skills and disabilities. All this while keeping up to date on the new federal and state laws and case law. I am also so very weary of general education teachers who think we have it easy. As others have stated in this thread, walk a mile in my shoes.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jabber

      Great post

      July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  3. cja

    The problem with accountability is what happens to the high school basketball coach who happens to have all short people on his team and looses. Do you fire the coach? Same with a math teacher who gets stuck in the inner city where students don't care about math. Much of the outcome depends on the student demographics. Trends are moving because demographics are moving

    July 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • bored already

      ??? What the hell do you mean "In the inner city where students don't care about math"? You are obviously clueless about the state of education. Get involved, or don't bother posting.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  4. Nikki

    What a cyclical conversation; the truth is that teachers are not the ones to blame, it is the system! I think we should be upset about the administrative pay and all the monies that are being spent in 'overseeing' education. It all started with one teacher and a classroom...let's go back to basics folks!

    July 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  5. Ohio Teacher

    I am a full day kindergarten teacher in Ohio. I just spent my last 3 "summers off" getting my master's degree. Certified Ohio teachers are required to continue to take college level classes to remain certified- all at our own cost. I spent over $10,000 of my money to do this. My husband who is a businessman has all expense paid trips to his training weekends. I work 8-4 Monday through Friday. I have 30 min. for lunch and a total of 45 minutes non-student contact time each day. I use this time to write my plans, grade papers, meet with parents and my grade level and work with individual students to provide extra help. Each year I spend at least $2000 of my own money to provide shoes, coats, clothing, even food for some of my students. How many in the private sector do that for their coworkers? My pay will be tied to test scores of my students as of this fall. I wouldn't have a problem with this if I felt what I was teaching was the ONLY thing impacting test scores; sadly many students come from homes that hinder learning. I love being a teacher. I just wish I felt we (the nation) were all on the same team with the common goal of helping our children be successful.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  6. Carolyn Khanna

    When are we ever going to stop blaming student performance on the school. The responsibility is on the family that students come from. When there is a stable family life, where there are expectations, and where there is accountability, there will be performance. It's not about teachers, longer days, or shorter summers. It's about the home.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Wesley

      Hit the nail on the head, stop blaming teachers and hold parents accountable!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  7. Jenny

    I guess I just don't understand the pedestal that both teachers and nurses for that matter want to be put upon. Teachers have a tough job because they have to deal with children but it is the profession they chose. Please don't give me the BS about changing curriculum and having to keep up. I worked in healthcare for 18 years and let's talk about changes within that system. I worked 40+ hours per week and had two weeks off per year. I did not get extra "prep time" for my job where I sent everyone away early so I could work on things. I did not get summers off where I could have the ability to spend time with my kids. I spent much of my paycheck on daycare to cover summertime. What am I missing about all this other than teachers have a union to yell louder than the job I was doing at the hospital I worked?

    July 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Jenny<< don't you also have to have additional CEU's every year? ( Continued education units )

      July 31, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • SeaTigr

      Guess what, Jenny – many teachers don't have the summer off. I know a bunch who take summer jobs. They all talk about other teachers who take summer jobs. Also, I don't know where you get the idea that sending people away means not working. How, exactly, are you supposed to grade papers, mark comments, and get things set up for the next day's lessons while teaching at the same time?

      Several of the teachers I know kept track of their work hours – hours in class, prepping, grading, parent/teacher conferences, etc., etc. The found out they work enough hours during their 9 month contract to average 50 weeks of over 40 hours per week.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  8. David

    It is not the unions fault nor tenure that allows bad teachers to stay in the profession. It is the administrator's fault. A teacher must work at least 3 years in a system to reach tenure. It is up to the administration to do their job and closely monitor these new teachers and if they can't cut it, let them go. In some states, NH is one, all tenure means is that they need to give you a reason for firing you and as long as it isn't an illegal, you are gone. If you think your teachers are paid too much, check out the 6 figure salaries of the administrators.

    I worked in the private sector for 14 years before I started teaching. It took 10 years until my salary matched what I was making then. I have met many more good, dedicated teachers than I have lazy ones. I love my job and there is nothing more rewarding then when a student finally "gets it". Or, when you hear from them years later and they are successful, well rounded individuals who can think for themselves. As others have said, walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me.

    If you had a teacher that meant something to you in the past, shoot them an email and thank them. Let them know how you are doing. It will make it all worth while.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  9. Dobie

    The answer seems pretty easy. People think that teachers don't work hard enough. Teacher think they work really hard. No surprise either way. Most people think the jobs other people do are pretty easy, and the jobs they do are extremely hard. So how about a compromise? Extend the teacher's day to the standard 8 hours that most people work, but bake time into that for grading and lesson plans instead of forcing teachers to do that outside of class time? If teachers volunteer to coach sports or other activities – they are doing exactly that: volunteering. Encourage parents to volunteer on these activities instead of thinking teachers need to do all of it.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  10. leigh21

    I have been teaching for 14 years. I care. Because I care, I work hard. Because I work hard, I ensure that all of my students are as successful as they can be and leave me knowing how to be motivated and how to solve problems.

    I am an exception to the rule. After 14 years, I know that. I haven't been unhappy with my compensation, but I certainly think that what I do for my students is priceless.

    I don't think many people would last a day doing what we do.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  11. Saxxon

    When I see people post things like:

    1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1-1+1+1+1+1×0 = 0

    and

    "Your a idiot" & "You are, to" & "There idiots" etc....

    All I can think is that teachers are getting paid WAAAAY to much when they are letting these morons graduate.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Mike

      Don't you mean "too much" smarty pants?

      July 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • mdf

      Speaking of morons, it's "TOO much," not "TO much."

      July 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • funnysite

      And yet, you misused "to" in your response...."paid WAAAAY to much when they are letting these morons graduate."...should you have not graduated...or did you just make an honest mistake (like many others)?

      July 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Steve

      any time a number is multiplied by zero the answer is zero. in the case you cite because the final stepin x0 the answer is zero. If on the other hand the nultiplication times zero was earlier in the equation then the answer would be different. In math the oder in which th various parts of an equation occur is very important. Look at it this way. 1+1 = 2 +1 = 3 etc So if you add ten ones to equal 10 then mulitply the ten by zero you get zero. If you add 5 ones to gether, multiply by zero, then add another 5 ones together, the total is 5. (5 ones equals 5, times zero equals zero, then 5 ones equals 5) So the answer ot the equation is zero

      July 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  12. gary

    I'm a retired teacher. Much of the day is wasted by BS required by admin. Heterogeneous grouping is not good. TEachers are not supported by admin. Too many teachers lack well rounded knowledge. Kids lose too much over the summer; school yr needs to be longer; but then teachers would need more pay. Oh Well.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Lou

      America needs to change before its schools can.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  13. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    I was a public school teacher for 7 years and I can tell you a vast majority of secondary education kids are really not interested in school. Public education is not teaching the young any life skils. Public education is still in the industrial age in its methods and curriclium. About 30% of those kids in public schools will never make it in life and never graduate from higher education (college), the rest will fall by the way side, and that is a fact! Ones real edaution by the way begins after you graduate from a four year college or university in developing your own self-education. As to teaching financial intelligence forget it in public education, the schools would rather turn out dumb financially illerate sheep that are great pray for the wolves in the real world. This is the main reason why this country is in such a financial mess today. Most can't handle money sensably, don't now how to live with a working budget, and have no clue as to smart investing or saving.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  14. gloria

    Yes, longer school days are needed. Students and their parents need to pay attention to the signs of illeteracy...it's all around us. Too mnay of our USA students are behind in every subject area. We are in for a rude awakening. I am a teacher , a special ed teacher and I know too well how these parents and students think and perform. We must start over and begin teaching the very basic skills. Not criticizing parents, but most have not made the time to actively get involved with their child's education.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

      Gloria, Special eduation is nothing more that glorified baby sitting. Most in it are well below average in basic skills and will be a burden to others in life. Yes, a few will make it but very few!

      July 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • Mike

        John, ESE (special education) is education for children with learning disabilities. If done in the right environment, with well trained teachers, children can receive an education and not just be left to fend for themselves. Often these are the children who are bullied because they are different.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  15. Ryan Conboy

    If teaching is so easy and overpaid, why don't you jealous cynics just get in line and join the profession?

    July 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Ashley

      Finding a teaching job is a million times harder than it was 10 years ago. There is no job security for teachers. Why? Because teaching has become (in the last 10-15 years) more beneficial than working in the private sector. Supply and demand. In my school district, 300 people applied for one open elementary school teaching position this year. Why would I spend $5,000 on a teaching certificate if there is very little chance of employment and I don't know anyone who can get me hired? What a lot of people don't know is that education is extremely political and it's all about "who you know" to get hired, similar to fire departments.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • Husband of a teacher

        That is a false generalization that teaching positions are a who you know gig. My wife and I moved to Missouri and she got a teaching job with no experience. Three years later we moved to Texas and she got another teaching position. Work hard in your life to make good grades through undergrad and grad school, and impress your bosses with a good work ethic for a good reference.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • IteachUlearn

      Because they dont get paid enouh.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
      • IteachUlearn

        Enoug= enough

        July 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Lisa

      I agrree, Ryan. Teaching is not easy and it is a noble profession. I was told going into teaching that I would never make alot of money but I would be respected by the community. The community should have to pay for a masters and come on in and see what a "breeze" teaching is! If it is so easy, c'mon over and give it a try!

      July 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  16. Teeny

    I have been a teacher and of course a student.

    For the education? I don't think the pay is bad. Not many other jobs with a BS/BA and 1 year pay $38K+ and have full bennies. Cost of benefits is comparable to other jobs or less. Most teachers locally have 3 sick days a year, work 15 min before the kids get there and 15 min after. One prep period and lunch. Two periods of release a month for staff meetings. Two recesses/monitoring opps a week. Additional pay of about 1k a year for coaching or yearbook type things. School day is 8 to 2, 6 hours. So, teachers are on campus 6.5 hours a day. While teachers do put in extra time, there is still 1.5 hours before you hit 8 hours, so that's not too bad, if you budget your time. Most teachers do not get the full week off of fall or spring break - they end up grading papers and such. Again, its a time management thing though. If you work as a sub for another teacher during your prep period you get paid an hourly rate.

    As both a student and a teacher, a longer school day would be great. My HS was 8 to 330, with the last period being for chorus, study hall, etc. It was fantastic. Having access to a trained teacher for subject specific study halls was even better. It would also give a new designation similar to what has occurred in hospitals - a specialty that is primarily for those not doing additional outside of school work. You could have a teacher whose job it was to monitor study halls and provide homework assistance - similar to the instructional aides in a community college. [instructional aides in k-12 schools simply do not have the education or experience generally to provide this level of help - most require a HS dip and passage of a basic skills test] Longer school year also would help, but I would guess it would depend on how it was structure. I would certainly like to see more research on the structure of the school day. Some evidence has shown that at risk students achieve better when the school day starts later. More application of evidence based results would help in the classroom.

    And in some cases, less parental involvement would help as well!

    July 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  17. Thank a teacher

    If you are able to read this and respond, then you need to thank a teacher!!!!!

    July 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • anon

      Not necessarily. A precious few of us, like myself, actually taught ourselves to read before we entered a classroom. I taught myself to read when I was only three. However, having said that, it only takes having your own kids home for summer vacation for a few months to realize how hard teachers have to work at just tolerating everyone ELSE'S rugrats to realize how hard they work, and most of all, how underpaid they are. Anything less then K200 per year just isn't worth it!! 🙂

      July 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
      • Lou

        I don't know what you think the activity of reading consists of, but, I assure you, what you were doing at three was not reading.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  18. TrueGrissel

    DavidW0909<< I'll give you an easy clean up, assuming your wife is a teacher and can't find work I'll ask what is it about your job that is so good that you wont answer me, or move to benefit your wife and you?

    July 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  19. CJEH

    Anyone who thinks teachers have a cushy day job with 3-4 months of 'vacation' every year has never actually been a real teacher.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • thedailypeeve

      And you've never worked in a corporate environment. I myself choose not to go the teaching route in college because the people who did were the least intelligent of the bunch, period. All looking for easy hours and summers off. Had I known then that after just 25 years of less than a half-year's work (with all NY vacation days counted in, plus vacation, plus sick days, plus summer vacation) I could welcome a high 5-figure pension check annually, and never have to worry about getting "downsized" no matter how crappy an instructor I was, and never have to worry about adequate health care without my corporate job (some years I never took vacation; I worked sometimes on weekends), I'd defend my choice, too. But let's not outright lie and claim to be hard-working; some teachers, yes, but I'm betting they're few and far between. It may not be a "cushy" job, as in environment and business lunches and such, but it's quite "cushy" considering time off, salary, benefits and retirement income. Oh, and by the way, taxpayers didn't add the money to my bank account. Consider yourself lucky and stop complaining.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • IteachUlearn

        You have no facts only speculation. Someone obviously didn't teach you logic. The majority of teachers? And you have never taught so shut your trap. My healthcare is the same as yours.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Shecky

      I used to be a teacher, and it IS a cushy day job with TOO much vacation time. True, the pay is low, but teachers know that when they choose to get INTO the profession, so they shouldn't be whining.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • anon

      I'm sure it's a relief having summers without the kids, but don't they have to spend a good portion of that time preparing for the upcoming year?

      July 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Lisa

      Agree! I work until the end of June, and am back in my room getting ready for the year by mid-August....and plan and organize and prep inbetween! Now, I am not a math teacher, but if I hear that teachers have 3 months off one more time.....! Maybe I am counting wrong..?

      July 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  20. soundnfury

    Want better, more motivated teachers? Offer free classes to promote content knowledge and pedagogy. Pay more, so that college professors and parental units discourage bright students to have another career that makes more money and has more promise. Get rid of tenure, but keep due process. Make the parents and students accountable for education–If students had to pay $50 at the beginning of the year, and they got back most or all of it based on their effort and grade, they would work harder and not blow it off. Because it is free to them, they discount it. Fine parents for bad behavior, neglecting grades, or doing their kid's work and handicapping him/her for life.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  21. castroskip

    I am married to a teacher and people that say teaching is easy have zero understanding of what being a good teacher is. My wife makes less than 30,000 a year and has been teaching for 4 years. Thanks Idaho. This is not year round but for the 9 months she teaches. You decide if you want a paycheck for 12 months or 9 months. If you decide 12 months you get your salary spread out over 12 not 89 months. Basically you are laid off for 3 months out of the year.
    She has to get another job the 3 months out of the year to supplement our income. We went on a 3 day vacation to celebrate the end of school. wahoo!!
    People that bag on teachers have no idea how hard they work!!

