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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  1. larry

    Had a teacher friend tell me once that he decided to become a teacher because he didn't want to work for a living. He was smarter than me. I got a job in manufacturing and will never be able to retire and will be paying for his nice benefits as long as I live.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Rabbai Randy

      I woiuld suggest than that you should have become a teacher !
      So, who's the fool ?

      August 1, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Kevin McClellan

      I live in a Borger TX with a Phillips refienery where all my family worked and still works there. My dad told me to "stay out of that plant get an education". I did and became a teacher/coach. Members of my family that never went to college went to work for Phillips. I spent 40 yrs in education ending up with about 55 grand a year and less than 3 grand a month in retirement now. Family members with High School only makes an average of 85 grand a year will get company retirement and social security. If he works lots of over time he can make over 90 grand. He gets about 30 paid days of vaction a year–teachers get zero. I now have to work a job where I work sometimes 100 hrs a week paying social security which I nor my wife can ever get. The 40 yrs of teaching meant summers working extra job through those two and half months. Phillips employee realitive got most of his heath insurance free while I paid 788 a month to BCBS. When kids ask today if they should teach, I tell them not no but hell no. Go to work for Phillips.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  2. Michelle

    How long would you prepare for a one hour presentation at work? I don't mean a one hour status report meeting; I mean a one hour presentation. Keep in mind that this is a presentation that must sell a product or idea successfully to meeting attendees. Moreover, you have never given this exact presentation before. Your product requirements and the market keep changing, as does your audience.

    Now pretend that after the presentation, each of the 35 attendees will submit a two-page summary report on your product or idea and you must give 200 words of response and an evaluation of each summary report. That's 7,000 words, about the length of a 15-20 page short story. (Every year, the average classroom teacher will write the equivalent of a novel's worth of comments and suggestions, but I digress.)

    Now imagine that half of all Americans think that your one hour presentation and summary report evaluations represent, altogether, only one hour of work.

    Well sir, those Americans simply would not have any understanding of what a business presentation is. Have they never watched the Apprentice? Business presentations take up only, what, one show segment?

    This is what it is like to be a teacher in America listening to the great American education debate. It's not that half the people talking are wrong. It's that half the people talking have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. None.

    Teachers must prepare each lesson, just like you must prepare for a presentation of a new product or other idea. Just like products, curriculum is constantly changing. Teaches can't necessarily just rehash the old presentation they did last year. Even if curriculum hasn't changed, they must still prepare, just like you would if the last time you gave a particular presentation was a year ago. They must grade and comment on homework, sort of like a manager might have to give a performance evaluation, but they must do it every week.

    For teachers, this isn't just something they do "the day of the big presentation" or "that time of the quarter for performance evaluations." For teachers, this is almost every day of their job. And if you have ever given that big presentation at work and said to your significant other, "Sorry, honey. Not this weekend. I have a presentation to give Monday," you know how hard teachers work day in an day out. You know how many hours they put in outside of instruction time.

    Most of all, you know how big a joke it is when anyone says a teacher's workday is only six hours, because you know how ridiculous it would be if someone said that your big presentation took up only one total hour of your life.

    (END RANT. My apologies for any typos. I did not proofread this rant.)

    August 1, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • pryan67

      How many teachers write, on average, 200 words of comments on EACH 2 page summary that's turned in...

      Also, MOST professionals put in extra time, in addition to the 9+ hours they're at work, all 12 months of the year...

      I don't know of many professionals that have taxpayer backed pensions, tenure, summers off, 10 sick days plus 5 personal days...nor do I know many that have" their" contribution to their pension paid by taxpayers....

      August 1, 2012 at 7:03 am |
      • Jo Jo

        The pension you refer to replaces social security, so if you get social security you are in a government backed pension.

        August 1, 2012 at 7:36 am |
      • Scott

        Agreed. Teachers only work 183 days. We do get holiday break, spring break, and summer break plus 15 paid sick days and 5 personal days. Sounds great and it is having come from private industry. I love my job as a teacher. In defense, many teachers (I don't have the actual number) work 9 hours days. It is not a 6 hour day as many in the public believe. Prep time for many, especially at the elementary level, requires extra hours of work either at home or after school. Teachers cannot prep while students are in class just as you wouldn't prep during your presentation. Plus, teachers have become social workers, guidance counselors, psychiatrists, nurses, in addition to delivering curriculum. We prep students so they can take your job one day. Would you be where you are today without an education? Do you think firefighters are worth the money they make? The perception is they wait around until needed. Do they do anything while waiting? Of course they do! They work 3 on 3 off. Many collect overtime. Imagine if a teacher collected overtime? Stop complaining and get back to your 9 hour day!

        August 1, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • Steve

        For all of you that don't like working all year around – 10 to 14 hours a day – become a teacher. If you think it is so easy – and most who don't teach think it is sooo easy – get your degree. Welcome aboard the ridicule express – sometimes you might get lucky and the ridicule will only come from the 12 year old in your classroom. Every non-teaching adult I see that comes to my school says the same thing – you deserve ALL of what you get!

        August 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
      • Kp

        Please try to post facts. Taxpayers only pay a small percentage of a teachers retirement, typically 2-5 percent, the rest is taken out of their salary and that portion is getting larger all the time. I get 3 sick days not 10 and I seldom use and I have only used 1 personal day in 25 years. End of rant. Going to school to work on getting class ready for students...yes I do work on my unpaid " vacation " days.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
      • Jim

        If I called in sick 15 times a year I would have been fired by the 3rd or 4th call.

        15 **PAID** sick days!!! LOL! Unbelievable.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • Jane

        My contract says that I need to be at my school by 7:30 (students go from 9 to 3) and I am not allowed to leave until 4:45. Most days I get to school at 7:30 and try to leave by 5....I bring anything I need to finish at that point home to do after my family goes to sleep. This usually happens about three nights a week for an hour or two. I have a 20 minute lunch each day and I have three prep periods a week (45 minutes) where I can plan and not have my kids in the classroom. During one of these times I have to bring my stuff to the teachers room since the art teacher comes to my class with a cart. During one of the trimesters we have I am expected to offer an after school class of my choosing for an hour each day. This makes my days longer and I usually stay at school until 6:30 during that time of the year. All the teachers have to do this or coach a team.

        I have my masters (required in my state) plus tons of credits since I am required to take courses every five years to keep my teacher certificates (cost of about $1500 a year that I pay). I don't pay nor can I collect SS- I do have teacher retirement which I can collect if I stay long enough...if I cashed out now after 11 years I would get about $30,000. I make roughly $35,000 a year. I choose to have my pay spread out over 12 months to make bill payment easier but my salary is based on the # of days worked. I get 15 sick day and can save them if I don't lose them up to a certain amount. If I take more than three a year I have to get a doctors note each time. Our admin makes it clear that they don't expect us to take many sick days. I have to have the day planned so if I am sick the sub can take over. I do get 1/3 of a personal day for each month I work up to five days. If I need personal time I have to take a whole day...and again it is clear that this is not to be done lightly. I can only say that my families health care is now with my husband's company since our insurance has gone up each year and his was cheaper and better than what I could get through the school (this was not true in the past)....I am still paying off school loans. I worked every summer to help make ends meet at a local camp...now I have my own kids and can't do that anymore. I am lucky that my hubby (HS education) makes triple what I do....working as an IT person in a large company. I am not complaining...my job is what it is...your job is what it is....just wanted to state some facts...

        August 2, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • B. Martindale

      Amen sister! AND if teaching is such a cushy, well paid, hugely benifited, lots of time off job, then why aren't young and old lining up at colleges to get their 4 to 7 year degree to enter this profession?

      August 1, 2012 at 8:18 am |
      • Al

        They are! Education is the most popular college major.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:09 am |
      • TheMagusNYC

        Having worked on an hourly basis in hospital and warehouse, I can say, of course, it was worth investing 2 years beyond the Ph.D. to earn a teaching credential. But there is no escape from tedious work, nor stress, facing kids, parents, supervisors, and an ignorant, unappreciative public.

        August 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  3. teach

    yeah, teaching. so easy.
    everyone is lining up for the job i'm sure.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:35 am |
  4. ME

    I do not want my children sitting and sitting and sitting for even another minute in some school room with the teacher blaring out instructions for the students to complete their worksheets.
    I want my child running-playing-creating-socializing ...
    This is so ridiculous and unhealthy to extend a school day for a test score when these children only have ONE-GOOD-QUALITY life to live..
    Sit all day and GET FAT.-UNHEALTHY-SLUGGISH-
    The Greeks..Sound in BODY-SOUND IN mind..
    Do you educators not get it???

    August 1, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  5. Al Bundy

    Did I mention I had an American born kid at one job that had a college degree and did not understand the concept of a numerical average? Indeed, she could not say what the average of 4,5, and 9 was, even after explaining it to her several times.
    If that is not sad enough I have a friend with a wife that teaches elementary school, she had no idea what percent means, she could not tell you what 60% of 100 was.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Hmmm

      @AlBundy-So you had someone who didn't understand basic math at a job and they still didn't really get it even AFTER you explained it to them? Must've had a ton of bad teachers up the line including yourself. I'm sure he/she had not responsibility to learn the concept. Or, it may not have been an "important" standard the state tested so teachers left it alone.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  6. Al Bundy

    Teachers in my state get 80% of their salary as pension after only 20 years on the job. Find me any other jobs that get a sweet deal like that? Well, Police and Firemen do too, they are also union slugs.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  7. arthurjlandry

    I teach at community college part time after a 10 hour day..I just finished last night so have August off from my part time job and only have a 10 hr day for a month. My class that finished (visual basic) had 12 students that went to school at night after working all day..when teacher say they use summers for education it is not like people who work in the summer dont also get educated. I dont know anyone who does not have a laptop and/or smartphone to work at night for a hour or so..teachers act like everyone is Fred Flinstone going home on the whistle without a care in the world.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  8. FG

    Back in the late 80s, I remember the school days extending and the teachers would end up turning our classes into eventual study halls. Well, I remember being required to sit five out of six classes for almost two weeks as study hall. It always seemed to me that the teachers didnt want to be there any more than we did, save that one teacher who actually tried to extend the day.

    But extending the day as well? I also remember that some joker came up with the concept of an additional 45 minutes of homework per class which my school took seriously. 45 minutes for six classes each, which is almost another 5 hours after school, plus family time, plus any extra curriculars, plus a part time job... Does cramming more time into a child/young adult's schedule really a good idea? Even colleges aren't extending their school years and I was a better student in college than high school. We know the concept of overworked – what about over schooled?

    I ask this because my neighbor has four kids that are home schooled, they finish their work by noon, and their test scores are through the roof.

    Maybe more isn't always better.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  9. Christian

    I really can't believe what I am seeing. I understand that people have their opinions on how they feel, but lets face it there are both Pros and Cons, to extending a school day, just as there are for normal everyday decisions. I believe that extending a school day can be both good and bad.
    Good/ Pros:
    Allows for teachers to cover a lesson in a more timely manner rather then rushing through to make sure they get the most essential topics covered, especially topics that are typically used in Standardized Testing.

    If a school chooses to use the extra time that would be given to them as a Study Hall, that allows for the students to then be able to ask the teacher for help and understand more of what the teacher is wanting students to know on assignments.

    Bad/ Cons:
    Students, especially those already used to the normal school structure, may become bored and choose to let their mind wander, of course taking their focus away from the lessons or instructions.