    July 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  22. Gary Reeves

    As a former teacher I think we should look at the education systems in countries like India where education means everything. They carry a chair to school and do home work by clandle light. I can't tell you how many transplant doctors I have had from India and other countries. Our kids look to sports and video games first. I am a Lockheed Martin staff engineer that before our teleprompter and chief killed the space shuttle program was a program manager for the space shuttle and space station. Potential engineer students are now no longer interested in engineering.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  23. ruth

    You chose the profession ...deal with it.....I am 64 and had a lot of dedicated teachers and big classrooms,we did not disrupt the class and if someone did ,they found themselves in the principals office,we were respectful and called our teachers Miss,Mr. or Mrs. not by their first name,if we did not you were sent to the principals office ,your parents would be called and your parents dealt with you when you got home....needless to say I can not remember that happening too often,,,,we were there to learn,told my children that also.my children were smart...did not have kids!...In today's world I applaud the teachers with having to deal with everything,I could not....seems the parents are dropping their end of the ball in today's world...

    July 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  24. shawbrooke

    What's needed is more time spent on stronger academics including life skills and health, and less time on non academics. Extras should be voluntary, stay after school programs.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Lou

      What are life skills?

      July 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  25. Ben

    I have family that works in the health care field that gets 15 sick days per year, 10 or more days of vacation time (depending on how long they are with the company), can "work from home" whenever they want to with 24 hours notice (this does not count as a sick day or vacation day), and earns a month sabbatical every few years. These same people can get an hour for lunch each day. They can leave early most days. The company brings in beer to have "working Fridays" on Friday afternoons (ranging from 2-4 times per month). Oh, another thing, during my summers, I see Facebook posts all day long from these very same people. Don't tell me what teachers do is "not work" or is less than other people. That's complete and utter crap and ALL OF YOU know it.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Whoa, BEN that was a lot of ta-due about nothing.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • mark

      Ben,
      You can't compare your health profession with a teacher job.
      1st of all teachers are paid by our tax dollars. Second, most of the high paid doctors are all very corrupt in the amounts they charge which leads to a bigger pay check for you

      July 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  26. san

    I suggest that some of these teachers need a longer school year to learn English. Cindy, who said she was a teacher, made five errors in her short remarks: a misplaced modifier, a comma splice, a sentence fragment, omission of the period after an abbreviation, and a misplaced parenthesis (which should have been placed inside the period in this instance).

    July 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Susan

      San, one would have to wonder why you would be critical of teachers when obviously you were taught by a few.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Lou

      How to use a comma or a semicolon is not the problem. How well our children do at math, science, English, and history means absolutely nothing. Too often we see our youth as receptacles for information; we overload them with facts and answers, and we fail to show them how to think critically and how to self-reflect. We don't see them as whole persons with evolving emotions. Instead of making the day longer, why not fill our schools with mental-health counselors, and make it as mandatory as gym that students speak with a school mental health counselor twice a week; thus, we will create children and young adults who are capable of expressing their emotions and understanding their inner life. Not until our youth value themselves will they value a life of learning. Maybe this will put an end to all the deadly violence and developmental neglect.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • brian

      Seriously? A misplaced modifier? Maybe that person doesn't teach English? I teach physics myself and don't even know what the heck a modifier is! Then again, San, can you calculate the angle subtended by a star that is 5pc from the Earth? Better yet, draw a Feynman diagram for an electron absorbing a photon?

      Yeah. I didn't think you could do that! THIS teacher can 🙂

      July 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  27. Husband of a teacher

    My wife teaches kindergarten. She leaves before me, gets home after me, spends a good bit of her check on her job, and makes a third what I make. She spends at least six hours on the weekend in the classroom, and every night at home. She doesn't sit all day, can't eat a lunch until her 30 minute planning time at 2pm, and has to get someone from the office to cover her if she has to use the bathroom (she usually just doesn't go). Throughout the school year, she gets three days of sick leave. Any more is about a $300 deduction per day. To do that for people that blame you for all the world's problems is not worth it.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  28. bluegillonthefly

    To address Julie, the teacher quoted as not wanting to be called a lazy loser all the time, and other teachers who have commented:

    Julie, nobody is calling _you_ a lazy loser – at least, not that I know of – or even teachers in general. There are many fine, dedicated, highly competent, hard-working teachers in the world. I was fortunate to have many, at all levels of school.

    Unfortunately, there are also more than a few bums who need to have some other profession. I had a bunch of those when I was in school, too. It was that, more than any other factor, that led me to move my kids to private school last year. The kinds of teachers who continue on forever, just muddling through, are not tolerated in private schools. In public schools, they are tolerated because they are protected by the union and the effort to get rid of them is so great, and has such a low success rate, that no one is even willing to try.

    I know how hard teaching is. I did it myself for 3 years, and was good at it. I had the respect of my students, their parents, and my superiors. However, it is hard and the pay wasn't so hot. After three years I returned to IT, where I could make a better living with less stress. I loved teaching, but not enough to stay in it when considering the opportunity cost. I very much appreciate good teachers, but I loathe the union and the bad teachers they protect.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • soundnfury

      To avoid bad teachers, have better people go into the profession by making it appetizing instead of CNN commenters' favorite punching bag.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Proud Union Member

      Once again, the Republican myth of unions protecting bad workers rears its ugly head! Unions DO NOT protect bad workers. Unions want great teachers as much as the students and parents do. What unions do, though, is make the administration follow a due-process to release a teacher. That is nothing more than we give to our criminals, so why is it wrong for teachers? The unions are only making sure the school administrators are doing their jobs, which in many cases, they are not. The teaching profession, like ALL professions, has bad apples that need to be plucked from the tree, but blaming unions for the problems only exacerbates an already toxic situation. As long as our society thinks and acts in the moment and only for themselves, we will continue to have the education system we have despite the hard work of 99.9% of the teachers. It is time for a major culture shift where education is placed above all other activities (sports, extra-curricular activities, travelling sports, video games, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Unless you're willing to make that happen, don't complain about the teachers.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • IteachUlearn

      You are so dillusional to think that your private school is not one big old boys club. It should scare you more that you think you have control over what techers are there because of a survey that you take at the end of the year. They are private and control everything...even what republican crap your kids are learning! Way to go.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  29. Anthony

    @iTeachUlearn
    HAHA...I love this one...you get PAID to teach...that is what you make....don't be all high and mighty about your career....people (as myself) donate their time...when they stop paying you and you do it anyway..then you "make a difference"...right now you are PAID...similar to soldiers and cops who think they are so nobel....check into volunteering..THEN talk about how nobel you are.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • IteachUlearn

      @anthony,
      And what supports you or are you rich already? I am so incredibly proud to be high and mighty on the idea that I do make a difference and shame on you to think that people in the public service should not be respected as such. It would shock and horrify you to find out that they probably put in more volunteer hours than you.
      Oh....and volunteers who brag aren't in it for the right reasons. Try teaching as a profession to support your family then come to me and criticize me for being high and mighty.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  30. Dana

    When I was in Elem school I sat there since 8AM till 4PM. Sometimes later. I assure you my generation was more educated than the one these days. I find it outrageous that my 5th grader is still doing silly easy stuff in class. I was solving inequalities by then, equations with one unknown. If I did not take my own time to educate my child, she would be as dumb as any other kid in her class. yes, there should be way more done in elem school, longer hours needed. Finish class at 2:15PM? Really???

    July 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Dana<<< I can see or feel your frustration whatever, also primo name Dana.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • GDaddy

      Too bad you didn't bother to learn grammer.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  31. Student

    My opinion as a student is that extended school days could potentially be helpful if done right. I think having a room or time that students can do there homework supervised could be helpful to many students. The school year could be extended by a bit but many students need that time to unwind and de-stress from school.They need that time so they can go see family or go traveling with their family;which usually can't be done during the other school breaks. I believe that teachers also need the summer to unwind and to plan how they will teach their classes, such as if they need to change things or find more recent material. Teachers are people to and very hard working people at that. They have families and need time to rest; and they certainly don't receive the amount of credit they deserve. I have had teachers though that cannot teach very well though for various reasons and I know that is what has hurt me and many other students along our educational paths.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  32. TrueGrissel

    DavidW0909<<< I'm asking you a direct question, ARE YOU WILLING TO RELOCATE FOR YOUR WIVES FUTURE ? If not then Shut Up with my wife can't get a job.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  33. david

    This may be the most pointless article I've ever seen. If you think teacher's have such an easy job with so much time off, go be one. Go back to school, get your teaching certificate, then you too can make $28k/year (average starting salary in North Carolina). And yes, you will get a lot of time off. You get paid for 9 months of work out of a 12 month year. So if you worked year round and were paid the same for the remaining 3 months, you would make $37k annually. Does anyone here think that $37k is overpaid for working 10-12 hrs per day? I make $80k for working less, and have less education that my wife, who is a teacher.

    Maybe I'm overpaid?

    July 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  34. CoopFL

    Let's see – my husband puts in at least an extra hour of unpaid classroom a day to help students – often times much more. He coaches Football and Special Olympics [hours each week] for nothing. We've paid thousands of dollars for certifications – and, of course, all of the class work. He is an award winning teacher and feels rewarded in his second career. For this, he earns less than $38,000. a year before tax – and we pay $525. a month from this "bloated" paycheck to cover my woefully inadequate health insurance. He's one of the lucky ones – in a good school with involved parents. Our friends in England speak about him being a teacher with great pride to their friends – they hold the role of educating their children in high esteem and pay them handsomely for it... like a REAL profession. It's too bad we don't think about teaching that way here.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • fastball

      Same like in Canada – teachers get paid VERY well. But then again – sitting in a class full of kids for 6 hours a day, marking exams at home (2 hours a night, minimum), lesson plans (another hour or so), before and after-school activities, and coaching sports and taking field trips.
      My daughter is a teacher in England – the pay is decent there, too. The school year runs from September to the end of July – but with a almost 7-weeks-on, 1-week off, schedule. Keeps the teachers fresh, keeps the students from tuning out, and the 6-week summer break is just long enough so it's a short refresher time in September.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • unknown

      if teachers would just wake up. until teachers unite, this will always happen. its their fault. educators make the rules and policies.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  35. Lynn

    This fall I will start with my 30th class of 7, 8 or 9 year olds. Each group presents unique challenges and generous rewards for me. It's not an 8:30-3:30 job for 180 days. The curriculum is constantly changing as is the type of child I'm teaching. All the changes in consumer goods available during the past 30 years has changed the children that enter the classroom.Negativity about educators has also made parents more critical. I am constantly refining what I am teaching, learning more about technology and reading professionally. I have earned National Board Certification 10 years ago, and have re-certified during the past year. It is my vocation and not just a job. My passion is molding young minds to be curious, inquisitive, problem solvers, observers, scientists, historians, mathematicians and great communicators. Yet so many people degrade the profession as easy money and consider teachers to be "loafing" all summer. Working 12-14 hour days and preparing lessons over the weekends and summer months certainly exhaust me. But I hope to keep going for several more years. I can't think of anything as rewarding.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  36. DavidW0909

    I'll tell you one thing, it isn't easy to even get a teaching job. There are serious problems with the way teachers are rated and even if they are rated poorly but if they have tenure but are lousy teachers they get priority for jobs, the principal may dump them but then they just end up at another school with job priority over someone from the outside who may be highly qualified to do the job but they don't get the job. My wife has been trying for four years to get a job where we live in multiple districts and in almost all cases she is always told the position was filled. She has a degree in education and 4 state certifications but still no luck. ISD's post hundreds of jobs and have people leaving left and right but no go. I feel really bad for her and she is frustrated. She is working but at a private daycare, she is incredibly dedicated and speaks five languages. I'm beginning to wonder if the unions and the people doing the hiring don't need some serious scrutiny here.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Are you willing to relocate DavidW0909? if yes check out Alaska and then find UNALASKA the city, plenty of teaching jobs here benefits not too shabby either.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
      • KP

        "TrueGrissel
        Are you willing to relocate DavidW0909? if yes check out Alaska and then find UNALASKA the city, plenty of teaching jobs here benefits not too shabby either."

        You're failing to realize that teaching credentials and certificates aren't transferable between states 99% of the time. States are very protective about their education systems because that's how they receive funding from the Feds. You can teach across (some) states of you pass the National Board Certification, but even then that will not guarantee you a spot over someone from the local state or area who has the state credential/licensure. It's not as easy to get up and move as it would be for a doctor, engineer, secretary, administrator, etc.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • hatemorons

        Lair. Just checked the website and it says there are no openings at the moment.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
      • TrueGrissel

        HateMorons there are jobs. Even a teacher needs to start at the bottom, part time, aide whatever. Housing, PFD, benefits make moving worthwhile.

        July 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  37. Exhausted teacher

    This will be my eighth year teaching and I plan on moving on in the next couple of years. I love teaching. I love being in the classroom. During the school year, I am a neglectful parent. By the time I leave school and pick my children up from daycare, it is 6pm. I cook dinner. We eat together. I help my son with his homework for an hour and then I go back to planning, grading papers, answering parent emails, updating my website and completing coursework for another Master's degree. I work until I fall asleep and I wake up 4-4:30am to do more work. I wake up my children to get them ready to go to school around 6am and the cycle begins again. A few years ago, I decided not to give up my entire weekend with my children and reserved my Saturdays for my family. I spend about 8 hours every Sunday during the school year working. In the summer, my break consists of more courses, planning for the upcoming school year, finding more resources, writing grants, reading books to be more knowledgeable in my content area and yes, a break to be with my own children who I neglect 10 months out of the year. I am lucky where I am because the parents are generally supportive, and my classroom time with my students is invigorating. I believe a good teacher should be planning, learning, assessing, engaging,communicating with students and parents, but it doesn't seem to be enough anymore. My job is hard as it is teaching to a variety of backgrounds and levels, but the district wants me to give up the planning time I already use every second of and take courses that are "one size fits all" on things I've already mastered because the Supt.'s friend owns the consulting company that they'd like to charge the taxpayers for. They are also asking me to come after school for 2 hours a week (outside of the time I already stay after) and 8 hours on the weekend, again, to take courses for things I've already mastered. There are things I'd like to learn and I'd like to grow professionally in things I have a deficit in, but I do not want to waste my time or the taxpayer's money on nonsense.
    I agree that there are some terrible teachers out there (a product of being chummy with higher ups), but please do not condemn us all. A lot of us work so very hard. Out of 19 students in my Master's of Ed. program that graduated in 2003, I am the only one still teaching.The rest went on to become lawyers, went into business (MBA) etc...

    July 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • iammeyouareyou

      You are exhausted because you have lousy time management skills. Every teacher gets time off periods during the schoolday to do paperwork, grade papers and do reading and lesson planning. You are either full of BS or just really bad at planning your schedule. My wife has been a Special Ed teacher for 8 years and she has yet to bring home any paper work. She is fantastic teacher that all the students love and the parents and administrators love as well. She also completed her MS.Ed. program while working full time teaching.
      You are doing something wrong. You cannot possibly need so much time to plan lessons for "new curriculum" (they just don't change that much from year to year) and take all summer to do what you do. Seek help from your administration. Take a time managmenet class geared for teachers. Consider a different career.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        Ummmm. You think special ed teachers have the same needs to spend time correcting papers/tests as some other teachers?

        July 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
      • Caliban

        The logical flaws in this comment are so numerous that I cannot muster the energy to address them with more than a heavy sigh, and even that response is likely to be pointless.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • 30-year teacher

        What planet do you and your wife live on? Or are you in a district with incredibly low expectations?

        July 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • TigerEyes

        How many preps does your wife have?Last year I taught 3 different classes. That is three different lesson plans due each week. In one subject, I had 4 classes for a total of 120 students. Another subject, I had 60 students. The third subject was a remedial class with 10 students. On top of lesson plans, I had 52 min. To grade each assignment, call parents, have data meetings to discuss students who are not passing. Fill out paperwork to devise a plan on how to help these students, and call and organize matches for my team. Yes, I also coach. My supplement, $60 a month. I don't make money coaching, but it is the only way we can build a program. I do this for the students. We as a faculty donate our time to chaperone dances and work the concessions at ball games. We don't get paid! We do this because we care!, it is impossible to get e erythi g do e in a 52 mi ute planning period. So yes, I work weekends and afternoons. Teachers are constantly having to change the way we teach, because we have to get our students attention somehow. That is by keeping up with technology and the latest trends. So before you tell someone else to manage better. Try their job first.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Susan

        haha that is among the most ignorant comments posted here!

        July 31, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Taryntula

        I disagree with your post completely, and chock it up you not having experience in this area. Special Ed teachers are wonderful people, and they work hard, but they are not teaching the same curriculum, nor do they have the same class sizes, as the regular grades. My mother has been teaching 4th grade in California for 16 years, and my grandmother taught for 31 before her. Mom has had to learn new curriculum for math alone almost every other year she has been a teacher. They change curriculum A LOT in California, especially math and science. It may be different in other states/grades, I am not experienced in that area. Also, because your wife (I'm assuming) has a smaller class size, she isn't grading the high volume of book reports and higher math that the higher elementary grades are correcting on a weekly basis. My mom has about 32 to 34 students each year in her class...that is taxing for even the best of teachers. I think every grade is different, every school is different, and each state picks it's own curriculum...I think it is faulty to assume that your special ed teaching wife (God Bless Her!) is the ruling bar for teachers across the U.S. Your wife deals with much more emotional and behavioral intensity, but the work load may be different and saying that other teachers are bad at time management because your wife isn't working those extra hours might be faulty reasoning.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • IteachUlearn

        @iamme
        LoL, thats probably because her classroom cap is 6!!!

        July 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Dana

      Flash news for you. I wake my kid at 6:30 and we leave at 7. I pick her up at 5:45PM. See? EVERYONE works 8-5, or similar. Stop crying.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • Exhausted teacher

        Wow, I guess you keep working after you get home too. I'd like to add that before I became a teacher, I was in the military and teaching is a million times harder than my time in the military. While there were times I had to work 24 hours straight without sleep or deploy. When I was home. I was home. I did not do work when I was "off". I relaxed. I read books. I watched movies. I went for walks.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • ruth

      Hard job....I know....I just read in the 1800's you were not allowed to be married and you went from one child's home to another for dinner....times sure have changed!

      July 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Patricia Klein

      Thank you for sharing exhausted teacher! I hear what you are saying. This is a very misunderstood profession. I challenge anyone over 25 to do what we do effectively day in and day out. That's why people are walking away from education. I am talking young people are walking away saying this is too much. People realize it's more work than what they originally thought. Last fall I had 60 middle school kids in a classroom. Yes, 60 students!!! I couldn't even walk up and down the aisle. This was so unfair to the students. It went on for two and half months until a parent finally went to the fire department to complain because the room had no windows and one exit. Teachers were fearful of losing their jobs if they complained too much.
      I once had a friend who subbed for a brief time and laughed and said all we do is pass out worksheets. Well...someone set her up to hold the fort down and have a pleasant day. Passing out worksheets is not what teaching is about. When will the general public stop their hatred towards us and start working with us better so the kids will want to learn? The kids know that the parents are not buying into education. It didn't work for some of them and they don't care if it works for their kids either. They are regarding it as a babysitting service. I'll get parents that drop off cupcakes for birthday parties when I am in the middle of a lesson, but they never come to conferences. Or, they come up to the school because someone stole some candy from their kids lunchbox. But, to come up to the school and see how their child is doing academically. Oh, hell no that would be meaningless!!! So there is tremendous disrespect that sets a terrible tone. Has any of the above posts volunteered in their community schools to see what's actually going on in classrooms today? Lastly, if you think you can do a better job...then go get a degree in education. Now a days you don't even need a degree for a charter school. However, with or without a teaching degree I bet you wouldn't last!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  38. Thanks to my teachers

    Teachers have an incredibly hard job. I have several friends who home school their kids (3 at the most), and they have little time to do ANYTHING else. In fact, if cooking weren't one of the subjects they teach, they would eat fast food every weeknight! If they had a classroom of 30 kids, all with different needs, and 30 sets of parents to deal with, they would have to work even harder.

    As for teachers only working 8 months a year, George, where do you live? Teachers everywhere I've lived (California, Virginia, New York, Florida) get a max of 10-11 weeks off during the summer and two one-week breaks (winter and spring). And they DO take home papers to grade, prepare lesson plans, and make calls to parents at night & weekends. The teachers I know work long hours, and they work harder and are more creative than many of my corporate colleagues.

    I am grateful for the teachers who helped me and my kids. Sure, there are bad teachers out there but the whole profession shouldn't be slammed because of a few bad apples... there are no more bad teachers out there than there are bad bankers, business execs, or doctors.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  39. nyricanteach

    I really am quite tired of those who have no concept of the time, energy, and effort it takes to produce curriculum that engages and motivates today's children to push themselves to their absolute best. My day is generally around 13-14 hours and by the time the weekend or a vacation comes around all I want to do is rest but then I have to develop the upcoming lessons to make sure they are up to date and effective. If you can do my job and do it well then you can have your say, otherwise get an education and get a better job that allows you such amenities and then perhaps you would better understand.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  40. Ianni

    I am currently a USMC Infantryman. I have two college degrees and spent years teaching Latin. I enlisted in the Marines and am not an officer. Everything I have done in the past year, including boot camp, training, and going to the field is easier than my time teaching.

    Yes we may only work 180 days (I have never worked so few) but these "vacations" we get? What are we supposed to do during them? We aren't paid enough to go anywhere and they are too short to get a job! Just think for ONE moment and you will realize that most employers won't hire someone for just 2 months in the summer. ESPECIALLY when there is a great source of cheap labor available at that time, i.e. the students I WAS teaching.

    So go ahead and sit there and take your coffee breaks and surf your facebook while the teachers are trying to go home every night and not cry into their pillows because their students just won't learn no matter how much heart and soul they put into their job. Go ahead and judge while you chat up your co-workers and have peace and quiet to do your job while teachers try to keep the sanity as parents tell them they have no idea how to do their profession.

    I am proud to be a member of the USMC, but I am even prouder to be a teacher!

    July 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      lanni<< I think your not really telling any truths are you? There are a lot of people on this board that sounds more credible than you. Maybe your mom or dad ,I think not you.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
      • IteachUlearn

        @TueGrissel,
        Way to treat a serviceman...classy.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Will

      Thank you Ianni for your service to our country – both as a teacher and a marine.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  41. JJ

    I'm not complaining, I love teaching, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do, but please don't think that teachers' salaries are so out of line with the work they put into their jobs. As a middle school teacher of 13 years, I still put in double the amount of working time than the hours for which I get paid during the school year. I am constantly updating and reviewing so that I can improve my teaching, creating PowerPoint presentations, writing up new worksheets, not to mention the constant grading and meetings. It's a good thing I get the summer off, not so that I can laze away my days at the pool, but for the time to work on next year's improvements and changes to the curriculum. I have to consciously schedule in some vacation time during my "summer off", or I wouldn't get a break. Not only do teachers work hard, but the judgement as to whether they are 'good' teachers relies on their students' motivation and work habits more than on their own. It is almost impossible to motivate an 8th grade student in a remedial class. Once teachers are done with their work for the night, they are still left with the care and worry about the students' personal situations. I know my husband never has trouble falling asleep worrying about the electrons with which he works, but it is not uncommon in the teaching profession. I would like to extend my personal thanks to all the teachers out there – we truly have the most important profession in the world.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • iammeyouareyou

      You are using you time poorly. You should not have to reinvent the wheel every time you teahc a subject/topic. Also, note that every "profession" has continuing education classes that are often mandatory for continued licensing and employment. That education, however, does not translate into an automatic raise, as it does with teachers union contracts. The teachers unions are killing this country in so many ways, and they are so far out of line with real "professionals" in the workplace. What other professionals have a union? Being a union member or non-union is one of the basic ways employees are separated into categories like "professional" or not. Pick one or the other; either you are a union laborer or a professional. Only teachers have it BOTH ways. Incredible.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
      • soundnfury

        Poor time management? Really? If teaching were all about good time management and there were no interfering factors, such as 1. contacting parents, 2. correcting late work because if you didn't accept late work 40% of the class would fail and the parents would berate you through e-mail, phone, and principal visits, 3. working with student behavior, 4. monitoring hallways, 5. changing lesson plans because what works for one student doesn't work for another, and each year, students are getting harder to reach, 6. Updating your curriculum to meet the electronic age, etc. I think you need to actually spend time with a heterogeneous group of human beings and realize that each is unique in learning ability, style and motivation. Until then, don't preach time management until you have 150+ kids to teach every day.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
      • easy4u2say

        It seems you are more upset about unions than posting anything of substance on this subject. Nursing is a profession that is also unionized. Just an example of how wrong your arguments are. Nobody is saying that planning and time management are not essential to being an effective teacher. However, only someone with an agenda would claim that good teachers, and there are many, don't go above and beyond their pay and work hours to do the best they can with what they have. My wife is Swiss and the amount of money, time and effort spent by the entire system to educate their citizens per capita dwarfs what we do. It's a priority to them and the results speak for themselves.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  42. Goodguy1

    Have the same school day with more important classes instead of fluff, Have two hours in the afternoon when kids can flock to labs for homework and help with subjects that are difficult. Kids get more help, Parents can meet them at the door when they get home from work and the kids leave school. Make school year-round with 2-3 week breaks every 3 months.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • soundnfury

      If you didn't have "fluff," (and by all means, I believe that there are fluffy classes), many students would drop out. I used to believe that you should only let the students who had really good grades compete, but I quickly learned that sometimes a sport is the only thing keeping a student in school and off the street.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  43. Wash123

    Most of the teachers in my high school were so god dang lazy, I never learned anything since I graduated there. They didn't care about students education and don't feel that they want to be apart of it, they're only there to get paid. I learned so much one semester of college than I learned in 4 years of high school.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Mickey

      I am a teacher. You know how many pay raises our school district has gotten over the last four years-none. That's right. Now for all of you out there who think teachers have it so easy-Why didn't you become teachers so you could have all the time off you think we get. All the other teachers have defined what we do on our time off so think about this. How would you like to deal with 200 personalities everyday and then have to deal with all the parents who think that their students are all ""A" students when in truth you always have to give a lot of them points just so they will pass. On top of that we have to take college classes every five years just to keep our licenses that WE have to pay for out of our pockets with no help from the school district or our ex-president who pushed No Child Left Behind on us which has caused more students not to graduate than anytime in our history. If you think it is so easy and we have so much time off, I invite you to come and teach my classes with the full work load for two weeks and see how easy it is.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • wwill

      Clearly, you did not learn much in your high school or college English classes. Maybe it wasn't your teachers' fault.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  44. Josh H (teacher)

    I believe Jesus is our Savior. Since we are all wanting to fight, let's just go ahead and jump to the argument these threads always end with........

    Also, I am a teacher. I work hard. I love my work. I love my kids. I feel like I don't get paid according to the hours I work but I am ok with that because of the so many life changing discussions and interactions I have had with students over the past 3 years.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  45. indiegirlie

    Why is it that being a 'teacher' is a profession where the job is viewed by non teachers as having a single component, period, i.e. literal time in a classroom teaching students? Is any other profession/job viewed as a 'one trick pony', e.g. carpenters are only working when they are pounding a nail, lawyers are only working when they are in front of a jury, landscapers are only working when they are mowing grass, etc etc etc. Geesh, get a grip people. The tasks associated with being a teacher extend waaaaaaayyy beyond the actual teaching component.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  46. Jimmy-James

    You want to write an article alluding to the laziness of teachers by copying and pasting most of the article from the comments section? You wrote a grand total of 3.5 paragraphs and then just allowed people to continue bashing teachers. You should be fired as a writer and hired as a propagandist. Though, I assume those aren't much different nowadays. This article is proof.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  47. plastering in auckland

    I'm no longer sure the place you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thanks for excellent information I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  48. John

    I know that teaching is a difficult profession that takes skills and knowledge to do well. What I don't understand is why teachers and teachers union are against some type of assessment of their work product. Just like my job in private sector business, quarterly performance reviews and annual raises based on the results. Many people get 0% raise and should consider themselves lucky they still have a job. I usually average 3-5% because I rock. Good teachers should be on the unions to allow this type of evaluation as they will find more money and respect instead of being lumped in with all the poor teachers. Only the poor teachers have something to fear as well they should.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • scott bleyle

      Look how lame and ineffective Nurses Unions are,same with teachers.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • scott bleyle

      Look how lame and ineffective Nurses Unions are,same with teachers.Sure they are large but so are school's of fish.No strong leadership or support.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • easy4u2say

        I guess we should pay our teachers minimum wage and require them to work 16 hour days. Oh wait, in some states we already do! sarcasm intended. You do realize that in being able to read and respond in this forum someone, probably a teacher, taught you......

        July 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Andy

      John – how are you going to evaluate teachers? Teachers have to take in whatever students they're given. So, Teacher A could be given a classroom of gifted or high kids (even generally average kids would work here) and Teacher B gets some with IQ's in the 60's, some who didn't speak any english until they set foot in their classroom, some with severe/profound disabilities. Now, give both classes the annual state assessments. Not only will Teacher A's class destroy Teacher B's class in terms of scores, Teacher A's class will also show more improvement over the years due to the various factors associated with IQ, severe disabilities and ESL. The only ones who know who is a good teacher are the other teachers in that school and some of the parents and even that's not good enough.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        I would say that the people who have real knowledge of the effectiveness of teachers are a few of the most-aware STUDENTS.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • krats1976

      There isn't really a simple answer to this question, but I'm going to try anyway. In the business world, it is relatively easy to measure success. A good businessperson makes money for his/her company, right? There are clear measures that indicate success.