    By increasing, either the amount of time in school during the day or limiting vacations, struggling families, especially those already in a "Crunch" may not/ continue to not be able to afford supplies to adequately get their Child through the School Year.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  10. knowitall

    1. Take politicians out of the decision making process. They do not know what needs to be accomplished in the classroom. They have one objective and that is to get re-elected and deflect attention from their mistakes. Exactly what they have done recently across the US(Ohio and Wisconsin especially) by downgrading teachers and turning the public against them.

    2. Put discipline back in schools. To do this you need to hogtie the lawyers(who created a society that has to walk on eggshells) so the threat of being sued doesnt exist. Now I dont mean bring back the paddle just to beat kids, but with the paddle just being a threat, it makes a kid think twice in most cases.

    3. Hold parents accountable. Im not sure how to do this but if you take out lawyers and politicians, it would be a heck of a lot easier.

    4. Get rid of bad teachers(Im a teacher). There has to be a working agreement with unions(Im in the union). I hate the fact that the union will protect a bad teacher!! I do believe we need a union for the right reasons(protection from a ego administrator that has an axe to grind, etc) but they need to have common sense.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  11. Hmmm

    Because, well duh, every private company has stellar performance records. And, obviously, if you took a random sample of public sector employees they'd all be inefficient, ignorant losers incapable of producing results anywhere near the superior private sector. So anyway, sarcasm and facetiousness aside, this makes sense to me for some reason. I truly believe there are very powerful groups out there (by powerful I mean wealthy) trying to privatize the world.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  12. Hmmm

    Are schools REALLY under performing that much? Yeah, you have a small percentage of urban areas where it's bad. But everything about those areas is bad. Not just the schools. "We have a culture of hopelessness from blocks A-E in city XYZ. Must be the school's fault. In particular, the teachers." I venture to guess the stores, job prospects, hospitals, and police response times are just peachy in those areas... Has anyone ever thought the goal is to CREATE the PERCEPTION of under performance (really, 100% of kids proficient in reading and math when this country is founded on immigration from foreign countries???) to eventually privatize public education into for profit groups? If we can prove public education dead, we can test "charter" aka private schools.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  13. Hmmm

    does it take this blog like 15 minutes to post a comment or what?

    August 1, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  14. Chris

    Complaining about teacher's pay is ridiculous.

    The only pay people should be complaining about is CEO pay and other professions that pay $1+. Seriously. Someone making $40,000 a year is NOT overpaid. So STFU already.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Chris

      That's $1 million plus.

      Leave the poor folks alone, go after the rich. That's all I ask in the name of moral decency.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  15. kimberdr

    If teaching is such a great job with months and months of "paid vacation" and great pay then why don't more people do it? A four year degree, a certification and a master's degree... most people don't choose to go through that kind of schooling. When they do? They are usually paid much more than teachers. The main thing that bothers me about this whole debate is that everyone thinks they know how to do a teacher's job better than teachers! I don't pretend to know what doctors, lawyers, firefighters, nurses, etc. do and I don't give advice on how they should do their jobs!

    August 1, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  16. josh holt

    I am a teacher and coach in Texas. There have been days where I have had so little of a break that I get home at around 8 or 9 and realized I havn't even had a chance to use the bathroom all day literately . Being in charge of students for 9 hours is way different than being at any other job where you can take break as needed. I haved worked many other jobs in my life and during the summer. They are all substantially easier and less stressful. Most teachers were top of there class and had many other opportunities but chose teaching because it was the right thing to do. For people to hate on them in these comments is absolutely ridiculous. But as teachers we are used to the ignorant parents of the U.S. so it is no surprise. These comments are from the same people that do not sit down to raise their child in order to sustain good grade and values, but instead blame teachers and coaches for their lack of success.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • alphag

      Josh, Thank you for setting it straight.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  17. Judy

    Beautifully said Curt! I am shaking my head at some of the negative comments. These people obviously are not teachers and have NO idea what they are talking about. Awesome lesson plans that differentiate to meet the needs of all students take sustantial time, both planning time AND time we don't get paid for. We spend years educating ourselves to become highly qualified in order to teach. We have to keep our professional licenses current through continual education just like a doctor or a lawyer only we don't garner the same respect. Professional people didn't just fall from the sky, they had to first come through one of our classrooms! If we did our job right we taught them some of the skills they used to become successful.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  18. Jaketig

    Can't we acknowledge good works any more? When I got out of the military I taught to make a difference I had a masters degree and was on a frozen salary schedule of 34,000 a year. As an administrator I work 60 hour weeks (with after hour activities) and still don't make as much as I did as an O-3 ten years ago.. It was never about the money. But to say educator benefits and pay in my state are cushy (Idaho) for teachers is an utter falsehood. I have never known a more educated and harder working group of people. True some don't do their job and it is MINE to ensure that is taken care of...the winds are changing and ineffective teachers are rapidly shown the door..

    However, education in america will always come second to other countries while society takes it for granted, while the media and politicians vilify a workforce to cover for their own failures, while it is slave to so much uninformed change and misinformation. The country as a whole can't decide what to even teach its populace and that is the educators fault? Educators become slaves to strange state decisions, get forced to teach poor standards, and somehow they take the blame? Interesting...

    When I got into education I started with three assumptions:

    1. I will not make money commesurate with my hours worked or education level (two masters degrees).
    2. I will be slave to uninformed political decisions.
    3. This society will not completely understand or appreciate my contribution, but some individuals will and there will be small joys.

    Those three things have made my life in education simpler and happier. I love my work, I make a difference to thousands of students, but I do wish people would actually learn something about what it truly means to be an effective administrator or teacher in America. It is not easy, these postings prove just how difficult it can be.. You have to have a dream!

    August 1, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  19. Amy

    This is the quote I was referring to: “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.”. This idiotic quote just goes all over me.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  20. Former Teacher

    Our educational system will only change for what's best for students when teachers actually get to start making the decisions as to how the system should work. Currently, our educational system is determined by politicians, mostly lawyers, big business, and family day care needs. None of these truly have student achievement in their best interest. Politicians are constantly passing requirements without funding those requirements or understanding that what looks good on paper doesn't work in the classroom. In the state of WI, the various business lobbies have persuaded our government to pass laws regarding when not only our elementary and high schools must begin their school year, but also the state funded college system. No schools are allowed to begin classes before Sept. 1. Part of that legislation includes when schools must be finished by in summer also. Without this legislation, they would not have enough students to work Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Forget year round school because we need those kids to staff our summer fun in terms of amusement parks, recreational areas, etc. Finally, studies are very clear that high school student achievement increases rather dramatically when the school day begins after 8am. Right now, most high schools in our state begin about 7:30 a.m. with the grade school students beginning their days much later. Problem is that if the high school students' day began later, they would not be home before the younger kids in order to babysit. Families with multiple children pay less in day care costs because the older children are home in time to watch the younger children. Chicago simply lengthening the school day simply panders to all of the above. Makes it sound like something is being done, when real change would require all three of the above to make sacrifices that they are unwilling to make in order to truly increase student achievement. Until teachers get to make the decisions regarding restructuring our schools based on solid research, nothing will change.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  21. Paola

    If the idea is implemented with a good base, I don't see why it would not work. I see more benefits in this idea, than not.. Where I come from (Chile) school days are from 8am to 4pm, there are 2 recesses of 15mins and 45mins for lunch. In some cases there is an "all year round" system where kids have more vacations: 3 times a year which are divided on periods of 3-4 weeks each... that is also something to consider. I only hope that if they end up adding more hours they also add more quality education and dedicate more hours for sports (and I'm not talking about an hour playing ping-pong, or hulawoops) – Look at that as a good way to fight child obesity.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  22. Amy

    A lot of my teacher friends have some quote from Donald Quinn on their walls and desks saying something to the extent of, if you put a doctor or a lawyer in a room with 40 individuals, none of which want to be there, all with different needs, blah blah, blah... Then the doctor/lawyer would understand the teachers job. I think it's this constant complaining, and comparing that has turned me way off. I am a nurse who works for a busy surgeon year round. No spring, summer, fall, or winter break for me. I get two weeks a year, that's it! You can't merely pass a background check and cover for my position. I got so tired of this idiotic quote I let a few of my friends know just what I thought of it. No one wants to be in the surgeon's office, yet we see almost 2,000 new patients a year, all with different needs, we cannot fail or make any kind of mistake whatsoever. Patients at times are non compliant and sabotage their recovery, we must then evaluate their plan of care, and implement a different intervention to achieve the desired outcome. I have looked and looked for quotes where other professions bash teachers, and have found not even one. Why is it that teachers in particular have a "My job is harder than your job" contest going on?

    August 1, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Kevin

      Before I earned my MD and became a pediatrician, I was a high school math teacher. I can tell you from personal experience that it is a very difficult job. I have met a number of other docs who also taught before entering medical school, and there seems to be a general consensus that teaching is every bit as difficult as medicine... more difficult in some ways. I will be honest, I too thought very little of the position before I entered the profession. I soon found I was wrong. The time off that you speak of is spent predominately preparing lessons for the entire year. As a general rule, every hour spent in class requires 2 hours of preparation outside of class (if you want to do a good job).

      August 1, 2012 at 3:52 am |
      • Al Bundy

        Eh, I know a guy that bragged about never once doing work outside of school hours, he is the principal now...

        August 1, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • Jason

      Teachers have that complex because people do not get on blogs and attack your proffession or else you would have that complex as well.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  23. Teach

    It seems that the only UBS that ever get bad press is public service jobs. These jobs have you working with the general public which seems to know everything. Why do people always have to put in there two cents when they barely know what the topic is focusing on. Everyone is trying to make this a battle about teachers and money was wasted to stir controversy when that money could have been put to better use, like actually helping people. Forget about what benefits and pay teachers get and what they should or should get, and instead start thinking of ways to help the youth of this country. Let's start focusing on the youth and how to improve the outcome of their futures. A good way to start is by using the money that is put into articles like that into studies and spreading the word on ways that are effective.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  24. M Gonzales

    People need to stop complaining that teachers work long hours or they don't work alot of hours. Teachers put in alot of hours "off" the clock so too speak when they are working but that's offset in that they have alot of days off throughout the year. Also teachers pay is decent and you never were going to become rich becoming a teacher, the thing that does get me mad as a taxpayer is it seems like every year teachers are demanding a few more % pay raise, it gets old. Teachers have got to remember they are working for the government and not a private corporation. Each state has thousands of teachers and everybody wants more money but when such a huge labor pool that relies on tax dollors always wants a raise, it gets old. If your always wanting a raise, you need to have gotten a degree in a profession that pays more. Now on the subject of longer school days, that is not going to fix anything in the slightest. The problem is not solved by throwing more money at the problem as politicians like to do or in this case more classroom time at the problem. The problem is only going to be solved by parents being parents making sure their kids are doing their work and understanding what they are supposed to be learning. You can force kids to be in a classroom from dusk to dawn and if the kids not wanting to learn and the parents are not involved or dont care your not going to fix anything in my opinion.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  25. James

    I am so sick and tired of being blamed fot the ills of society. Look at the world and you will see the same thing in a classroom. Where is my glass of hemlock?