      So, how do you measure a "good" teacher? We are not making a product out of inanimate objects. We are working with people, specifically children who come from environments we can't control. Yet, most school districts and states have made the statewide testing the basis for most, if not all, of their evaluation of teachers, vis-a-vis bonuses. It seems to make sense, on the surface–a student with a good teacher should do well on the test, right? However, any teacher who has spent time in less affluent schools can tell you that socioeconomic status and family environment are major factors in student success. I have taught in private, public, and charter schools. The students I taught in the charter school–where students were likely to come from middle class (usually lower-middle, but still middle) families with two parents, where they or their parents had chosen for them to be there, and where the parents were part of encouraging the students to do well–did significantly better than my students in an inner city high school where most students lived in poverty with one parent (or a single grandparent), and where gangs and drugs were rampant. Did I suddenly become a worse teacher in the inner city? Or is there more to student success on a standardized test than just teaching?

      That's why teachers and unions are concerned about how teachers are assessed (though, not flat-out opposed to some kind of assessment as you state).

      July 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
      • krats1976

        Sorry, this was in reply to John's statement above...

        July 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • soundnfury

      Generally, all the teachers I know are in favor of accountability, as long as it is objective. However, finding an objective measuring stick is a Holy Grail that hasn't been obtained. Student scores? Students are influenced by much more than what they were supposed to be learning, like "Do they like you?" "I don't care today." "Is Mom/Dad/Guardian going to be home today?" etc. Peer evaluations, good–unless your peer is of the older set and can't believe you are doing something unorthodox, like acting out Shakespeare instead of lulling students to sleep by a monotone Popcorn reading tradition. Good luck.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jenny

      This would be ideal. Answer these questions for me please.
      1. Who is going to be doing these evaluations? If you say the principal, we have 90 teachers and one principal.
      2. What will the evaluation look like? How will a PE teacher be evaluated and a science teacher when the people who hire teachers do not even understand the subjects being taught?
      3. How do you determine which teachers get a raise when teachers have no control over which children are placed in their classrooms?
      I think everyone agrees in principle that teachers should be held accountable and paid accordingly. The true question is how do we successfully implement a merit pay system to be fair and cost effective? I have also worked in the private sector and I had a manager, an assistant manager, and human resources people to evaluate employees like myself and even then, they only had around ten individuals per quarter to evaluate. I guess we could hire a bunch of "managers" to oversea all of these teachers?

      July 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  49. bernardmarxx

    Reading what these teachers write, I must have had the most lazy, incompentent teachers anywhere in the U.S. A typical hour of classroom "instruction" was " Read Chapters 7 and 8 and do the questions at the back of the chapter. We'll grade the papers in the last 10 minutes of class." If you were bright, you were bored. If you were slow, you got no help. The "teachers" sat at the front of the class and read a novel or magazine or even left the classroom, leaving a tattletail "in charge." This wasn't the exception; It was the rule. The school had a top 10% academic ranking in the state- owing mostly to the pressure on kids coming from parents employed at the nearby military base and university.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • scott bleyle

      Teachers, the other "Mommy."

      July 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Jenny

      I am sorry you did not have even one inspiring and motivating teacher in all of your years of education. I had a few teachers as you describe (1-2) but some of them were like parents to me when I was young. I had an exceptional 8th grade math teacher named Ms. Gray and the Mr. Carpenter was wonderful at teaching 8th grade science. I have had many more memorable teachers than non memorable.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Mary

      I wouldn't take behavior of teachers at one school and assume it is that way at all schools. It can depend on whoever runs the show. I am a teacher, and I see some pretty hard workers at my school. They aim for high achievement, and, many students who attend are in the low economic bracket.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  50. ann

    Showing how the pay is calculated does not do away with the fact that there are people that make exactly what a teacher makes (or less) but work almost all days of the year and sometimes way more hours in each day than 8. And there is no guarantee that a person would get overtime pay or other compensation for working extra hours either if they are considered salaried.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      @ann<<< I remember a long time ago I worked as a maintenance man, not a teacher but I hated my once a month paycheck but the kids came in a close tie to what I hated about the job. Needless to say I quit within 45 days.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  51. bernardmarxx

    Reading what these teachers write, I must have had the most lazy, incompentent teachers anywhere in the U.S. A typical day of classroom "instruction" was " Read Chapters 7 and 8 and do the questions at the back of the chapter. We'll grade the papers in the last 10 minutes of class." If you were bright, you were bored. If you were slow, you got no help. The "teachers" sat at the front of the class and read a novel or magazine or even left the classroom, leaving a tattletail "in charge." This wasn't the exception, It was the rule. The school had a top 10% academic ranking in the state- owing mostly to the pressure coming from parents employed at the nearby military base and university.

    July 31, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • LaLa

      Yes, that's the lazy teacher's way. But the good teacher fills in the details of "Chapters 7 & 8" & expands on the questions in the back. A good teacher develops her/his own class materials to shore up the book. My kids' teachers provide so much more than what the books offer, so much more than what is required for a standardized test.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Nesserday

      Yes! So true, and listening to boring stories about themselves and what they watched on TV while, as a student, you doodled on your note book or read a paperback stuck in your textbook. The only thing good about the school years was summer vacation because you picked up useful knowledge from part-time jobs.....

      July 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  52. EJB

    I would like to start out by saying that I respect all teachers and administrators that work in the public school systems that really try to help educate our children. That being said, I also recognize that there are slackers out there who take advantage of the current system whether working for the government or private sector.
    What we need to address are the loopholes that allow people to take advantage, putting in only the minimum amount of work to collect a paycheck. I think teachers/admin’s should be paid based on the quality of their work much like the way the private sector works so if they have a track record of students who get bad grades in their class, they get paid less, demoted or fired. When was the last you heard of a teacher being fired for something other than for breaking the law? When was the last you heard of a teacher losing their teaching credentials due to poor performance?
    I agree with one of the first posts that stated that the summer vacation idea was started a very long time ago when children were expected to help out with family farms or businesses just to make ends meet. I think we need to let that go into the history books and let the schooling go all year. Kids get out of the habit of learning something every day if allowed to – so do adults.
    What I see as the biggest thing we gloss over is that humans all are born with a certain amount of intelligence (some more than others) and education is supposed to fill in the blanks so each human can contribute to the community, make a comfortable living and most importantly – know right from wrong. Some people just learn faster than others and they shouldn’t be held back just to stay in the age groups defined by the administration. In California where I live they have a “no child left behind” act that G.W. Bush as president enacted, but what I’ve seen happen since that was invoked was “no child gets ahead”. In classrooms where there are 30+ kids and not all speak English and have some learning disabilities it’s really hard for the smarter kids to stay focused and into what is being taught. The line between trying to keep things equal for all and trying to keep our education system churning out scholars has become very grey and fuzzy. When have you seen someone at a college or university graduation ceremony being called up on stage to receive an award for just passing? All I see these days are kids being educated to pass a “STAR” test or something similar, not really READING, WRITING, HISTORY, SOCIAL STUDIES or ARTHIMETIC .
    I also agree there should be more vocational schools for those who choose not to go to college. The message I hear these days is that if you don’t go to college – you’re nothing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have a lot of respect for those in trades that don’t require a lot of education but do require dedication and hard work. We NEED people who are willing to sweat it out and do the work that all the “higher education” folks think is too menial for them to do. Do we really need welders, day labor, cooks and plumbers and alike to have 4 year degrees and the huge debit in student loans that goes along with a higher education?

    July 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Jenny

      Thank you.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  53. ann

    I think that a great teacher who is constantly trying to do the best they can for their students is probably overworked and underpaid. I knew a teacher like that and she was constantly working and spending her own money.

    However, not all teachers are good teachers that care about teaching. I am not sure if there is a correlation between professors and regular teachers but I was an assistant for a professor for 4 years while I was in college. I did about 90% of her grading, typing up test, preparing her required booklet for trying to achieve tenure, etc. She spent about 2 hours in the classroom and whined about having office hours and often would skip out of them whenever possible. Most of her curriculum was at least 10 years old. She may have cared more at some point in her life, but it wasn't when I was around. I had a hard time feeling sorry for her when she whined about low pay (which i think she earned around 50 or 60K). She often spent no more than 3 hours a day at work sometimes less, never ever came in on a weekend, and never took anything home with her.

    If there is little or no accountability, you get teachers like the one I described. She was not the only one either as I also assisted several other professors and most of them were just as bad. I often graded stuff that I felt I didn't have any business grading as it was subjective and I didn't have the education needed to make that determination.

    Teachers should be regularly evaluated on their curriculum, plans, and even checked to see if their knowledge of the material is up to date. I would also suggest being observed regularly. Testing the students is not an effective measure of a teacher as they just teach to the test. They should also get regularly dropped in on to see what they are teaching that day.

    I don't think that is asking a lot as I get evaluated at my job regularly, held accountable, observed regularly, as well as have to come in periodically on weekends, get called at home if a system breaks, and am not allowed to be off work more than a week at a time tops, and have been doing the job of 2 people for quite some time. Not to mention having to constantly keep my skill set current on my own time and my own dime.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • why2

      What you are suggesting- observations, reviews of their plans, continuing their education- is what already happens. You were describing professors in college who do not have the same educational background as K-12 teachers. So please do not judge K-12 teachers by what a professor in college did.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  54. Carol R Brown

    I am a retired music teacher and adjunct college professor. When I taught public school in NY state, I taught as many as 600 different students per year and always at least 3 different grade levels per year, everything from 1st thru 12th grade. Record keeping alone for all those students was a nightmare. Every 10 weeks I spent up to 40 hours at home doing my grades. I arrived at school every morning at about 7:30 and got home around 6:00 p.m. exhausted. I never had a teacher planning day when I could go shopping or even go out to lunch. We had in service classes and meetings all day. I never used the same lessons two years in a row and constantly took classes to keep up with best practices. I made good money by the time I retired but it took me 25 years to get there. I am proud to have been a teacher and to have impacted the lives of countless beautiful though sometimes trying children. Most of the teachers I worked with worked just as hard as I did, although a very few were slackers. In any profession, there are always some people who are less effective than others. I have know many masterful teachers, worth far more than they were paid. I have a PhD. How many people do you know who would be willing to put in 14 – 16 hours a day for $50 K per year and little or no respect from the public?

    July 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • teacher of Music

      The best teaching job has to be gym. "hey what shall we do today?" The hardest teaching job hands down is music NO MATTER what anyone says!

      July 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Thank you for your service

      July 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Your profession is obsolete in todays world, it should be offered only as an elective. This is my opinion. Your PhD was a waste of time and money.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • MIchelle (the one who's a teacher)

        TrueGrissel–actually, there is a direct correlation between learning music, foreign languages, and math. Aside from that, kids need to be exposed to subjects that challenge their creativity and allow them to excel in or at least experience something during a school day that doesn't have a textbook to go along with it. What sets our students apart from students in many other countries is their ability to think creatively. If they are never exposed to creative subjects, how can they think creatively?

        July 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
      • why2

        Learning to play an instrument and reading music increases your abilities to do math. Music teachers are very important because they add beauty to the world.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • scott

      Just about everyone I know who works a job is in that boat exactly. Only they make less than 50K a year......

      July 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • biogal2012

      Carol, as a high school (biology) teacher myself, I really appreciate your comments. Working long hours, being on your feet all day, and always having work to take home simply comes with our profession. I know so many teachers who stay late after school, take work home, stay up late, and/or come in early... even after teaching for many years. Most do this without complaint, and are happy simply knowing that they are truly helping their students. Being labeled as lazy and undeserving by society is just not acceptable and does not sit well with me.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  55. Dawne

    I think it's like anything else. Most teachers do a great job and are committed to their students. However, there are that few that ruin it for all the others. Most of my daughter's teachers were great, but she had a couple that I wouldn't want to teach my dog. Let's not jump on all the teachers. I support them.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  56. Newmac

    I work in a school district in the I.T. Dept. One thing that is glaringly obvious to me...that I did find surprising 17 years ago when I started was that teachers do not like to learn. They like someone else to do that for them. An aid etc. I have to force feed simple, basic technology down their throats all year long. One statement I often hear is, I should get paid a stipend for that. For learning what most people learn on the fly during their work day?

    July 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • JustLiberty

      There is something about the temperament of many teachers that is consistent with them liking a well-defined environment and view of the world. Learning new things disturbs that. A fixed subject matter transferred to students appears to be the job they like. "You can't solve it that way...."

      July 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  57. Thomasco

    The real issue here is being respected in my chosen field. I have a bachelors and a masters degree in the art and SCIENCE of teaching. I love my job. I can't think of anything else I would rather do. It irks me that anyone thinks they can criticize teaching and what really bugs me is that everyone has an opinion and thinks they can teach. I would never tell a engineer how to build a car and I would never tell a doctor how to practice medicine. I am a professional and deserve to be treated as such. The school schedule is a perk, but it is not the reason to be a teacher and anyone who chooses this field for this reason will be eaten alive. If the current schedule changes then so does my schedule too. I have worked in corporate america in advertising for 3+ years before going back to school to be a teacher and I can honestly say that I work harder in teaching than I ever did in advertising. Curriculum changes every year, teacher expectations change every year, standardized testing is a drag and now I have to sit here and defend my choice of careers. Does any other profession have to deal with this scrutiny? I am all for tenure reform and I am all for weeding out the bad and ineffective, but I should not have to listen to ignorant people telling me how I should do my job. I am not a villian, I just want to provide a good life for my own three kids and I feel blessed that I get to work with kids all day. Stop disrespecting teachers. By the way, where I teach, it takes over 13 years to make over $80,000 a year. Does corporate america take that long to pay their workers with the same level of education and dedication?

    July 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Zack

      You work harder teaching than you did in advertising? Have you lost your mind? When did you get a break from ads? When did you get a chance to sleep? Advertising is one of the most physically and mentally demanding careers out there. Most can't cut it and the ones that do are truly special people. Never ever ever have I heard of a school teacher putting in more hours than a designer, and if what you say is true then you really haven't had a taste of real advertising. We don't sleep, rarely eat and take criticism from the entire world. No doubt in my mind that my job is more rewarding and more demanding than any school teacher out there.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • Thomasco

        Yes, I interned in PR during my undergrad and I also worked in an advertising agency for 3+ years. Teaching is hands down more demanding than advertising. At least in advertising you could leave your desk to go to the bathroom when you needed to. I have spent 17 hours in my classroom before and still had more work to do. Your response is exactly my issue. I am so glad you are passionate and rewarded by your job, because the world needs this. I feel the same way about mine. It's not a contest. You don't tell me how to do my job and I won't tell you how to do yours. 🙂

        July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • why2

        Wow, you must be so amazing, and humble. You must be near death from not eating or sleeping.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
      • TEACH IN CT

        Trying to convince people to buy something is more rewarding than educating and developing a young mind? Get real! I spent more than 15 years in Corporate America before walking away in disgust, tired of spending my days making more money for the already too wealthy on Wall Street. I decided that I needed to do something valuable with my life and give something back to society, and I chose to become a teacher. Unfortunately, I have realized that many people have little respect for the noble endeavors of many teachers. And by the way, you don't work harder than a good teacher. I worked in PR firms and for a major newspaper publisher, and trust me the demands are very different in some ways, but there is also a big difference between making a mistake in advertising, and failing to adequately teach your students. The consequences of failing as a teacher can be lifelong for your students, where a mistake in the world of advertising it is a mere second and everything keeps on moving.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
      • Marc

        Zack – instead of stating that if what Thomasco says is true then he never had a real taste of advertising, perhaps the truth is you've never had a real taste of teaching. Thomasco has seen both sides of the coin and can compare the two - have you? Did you go back, get a degree to teach and hold down a teaching position in a school? If not I would suggest that you don't speak about (and compare) subjects you have no experience with and know nothing about.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Mike Schatzman

        Advertising may be monetarily rewarding, but selling stuff to people is simply not equal to being an educator.
        You have your career partly because of the education you were lucky to receive.
        I think sales – which is what you do, don't call it "design" – is a sad Willy Loeman Death of a Salesman kind of life.
        Teaching is rewarding, I still have students from years ago, sending me emails describing how much they
        appreciate the education they received.
        Nobody cares that you sell crap.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Lee

      Good post.. I am a retired teacher and in all honesty the vast majority of our critics could not do our jobs.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  58. Kinzan

    There are many issues in the school environment, from latchkey kids, 12 year olds having babies, drugs, geniuses, etc. All require different styles and techniques to be effective. You can't machine teach all these kids in the same way. Not all teachers are effective in all styles. What you do need to do is: 1) group kids by ability – its unfair to the smart kid who has to wait for the slow learner to understand the lesson and vice versa; 2) the school day and the school year must be longer. School day from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm starting in kindergarten – then you get to go home and do more homework. . a school year of 230 days +. You don't need to have the same teacher all day long. 3) Education must recognize that the outcome is the informaton knowledge worker of the 21st century – Therefore, need 3 languages + English starting in kindergarten through High School; Art, Music, PE (must pass Army physical to graduate – unless physical & mental disabilities prevent (ie, simply being overweight doesn't count)), Calculus, Physics, Chemistry starting in Junior High. The kids must be pushed to their breaking point and then pushed past. (That's the real work world out there, sorry, no more you did good Johnny starts) 4) No Social Promotions. 5) Unless students with disabilities can reasonably maintain educational achievement without disrupting the remainder of the class – they need to be taught in a different environment. 6) Recognize that self-esteem comes from the ability to succeed rather than simple flattery. and a whole lot more...

    July 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Thank you Kinzan for pointing out some of the issues teachers face on a daily basis. Social promotion disgusts my wife (a teacher) and me to no end. We need to go back to the European system were students had school thru 8th grade and then it is determined which path of learning they follow from there. Some students end at 8th, some go to trade school or a specialized school, others go to high school and the rest proceed from high school to college or university. We got to stop the political correctness we have caught ourselves up in. Not everyone can be a doctor or CEO, engineer, etc. Some will be ditch diggers, car mechanics, artists, customer service, IT, web designer, etc because of the gifts given to them. There is nothing wrong with learning to do a job / career that may not require "higher learning" if you are able to do it and are compensated fairly for it. The idea that everyone must go to college doesn't jive with reality.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • JustLiberty

      Longer school days and longer school years? You've just made the situation unbearable and worse as an educational instrument for 1. ADHD/ADD kids and those with similar conditions. 2. Kids with high energy. 3. Great self-learners. 4. kids who like to move their bodies. Can I learn to collect insects (and learn about biology, taxonomy, organization, life, gentleness etc. etc. etc.) during the summer? No I don't have time, I've got to fill out another worksheet....

      July 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  59. Nic316

    Think of school like a daycare where they actually (try to) teach your evil spawn something. Now imagine that you actually had to PAY those teachers. (And don't complain about the piddly taxes you pay for education.) Assume $800/month for daycare per child. Now assume a 25 child classroom. That would be $20,000 per month for a classroom full of second graders. Multiply that times the nine months per year everyone seems to think teachers work, and by all rights, those teachers should be making about $180,000 per year. Before taxes, of course.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • A

      I keep saying to all of those that complain teachers get too much....maybe they should run school like a business and you can pay a private school $20,000 per year to educate your child. I guess those property taxes wouldn't look so bad. There would be a whole new meaning to "I pay your salary"....

      July 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  60. John McNay

    Among the thing that irritate me about the misinformation rampant on here are these two points:

    One: The European public education that so many point out results in higher test scores that in the US is made up almost entirely of unionized teachers who get paid better than in the states and have better benefits. The narrow-minded example of a private school in Europe is for rich kids with no social obstacles – not relevant to the vast majority of US or European kids going to school.

    Two: I've worked in private sector for 12 years and for 13 years in public sector. I can tell you from first hand experience that incompetence in rampant in the private sector. The Peter Principle is firmly at work in the private sector. Many people in the private sector are not good at their jobs for their entire careers. It is, after all, the private sector that creates grist for Dilbert and The Office. In generally, the public sector – because greed is not a driving factor – is far better able to manage costs and maintain quality. It was neither the public sector nor unions that undermined Detroit. It was poor private sector management decisions.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Nic316

      I agree – most people are shockingly dumb. Thankfully I work autonomusly most of the time, but when I do have occasion to sit in on meetings I am constantly amazed by how unintelligent the vast majority of those people are. That is not to say I'm a genius, just a well read generally intelligent person with a doctorate.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • Irene

        Wow! How smug is that!

        July 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Tex

      Your experience reflects my experience. I too have spent part of my career in the private sector and part in the public sector. The private sector (multiple positions with different companies) was where I encountered the greatest levels of dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence. Although I am not including the military in the public sector, because if I did, I would have to say that I was shocked at the levels of dishonesty and unscrupulousness I

      July 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tex

      Your experience reflects my experience. I too have spent part of my career in the private sector and part in the public sector. The private sector (multiple positions with different companies) was where I encountered the greatest levels of dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence. Although I am not including the military in the public sector, because if I did, I would have to say that I was shocked at the levels of dishonesty and unscrupulousness in the military.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  61. Teacher's Husband

    My wife is a 3rd grade teacher. For the last 18 months she has tracked the amount of time she spends working daily whether it be teaching in the classroom, developing lesson plans, correcting papers, talking with parents on the phone, writing parent newsletters, formalized meetings with administration and staff, etc... She averaged 76 hours per week during the 2011 / 2012 school year.

    I've asked my wife why she doesn't use the same lesson plans from year to year and save herself a ton of time and the answer is always the same, "You don't get it. Things change every year – students, books, curiculum, my knowledge on how to teach better". My wife is strongly committed to being as good a teacher as she can be and helping her students to be as successful as they can be. Unfortunately in Wisconsin, and perhaps in other states, teachers have been demonized. The bottom line is this. In every profession you are going to have some employees who are very good, others that are good to mediocre and some that are poor. Painting a whole profession with a large brushstroke is a mistake regardless of whatever profession it is.

    We favor a longer classroom day. What we don't appreciate is anyone who believes that a teacher's day is limited to the time they spend in the classroom. Any full time teacher who truly works 40 hours per week is in the wrong profession and is not representative of my wife or the many other hard working teachers. For those people who think that teaching is a cakewalk I'll tell you the same thing my wife says, "If it's such a great profession and so easy why don't you become one then?"

    July 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • AK Sean

      As a teacher's husband myself, I would just ask that you thank your wife for all of us. Her dedication is changing lives and making this a better place to live.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Yvonne

      I too am a teacher. I receive my pay over a 12 month period, but as was stated earlier, it's in smaller increments so I do get paid over that 12 month period. I have taught for 13 years and I have never had a summer "off". I have chosen to teach summer school as well as taking college classes to make me more knowledgable in my subject area. I do not make $90,000 a year, but am curious where that occurs because that's awesome. I teach kindergarten and therefore, I spend a large amount of my own pay on supplies for my classroom as our budget doesn't cover everything. I have learned in my years of teaching that not everyone works as hard as the next guy and that is allowed by the districts. The unions are there to protect teachers from false accusations and contractual issues. They are not a punative body and therefore are NOT responsible for poor teaching. It is up to the administration to observe and mark teachers as satisfactory or unsatisfactory and if they can back it up with proof, the unions can't fight it. It's up to them to do THEIR jobs in their observations. If you have problems with poor teaching, that is an issue that you need to take up with your administration. I also have to agree that if you think teaching is so easy with the baggage that children are bringing to the classroom along with behavioral and learning problems, then you should be a teacher too. I'd love to have summers "off" and make great money.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • 37-year Veteran

      Thank you for your clear explanation of the hard work and dedication of many teachers. I have also kept track of my working hours for the past couple of years. I am at school by 7:00 am, and I don't leave until 4:30 or 5:00. Then I usually do an hour or so of evaluating student work in the evenings. On weekends, I usually spend 4 or 5 hours planning for the coming week. In spite of all the hours I spend working, I always have a backlog of things to do for my kids, my administration, or my district. I am not complaining; I love teaching. However, I am getting pretty darned tired of hearing how "easy" teaching is (babysitting) and how lazy teachers are.

      Furthermore, I know of no teachers in this country who are teaching 8 months a year and "off" for 4. Most teach 10 months a year or more and spend summers taking classes and/or working on curriculum. Another large segment of the teaching force works summer jobs to supplement salaries. I have just reached $60,000. a year after a master's degree and 37 years of teaching. I don't think I am overpaid. My health "benefit" costs me 1500 dollars a month for coverage for just my husband and me, and retirement is going to be about a third of my annual salary, so I would hardly say that the benefits are generous.

      In spite of the long hours, moderate pay, and niggling appreciation, there is no better place for me to work than in a classroom filled with kids. I love what I do, and I feel gratified by the progress I see in my students. My joy in my profession is the reason I remain in spite of sometimes difficult working conditions and relatively low pay. I would appreciate respect for my contributions to society, as would anyone who labors with care in any profession, but I am not holding my breath.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  62. Kris (Science teacher)

    I don't want to be confused with the other Kris. I don't think any teacher here is complaining. We're merely defending what we do and justifying out time off. Yes many people work over time. My friend is an engineer who isn't going to get paid for the 68 extra hours in 2 weeks that he worked ON TOP of his regular hours, but they are giving him the next 8 days off as compensation. Sometimes, they don't do it at all. All these teachers chose this job for the love of our subject matter and teaching students. Best quote I heard when getting into this job was that we only get the students for 7 hours a day. Society has them for the other 17. Those hours are out of our control. Students don't fail because of these 7 hours each day ALONE.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  63. jinglebuddy

    I know a teacher who probably work 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week when the school is in session. It's a hard work when one seriously commits to it. On the other hand, I also know a teacher who, well, barely works. Teaching is one of those professions where one can be as hard working as one desires to while others can be as lazy as a butt.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • commentusmaximus

      And that is why teachers unions are a major cause of problems. Teacher unions protect the least performing employee. There are definitely some really awesome teachers out there, but there are also some horrendously lazy and incompetent ones. Years on the job do not equate to experience or being good at ones job. It can sure help, but I think everyone has worked with someone who has been on the job for years but is worthless. No imagine that person teaching your children. And, imagine that because of teacher unions, the person down the hall that won teacher of the year 5 times in a row gets laid off because they didn't have as many years of experience as the drooler in the next classroom. Teacher unions need to either be gone, or significantly change how they evaluate who stays when layoffs are needed, because right now their criteria is just plain stupid.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • why2

        Unions only provide due process, not protection. I know of several tenured teachers who have lost their jobs because, after due process, it was found that they were not doing their jobs. Unions protect teachers from administrators who don't like you for what ever reason. Just because there are some unions who have been corrupt does not mean all unions are corrupt.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  64. drinker75

    I'm originally from Canada, I was educated there. The system up there is rated very highly and does not have longer days than the US. It does have about 4 weeks less summer vacation. I do think the summer break is too long, I would like to see a couple more shorter breaks throughout the year instead of the 3 month stretch. Kids are still kids and, in my opinion, a longer day isn't going to help.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  65. TrueGrissel

    I think the whole education system is antiquated. It needs to be restructured from top to bottom. What was important 300 years ago is of no consequence today.

    We don't need more hours just better quality curriculum.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  66. Kenny Raider

    I don't know about anyone else...but this is how my salary is calculated. The district takes my HOURLY rate, multipies it by 8 hours – takes that amount and multipies it by how many days I work (186 days) – THEN they divide the amount by 24 pay periods. I get paid for working 186 days per year, period. Yes, I do get summers off....but I get to work my second job, in addition to attending continuing education classes so I keep my certification current (at my expense). But I wouldn't change what I do for anything in the world.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  67. David

    In what world do teachers get 3 months off per year and work 6 hour days?

    Idiots criticizing teacher hours have no idea what they're talking about

    July 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  68. snpsx

    most schools require teachers to take on extra curricular activities such as at least one committee and a sports or arts program. that alone, (not including grading, planning, and all the other added things teachers must do that most people do not know about because they are constantly changing and adding) adds hours to the work day. We may get 2 months off in the summer (remember teachers go back before the students do), but that doesn't mean teachers are not hard workers. Also, to keep your teaching license, most divisions require constant renewal through seminars, graduate courses, and training camps. Teachers are constantly being re-trained, taking higher education classes, and learning new and innovative ways to help our future.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Martin

    Teachers should never tell parents or tax payers that they as a profession should not be judged unless others walk in their shoes. It is the right of tax payers to ask and question if the money spent is serving children. Teachers taking this position lead to more misunderstanding by a lack of communication and openness with tax payers. It is not an easy job. The pay for teachers could be improved. But, the teachers getting that superior pay must be the excellent teachers proved by the performance of the students. A teachers job should be retained by performance not some contract agreement. Everything should be about the betterment of the students.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Joe

      And how exactly do you measure performance of a teacher based on student performance? Do you take just the raw score of the student on standardized test? Does student home life factor into the equation? Does student discipline and willingness to learn factor in? Does the students' language skills factor in? Does students' IQ factor in? So often people want to pay teachers based on performance but nobody explains how this is supposed to work? Who in their right mind would not fight against a performance measurement that affected their livelyhood when that performance measurement is undefined?