    August 1, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  26. Bob

    A longer school day would be good if that time was put to good use. In Asia, club activities or sports are mandatory and after school. The way it is set up in the US doesn't allow for much achievement other than just sports and select few academic clubs such as debate. Having a variety of clubs will allow the student to choose a subject that piques their interest. If the club doesn't exist, allow the student to form one and find a teacher as an advisor.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      My youngest daughter is going into the FFA...I think it is just an excuse to get a horse, but I am still all for it. It will teach her responsibility and some very good life-lessons.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  27. tmac810

    If so many people think teachers have such a great deal...why aren't they teachers? Please come volunteer for a day in my classroom...or your child's classroom...and then we can talk. Preparation for teachers does not get significantly easier if you are a good teacher. The time put into preparation does not "diminish greatly" after the first few years, as someone mentioned! Good teachers are always working to update their lessons, update their knowledge, and incorporate new strategies. I didn't choose to teach because I would have summers off...at age 17 I did not have the foresight to think about working conditions when I selected a career path. I have been teaching for 30 years. Administrators, parents, teachers, students, community partnerships matter in the classroom. It doesn't help anyone when we just try to blame others.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      So, do you agree that there should be some sort of performance-based incentives (or lack of for poor performance) instead of across-the-board raises based only on tenure and cost of living increases? My job requires me to perform better each month in order to get a decent raise and bonus. It seems that is the only right way to do it.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  28. wassupUSA

    "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."
    What most people don't know is that teachers do have a level of accountability. In addition to informal "walk-throughs" (by administrators), teachers are subjected to formal observations. Administrators can use these observations to place teachers on an "improvement plan" if they score poorly. If there are no signs of improvement, they can be terminated. You could argue that observations do not occur frequent enough or that it's harder to hold a poor performing teacher accountable once he/she has tenure. Those would be valid points. However, you cannot hold a teacher accountable solely on test scores. Here are the problems with that:

    -The senior teachers would take all the upper level courses, making it impossible for newer teachers to succeed

    -Some courses build on previous courses. In other words, if I had an Algebra student that had a poor pre-algebra teacher, I get blamed for the low scores.

    -Desperate teachers can be tempted to cheat on state test

    August 1, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Al Bundy

      The connected teachers would get all the Asian students, the new teachers would get all the black kids.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:52 am |
  29. Nate

    This concept that "if we just had them captive a little while longer," is utter nonsense. A kid who hasn't listened to you for the last 4 hours isn't going to to listen to you another two. And this idea that learning only occurs when kids are caged in some classroom for 8 hours a day and that a child only develops advanced social skills when they’re forced to spend the majority of their time interacting with kids born within 12 months of their own birthday; now that’s ludicrous.

    The current learning model is fatally flawed.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  30. Jason

    Just going to address some erroneous numbers seen above:

    1. "I wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!" – I show up to work at approx. 7:15am and stay until on avg. 3:30pm. That is 8.25 hours, or 495 minutes. Add to that 60 minutes of prep/planning in the evening... 555 minute work day.

    2. "Locally we have many teachers making over $90k a year..." – Now I'm not sure where this individual works, but in the Denver School District a teacher with a minimum 13 years experience who has a Masters Degree earns $61,100. If that individual has a PhD they earn $74,218. As for the majority of teachers who are middle of the road experience and hold a Bachelor's or Master's Degree, they are sitting in the upper 40, lower 50k per year range. Again, not sure where these "many" teachers making 90k are...

    I just wish people would not criticize a profession that they aren't a part of, haven't experienced, and clearly don't have correct information regarding.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Nicole

      It's going off of Chicago public school hours, which are about 5 hours a day. What they neglect to mention is that teachers have their plan, professional development, staff meetings, and lunch before or after school. Here the standard is 7 hours, plus miscellaneous meetings and trainings, and then about an hour or two of prep for the school day, so it rounds out to an 8-9 hour work day. And the pay isn't good, my mom is an experienced teacher halfway to her masters and makes about 40k, so most take up one or two extra jobs

      August 1, 2012 at 1:35 am |
      • Al Bundy

        I know a PhD in forensic anthropology working for 30k a year. Halfway to a Masters? Big Whoop.

        August 1, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Al Bundy

      LOL Chief you don't get a minute off in the day for lunch? By the way 10 hour work days are not bad for people on salary these days. My town pays teachers an average of over 55k.
      A Masters in education is a joke degree, hell Shaq has his PhD in education.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  31. Josh

    The single largest factor separating successful students from unsuccessful students is simply the family unit. Period. It's really easy to blame your kid's lousy academic performance on the teacher, and most parents who don't do much parenting do exactly that. As a teacher and former military service-member and entrepreneur, I can say without doubt that teaching is the hardest job I have ever had. So, for all those whiny, unhappy parents out there blaming the school for their failure as parents, bite it, you are the biggest problem in America today, not teachers.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Nate

      Bingo. You hit the nail on the head.

      Unfortunately, schools have just become a socially acceptable form of long-term day care. And when the kids turn out miserable, parents can then use the other socially acceptable cop-out of blaming the schools. Blaming someone else is always much easier then making hard choices that require the sacrifice of time, money, and personal desires.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:52 am |
      • CurmudgeonTx

        When school is mandatory, and not a choice left to the parents...and when the school has the children more of the day than the parents do, some of the responsibility for the teaching of wrong or right will tend to come from the schools. I interact with and engage in discussion my children (one 11, the rest adults), and teach them what I believe, but often people don't have jobs that allow more than an hour or so with the kids after school. Where do YOU think these kids are picking up their morals and ethics, and how do you propose parents get more involved?

        August 1, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Nate

      Bingo. You hit the nail on the head.

      Unfortunately, schools have jbecome a socially acceptable form of long-term day care. And when the kids turn out miserable, parents can then use the other socially acceptable cop-out of blaming the schools. Blaming someone else is always much easier then making hard choices that require the sacrifice of time, money, and personal desires.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Andrew

      I dont know why more people dont focus on this aspect of the argument. I couldnt agree more.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  32. Nicole

    I can get behind a longer school day if you put things like the arts, PE, and recess into the school day. Kids need multisensory learning experiences as well as time for play and socialization, to help 'recharge' their brain for the rest of the day. Art and music classes (especially instruction in playing instruments) can help stimulate different parts of the brain, building connections that will then improve math and reading skills. Exercise helps pump chemicals into the brain which make you more alert, and the health benefits can increase focus.. Heck, even incorporating board games has shown to improve cognitive functioning.

    Oh, and we really need to stop pumping money into classroom technology when there isn't research that much of it helps. We talk about the negatives of screen time, and then stick smart boards in the classroom. Which is like a giant TV, computer, and video game console rolled into one. And then we complain about kids not paying attention- they're overstimulated!

    August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      Longer school days, and 3 hours of homework coming to the house means ZERO interaction time between the kids and their families. It also means that a young kid's most important means of learning (Playing) is no longer an option. Kids need some time to be kids.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  33. Mercy

    Parent involvement is crucial in improving schools.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  34. teacher's sister

    My sister is a teacher, she gets paid over the summer, like everyone else around here in Texas. Some people are saying they don't get summer pay, that's not true here, I think since a lot of people don't have the skill to budget, it is now done for them in most cases.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Nicole

      It depends on e district- some do not pay over the summer, some do, and some give teachers the choice to have money withheld from their check to be distributed over the summer. It really just depends.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • wassupUSA

      It's called a yearly salary. The money we make is for the days we WORK. That money spread evenly throughout the year so that we receive even during those three months we are off. We do not get paid FOR the Summer. Case in point, we have X number of sick/personal days. If the number of days we miss is greater than X, it is deducted from our salary. The amount taken out of our salary is determined by the number of WORK days and not the number of days in the year.

      Are we clear?

      August 1, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  35. Amy

    I love how this story is posted during the summer when the rest of the working public is working hard. Most teacher friends of mine are on facebook mullygrubbing about having how they are dreading not being able to sleep late.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • wassupUSA

      I like how you distinguish teachers from the "working public". It's unfortunate that you depict teachers that way.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:45 am |
      • Amy

        During the school year, they are the working public, but now when this article is posted, I have two teacher friends at Disney World, and one in Hawaii. My cousins are all teachers, my sister, I come from a family of teachers all of whom have never worked a summer. I have a couple of friends who have worked summer school before, but they seem to be at the lake a lot posting about how fast summer flew by. One teacher friend is a photographer on the side, the rest just veg out.

        August 1, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  36. Mercy

    I taught in international schools-Cambridge O level where Students do their home work and value education. I paid tuition to educate my children in school. Parents sent children for after school coaching classes (Paid) so that they can score well in the entrance exam to get admission to engineering, medicine, veterinary science etc. In the US, teacher has to "beg" for Home work. Students need to cut down TV time, work hard, parents need to involve in the education of their children. Many teachers leave the profession because of the disrespect. STOP free education!!

    August 1, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • teacher's sister

      We pay taxes for education. It isn't totally free. Anyway, we'd probably have to pay more for them to live in prison if they aren't going to schools, it's bad enough as it is, I don't think taking away education is the answer.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • StarfishPrime

      Hmmmm, I think stopping free education is a bit too drastic. Other countries like China spend less on education than the United States. We need to come up with strategies to motivate students; motivate students to want to go to school. And yes it is easier said than done.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  37. parent

    you can watch some Harvard classes online, and you see there are multiple professors and highly qualified teaching assistants in a classroom, it's like having 4 teachers for 1 class. Imagine that in a public classroom, would really help stop a lot of distractions and disruptions to have more adults. Maybe should also follow Bill Gates' suggestion of putting cameras in classrooms and doing peer reviews weekly or daily even, they do that in a few schools, cameras always improve quality for some reason, I worked at a store that had cameras, they do have an effect on people, I bet teachers performance would drastically improve, which would only help the students. But public schools aren't funded for success of the average students, soitseems.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • wassupUSA

      "you can watch some Harvard classes online, and you see there are multiple professors and highly qualified teaching assistants in a classroom, it's like having 4 teachers for 1 class. Imagine that in a public classroom"
      That sounds great. Now let's propose a 200% property tax increase (at least) to fund these extra employees.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  38. BK

    You can't fix stupid.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  39. Nate

    More time in school is not the problem. Case in point: Home-schoolers spend about half the time in "school" as their public school counterparts, but score significantly better on standardized tests. And trust me, as a homeschooling parent, I can guarantee you we are doing anything but teaching to the test. The problem is there is way too much time being spent on superfluous nonsense completely unrelated to the classical tenants of education.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • engineering student

      there's plenty of times when students waste school days watching some dumb Disney movie instead of being assigned homework. I don't believe public schools deserve to be allowed to waste the students brains like that, but I think really they are afraid too many parents will just be raising career criminals so they are trying to keep them in "school" instead. you can see when summer vacation hits the grafitti and vandalism always goes up too, but schools are breeding grounds for drug dealing pot and cocaine, they don't deserve more of our kids time held hostage unless they can prove to do a better job, I am all for cameras in classrooms, let them be accountable to the public.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:18 am |
      • alioop

        Cameras can't hurt but honestly the answer to America's education woes is getting rid of the infamous multiple choice disaster. Long answers, essay answers written in class, make the student work and hold them accountable finally once and for all. No, we can't fix stupid (standardized tests), however, we can teach education.