      July 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Jacob

      And who keeps the parents accountable for sending their children to school ready to learn? Your accountability only works if the teacher, or some impartial observer, can say, "I'm sorry, but you are clearly not ready to learn this." Then holding the teacher accountable for the performance of the learners would be fair.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  70. Darren

    Instead of all the recrimination, let's address the 800lb gorilla in the room: America has a long history of anti-intellectualism. Education (and, ergo, teachers) is not valued because (sadly) a very large percentage of us do not care to read anything longer than the ingredients on the back of a Hungry Man dinner, do not care to understand the world beyond their immediate neighborhood, do not care about anything more than "getting mine". What is the result? We are a culture of anger and fear.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Amen Darren!!! We as a culture need to look in the mirror and realize why we are in the boat we are.... The world is passing us by and it's our own doing....

      July 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  71. Dave Hill

    I was a teacher for 7 years and now I work in corporate America. If you are an organized person and you can control your schedule, teaching is not hard. My first two years were very hard, worked 13 hour days. After the first two years, it was easy and a lot easier than my current job. Although I will say this, some of my associates that were not organized and failed to prepare well struggled. That is not because the job was hard, its because they lacked discipline or were not meant for teaching. I feel for those who desire to teach and cannot bring the proper skills to the table, but that does not means it should be a reason they get paid more. If I cannot cook and have to try that much harder to be a good cook, do I deserve more money? Why should a teacher then, if they fail to have the right skills and feel their job deserves more because they have to work harder?

    The one item that I saw many teachers struggle with was connecting with kids. Well shame on HR, because when they were hired HR should have realized they are not individuals that can connect and should have let them go after a bad hire. Once again, just because I want to cook, does not mean I should be a chef.

    I now work for a large business. I left because I wanted to make more. Do I work harder? You better believe it. Many days I ponder the old days of just moving a long in an easy job as a teacher, that did have it struggles, but came with massive security. My decision to leave was because I believe we owe it to society to give back. If you want more money, then don't become a teacher and then complain. Rather go in a direction that pays more. I get so tired of teachers complaining about salary (which is all I heard in my lost job), as if they were fooled into the job paid more.

    Was teaching as easy as some make it out to be? NOT AT ALL. But it was an easier job than most and if you put smart time and energy into it and can connect with kids, then it was not a hard job. If you could not connect or did not put time into the starting points, then you should not be a teacher. If you expect more money, then get another job, no one is holding you back.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Sandra Martin

      I work hard. I do not claim that I work harder than others. There are other teachers who work harder than me, as well as other outside professionals and non-professionals that work harder than me. I'm sure the migrant farm workers, one town over, work harder than me. But, just because teaching was easy for you doesn't mean it's an easy job for everyone. Every year, I am assigned different subjects as teachers quit and the school needs someone to teach the subject. Not everyone can teach Calculus, and most people don't know how to do it off the top of their head. For the past two years, I've taught AP Statistics. Do you remember it from college? I certainly didn't...so I had to study, study, study.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
      • Joyce

        I agree with everything you said, Sandra. I work hard and I have pressures but the next school over is a tougher environment. I wonder if some of these detractors have ever interacted with 150+ persons a day all the while standing up, carrying things, using up-to-date technology, and keeping a good sense of humor. This is the first week of the summer that I have not taught summer school classes or attended week-long workshops. I am not complaining, though. I love the kids and the parents in my community. I have always loved to read and I consider my subjects the most interesting in the curriculum. I have made more money in the corporate world, but I learned to be happy on my teacher's pay.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Ron

      Bingo!

      July 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • laramieflutelessons

      In 2004 I was making $24,000 a year as a first year teacher...damn right I will complain about the money – SOME teachers might get paid decently but MANY do not. I love when I hear about the fabulous salaries teachers are making – I find it extremely annoying that the general public does not understand how little many teachers make.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • IteachUlearn

      @dave hill
      Teachers complain about pay when civilians say we earn too much and blame us for every shortcoming that their kid has, not to mention their terrible manners....which they learn from their teacher hating parents in the first place. We lose before we begin.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  72. Alex

    I love how there's a reply button, but it doesn't get posted as a sub-thread. Fail blog comment board.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Ron

      Bingo again! Although this will appear wherever among the posts so nobody will knwo what the heck I'm taking about.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  73. William

    Funny how common it is to think others don't work hard. I think this is a commentary on the accusers own work ethic. There are hard workers and slackers everywhere, to generalize is ignorant. Those who punch a clock rather than fulfill the obligations of a salary contract probably work fewer hours simply because those who punch a clock are encouraged to avoid overtime. Salaried positions simply encourage getting the job done.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • teach

      Until those of you that think teachers have it easy walk in their busy underpaid shoes, you have no room to comment. You do not know what goes on behind the scenes of the classroom. I manage 30+ students at a time while trying to make lessons interactive and "fun". My lessons change every year not only because I adapt, but because standards change about every 5 years as well. Oh yeah, not to mention the 120 parent conferences I had last year.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  74. Tom a Teacher

    One thing that hasn't been brought up is poor school administrators. As a teacher I find that bad teachers who have friends in high places will always keep their jobs. That forces us good techers to work harder to pick up the slack. As a teacher I am all for tenure reform. Bad teachers need to be removed, PERIOD! I really don't know if lengthening the school year or the school day is the answer. I would agree that students need to learn more real-life skills. No Child Left Behind hurt many students because it forced teachers to teach to a test and not to what will be needed once they have graduated. And for those of you who complain that teachers have too much time off, be a teacher for a day – I bet half of those who try would end up in jail for a host of crimes. We ned stronger administrators who don't have ties to school boards, who push their teachers to be better and recognize what students actually need. There are many teachers who try to do this but are held back by their so called leaders.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  75. A Parent

    like how we as a society try to blame others for our failures. As a parent, it should be us who ensure that our children are getting the best education possible. Why don’t parents do the homework with their own children. If you did you would see where your child needs help. As we expect the teacher do their job and introduce and set a foundation for learning, we as parents should do the same thing. Parents have moved away from the role of helping educate the kids. Long days at work and too tired. About the summers, Have your kids read and do some sort of learning activity each week. Keep their minds active and learning, We have no one to blame except ourselves. And parents do a teacher a favor make sure there are consequences for their misbehavior. Teachers are not the enemy and kids don't always tell you the truth. Remember when you were in school!.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • MIchelle

      Thank you, from a teacher, for an incredibly articulate argument. The only strong correlation with how well a student achieves (as shown by research) is parent involvement. Parents are incredibly important to their children's success.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  76. Jon

    I love the idiot that made the comment about "teacher accountability" and how "unions oppose it". Teacher Unions do not oppose teacher accountability. What they oppose is putting it ALL on the teacher. In education there are three factors that add up to the students' education. Obviously there is the teacher who needs to be creative and responsive in how the teach. This is a given. Then there is the student who needs to put for the effort to learn the material as well. The third factor is a parent who makes sure their child is getting a good education from the school but also making sure the child fulfills their part of the bargain.

    More and more the students and parents are not living up to their end of the deal. If little Timmy does not do his math homework, and his parents do not make him do his homework, why should the teacher shoulder the blame?

    July 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • joe

      So why can't you fire a teacher for poor performance then?

      July 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Ron

      Umm, unions are lame. We have had several teachers in Hawaii get cuaght doing drugs and even a few selling drugs out of their classroom. Of course the union outright refuses to subject teachers to drug tests, which are pretty much standard in the provate world. We are talking about people we send our kids to every day (well except for about 4+ months of vacation every year) but they refuse a drug test. Really?

      July 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  77. Brian in DC

    Well, considering they have all been on vacation the last two months, I would say they don't work very hard at all.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • snpsx

      how much overtime do YOU work?

      July 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • joe

        Overtime? You think anyone gets paid for working long hours these days? The reality is you get fired if you don't. I normally put in 55+ hours a week

        July 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • Brian in DC

        Pulllleeeeze, don't even try to compare the amount of work hours of a teacher compared to my work hours. Just in Jan – April I log around 250 hours overtime (that's hours in excess of 40 work hours a week and lunch break doesn't count as a work hour).

        July 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tom a Teacher

      What do you do for a living? Have you ever had an impact on a person's life? Have you ever helped someone achieve or are you just one of those "taker"s in the world? I don't know what you make a year, but as a teacher I know every year I make a difference. Can you say the same thing?

      July 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • joe

        Tom a teacher – typical, you are so self-centered you think only teachers help others. Yoou have obviously never worked for a private enterprise organbization in your entire life

        July 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • Ron

        Wo, someone found his high horse. Nah, the rest of us just walk around ank kick old ladies after our 6hr workday. We dont do work at the food banks or donate blood or coach soccer and little league or do big brother/big sister after working our own 70 hr week. Nah, it's just teachers saving the world! sheeze!

        July 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Monica

      working overtime doesn't make you a harder worker..it's about what you do while working that categorizes your worth...ever had to deal with a disrespectful teen?? or a room full of kids whose parents don't care or who have not had breakfast or are wondering where they're gona sleep tonight??

      July 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Tom a Teacher

      The same could be said for most members of Congress...and let's not forget the Senate.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sandra Martin

      Hey Brian, I've been working my summer job for the last two months. Please be careful when using the word, "All".

      July 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • Ron

        Gotta admit, pretty sweet deal. collect 2 checks instead of one during the summer unlike the rest of us saps.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • why2

        @Ron, many teachers work two jobs all year long to help pay off student loans.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Randy

      Brian, that overtime you logged, why did you keep track? Are you paid for it? My first year of teaching I kept track of my hours and found that it was about $1.75 an hour. My second year I had a kid thank me for saving his life from abuse. At that point I realized money was not that big. However, I do get upset when people without a clue question my career.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  78. Respect

    Students don't need longer days or longer school years. What they need is DISCIPLINE and RESPECT.

    They need to respect others, respect adults, and respect their parents. If they can give this respect, they will automatically get respect.

    The second thing they need is DISCIPLINE. Teachers and parents need to be able to discipline unruly students and unacceptable behavior. Children need to learn to HAVE DISCIPLINE. Having discipline means they will be able to learn and DO THINGS in life.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Becky

      Very true.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  79. joe

    Teachers have a VERY easy life – same syllabus year after year, very long holidays, good pension, good salary. Most white collar workers these days are effectively on call 24/7 including weekends, have 10 days max holiday a year *which they cannot afford to take) and a 401k if they are lucky...
    As I was always taught: those that can, do, those that can't, teach. Very true!

    July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • snpsx

      did you take classes to get your job? who taught you? oh....

      July 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • Ron

        college professors. most of them retired or working as professional consultants on the side.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Alex

      Kind of a gross generalization, huh? I'm pretty sure there are some white collar jobs that are easier than teaching.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • teach

      you don't know what you're talking about

      July 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • teach

      you have no idea what you're talking about

      July 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Tom a Teacher

      I don't know about you but my life as a teacher is far from easy. And whatever your life is like only you have the power to change it. So perhaps spending a little less time at work and really finding out about the typoe of person your child is becoming should be your priority, not sitting at your desk right now, clearly not working, and chatting online. And just for the record, most teachers, myself included don't get paid over the summer. So maybe you should show this post to your boss and say, "I may not have an esay life but at least I have an easy job where I can waste company money chatting online." See what your boss says.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Tom a Teacher

      I don't know about you but my life as a teacher is far from easy. And whatever your life is like only you have the power to change it. So perhaps spending a little less time at work and really finding out about the typoe of person your child is becoming should be your priority, not sitting at your desk right now, clearly not working, and chatting online. And just for the record, most teachers, myself included, don't get paid over the summer. So maybe you should show this post to your boss and say, "I may not have an esay life but at least I have an easy job where I can waste company money chatting online." See what your boss says.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • Ron

        My boss is interested in results and will hold me accountable just like everyone else that works at a for profit company. He doesn't care if I sit drunk at a poker table all year long as long as my job gets done and we turn a profit. Yep, just need to get it done...

        July 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Idiocracy

      I am married to a teacher, and it is not 296 minutes a day!!! My husband is at the school by 7:00 am for meetings/planning, and leaves at 5:30-6pm because he runs the after care program. He comes home to eat, spends about 1 hour with his family then begins grading and lesson planning for the next day, and for the aftercare program. He goes to bed between 11pm- midnight. While he might get more holidays than most it is well deserved, otherwise he would never see his daughter grow up. And the 3 month summer is a myth. He gets 6 weeks off then 6 weeks of in service before school begins.
      We have friends who teach as well, and they often do not leave the classroom until 7pm many nights. Do not let me forget his healthcare plan is AWFUL. $100.00 per doctor visit, on the mid- tier insurance. He left a much EASIER position making MORE money in the private sector to pursue his passion, educating and shaping young minds. I bet half of the people who complain about teachers and what they make don't even value their high school education. You just sound like uneducated, tea party loving idiots. Go teach for 1 year and see how easy it is, wait, teaching requires a 4 year college education- and education is something you don't believe in! C

      July 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • EDWARD

      WRONG I taught school for two years and quit.Teaching is a miserable profession. I don't think it is possible to teach in the current environment. I have a degree in English, but I landscape for a living. if teaching was the easy money everyone thinks it is, I'd be there cashing the checks now!

      July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
      • MIchelle

        Edward, I am sorry teaching did not work for you because it sounds as if you wanted to dedicate your life to that calling. I am an English teacher. I teach high school on U.S. military bases overseas. I work 18-hours a day and spend a great deal of my "vacations" grading and planning and even monitoring summer assignments for AP Lit. As you said, it is not as easy as people seem to think–sometimes, I think that no matter how hard I work, I can't get through to my kids. I was in the private work force for ten years before I became a teacher. I never even wanted to BE a teacher. But, after 25 years, I would not trade my "calling" or my kids for anything else in the world. Some of my former students are turning 40 soon. Thanks to facebook, I have seen two decades of my "unruly teenagers" turn into parents, spouses, and articulate, intelligent members of society whom I am incredibly proud to know. I have no doubt that my future is in good hands. It is a feeling that only comes from being a teacher, I think, and I would not trade that satisfaction for anything.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Julie/HS English Teacher

      This is in reply to all those who feel the saying "Those who can: Do. Those who can't: Teach." Or feel that as the years go on I'm on Easy Street.

      First, I CAN and did in corporate American until I got so frustrated with the lack of communication skills both written and spoken that I decided that I have a gift and should try in my own little way to do something about it. Well, teaching is by far the most difficult "job" I have ever had. The "doing" was actually the easy part and I had lots more time for myself and was compensated much better to boot.

      Of course as I teach a course for more than one year, I have previous year to pull materials from. But I do not teach the same classes year after year. Over 20 years I have taught 1 core course honors-remedial (different expectations and materials for each of those each year based on students), but then the other courses I teach are based on scheduling and enrollment. I have taught 6 other courses, and not always every year. In addition, curriculum changes/updates and textbook changes mean even the core class I teach changes more often than every 5 years. So at most I get 5 years out of something I have prepared.

      The teaching profession as a whole is the most educated of any group other than doctors. And we teach because we CAN and we want to share that ability to help our children.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Stew Shearer

      Teachers need to adjust their syllabus constantly to match changing standards, have attend constant trainings, often stay late to help their students all the while dealing with unappreciative parents who want to blame all their child's problems on the school.

      Also, factor in the amount of education one needs to be a teacher and how much that costs and your average educator isn't raking it in.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Jenn

      I have taught for four years and near taught the same thing. My students get to school at 6:15 and want tutoring until school starts. I then tutor them during my lunch and all my prep time is spent in meeting. After school students, different then the students in the morning stay until4:30 when I kick them out for tutoring. I have no social security and my pension fund has not been paid into by my district or my state for ten years in fact my pension has been taken from me to pay off state debt leaving behind nothing but an IOU. Additionally I can not retire until I am in my late 60 unless I want to lose my IOU pension that will be bankrupted. I have to do all my planning and grading after hours and I literally see my students more a day than my child. Right now I am getting trained in another new curriculum that requires me to work 14 hour days for three weeks and will be replaced next year by common core. So joe please get your facts straight most districts are not ideal.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • leigh21

      It's because of people like you that teachers have the reputation they have. Maybe a teacher didn't touch your life, but I know I touch my students' lives everyday!

      July 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  80. Sara

    Once upon a time all of us were kids, attended in school and guess what TEACHERS taught us and because of them we are who we are. I think one of the hardest and holiest job in the world is teaching! Cheers to all teachers. By the way unfortunately  I am stay at home mother of two not a teacher!

    July 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Ron

      Pretty sweet deal. I wish I was a stay at home dad. My wife stayed at home for a while and did nothing but complain about how hard it was and how she wanted a career yadayadayada. Told her to be careful of what she asked for but she went ahead with her "career". And then wanted nothing more than to stay at home with the kids. Who in the world would rather have deadlines, stress from strangers, headaches sitting in traffic and all for no thanks except for a little paycheck? Instead of teaching and playing with your kids at the park or going to the movies or taking naps! Unfortunately those little rascals need food and clothes and a place to live so someone gotta go after that paycheck. Can you tell I hate my job? *sigh*

      July 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  81. SLD

    When do we start tracking how many hours parents invest in the education of their children?

    July 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • BeadlesAz

      Excellent question.

      July 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  82. ednita

    I'm a teacher and I see both sides. I worked as a national account manager making the six figures, if i do that math, hourly, including working evenings and weekends I get paid the same per hour. I get angered when teacher complain about working conditions and pay. If it's so bad do something about it, adjust. Last year I saw that 50% of the homework wasn't coming back into the classroom regardless of the phone calls home. I didn't cry about it, I squeezed a homework time into my day, problem solved. The issues here is that the union has kept so many unfit teachers in their positions, and you have a plethora of young teachers lining up for their jobs that can run circles around the non performers. The union did their job, it's time they remove themselves from the equation, time we merit pay our teachers for performance rather than just for showing up. Administration needs to "pop" into the classrooms more and get a handle on the happenings. I have an open door for parents as well, I don't stop them at the door, and I don't make them only come during my conference because I know that's not always feasible. On the contrary, I want them all to come in a see the learning that's taking place. Longer days would be wonderful, but who would fund them 😦

    July 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • joe

      Yes, there is absolutely no reason, except protectionism, why there can't be publicly-available metrics for teacher performance and why poor teachers cannot be fired like the rest of us.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • Tom a Teacher

        Now you're talking sense Joe. Teachers should be fired like anyone else in this world. But again, too many bad teachers or lazy ones have friends in high places. And adminstratiors don't like whistle-blowers, so often good teachers are removed because they "rock the boat." Guys on Wall Street go to jail for stuff like this, but adminstrators get rewarded.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Tim

      As a fellow teacher, I agree 100%

      July 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Carol R Brown

        Actually I can't recall anyone who has mismanaged mega-millions on Wall street going to jail except Bernie Madoff. Lots of them have gotten off Scott free while squandering the money of hard working citizens like you and me.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Alex

      The problem is that teaching is essentially a government job and like a lot of government jobs, they can be cushy with the wrong people staying on board. But I agree, there needs to be more of an incentive for that future mathematician or scientist or heck anyone that's choosing the private sector instead of teaching to TEACH.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      If only parents actually showed up and gave a da*n.... about their child's education...

      July 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  83. Jim

    I just have to comment on Cindy in the article. It is a MYTH that school year gave students the summers off so they could work on their family farms. If you know anything about farming, the time that all hands are needed on deck is in the spring for planting (when the kids where in school) and in the fall for harvesting (when the kids were in school). The simple truth, which is historically verifiable, is that kids were given summers off because it was believed that the kids needed time off to be kids and play and because summers are hot and prior to the advent of central air conditioning it was not possible to provide a bearable environment in the schools.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  84. Eliz

    I think if our kids were doing well in school, then teachers would not be such an issue. Myself, I have found that as my son has progressed through the grades, the quality of his teachers has gotten worse. He will be in the eight grade this year – I have not seen a graded paper come home since the fourth grade. Last year I tried to get his math teacher to let me know what I can work on extra with him at home – she directed me to online videos (I even asked her to recommend a book for the summer and she could not; and I don't have sound or good enough internet for video, and if he can't learn in the classroom how will a video help?). Anyway, I used to respect my sons teachers. But since 'middle school' that respect has been lost. I have no idea how he is doing despite being in constant contact with all his teachers. I feel I need to home-school him at home at night after I finish my full-time job.
    Regarding teacher vacation time, I have a hard time with the teacher who stated she only gets summers off. The teachers here also get a November break, a winter break, and a spring break.
    If the teachers around here want my respect, they have a long way to go to earn it.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Erin

      If your child isn't bringing home graded papers, have you ever stopped to consider that he is throwing them away after he gets them? I spend HOURS every week grading papers. It is NOT my job to make sure that Johnny brings it home to Mommy.

      July 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • california22

        Are you kidding me? It is absolutely your job to hold that student accountable for his homework. That is your job!

        July 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • 37-year Veteran

        Amen.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  85. Dave

    Summers off and all those school vacations in between, you got it easy!!! Me and my wife are doing homework with our kids six nights a week and they average about two or three assignments a night.We do half your work!

    July 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • snpsx

      the child's homework is a teacher's work? I thought it was the kid's work?

      July 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • rebelrebel

      My GOD! You have to spend time with your own children? That sounds horrible.

      July 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ken

      No one asked you to have kids. It was your choice. Any time you spend with them on school work is irrelevant to this conversation. I have 3 kids myself. ALL do their homework on their own. On the rare occasion that we have to help them, it surly isn't for 2 hours a night...oh and they're all A students.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • darthteaching

        Wow Ken... Sounds like your kids are brilliant.

        Teaching is a great profession.
        Not all teachers are good.
        A variety of factors contribute to learning (including parents, administrative oversight, and facilities to name a few).

        To my teachers out there – I do believe you have great jobs and shouldn't ever try and argue the difficulty of it... just not enough there to compare to. To those who think teaching is just an easy job that is overpaid and overprotected – put your kids in private school and shut the he!! up.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • btldriver

        So you have taught your kids that homework is important, good for you. But what about those parents who feel that school is a waste of time, what kind of child/student do you think comes from that home? How do you think that student acts in class? Now multiply that student by 10 or 20, and then add in a synergistic effect by having students who don't care in a class and imagine dealing with that class for 50-80 minutes a day. I agree with the sentiment of "if you think you can do better then get in the classroom because we need you" otherwise quit bashing teachers. Is the work hard in the physical sense? No. It is however hard in the mental/emotional sense when you have a student who is trying but just can't get a concept and you wish you could just will them to do better. Now add in that you need to fail this student because if you don't the next level is going to be so much harder for them, passing them would be a disservice to the student, I am a math teacher. How about being in a meeting with a parent crying because they are out of ideas to help their child do better in school and is asking you for advice after everything they have tried has failed? Maybe you have a student you want to have suspended for various inappropriate school actions but you know if they are suspended they have nowhere to go because the family is homeless and at least school is a safe place for them to be. I do teach in a school that serves some of the poorest in the city I'm in and it is hard because you know that with out an education they will continue to be poor and the cycle will continue but what makes it all worth it are those that try, even if they don't succeed, they try and if I can help 3, 4, 5, or however many of my students make it to graduation, it makes it all that much better. So in closing, if you think it is easy, get the certification, give it a try for a few years, the average teacher drop out is at 5 years, and then I'm sure many more will respect your opinion.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • user

      i love comments by these ignorant parents who think just because they can help their kid with math after dinner they're an expert on teaching. its the popularity of these gross underestimations which perpetuate false stereotypes about teachers. to these self proclaimed experts on education, i challenge them to take up teaching to see how emotionally and psychically draining it is. they'd last a week.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • darthteaching

        Some of those "ignorant parents" would make better teachers than those in the profession... so be careful generalizing.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • btldriver

        I love the statement "i can help my student with math so I could be a better teacher than my child's teacher." Its easy when the math is grade school maybe even algebra but how about when your child gets to geometry or maybe they are college bound and they are in Pre-calculus, then what. How about the students who could understand math easily so little effort was needed and the student always earned A's but when the math became difficult and the student doesn't know how to study math and so they do poorly, it all of a sudden become the teacher's fault Johnny is failing. More often than not though I get parent who says "math was hard for me so I don't expect you to do well either' which just gives the kid an out and allows them to fail.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
      • btldriver

        darthteaching, I'm of the thought that you either put up or shut up. If someone thinks they could do better, please join us because we could use all the help we can get. Otherwise just be quiet about the whole thing.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • cat

      Dave:"Summers off and all those school vacations in between, you got it easy!!! Me and my wife are doing homework with our kids six nights a week and they average about two or three assignments a night.We do half your work!"

      My reply: It appears that 'Dave' needs to review his grammar (and perhaps whatever else he is teaching his children). My friend's 2nd grader read Harry Potter to his mother last year while she was preparing dinner/cleaning up from dinner–yes lots of discussions about definitions of words but a 2nd grader reading Harry Potter?

      I am not a teacher but I know teachers that prepare 3-4 different lesson plans because they have 3-4 different ability levels in their students; she offers parents a weekly 'tutoring' to assist them to help their children with their homework–even teaching parents 'how' to do the beginning algebra their children are learning. She offers a packet to the parents at an end-of-the-year meeting so the children do not 'forget' what they have learned in school and keep the children on the learning path (3 parents took her up on them last year). Add to that the pre-class morning school yard/cafeteria time (for the kids eligible for free b-fast program) and the after school programs where she assists with homework. Good thing she is single and has no children. There are some great teachers out there!!! (I still remember my 9th grade English teacher Emma Thompson who taught me diagramming sentences–something no longer taught in school even to educators. My family moved alot–39 schools that I can remember from 1st to 12th so I had a lot of teachers.)

      July 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • MIchelle

      After doing all your kid's homework, you still say "Me and my wife...."? Hmmm. Perhaps you should let your child do his own English homework.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • BioHzrd420

      "We do half your work" First off, the STUDENTS should be doing the work, not the parents. Second, homework and out-of-class assignments are used to assess whether the student understands the material outside of the classroom AND to reinforce those lessons. It is part of the learning process.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Carol R Brown

      As a parent and a teacher, I applaud you for making homework a priority for your children. I wish more parents would do the same. Teachers have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to teach unwilling students whose parents don't reinforce the importance of learning when their children are at home. I would caution you, however, to insist that your children do as much of their own work as possible. Just give them guidance and encouragement. It's hard to do, but don't do "half the work" for them. Let the teacher know if they need extra help. I have spent many an hour helping struggling students after school hours. Encourage your school to have an after school homework club. It's a wonderful thing. And there are fewer distractions for many children than at home. Keep up the good parenting, Dave. You and you child's teacher make a great team.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Caliban

      @ Dave, posting at 4:46 pm.

      You and your wife might want to get someone else to help the kids with their grammar homework and essays. I suggest focusing on the following problems demonstrated in your post: comma splices, verb tense shifts, confusion of subjective vs. objective pronoun forms and usage, the use of commas in compound sentences, and omitted prepositions.

      Your post:
      "Summers off and all those school vacations in between, you got it easy!!! Me and my wife are doing homework with our kids six nights a week and they average about two or three assignments a night.We do half your work!"

      If you are going to argue that teachers are not doing their jobs, it would be wise to make sure that your argument demonstrates the proficiency supposedly lacking in those same teachers.

      How can teachers complain about being overworked when you have summers off and all those school vacations in between? You have it easy! My wife and I are doing homework with our kids six nights a week, and they average about two or three assignments a night. We do half of your work!

      ********
      I am befuddled by the supposed level of expertise being offered on this board, as many of the commenters who are not teachers seem to know exactly what is wrong with every school and every classroom and every teacher in the country. They also seem to presume to have all of the answers on how to "fix" the many problems with the American education system–as if a one-size-fits-all approach is appropriate for all 50 million students (roughly) in our public schools Having been a student in a classroom for over a decade or currently having children in school does not make someone an expert on education or even on what the work life of a teacher is like. In my 40+ years, I have gone to a variety of doctors many times and I have paid close attention to their methods; some of these doctors were skilled, caring, completely professional individuals, while others were sorely lacking. I have done lots of independent reading on a variety of health issues (both my own and those of my family members). I have friends who are medical professionals, and I often discuss health-related topics with those friends and with others who are not in that field. I would like to think that my experience has provided me with an informed, but nonetheless amateur, opinion on medical issues, but it certainly does not make me qualified to BE a doctor. I feel safe in suggesting rest, fluids, and perhaps a decongestant for someone suffering from a cold, but I doubt that anyone would want me performing their quadruple bypass surgery or telling a cardiac surgeon how to do so.

      Besides, we all know that doctors have it easy. They play golf every Wednesday, take tropical vacations once a month, live in mansions, and get paid thousands of dollars just for walking into a patient's hospital room for 5 minutes. ;-}

      July 31, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  86. teacher's wife

    I detest this article, but mostly the comment about working 296 minutes a day. They are probably one of those parents who send their child off to school to be babysat, don't sit thru parent teacher interviews, does not care that their child is being disruptive to the class and what the teacher has spent hours preparing. I would seriously LOVE to have cameras come into my house so people can see what the life of a teacher is. If a teacher was being paid for what they really do, they would not be able to be afforded. Teacher, Mom/Dad, Psychiatrist, Coach, Tutor, Chef the list goes on. I had a panicked call from my husband one day saying a child was not allowed to celebrate their birthday that day because they were just not important enough to have it celebrated (that's where the chef (me) and Psychiatrist comes into play) I dropped all I could that day to make a treat to bring to school so that child would know that they ARE important. Being a teacher would be so much easier if they took the lazy ass parents out of the equation. Those who are there, involved and are uplifting are priceless but are few and far between. Sad really. So many teachers are now pretty much parents to so many children who are neglected. I

    July 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Keith

      To "teacher's wife" – I am the husband of a teacher as well as a brother to a teacher. I support you (and your husband!) 1 million percent!!! I beg my wife all the time to write a book about what she goes through with lazy parents, coddled children, ineffective administrators, etc. And the personal money they have to spend on work related items is nearly criminal! If anyone in the corporate world had to spend their personal money on work supplies, they would make a HUGE deal about it. Unfortunately it's just expected for a teacher to do that. Please thank your husband for me for being such a caring teacher!