        August 1, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  40. Anne

    CNN has it totally right. Everyone is sitting here sounding off about the teachers. I'm sorry, it is not about you. If you want to sit here and tell us how selfless you are and how you dedicate your lives and "unpaid summers" to children, make good on that and make this about the students. We all have to do things in life for the greater good that we don't like. If you, a "dedicated educator," need to put more hours in for any given day to drive the message home, that is called getting the job done and that is a bench-mark we are all judged on in any job. The most simple requirement is that we at least complete the job. One can't make any good excuse, without sounding lazy, to not put in the time and effort to do something the right way. My best friend spends hours a day after school trying to get her high school kids to succeed. Why should doing the right thing be labeled, "above and beyond?" Isn't that just doing your due diligence to do something the way it should be done? Please, let's remember that some of our peers spend a year away from their family at a time to fight in some god-forsaken desert to possibly never return home. We could all be working a lot harder when we consider the sacrifices of our service men and women.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • alioop

      Don't be so ready to criticize teachers, they may all quit and leave it up to you. What America needs is to grow out of the multiple choice rut that it's in. It's a laughing stock that we Americans truly believe that this form of education is sufficient for the education of a young mind. We need to get rid multiple choices except for maybe a quiz! Education was never meant to be Guess work and you can't blame teachers, most of them are actually really teaching. I'm telling you and everyone out there, the American education system fails for several reasons but largely in part because we are not requiring our children to produce their own solid answers. I'm ashamed that we're in this modern age, in our modern worlds and time and haven't figured out what other lesser countries have known for years! Shame on America, land that I love.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  41. larkwoodgirl

    The truth is that our schools are forced to spend most of their instructional time on the lowest 25 percent of the students in the school, to accommodate NCLB, which should actually be named no child gets ahead. If by the age of fifteen, a child has not shown any academic potential and hates school, the last thing they need is more of it. In Europe, at the age of fifteen, students are tested and if they don't pass, they don't stay in school. Our schooly systems need to partner with the business communities to offer alternatives to students so that if they don't choose to go to college they are qualified for a job the moment they walk out the high school door. Our school model is archaic. Over half of the curriculum taught is totally irrelevent to today's world. We have a ridiculuous one size fits all model that doesn't fit anyone any more.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Jesse


      August 1, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • alioop

      Other countries are producing brilliant kids, why can't we learn from them and apply to ourselves?

      August 1, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  42. Jon

    Teachers and education have definitely been in the news a lot over the past several years. I appreciated the post from the school principal above who came to our defense. I am going to start my 24th year teaching special education. I have seen people and programs come and go. I have seen cutting edge curriculum that was supposed to close the achievement gap last a year or two yet I have continued to work within the public education system. Although in need of change with the times, I still firmly believe in public education in America. Do we have problems and issues? Certainly we do but, take a look at any office, corporation, government position (the list goes on and on) and you will find that most people work hard- same with teachers- para-educators, and other classified staff. We are held under a microscope for what a small percentage of sub par or immoral educators are doing. Most of us work our tails off and are in the classroom as much as we can possibly be.
    I get paid for 181 days/ year and do not complain about that issue. I knew it would be that way when I went to college. Even though our state has had to reduce our pay over the past couple of years due to budget issues at the state level, we have been and will be there on the first day of school. We will be there, opening our arms to America's children and taking on the task of teaching way more than content. We are also attempting to teach students how to become responsible citizens of the United States. I will never apologize to any person about what I do for a living. I will not allow people to assume just because they sat on the other side of the desk for 12-13 years they could accomplish what the vast majority of us pull off year after year. We teach because we want to be with YOUR children. We want to help to build this country up and are also attempting to find the answers to closing the gap between our students and those from other countries. We will continue to open our arms regardless of who the students are or what family situation they might come from.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  43. Luv2Teach

    I'm not sure why I read these posts. I know before I start that it is going to irritate me to no end. Are there bad teachers? Yes. I have had them and I have worked with them. But they are few and far between. I currently am a teacher. I taught high school for 6 years during which I coached sports, attended many of my students events and supervised many activities outside of school. I left to work in the industry because I could help provide a better life for my family. But the rewards of teaching called me back and I now teach at a Technical College. I support my income with a consulting job in which I make twice as much money, and in my opinion, work half as hard. I have never complained about my pay or benefits at any job. I have never complained about what other people make. I have the ability to leave a job if I don't like it and get the training needed for a different one if I want to. Casting stones at other people and their professions doesn't solve any of the issues our country is facing right now. By the way, I will retire a teacher. But after enough personal attacks toward teachers, when I get asked what I do for a living, I tell them I am a computer consultant.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  44. kathleenrobinson425

    It's true, if teachers need more supplies in their classrooms, usually they pay from them out of their salaries. And most teachers do pay for extra supplies because they want their students to have the resiurces they need. Dedicated teachers work until some days 7pm, come in to school on Saturdays. They come in a couple of weeks early in the summer to get the classroom, plans, and materials for the new students. They go to college classes or inservice classes to maintain their certification and learn new methods and ideas. They stay after school to paint the halls of the school (true story) with paint paid for by the principal and vice principals out of their salaries. Teachers do so much more than teach class 8am to 3:30 pm.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  45. JB in NY

    I agree that there are some poor teachers, but there are many good ones as well. I know there are bad and good doctors, cooks, nurses, businessmen, lawyers, investors, politicians etc. Whenever the economy is doing poor politicians attack teachers. Then the rest of the work force tends to as well. I am a teacher and I am compensated fairly. I work hard during the school year and I improve on my teaching every year through various professional development and meetings, outside of school hours. Schools could extend the school day for teachers to plan and ensure it is getting done. I would have no problem dissolving summer vacation and spreading it out throughout the school year to maintain the down time students and teachers need and limit the longer periods of time out of class. The problem becomes that teachers cannot be a student’s parent. We cannot spend all night with them. Many of my students who do well have supportive parents at home. They present them with different experiences, teach them how to care for others, and show them how to act in society. Those students who struggle often have parents that are either unable to support their children or just don't. Until teachers have the opportunity to run schools with parents and politicians, then this will continue to be a problem. Instead of being proactive humans are often reactive. Also, teachers should not be paid for students grades. All current research indicates it does not work. What other job is paid based on another humans test scores, not work production. Plus, I cannot get rid of my students like a business can fire an employ for poor performance. Teaching is my business, but my employees come as they are and we (the students and I) do the best we can with what we are given.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  46. reasonablebe

    longer days will not help students or teachers. little bottoms can only endure so much time on a seat. what do schools do that have longer days? in el schools, they end up adding a recess, in HS they end up taking breaks during class time or having part of the class time be free time– for homework or reading, etc.

    the real answer is year round school, with 6 weeks for summer, and week breaks every nine or 10 weeks. this seems to work– has still 180 days of class, but because the breaks are short, there is much less 'loss' resulting in less time for review needed and just moving on happening.... result? students get further in the same amount of class days, but don't burn out or get end of school itis because of the reasonable breaks.....kind of like the working world.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  47. Jon

    Hmmm, wake up by 6 so that I can get on the bus, ride it until I get to school dead on 8. Rush to class, get out at 3:15, get home by 5:30-6pm. Yeah, need longer days so that kids have zero free time.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • reasonablebe

      you are right. it's a disaster. ask the little kids. they have no time to enjoy growing up or being exploring kids.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      Must add in there the 2-3 hours of homework they carry home to do.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  48. JustSomeGuy

    If teaching were easy, all fun and games, and paid exceedingly well then there would be no shortage of teachers...

    August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      The same could be said of Nurses, Doctors, and all these other jobs employers are complaining about not having enough well-trained people to fill.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  49. Lauren

    As a 7th grade teacher in an urban school, in Texas, I will never make 90 k a year. Nor will I be protected by tenure because of Texas' right to work clause that eliminates the majority of a union's protection. However, I do deal with a unique population of students. 96% of my students are on free or reduced lunch, almost 80 of my 115 students did not begin with English as their first language, and at 13 their parents are only 28. While I rarely leave when the bell rings at 3:30, the expectations are that I sit with a translator calling parents in Spanish till about 4:30, grading and planning for the next day till about 6 or until I have to score a game or run to training. My entire month of June was spent in training, and the majority of August will be spent preparing for the incoming students. If you call for master teachers then how we structure education needs change period.

    It's been proposed that high stakes testing be phased out and be replaced with performance based assessments spread over the year. How that will happen is up in the air like most reforms. The protections that most teachers value have been twisted to suit their own needs and that doesn't hurt them, it hurts the people who are honest. Every year I'm required to do at least 50 hours outside of the work day in training. I relish the training because to push the kids I have to push myself.

    If you plan to judge my profession, I welcome anyone to come to my classroom and suggest how to fix it. Not only is the neighborhood terrifying, my students with face tattoos and rap sheets are equally as intimidating and they can't even drive yet.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Tom

      First constructive comment I've read. I agree with you about high stake tests...

      August 1, 2012 at 1:05 am |
      • Lauren

        To most of my students the tests are so unrelavent to their lives that of course they're going to fail. Thankfully the district I work in has just passed a bond that will be building a Technical High School for our students, so that when they graduate they will have a job skill to enter the workforce.

        Thanks for the comment.

        August 1, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • mrvillegas

      Well, said, Lauren! I too am a teacher in an urban city in Texas, and I agree with what you have said 100%. My students are also on free or reduced lunch, and their parents are in their late 20s. (I teach 5th graders).

      I spent the month of June in training, and working in a summer reading program to encourage students to read. I'm working on a Master's degree, and have already started training to get ready for the next school year. I welcome anyone who has a problem with our education system to come spend a week in my classroom and tell me how to fix it, because I would be open to their suggestions.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:19 am |
      • Lauren

        Plus most of the time, we end up being more of a parental influence than the parent at home. We were selected to take our top performing students to the livestock show and rodeo and they were more fascinated with the fact that it was their first time leaving the small urban community than all of the perks they were given!

        August 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
      • CurmudgeonTx

        Of course you have more influence over the kids than they get at home...You tend to have the kids more of the time they are awake than the parents do, and when the parents do get the kids at home, there are the 2-3 hours of homework the kids have to do which takes all but about an hour of the day from the parents. The problems are on both sides of the issue.

        August 1, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  50. ironwolf56

    One thing I have to say is that this whole "no one respects teachers" thing has always seemed overblown to me. Do some people complain about teachers? Yes. But people also complain about doctors, cops, firefighters, nurses, military personnel etc etc etc. Every group gets complained about; it's called part of life. Teachers get way more good PR by the public opinion than nearly any other career does, so the "woe is us we are tirelessly dedicated yet hated" rhetoric seems to ring a bit hollow for a lot of us I think.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • John

      Yes, true. Teachers are bringing up the future of the world. Firefighters save them, Police Officers protect them. Teachers mold them. This doesn't discount all the other professions that have a major impact on our lives, but focusing on children and their teachers should be paramount.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  51. G

    More time at school won't help

    August 1, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  52. Se t

    I am a teacher and love what I do. I use to be in sales before getting laid off. I did get laid off again as a teacher but got re hired back. My job is rewarding. The problem lies within the home. Look what happened to the bus monitor in NY recently. Parents are letting the kids rule the home, no respect. You take God and the bible out of school, and you cant discipline properly there lies the problem. Kids have all the rights and they know it. Longer school says is not the answer.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Tom

      Nothing to do with God and the Bible, a lot to do with Respect, yes. But respect is earned. With lousy parents, and lousy teachers, kids respect violence and gangs.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:52 am |
      • Se t

        Yes taking God and the bible out is part of the problem. That is when the public school system started to crumble. Research the yr that started and it is no coincidence.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Jesse

      Certainly putting the bible in education is the right answer. Children are merely wards of the state to be molded to our liking.

      If you ask me, the real problem is we don't know the question. What do we want education to do? What should a successful student be successful at? Why?

      NCLB answered the question with facts and test taking, but that's a pretty terrible answer if you ask me.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • John

      I hope you didn't "use" to teach grammar.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      The parents have too little time with the kids to have much influence anymore. The school has them from about 7am (bus ride and all), till about 5pm, and add on 2-3 hours of homework every night leaving a measly 1-2 hours parents get to spend with the kids while they are awake. No, the kids are getting far more influence from school than home during the school year.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • lumpy

      and it's a good thing too! who want's their kids growing up on a moral code that includes genocide, rape and murder?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  53. Jr High Teacher

    Firstly, you want kids to go all year, fine. I'll work on a balanced calendar schedule. Just don't complain when your taxes are raised because the schools are so old that they don't have air conditioning. Longer school days? Okay, but your kids involved in extra-curricular activities still have to do that homework, after they get home from the game at 10 at night.

    Secondly, where do these 90k numbers come from? The suburban schools? I work in a rural school, and I get paid 35k, and that's with a master's degree. As for the "great benefits" that come with being a teacher, it may depend on the school district, but my benefits are horrible and I'm likely to have no retirement when it's all said and done, thanks to the State of Illinois.

    Thirdly, I'm sure there are some teachers who put in what the contract requires (in fact, I know a few). I tell the kids to stay after school if they need help, and give them my cell number and e-mail so they can ask questions until 9 at night. I attended training this summer, unpaid, so that I could start learning our new language arts series before our contract year starts. All of my students speak English as their second language, which means more preparation, so that I can plan lessons and assessments accurate for their respective levels (which range from 'just arrived' to 'been here since kindergarten'). I'm tired of people criticizing teachers when they have no idea the work involved. Just because you went to school doesn't mean you have any idea how to be a teacher. I don't tell you how to do your job; don't pretend to think you know better than I do how to be a good teacher.

    The key to finding the poor teachers and getting them out of the system is having good administrators, who are present in the building and understand what's going on in the classrooms, who can mentor teachers to make them more effective, or dismiss them if they can't make the grade, so to speak. (Of course, if you need teachers in a high need subject, and you're an administrator in a rural area, good luck finding effective teachers who want to go teach in your district.)

    August 1, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  54. Troy

    296 minutes? That is the stupidest comment I have heard in this whole discussion. First of all, the state I am in requires 330 minutes of instuctional time with students. Then there is the hour before, the prep period, and the hour after school. That alone is a 450-500 minute workday. So that equates to a 7.5-8 hour day, not including the time our of contract that teachers work.

    296 minutes? That is an ignorant comment.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Tom

      ...330. Oh excuse me... Most people in my industry (IT) do 8 hours, plus in some cases a lot of unpaid overtime. And all that in 12months – 2 weeks of vacation. all that with a lot of accountability.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:59 am |
      • John

        Unpaid, so-called, "overtime" is a norm for a good teacher. And they do their paid time in 9 months, when you do it in 12. (paid less for the same work, or paid the same for work, however you look at it).

        Get over it – you don't understand. Anybody that knows a quality teacher, especially those that are affected by a personal relationship with a teacher, know the truth. Please keep your mind open, lay off the internet (on this issue), and seek the truth.

        August 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
      • CurmudgeonTx

        I am in wireless telecom, and do 720 hours per day...I guess we all have our crosses to bear. Oh, and we don't get tenure either.

        August 1, 2012 at 5:34 am |
  55. kathleenrobinson425

    In reality, good teachers can only teach creatively after the tests are done. That's when I've seen science and math teachers having the luxury to actually teach critical thinking and creativity in the sciences. The rest of the year they're required to teach to the test.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Tom

      Push for tests to test critical thinking and not by-the-book solving. All I hear is "no test, no test". That sounds like no accountability.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • humynism

      As an Art Educator, I agree. Teaching to the tests and an interest in raising money from sports have produced administrators who are only interested in TEST SCORES and TROPHIES. What needs to be done is to eliminate the $180 K in Principal and Vice Principal salaries, hire 4 more teachers to work with students who disrupt classes due to feelings of inferiority resulting from poor academic performance and learning delays, and create committees of REAL TEACHERS AS ADMINISTRATORS to allocate resources, determine student placement through research-based criteria, and formulate a schedule to meet needs of all students regardless of ability. Emphasis on "teaching toward the test", and gender-based administrative bias toward male-dominated sports only produces schools designed to create high test scores and trophies, not a well-rounded education for a VARIETY of PEOPLE, with a VARIETY of NEEDS.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      That is the problem. Teaching the test. The tests are not there to see if you can cram for an exam, they are there to judge where kids are at in their actual real education at that point in time, and to determine if the school is failing to effectively teach the children the skills they need to pass these tests. Teaching the test is as bad as handing out the answers to a final exam.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  56. sammi

    I was in education full–time for 26 years. I have worked with classes k–12 and adult basic education. I have been a teacher, counselor, and coach. I am now retired, but work part-time as a teacher assistant. What a relief ! No after school meetings, no administrative paperwork (non-educators wouldn't believe the amount), no teaching to a standardized test that has been prepared by people with high expectations and no sense of reality, no parent conferences with parents who only want to hear how great their child is, while the needed parents either can't or won't show up, no more worrying that child protective services won't intervene in time or will, but can do nothing-these people are also grossly overworked-no more having people who don't work in the trenches telling the teachers how to do their job-wait ! I must go tell my doctor what is wrong with me, what medicines I need and how much, and then ask him to pay for the prescriptions because my funding has been cut-but I digress... I loved teaching. Teaching to a test is not teaching, it is aiding someone in how to do what someone, somewhere thinks they should do. Children need lessons in facts, but also in learning how to learn, how to treat others, why compassion matters, what the world is like, and why they are important--at all age levels. I retired from teacihng when I realized that education is supposed to help young people become intelligent–to the best of his/her ability- but that the people in charge at the national and state levels weren't intelligent enough to pass this on, and schools/teachers were required to follow like sheep..

    August 1, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  57. Bob

    As an educator, I have heard many ideas regarding how to improve the state of education. Two areas are rarely considered: 1) Societal issues brought into the school building are greatly impacting the climate of learning for students. This is a fact, albeit a politically incorrect one, that does impact academic achievement. 2) Positive school environments are impacted more by the expectations parents have for their children than any environment teachers can create within a school building.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      I have to admit it. I am not above bribing my kids to get all A's...When your child is excited to show you their report card, that tells you that they are trying hard and succeeding in school.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:40 am |
  58. G

    The problem I am continually seeing is that we are asking teachers to take on the responsibility for TEACHING OUR Kids. If more parents would make education a priority and help the techers out, we would most likely see less problems. I see most public school teachers put their kids in private school (for at least k – 8th grade) because they understand what their committnent is and what happens if they don't make their kids education a priority. If you don't make the committment to YOUR KIDS EDUCATION then how can you expect a teacher to do the same.
    Let's put the responsibility where it belongs – AT HOME.
    Once we are doing that, then we can start discussing how to evaluate each teacher and what teachers get paid.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Bob

      G, in urban-area schools teachers have been.taking on the role of parenting for years.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Ara

      Wait just a minute... you mean, people are asking teachers to do their jobs? No! We can't stand for that! Teachers should never have to actually perform their jobs. What kind of world is this when someone has to go to work and do things that are consistent with their job description?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • John

      G. how do we accomplish that? I totally agree, but that goes beyond the realm of education.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • CurmudgeonTx

      Let me have my kids at home more than an hour or two (not counting homework time), and I'll have a larger influence. As it is, I had to stop my daddy daughter dates as there is just no time allowing for an early enough bed time for my daughter.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  59. Sarah

    The majority of teachers, that I know, do not just teach during the school year or during the typical school hours. Many of them work for after school programs such as turtoring or coaching sports. A lot of them also teach summer school and organize camps and other activites with kids outiside of the regular school year. They usually participate in these activities so they can make extra money. We could promote for longer school days and pay teachers a little more to focus on the activities that have unfortunately been minimized in the schools such as art, music, PE,recess etc. The longer days may help parents who work full time and don't have to worry about their kids being home alone til they get home. We could also make sure that the kids get frequent breaks throughout the day such as recess and during the year, so they don't get burnt out.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  60. Zanatos

    Teacher-haters should seriously consider home schooling their kids or enrolling them in online schools.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  61. realoldguy

    You want more teachers to be Conservatives? Just pay them more. No conservative in their right mind would go through that much school and then work for that kind of money. You know where the best and smartest conservatives go? The financial industry. Look what the financial industry did to this country, although nobody seems to care about that. A lot of them got raises this year too.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Florist

      So a bachelor's degree is too good to earn an average of salary in the $50Ks? Seriously? What planet do you live on? I'd like to go there and get a job.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:42 am |
      • John

        Teachers with only a bachelor's degree do NOT earn 50k. How can you look at an average salary and NOT look at the average degree level?

        You know what? Nevermind all of that. Go ahead and get your teacher's degree; learn for yourself.

        August 1, 2012 at 1:07 am |
      • Drew

        Where is this salary coming from. I am a new teacher making 37k with a masters. I won't make 50k for at least ten or 15 years. I have no idea where the argument that teachers are overpaid is coming from. I have already spent 300 out of my own pocket to buy things I need in my classroom. Teachers don't go into education for the money, they do it because they know the impact a good teacher has on a child's life.

        August 1, 2012 at 1:29 am |
      • Al Bundy

        LOL John I have my teachers certificate for Mathematics, I took the exam because my girlfriend was taking it. With my Master's in finance I can teach for 5 years in my state. Then I would have to get a ridiculously easy Masters degree in education.

        August 1, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Tom

      @realoldguy Quit complaining. If you were good enough you would have gone there too. You just weren't, and you became a teacher. Being republican has nothing to do with money you earn. Most republicans live in some of the poorest states in USA.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Al Bundy

      You don't know Jack, Finance jobs for people with BS degrees pay about 12-15 bucks an hour to start. I know a few MBAs that are working long hours for 40k these days.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  62. bottom line bob

    parents are the teachers; teachers are the educators.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • John

      So on the nose that I'm bleeding.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  63. Mike

    My mother was a teacher, my sister is one now. The hours that they put in are extremely long, and it's really naive to think that this is only time in front of students – planning, updating plans (because this is in fact what happens each year), test grading, etc are gargantuan tasks. The pay is not comparable to what they could expect with their education in the private sector, and I don't begrudge them the time off during the summer, which actually nets out to be quite short. More importantly, I also remember my mother paying for school supplies out of her pocket when voters like yourselves didn't support school funding, remember her bounced from one school to the next while she built up seniority in a ridiculously politicized workplace, taking sales jobs to try to cover expenses during strikes over decent pay ... and yet critics like you expect teachers to educate and enlighten your children, look after their well-being, teach them only what you approve – in short, you expect them to take on your passion as parents while treating them like second-class citizens. Does this really sound fair? And is this how we lay the foundation for an educational system for the next century?

    August 1, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Florist

      Everybody works long hours. Everybody works in a highly politicized office. But somehow, teachers never, ever stop complaining about this while everyone else just gets on with their day. And no, teachers don't make too little when compared to their education. You have to have a degree to get any decent job, and statistically most of the jobs pay less than a teacher's salary. If you only paid architects for 9 months of work like we do teachers, they would actually make less than teachers. The same is true for some engineering fields. Do you know that most attorneys make about the same as teachers? Tell me how a teacher has more education than any of these people. Also, there is no other profession that comes with as many benefits as teaching. Tell your creative director, foreman or supervisor that you want to take 10 days of personal days and see how long they laugh. Teachers can do that as they please. It's part of their union contract. They also get an enormous number of sick and vacation days and benefits that are almost free. If teachers hate their conditions so much, I'd be happy to step in and take one of those jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people would.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:40 am |
      • Denise Hartwick

        I suggest you get a teaching degree-hope you don't have to take out student loans-but first go volunteer at a variety of schools such as affluent, middle-class-, and high poverty districts, because you are in for a rude awakening

        August 1, 2012 at 1:14 am |
      • kk

        I would love to know where you are getting your facts. 10 personal days??? In our district we get 1! As far as benefits, I pay for my benefits out of each paycheck. You are right, all careers have their own political issues. Why do you hate teachers so much??

        August 1, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Al Bundy

      Education degrees are some of the easiest to get. Most Teachers would make far less trying to get other jobs. I knew a guy that bragged he never once did work outside of school hours, he is now a principal.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  64. bottom line bob

    parents are the teachers, teachers are the educators!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  65. JenB

    To those that think teaching is such a cake job with high pay, I encourage you to become a teacher. You will change your tune quick enough.