      July 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • cat

      God bless you "teacher's wife" and your sweet husband for letting that child know that she/he is important. The parents may not have felt their child was important enough but that child's teacher did. I've a friend who makes $250K a year and travels a great deal etc., her husband does a lot of the 'mom' job so his wife can do the traveling that brings in that $250K a year–it allows him to be a kindergarten teacher because he says so many of the children in his school have little or NO access to a male figure at all. Please Parents–help the 'teaching' by feeding your children NUTRITIOUS food–fast food is junk food not conducive to brain functioning or development. (Yes they may refuse to eat the good nutritious food but when they get really hungry they'll eat the healthy food if you've not given in and purchase the junk stuff.)

      July 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  87. foffe1

    Teachers have to put up with your spoiled obnoxious kids and with ignorant obnoxious parents. Under those conditions five hours a day for a teacher is the equivalent of 10 hours a day for the rest of us at our jobs.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  88. snowdogg

    "That 296 minutes is the time spent in front of the students. It doesn't count the hours teachers spend preparing for lessons for each subject they teach"

    The teachers I know personally use the same old lesson plans and support materials year after yer because it is easier and nobody calls them out on it.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  89. prairiepixie

    I come from a family of educators and grew up witnessing the workload of many hard-working teachers. My mom, a grade school teacher, taught all subject areas. She also taught multiple sections of language arts, which required much paper-reading and grading at night at home. So I can attest to the fact that many teachers, particularly at the lower grade levels (much more hands on) and in certain intensive subject areas have jobs that don't end once the bell rings. Plus, teaching requires you to be "on" at all times. It requires tremendous energy, focus, and patience to be good at. Much more than many professions.

    But, I also know of just plain bad and lazy teachers. Teachers who never changed their methods or curricula; teachers who never took work home; teachers who purposely taught less intensive - from a grading standpoint - subjects like driver ed and PE so they could coach. Laziness needs to be weeded out. As does the practice, in many states, of requiring coaches to be teachers. Too many teachers get hired to coach and their heart isn't in academics.

    In the big picture I think teaching is a noble profession and I ardently defend those who give it their all, but it would be easier if we could weed out the bad ones. I also think those in the profession could help themselves by whining less about students, parents, and tough conditions. It breeds animosity and leads people to say, "You get your summers off. I can't take a break!" Teaching can be both a job and a calling, but if it makes someone miserable it's probably not their calling. They should recognize that and seek another profession. Many skills taught in colleges of education are transferable and good adaptive skills are the mark of many people in education.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  90. Defender of Ernie

    I can't believe no one on here loves football like I do. You people are all losers.

    So long suckers.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • snowdogg

      Adios

      July 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  91. felix el gato

    Longer school days are not the answer. Not with homework. Eliminate summer vacation but give students the same amount of off days, spread throughout the year. We are not farmers anymore. Kids forget everything they have learned during summer vacation. Too many kids have nothing to do all summer but get in trouble.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Carol R Brown

      My grand children live in Germany and go to German elementary schools. They go to school about the same number of days as American children, but the summer break is only one month long. They also get 3 multi week vacations during the school year, but none as long as our summer break. This system would be great to try in the USA because the students don't forget so much over the vacations. Teachers in the US spend the first few weeks of the school year re-teaching what the children forgot over the long summer break. One problem no one has mentioned is the fact that most American schools are not air-conditioned. Many districts can't afford the energy costs of air-conditioning, especially in many old school buildings. I teach in up-state New York and have frequently seen the temperature in my classroom over 90 in the month of may. This is not conducive to learning, especially in classes of 30+ children.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  92. prairiepixie

    I come from a family of educators and grew up witnessing the workload of many hard-working teachers. My mom, a grade school teacher, taught all subject areas. She also taught multiple sections of language arts, which required much paper-reading and grading at night at home. So I can attest to the fact that many teachers, particularly at the lower grade levels (much more hands on) and in certain intensive subject areas have jobs that don't end once the bell rings. But, I also know of just plain bad and lazy teachers. Teachers who never changed their methods or curricula; teachers who never took work home; teachers who purposely taught less intensive - from a grading standpoint - subjects like driver ed and PE so they could coach. Laziness needs to be weeded out. As does the practice, in many states, of requiring coaches to be teachers. Too many teachers get hired to coach and their heart isn't in academics. In the big picture I think teaching is a noble profession and I ardently defend those who give it their all, but it would be easier if we could weed out the bad ones. I also think those in the profession could help themselves by whining less about students, parents, and tough conditions. It breeds animosity and leads people to say, "You get your summers off. I can't take a break!" Teaching can be both a job and a calling, but if it makes someone miserable it's probably not their calling. They should recognize that and seek another profession. Many skills taught in colleges of education are transferable and good adaptive skills are the mark of many people in education.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  93. eddantes

    My respect to all High School teachers in all the public schools of New York City, how the hell can you stand so many unruly kids? my job is tough but I wouldn't want to be a teacher in New York, no sir.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  94. Just Say'n

    People who work 220-240 eight to ten hour days days laugh at people who work 180 six hour days and claim to "work hard".
    It's basic math.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Todd

      As someone who has worked a very labor intensive "straight" job and taught, I can say without a doubt that teaching is more work than most straight jobs. Try never having a waking hour, evening, or weekend truly "off" and see how much you like it. I

      July 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • Carol R Brown

        Try not being able to take a potty break for 5_6 hours straight.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • EDWARD

      Nope, not just math. I can walk for much longer than I can run. Most jobs are walking–teaching is an all out sprint. Re-learn math or logic!

      July 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • aloyisus

      Two years ago, I taught 7th and 8th grade Social Studies in an urban public school system. I arrived between 6:30-7:00 AM and left at the earliest, 4:30, to attend 3 hour professional development classes. Otherwise, I left school at 5-6 PM, sometimes as late a 7 PM. I then spent at LEAST 2 hours planning for the next day. On Saturday morning, I spent 2 hours in a curriculum workshop, then went to a free book center to pick books out for my students and supply my classroom library. On Sunday, I spent at LEAST 2 hours preparing for the week ahead. That does not include the time and money I spent buying supplies for my students and the classroom, or driving to the school board offices to photo copy original sources when the copy machine at school didn't work or we ran out of paper. (The school provided each teacher one ream a month BTW.) My total receipts indicate that I spent over $750.00 on classroom supplies that year. Could I point out that when I left the school in the evenings–there were still some teachers there. Did you know that teachers are responsible for sweeping the floors of their classrooms and if they want them clean, cleaning them as well? (I am not blaming the custodians. There are so few of them, they can't keep up.) I had both parents and students get into physical fights in my classroom. The same thing happened in the hallways. I saw a parent assault a 3rd grader in the hall and get handcuffed and hauled away by policemen. I was assaulted twice in my classroom –both students were designated emotionally disturbed, but neither had a classroom aide. After speaking with my colleagues, I realized my experience was not unique. I made $41,000 and I have 2 Master's degrees (Berkeley and Yale). So maybe now you might want to do the math. Or better yet, take a teaching position in an American city.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • BioHzrd420

      JustSay'n....You obviously don't know what you are talking about. I don't know any teacher-ANY- who gets what they need done for the day or next within six hours.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Jenny

      Yep:)

      July 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  95. mikek

    Andy has clearly read too much Ayn Rand.

    As for people complaining about teachers' length of work day and summers off:
    I've worked private sector and I've worked in the classroom as a adjunct college professor. Teaching is very hard work and teaching well is a very rare and specific skill set. Most people would not make it as a teacher. Classroom management is very challenging. Dealing with students at a variety of performance levels and with an almost infinite variety of outside-of-classroom baggage is not easy work. Teacher spend a huge amount of time outside of class either prepping or grading.

    Joe Office-Worker spends a significant portion of his work day in non-productive activities. Surfing the web, chatting across cubicles with co-workers, taking coffee breaks, etc. When teachers are in the classroom they are always "on". They can't stop and surf CNN. In terms of work hours spent in actual productive activity- I'll put the annual total for teachers against any profession.

    When deciding what to pay people you've got two models "attract and retain the best and brightest" and "race to the bottom". Invariably, people who are paid very well consider their pay to be a reflection of their rare and special talent, even when that is not really the case. People who favor the "race to the bottom" model for public employees really ought to stop and consider "is there somebody out there who would do YOUR job for less than you are being paid to do it?" If so, why shouldn't YOU be paid less? On the flipside- if you think teachers are so coddled and overpaid, why don't YOU become a teacher and get in on that action?

    July 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • jefffielhauer

      "teaching well is a very rare and specific skill set"

      That's the problem. The teachers that do a good job are rare. The current system doesn't reward teachers for being better. It rewards them for hanging around a long time.

      July 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • Carol R Brown

        Good teachers are not rare! Teachers who really shouldn't be in the classroom are far more rare. Good teachers don't want bad teachers in the classroom and we all know who they are. Poor teachers are not there because of the union or teacher tenure. They remain in the classroom because administrators aren't doing their jobs. I have taught for a few great principals, but I have known more who wouldn't know a good teacher from a bad one.

        July 31, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  96. Jim

    A few points:
    1. When the teachers in America were running the education in this country, we were at the top.
    2. What if we rate doctors on whether or not their patients assigned to them ever became ill? I know, the doctors will say they don't have any control over the health habits of their patients. Teachers are being evaluated where one mold is made to fit all children. If they don't succeed, it is the teacher's fault, of course, not the parents that won't make them do their homework, get up for school, or turn off the TV.
    3. We can debate this until we are blue in the face, but when you allow the teachers to teach, the kids will learn. Most people have no idea what happens in a classroom of today. The teachers have no power....ask a teacher in any public high school that has not been sworn at with no power to discipline?
    4. If we evaluated every job in America like we do teachers, we would never have anyone working.
    5. When Arnie Duncan comes to my class room, or Dr. King our Commissionor of Education in NY spends a full week in my classroom, then maybe you can convince me "these changes" are necessary.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Ron

      I do agree that without cooperation from parents to support what teachers are trying to do then some kids just cannot be reached. This is a tough spot to be in since the teacher will be held accountable so I would say there needs to be an “out” here for teachers. Maybe start first by treating students/parents like kindergarteners. My son was in K last year and the teacher made us sign that we supervised every part of his homework. (this was just a general policy for all the kids no matter how they were doing) If that doesn’t work then put parents on notice in writing that they will need to come to school after hours on some regular schedule to help with their child that won’t listen? I think this might get them to come down on the kid since now it’s impacting their life directly. If they refuse to come then teacher is off the hook for that student’s performance? Sounds fair?

      I definitely do not agree with item 4. Most of us working at for profit companies are closely evaluated and those of us who don’t cut it are dismissed. And especially in times where there are lots of people looking for a job. In fact, many who do perform are dismissed for no reason at all other than the company had other plans.

      Also, comparisons to doctors do not really apply. Many junk teachers pretty much cannot be fired where doctors can be shown the door without any cause at all. Not to mention be sued out of business and profession for making a mistake or just because people like to sue doctors when they run out of other stuff to do.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • LMC

      Well said Jim!

      August 1, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  97. Doug

    Obviously, the problem is complex. No one will solve it here. However, the continuing discussion is important. It is too simple to say teachers don't work long hours, or parents are the sole cause of declining test scores. When I was a principal, I told teachers that all good teachers are underpaid and all poor ones overpaid. I find the NEA's position that all teachers are equal disingenuous. Several things have to happen to make real change. First, abandon tenure. It's intention to protect speech has blossomed into protecting ineffective teachers and administrators. Second, parents have to regain control of their children and support schools. Third, teachers unions have to accept pay for performance and stop hiding behind the fiction that teachers cannot be evaluated. Fourth, administrators need to stop crying about not being able to dismiss teachers. I've done it, and I am certainly not alone. It isn't easy (and shouldn't be), and it requires very hard work, but it can and should be done.

    Finally, a word about pay. Ask yourself what professions the top 25% of college graduates choose. Then take a look at where where teachers rank in their college graduating classes. Yes, it is about money. No longer can we depend on the best and brightest of women and minorities to fill the ranks of teachers. They have more options now.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  98. Incredulus

    Why do so many think teaching is easy? Why do so many think that evaluating teaching is easy? Why do so many think other people have easier jobs?

    My guess, a lack of education in evaluating what they are told. (For those in education, critical thinking.) My guess, it holds for those doing the teaching and those criticizing the teachers.

    July 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  99. Bethsaida Colon Kraft

    As soon as I saw the picture, I noticed the difference on the children's ages. Some are very young, other much older. As far as I am concern, this seems to be the detention room. A room where the disruptive students have to be sent for the parents to pick them up and set a conferece with the teachers. if they care. I think the only one doing something productive is the adult in the room,(whom everyone assume is a teacher).

    July 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  100. Pollywog

    I'm not impressed with Teacher Planning Days. The kids are off so there is a child care issue for parents. Just the teachers go to work that day. So I was at a social gathering and asked a teacher what they do on Teacher Planning Days. She said "we usually go in for about an hour – then go to the mall or something for the rest of the day." After hearing that straight from a teacher's mouth, my suggestion is that they "plan" to go to work on those days. They could be educating our children instead of shopping. Then maybe I'd be more receptive to better wages. And they should be held accountable just like any other job – their union is doing more to ruin their image than anyone else!

    July 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      My wife is a teacher and can tell you that her "Inservice" days are not something to look forward to. She is in endless meetings going over kid's test scores and why the district needs her to perform miracles to achieve AYP (annual yearly progress) again. It's all about No Child Left Behind.... Little is discussed about improving skills or different approaches to getting thru to the students that their education is important. There is little time set aside for that. Plus my wife is there all day. No "mall" trips or whatever these questionable teachers /districts do on those days.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • LMC

      I can't believe that teachers would be able to put in only "an hour" and then leave on teacher planning days. I have never personally experienced any situation like that in the three states I have taught in. Teacher planning or work days are usually highly planned by our district administrators and principals and there would be no way for someone to just leave for the day unless they were really ill. We usually have only an hour or two on "planning" days that are dedicated to planning for our own classrooms.

      We are also held accountable for our effectiveness and evaluated every year, at least in any district I've ever worked in.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • 37-year Veteran

      Wow. That going to the mall business would not fly in any district where I have worked. We are in school doing work related to our classes or having inservice training. (I'd rather be with the kids, but I have to say, schools are not free babysitting services...or should not be.)

      July 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
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