    I have 20 years in the classroom. As a high school teacher, I am responsible for the planning, grading and tracking of 125 students a day. My planning time has not decreased just because I have been teaching for 20 years. I am constantly changing and updating lessons so students receive the most up-to date information.

    I am a good teacher who enjoys working with kids, but am tired of working in a profession that receives so little respect. I'm getting out. Keep criticizing your teachers-the good ones will leave and then what will you be left with?

    August 1, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  66. Zanatos

    The future of education is the "flipped classroom." Soon, students will complete lessons online and come to school to work on projects and homework with teachers during school hours.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • alioop

      Excellent solution! I'm all for that, our current outdated system is ready for change.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:38 am |
  67. Rob

    Wow. I see a lot of opinions on here from people who have absolutely no idea. I'm a teacher in an inner city elementary school of extremely low socio-economic students and it is both the most rewarding and frustrating job I've ever had. It's rewarding because every once in a while you do seem to break through and reach a child that really has nobody else. It's frustrating because many of the students have absolutely terrible home lives. We're talking about parents addicted to alcohol, pills, and whatever else. Do you think they give a crap when their child is constantly disrupting a class? You wouldn't believe some of the things that are going on in these children's homes. Yet some of them still seem to be able to shine through the whole mess. Unfortunately others can't. I just hate it when people blame it all on the teachers. Believe me, for the most part we are working our asses off to make a difference. But sometimes you just can't squeeze blood from a stone.

    Oh, and if there's somewhere where I can go do this and make 90k please let me know...because I make only a little more than a third of that.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Rob

      Oh..and in case you were wondering about my "vacation" this summer? I spent six weeks in classes so I can be ESOL certified and better teach the extremely large population of non-native English speaking students I deal with. Surely I must be getting a raisedwith this new certification right? Nope. Not a penny.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  68. Steve

    Holding teachers accountable for how kids do on tests is ridiculous. The reasons are numerous. What is going on at the kid's home? Are his parents going through a divorce? Is his dad an alcoholic and an abuser? Does he live with a single parent who works nights and never helps him with his homework? After school, is the kid at home by himself? What types of meds is the kid on.? Is he or she bi-polar or adhd? Does the kid speak English? Are they dyslexia or LD? You folks who do your job and are compensated for your results only have to worry about your responsibilities. Real easy stuff. Depending on 11 or 12 year olds to pass a test to keep your job is a little more risky, especially if you have a class full of the type of students listed above. Deal with these type of kids for 9 months and you need a couple of months to recharge.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Tom

      It will average itself out. You gonna have few bad cases from time to time. Stop looking at what's going on at kids home, and focus on your job at school. Or be aware of that not to excuse your failures, but to better adapt your strategy to these specific cases. Everybody, regardless what they do, are measured and compared. Everybody. They all face difficult situations, and condition that are completely outside of their control. Yet, they're measured and paid. That's how real world works. Stop looking for excuses, and get with the program. Outcome is what matters not the input.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:37 am |
      • AnotherAnnie

        Tom, you are clearly the smartest man in America...it's a wonder you aren't running for president because you clearly have ALL of the answers. In some respects, I agree with you that output is what matters, but you can't reasonably argue that all students are capable of the same level of output. Students are not robots. Their home lives certainly do affect both their ability and desire to learn. That isn't an excuse, it's a fact. Many kids are being raised by lax parents, absent parents, self-absorbed parents. These children are permitted to do what they like for the most part, and they are rarely required to move outside their comfort zone. For example, many students (including those who read well) despise reading, an activity proven to expand vocabulary, promote comprehension, and stimulate critical thinking. Those students who read anyway (either on their own or because parents force them to) inevitably outperform their peers. Those who instead play video games or watch TV just set themselves for failure. There is little a classroom teacher can do to help a student who is determined not to learn. I say this knowing I am (or was) a high performing teacher. My students have typically outperformed their peers in other classes, but the amount of work it took to make that happen increased every single year I taught. In most jobs, you figure out what to do, then you eventually master your daily tasks, so it takes less time to produce the same results. Teaching, at least for me, was the exact opposite! With budget cuts I had bigger classes, so it took me longer become familiar with the particular needs and abilities of each student. Not only did I have to know who got certain questions wrong or right, but to analyze the reason or each wrong answer (random guess, sort of gets it but completed work carelessly, misunderstood the questions, etc.) the amount of data to analyze each day was enormous. I tutored after school, replied to parent and student emails at all hours of the day and night, and graded papers – mostly essays until 8/9 pm. I loved my job and put every ounce of effort into it that I had, but it was not enough. I did it anyway, and I achieved results, but I had to work harder every single year to make that happen, and in all honestly, my students grades were only slightly higher than my peers who did not put in the extra time as I did. After a while, it stats to feel hopeless

        August 1, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  69. Name*Jodi

    Shorten school days! Fact most public schools stop teaching after standardized tests are done. I subbed at one school that even tossed all finals out without even grading them. Why, just to keep the kids under control. Get back to long summer breaks and stop providing daycare?

    August 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  70. c s

    Teaching in a public school is probably one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the world. I am not a teacher and frankly admit that I could not do it. All of you who complain and berate public school teachers should just step forward and become a public school teacher. You will then find that it is an incredibly hard job that is little appreciated by too many students, parents, critics and politicians.

    Teaching in a private school is different in many ways and is easier. The major difference is that private schools can expel any student for misbehavior. So where does the student then go? By law, the public school must accept any student. So the student who needs the most attention of a teacher will get sent to the public school. Private schools do not have to accommodate a handicap student. I know that it happens because my wife used to work in a public school. The parents of a handicapped student in a wheel chair wanted to go to a local Catholic school. The school did not have ramp for the wheel chair to go up the steps. The parent were told to take their child to the public school instead. So the handicap student ended up at the public school. By law a handicap student MUST be allowed to go to a public school even if it requires a personal aid for the student. The public school does not receive any extra money for educating a handicap student. So where does the money come to pay for a personal aid? The school just has to make do and takes some money from every other student. A personal aid will easily cost over $20,000/year. I know a kid who has severe autism and could not attend the public school without a personal aid at all times. Fifty years ago this kid with autism would be put into a public hospital and no one would have ever suggested that he go to school. Times have changed and public hospitals have been closed. So in order for this kid to attend public school, it will cost an extra $200 or $300 thousand for 12 years of attending public school.

    Every time I hear a politician criticize public schools and public school teachers, I know that they know almost nothing about education, schools or students. Further these politicians agenda is to destroy public education by constantly cutting money to public education and then complaining because students are doing so poorly. You would think that if schools are doing poorly, they need more money not less. So if you want to fix the problems in public schools be prepared to spend more money. Of course if your agenda is not to fix the problem, then continue to cut money going to public education.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  71. Mama

    No to longer days, but longer school year with less holidays and more teaching content would be great. The awfully long summer vacation not only creates a learning gap, but also has a very large amount of student forget a large amount of the knowledge they have gained during the previous year. A shorter break during summer would mean that less time is consumed by having to repeat last years curriculum, hence we would be able to give extended learning and more in depth learning time. We would also be able to give students who need extra help, all the help they need, as we would be able to have more individual research projects and enrichment for student who need that. Today we rush through concepts, at times due to time constraints, concepts that the students need to build further studies on. More studying doesn't mean going through the curriculum faster, but going through it more in depth so our student find further studies and college as well as Universities to be more attractive and doable.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  72. ironwolf56

    "4 weeks' vacation just like every other professional." And teachers claim they're not out of touch. Barring a few top dogs I've never heard of anyone getting four weeks vacation time a year. I don't even know too many people (myself included) that get the typical 2 weeks accrued vacation time a year.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Bob

      Generally speaking, teachers are paid for 190 days of service. They are not paid for taking 4 months of vacation.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:25 am |
      • Tom

        OK, you're paid for 190 days, but how much, in total over a year ? I do not care if you claim you make your money in a month, two, six or twelve. What matters is how much, in total you make a year. AFAIK, it's within the range of what people make who work all year -2 weeks.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Epidi

      I get 5 weeks and am working towards 6 – but I've been with our company for 25 yrs and those weeks are earned for years of service. We also get 5 sick days but use up our vacation days first. Our company will "sell" us a week by taking the vacation pay out in small increments over 6 mos but the limit for vacation time is still 6 weeks per year. Nice for those employees who are planning long vacations away like a road trip or family time. I love my job!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  73. Amused

    We all need to remember that our schools have both bad teachers and good teachers.
    The bad teachers hurt our kids.
    Fortunately, the good teachers are easy to identify.
    They are the one that pay their union dues to ensure that the bad teachers CAN NEVER BE FIRED!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  74. Phil Hersey

    What we really need, and rest of world needs too, is a new economic system where the basic needs of the population are easily fulfilled (hint...it won't be capitalist) and then people , fed, clothed, sheltered, and having access to health care ALREADY, can spread the wings and become 1% 'ers. Crony capitalism (it all is ) won't last forever and is failing us now.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Bob

      Ok, who pays for it and how?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  75. MOTutor

    I am not a teacher, but I have tutored for the last 12 years. I have tutored all ages, and one thing I see lacking is that kids do not have good math skills. I remember learning my multiplication and division in 3rd and 4th grade, and now I encounter many high school students who cannot multiply and divide. It breaks my heart because this is such a crucial and basic skill, and I talked to a 3rd grade teacher who freely admitted to me that she didn't even learn her multiplication skills until high school. In my opinion, she has a chance to remedy that with her kids, but she doesn't. I guess that makes me old school, because I learned and memorized facts and ideas in elementary school, and nowadays, kids don't seem to learn or memorize anything. I have tutored college students who cannot memorize facts about biology or chemistry, and I have spent countless hours trying to teach them how to learn. Just this summer, I worked with 2 2nd graders who couldn't read, and I asked myself, why are the parents not helping their kids. I mean, how hard is it, to start reading to your kids in the womb, or as babies, or toddlers at night? I do not have kids, but I have also been a nanny, and I love to read, so of course I read to my charges, sang to them, did whatever, because you have to instill in them a desire for knowledge, and many children do not have this. I'm not pointing a finger at anyone, or agreeing with longer school days, but I think something drastic needs to happen because the children are suffering.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Mamta

      I tutor students too and feel exactly the same way. But I also feel that a shorter summer vacation might just help solve most of our problems. Yes, it might cost more to run the schools, but it will solve a lot of the problems that a lot of our students face. We need to remember that these students are our future and we need to instill the love for learning if it can't be at home the schools and society should take that upon them.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  76. JenB

    To those that think teaching is such a cake job with high pay, I encourage you to become a teacher. You will change your tune quick enough.

    I have 20 years in the classroom. As a high school teacher, I am responsible for planning,

    August 1, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • ironwolf56

      I'd certainly become a teacher for a while (not what I want to do forever though; I mean I have bigger goals no offense) I just don't want to have to take the frou-frou education classes so I can utilize my dual degree I already have and get a teaching certificate. Remove a lot of the useless puffery those who didn't major in Education have to go through (people who would make great teachers in things they specialized in) and I don't think you'd have as much a teacher shortage and could get a lot of amazing people in the system; even if only for a few years.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  77. ChrisF

    I am appalled at the comments toward teachers. I have dedicated my life to help others and our future. Yes OUR future.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  78. Troy

    I am a high school principal and I can clearly tell by reading some of these posts who is aquainted with good teachers, who fraternizes with bad ones, and who is generally speaking uneducated about the world of education. I have been in three high schools throughout my career. Are there teachers who work the minimum 8:00-3:30 day? Yes. However, most in my building plus the others I have been in not only are there by 7:45 and leave at around 4:00-5:00. Several then return for the game, concert, play, or whatever is happening in the lives of the kids.

    The three month off myth is my favorite. In all my years of a teaching before I became a Principal, I had at most 3 weeks in the summer off after all of the training and schooling I did in the summer. You see, in order to make over $50-60,000 per year as a teacher, you have to have advanced training and degrees. Then when you get the degrees, you have to keep your certificate current. When does this happen? The summer!

    Those that say things like "my buddy is a teacher and he says it's simple and easy with short hours and lots of time off", I would in my experience submit that you have a friend who is not a very good educator. A friend who has canned lessons designed to make their life easy but not engage kids. It's time to stop villainizing educators. They are the best of the best in our society and deserve our thanks for choosing a noble profession where like many other professions require long hours of dedication to be great.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Epidi

      My grandmother was a teacher for 41 years. She started out teaching in a one room school house backs in the 30's with children of all ages from 1st thru 12th. Late in her career she taught night school so kids & adults could earn a diploma while they worked and also helped illiterate adults learn to read. She got up early in the morning and went to bed late at night and her focus was always on her students, thier lessons, and how she could make learning both enjoyable and practical. I had the privledge of living with my granparents for a couple of years and attended the high school Grandma taught at. It made me appreciate teachers & a quality education MUCH more watching her engage with her students and the hours put in when she didn't need to.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  79. Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

    so you're not a teacher?

    oh well by all means continue to tell me how you can fix public education.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  80. Robert

    Sorry, holy cow, but last I checked the U.S. doesn't have a conscription for nurses, so if you have it so bad as a nurse, and think teachers have it made so much, then become a teacher. No one forces you to be a nurse and it is beyond ignorant to think that anyone is going to feel sorry for you. If you don't like your job, do something else. Don't blame others because you hate your career choice or feel your pay sucks.

    I agree that all teachers are being lumped together, which is ludicrous. Different states pay teachers in vastly different ways. I teach in South Carolina, and I assure you that it is impossible to earn anywhere near $90,000 per year. Our principals don't even make that here.You could have TWO master's degrees plus 10 years experience and you would only be making $45k a year here. And oh yeah, SC is a non-union state. They can get rid of a teacher very easily here. So, we're a non union state, so I guess our teachers are more effective, right? LOL! We have some of the lowest test scores in the nation, so I'm not sure the union thing is completely to blame. I agree, there are sorry teachers out there who deserve to be fired, but there are sorry government employees making far more than teachers yet we want to attack teachers. Priceless. We go through a lot of turnover at my school each year because we actually do get rid of ineffective teachers, so there's always openings, so imove to SC and give this easy old profession we call teaching a try. Just earn your teaching certificate and come on down and give it a try for $30K a year. We have it so made! :p

    August 1, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  81. matt

    YES! Longer days are needed!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  82. Peter

    Do you want those of us who are teachers to work 12 months a year? Then pay us a 12 months' salary for a master's degree. Give us a 30 percent raise, and we will teach your children all year. Two weeks at Christmas, a week in May, a week in August. Take away spring break and we have 4 weeks' vacation just like every other professional.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Splash kid

      You call that work. Low barrier of entry. Maybe u r overpaid?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • pogojo

      Do you want those of us who are teachers to work 12 months a year?

      Lol like the rest of us??

      August 1, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Jason

      Teachers in NY that have been working more than 10 years make almost 80K, that is for 180 days and about 5 hours of classroom time. Please don't tell me about grading papers and preparing lesson plans. The papers are graded for the most part on a computer and the lesson plans and tests are usually taken from the text book companies. The cost to educate a student in Albany City schools is 5 K more than the private school down the street who actually has students go to a graduate from college. That is insane, the system is broken!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:23 am |
      • remy b

        Must be nice, but that's not the case in many other states. Even our principals don't make 80K in Texas.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Tom

      You get paid for a degree ? Where ? ..
      I work in computers. You degree matters the first 3 to 5 years of your carrier, after that, only what you know or don't. Plenty people with no degrees make more money than people with degrees. Stop flashing your academic accomplishments and show us how well your students do compared to others in the school, city, state etc. Measure the outcome not the input. To me teachers can work 3 months a year, as long as kids they teach are in top 20%, world wide.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Steve

      No problem with teachers being off 10-12 wks a year. Their job is unique and the time away from the classroom allows them to do things that help them when they are again in front of students. However, this is still vacation. Teachers can do whatever they want to with this time. And teacher compensation in my view is fair in most districts. Benefits are usually better than average. (I provide benefits to educators) And if you think getting a master's guarantees a 30% raise for most professionals you're dreaming. It is a standard requirement in many professions. And in our degree mill academic world there are a lot of "fluffy." masters programs. My wife and daughter are teachers. They do great work and they work hard. So I'm pro-teacher, but your case is overstated.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Hard working like everyone ese

      Just so you all know, the normal successful private sector person, has two weeks vacation all year.... Nothing more or less. Nothing for Xmas, spring break, etc.., It takes on average 8 years to earn 3 weeks and 10-15 at a major fortune 500 to get 4 weeks. Most companies do nit give 4 weeks.... Unless at the VP exec level. And if we did not do a business plan, even once, we would be fired.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Linda


      I cannot get a good idea from this site about the pay of teachers – if you don't get paid for 12 months, is your salary for the nine months already adjusted to compensate for the 3 months without pay? What might be the typical salary for a Grade 9 high school teacher in your state?

      I think you might also be surprised that not all professionals get the perks you seem to think that we do. I'm an Associate Professor at a state university in the US, performing my own research and teaching Masters and PhD students how to do the same. I am recognized internationally for the work that I have done on various aspects of cancer research. After 11 years of college, and two 2-year postdoctoral fellowships at Ivy League colleges where I was paid about $24K for 90-hr weeks, I now earn $80K a year in this position. I still work at least 80 hours a week, and receive 10 days personal vacation time per year. I work in an at-will state, so have no union representation and no meaningful job security. Almost of the conferences I have to attend as part of my job are timed to include weekends – often a 12-hr day on Saturdays and Sundays listening to some fairly intense state-of-the-art medicine. This I do because I love it, although I would appreciate more financial recognition 🙂

      I am telling you these details because I think it important to realize that many professionals have it as bad, if not worse, than teachers.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  83. Mike

    check out the website seethroughny . net It will show you the salaries for any state, county or local government employee including salaries. Now I know why my taxes are so high. Should have been a teacher to get paid as much. Although there are some teachers that I know are getting boned compared to others.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  84. Sebastian

    If teaching is a such a cushy profession, why is it that our most ambitious college students almost always pursue careers in law or business or medicine instead? The fact is, teaching public secondary school is exhausting, thankless, underpaid work that brings with it virtually no prestige (and, indeed, makes one a favorite target of opportunity for politicians). If we want to improve the quality of our teachers, let's work to make it a respected, honored profession that more talented people will actually want to join.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Linda

      I do think it is because it is not considered a prestigious job – those that do...

      August 1, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  85. Mike

    Do you want to see what the teachers in NYS are making. It is so disgusting. There is a reason we pay such high taxes. You can actually look up any state employee you want.


    August 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  86. marty in MA

    If teaching is such a great job, why don't some of you detractors try it? The reason is that you have to go through all kinds of training to be certified, be one of a hundred applicants for a single job, and deal with some quite obnoxious children while you are trying to teach those that WANT to learn.

    Teacher's unions are quite necessary to limit arbitrary treatment and injustice that was the case in the past.

    I am a retired teacher and would never want to go back to the job. It isn't the s

    August 1, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  87. jms5353

    I am a teacher and I used to work in the business world. Every job has pros and cons – I learned this from working a two different professions. Being a teacher is tough no two ways to slice it. Teaching made my days working in a fast paced office look mellow. On the flip side I do get a nice amount of time off, unfortunately I work most of my summer because the pay is low. Not complaining, I am just giving you insight into what being a teacher is like. I am very happy to have a job but what I am not happy with is the way some people view my job. Somehow there are people who think we have it "easy" or took the "easy way out". Maybe it is because the time we get off or possibly because we work with children. Some people, like a friend of mine, said to me once – "oh you get to be with kids all day that's fun". It is inspiring to be with children all day but it is also very, very challenging. Any parent can attest that it is challenging managing a child or children, imagine managing 25 or more different personalities all day. It is a challenge and an art to get the students engaged and active in their learning. To all those on here that keep complaining about teachers and the time they have off why don't you help fix our education system. Stop complaining and make a difference. Since it sounds so good to be off all the time we have why don't you become a teacher you could be "lucky" like us!

    August 1, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • jonimadsen

      AMEN! I am a teacher and I love my job and my students. I always laugh when people kid me about having summers off. I have never had a summer off; I have to take classes and work on curriculum. I, like you, turn it around to those people who are in my face about how cushy my job must be. I say, "You can be a teacher. No one is stopping you but you!" Good post.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  88. Elwood011

    Obviously there are many people on the internet with opinions on things they know nothing about. My wife is a teacher, and she works 8 to 4:30 or 5 with a 40 minute lunch break, during which she usually works. She gets 2 personal days a year. That is during the school year. Over the summer there are only 3 weeks where she hasn't gone in to work or lectures or workshops of some sort. 4 months off?! Is that what people really think? A lot of ignorance is expected on the web, but on this subject, it seems to be especially prevalent.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  89. Steve Stricker

    My teachers was always good. Their only doing the best there ability can do for them.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • mickflanigan

      Wow, you had awesome teachers! Especially grammar and spelling. Let me know who they were so I can enroll my kids!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:11 am |
      • Robert

        "Especially grammar and spelling." is not a sentence. You are priceless!

        August 1, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  90. Annie

    I think it is so funny, the people who complain about teachers, the time off they have, and their "great" pay. If it's such a great and easy job, why aren't you all doing it?!? Oh wait, too much patience needed, too much unappreciation, too much schooling, scared of kids? I taught for 7 years and worked in corporate sales for 9 years. And teaching was by far the hardest and most important job I ever had.. Unfortunately, after 5 years and a Master's degree to pay off (with my 35k salary), I had to leave teaching. Where the hell are these 90k teaching salaries people are talking about?!? Get a real perspective. I think the bottom line is, if people can't blame teachers, they might have to take a hard look at their parenting skills. It's always easier to point the blame somewhere else. Why not just run out and by another computer and TV for your kids bedrooms so that you can interact with them even less?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Janeane

      I was going to say something but it will not make a difference...but I did want to say that I agree with everything Annie has said and more....And also I have a question; Why is it that government, and parents (not all) and even some educators put such a responsibility on those in the public education to raise other peoples children?...Also If you aren't a teacher you have no right to say anything because you don't even have a clue what is expected by teachers or what they do for your children...their jobs are far from being over when the kids go home...

      August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  91. Bill

    If teachers get more time off and greater benefits than other members of the working class, then good for them. Instead of engaging in envious teacher-bashing, fighting over who gets more crumbs from the wealthy, we should be demanding our rights as the teacher unions do. Let us culitvate class consciousness so we can have genuine class warfare in this country rather than the one-sided class victimization we have now.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  92. Dr. Teacher

    The reason teachers are opposed to having a student performance based accountability system is because if you tell students that teacher pay depends on their grades/test performance, students will PURPOSELY fail it just to screw teachers over. Students will purposely fail standardized tests that states give, because "they don't matter to me", but they matter to the school for being put on school probation for adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB. Most teenagers these days can't think past their next text message or video game, or saturday night date. They could care less about actually learning in the classroom. How about we actually have state legislatures mandate that if a student does not pass their exit exam, they do not graduate high school? No politician actually has the guts to make students accountable for their own actions, so they find an easy scapegoat, the teachers and their union. The only way to pay teachers for performance is to design an accountability system where everyone is held accountable for their performance, starting with the student, the teacher, and the administrator. But, no administrator or student would actually go for that, because it would mean that they would share the burden and the blame for any failures. Now it's easy to just blame teachers, and it's going to stay that way, until something changes. And before you tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about, I've been teaching for 18 years, have been a student, and an administrator as well.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Janeane

      Politicians need to get out of there PRIVATE SCHOOL FANTASY LAND and head to public schools and work in them ...It has nothing to do with teachers not being adequate or public schools not having the materials like private schools it has to do with the clientele...So many kids in public schools do not even want to be in school, I work in a school district where students miss 45 or even more days a year of school...now that has nothing to do with an ineffective teacher, but an ineffective parent...Why don't we hold parents accountable or the students that don't even try!!! We don't hold parents responsible...Oh we can't do that because that would require something more of them How dare a school expect a parent to help a student read, write, practice math...

      August 1, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  93. aarontco

    Teachers don't get "3 to 4 months" off. The standard is more like 10 weeks, and many teachers train at least a two or three weeks during that summer period and do at least a week worth of other work meeting and planning, etc. Many people get 4 or 6 weeks vacation, especially when they have been with a company for a while. However, most teachers make substantially less than those individuals. The $90k/year figure is absolutely ludicrous. It's nowhere near average, and since most teacher don't even teach for 5 years before leaving the profession, many of them don't even get to the "average" wage. Almost all the teachers making high wages actually are administrators who occasionally teach one class, or something of that nature. Of course administrators generally don't get summers off. I'm sure that the armchair education reformers don't know that either.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  94. Gaby D.

    I see all this talk about students and wanting them to do better- but yet you don't ask them how to succeed.

    As a current student going though the school system, I seen it myself. The some students don't care. At times, I see their point. In other countries they have longer school days, and the style of teaching would shock my socks off. Yet people wonder why we 27 in math, its for a reason! School years should be longer in my opinion, just because the lengthy summer break only teaches how to forget the information we learn that year.

    When will our students, our future voting population, our future business people, be at the top of their game once more? Because being American also brings the label "lazy, over-weight, stupid, and ignorant", it might take more than a decade to change that.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  95. spent

    I retired after 34 years of teaching from High School through Middle School and I did not look at the clock in my 34 years. I had students, parents, administration but most of all myself as I pursued excellence in the class I taught. My day started around 7:00 a.m. and ended somewhere around 9:00 pm appx. Having the experiences I had with students was of great joy to me and I passed that on to my student's. I was not in the profession for money, believe me, but i was in the classroom for those many years is something I will always take with me and I touched many lives. Longer days, well, my opinion is that longer days is not the answer, but I would say shorter holidays would be appropriate for to long of a break is not good for the student nor the teacher.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  96. holy cow

    I'm an RN. I work nights, days, evenings to help your loved ones who have had a MI, car accident, drug overdose, you name it. I am frequently at work while teachers are celebrating fourth of july, christmas, the list goes on and on. I do not have holdiays, Summers, weekends off. If there are not enough pts in the hospital, they can put me on "low census" and pay me $7 per hour. what other profession does this happen to? We have patients that die on us which is totally beyond our control. I have to meet with pts loved ones and explain why their loved one is dying or about to die. Let me tell you that talking to a third graders mom about why she is having problems with multiplication sounds pretty stress free! If I make a mistake with giving medication, I can kill a person and lose my registration (my living) and be put in jail.

    I have a friend who is a third grade teacher. He laughs about the simplicity of his job. He leaves at 7:30 in the morning and gets home at 3:30. Once an education plan is developed, it sounds like it can be copied year after year. They have parents who volunteer or teacher assistants to help grade test. These are not Phd level tests!

    I have three grade school children and I cannot believe the time they have off even during the school year. Why do teachers need to have conferences during school time? My mandatory training is after my shift or during my day off so that I'm in position to help your loved ones.

    Long story short ... how can our children learn if half of the calender year they are at home watching tv, playing video games?????????????? the teachers know that they have a great gig and don't want to lose it ... it is putting our children/nation at risk.

    Sorry if my composition is not up to par .... I'm a very, very busy Nurse.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • ChrisF

      Teachers work does not end at 3:30, trust me. I will work 70 hours a week for 9 months of the year. You have no idea of the emotional drain...but I dont complain often, as I love what I do.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • rossjbosse

      @ Holy Cow... You have a role to play in educating your own children. Whatever state you live in legislates the number of school days. Students go to school for around 180 days and teachers get paid for 185-195. They do not have a 12 month contract. You chose chose a career that has insane hours, so get over it. Don't blame teachers for the nonsense your kids fill their time with at home. Grow some parent balls!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • rab

      No Rn in America makes only 7 an hr. U call b.s.. LPNS Maj e Mir e than that... even most aides... and all of the above combined require less schooling.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • lkbarr

      If your job is so miserable and teaching is so wonderful, then why aren't you a teacher? Many teachers I know are leaving the profession to go to nursing school. Maybe you would like one of their jobs? You have no basis to complain about a job you've never done before.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • calling bs

      I am calling bs on your $7,00 per hour salary as an RN. http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/registered-nurse Number 1 best job this year is RN.

      Your 3rd grade teacher friend is the prime example of the type of teachers that need to be booted out of the profession.

      Teachers are told when parent/teacher conference days and times will be held. If the teacher needs to meet with you beyond that then the teacher has the freedom to schedule it before or after school or during a conference period.

      As for your comment: "Long story short ... how can our children learn if half of the calender year they are at home watching tv, playing video games?????????????? the teachers know that they have a great gig and don't want to lose it ... it is putting our children/nation at risk." Why in the world are YOU LETTING YOUR CHILD sit at home watching TV and play video games? The greatest learning and life skills come from the parent, so step up and do your job as a parent!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:23 am |
      • Zanatos

        I'll teach 12 months a year if you want. But nobody is going to work an extra three months per year for free.

        Who is willing to pay for higher teacher salaries, more school supplies, summer utility bills, building maintenance, wear and tear on school equipment, busing, lunch room employees, janitors, security, etc., etc? Everyone thinks taxes are too high already.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • Janeane


        August 1, 2012 at 1:42 am |
      • alioop

        seriously, hate to be rude to this "nurse" but maybe she should get a teaching job, sure wouldn't hurt her kids any.

        August 1, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • remy b

      Your teacher friend is lazy and wouldn't last a week in my district.. I teach 5th grade and don't know any co-workers who routinely put in less than 10 hour days. That's with a 30 minute lunch break. Yes, we get time off, but I've been teaching 12 years and make 46K/year. No overtime pay, unlike nurses. Yes, nursing is hard, but so is teaching. We are accountable via test scores, which are public. And no, we don't re-use lesson plans. The curriculum keeps changing Oh, and you may have noticed kids' attention spans are shorter and shorter thanks to being baby sat by their x-boxes when they get home. It is difficult, but we can and do make a difference.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • dko

      This is more ignorance. First, I am a teacher and my wife is a nurse. We have both been in our professions for about 7 years. As a teacher, I make 40K. I have a Masters and several teaching certifications. As a nurse, my wife makes 65K. She has an Associates Degree. I work 5 days per week with an average of 12 hours daily, factoring in meetings, planning lessons and grading. I am mandated to work extracurricular activities on Saturday (tutoring & softball). My wife works 4 days per week with 10 hour shifts. She then receives 3 days off. Both our jobs are exhausting. I work about 65 hours per week for $40k, while my wife works about 40 hours per week for $65k. We both went in to our professions to help people, but generally deal with uncooperative and unpleasant people. I am not interested in making claims to which of us has a more difficult or rewarding job. We all have positives and negatives at work. People commenting on subjects they have no knowledge or authority to comment on is the real problem.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Kathleen

      That is ridiculous. I had a child in public Kindergarten this year and her teacher has worked around the clock with me to help her – that included evenings, weekends, and holidays. And I was just 1 parent out of a class of 24 students. I am trained as a Civil Engineer. Try that job out for size – 60 hour weeks, mandatory overtime, deadlines out the you know what, and yes, people can also die if designs and/or construction is faulty.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  97. Kessor

    The people who just watch do not know what is going on in the inner world life of the teacher. I came from Cambodia, although the school system there is very poor, but my grandma had a really hard time doing her job as a teacher. She liked her job, I think, but you people who complain about teachers, have to understand that their job aren't easy, plus they give us education, so just respect them. Although I do admit that there are teachers out there who never do good jobs at teachingor else. Whatever, this is a real world.
    I like the article thoug, so interesting.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  98. Peter

    There are good teachers.
    There are bad teachers.
    There are magical States that pay their teachers obscene amounts of money.
    And then there's the rest of the nation where teachers get shafted (for example in AZ we hover around 30,000)

    Please also take into account that as a teacher I am responsible for any where between 24 to 32 young children at any one tim for 7 hours a day.
    Anything and everything that happens in that class is my responsibility. And trust me those kids can and will do some of the "darndest things" and I assure you it isn't all cute.if they're frustrated... they take it out on their academics and us. If mom or dad is a horrible parent (more often than one would think) we deal with that. Anything and everything that can affect a student impacts our ability to do our job. Now multiply that by 24 or 32.
    how many of our critics can or would be willing to watch that many kids for that long for what we get paid.
    I'm a teacher... and I also have to be a disciplinarian... sociologist... psychologist... and manager... and I barely get paid enough to do the first.

    Oh and by the way I work during the entire summer and sell beer at the local fair grounds until midnight during spring break.

    Want to fix education... then let us fix it and you take responsibility for your children. Almost all of my successful students have one thing in common. Parents who prioritize education at home.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Teacher in Colorado

      I find this age old debate interesting. I teach special education and I love it, not because of the schedule or pay but because I am making a difference. I am responsible for 38 student's academic and behavior performance every single day of the school year. I get paid an extremely low salary (a waitress makes more then I do most days) to put in 50-60 hour work weeks in order to provide an education to children who learn differently then most. I may "get" to leave at 3:30 once in a great while but I also wake up at 2 am, more nights then not, with a migraine while my mind is reeling in 50 different directions trying to figure out how to get these students to be successful. My own 3 children often take a back seat to receiving my full attention and energy due to other people's children having higher demands on my time. I don't get a lunch break, most days I don't even get to use the restroom when I need to. I deal with admin, other teachers, parents, students, and other professionals, such as physical therapist, all day everyday, as well as ensure we are following legal guidelines that require mountains of paperwork on each student, ane the requirement of showing progress being made by these students. I find it hard to swallow when anyone questions my "time off" or that teachers have enough days "off" and they should work more. I know of no other profession that has an audience of 30+ children, that are their sole responsibility the entire time they are at school, and then have to plan each and every moment of that school day, plus grading, plus IEP paperwork, plus numerous meetings, plus daily contacts with parents, etc.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • remy b

      I know teachers in AZ and their working conditions are horrible. Hats off to the ones who stick it out.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Shawn

      I'm a GED instructor and used to be a high school marketing teacher. What Peter said is true. Families that make education a high priority will have kids who thrive in school. Those that don't will eventually end up in my classroom. So much more to add. If you pay teachers by the scores earned by students in standardized tests or grades, only the best schools will end up with the best teachers. The low income schools will have no chance as their students commonly score lower on standardized tests. As for summers off, we are required to pay our own money for our own continuing education in order to keep our certification. Most of the CE is offered during those "off" months. I can go on, however, I have to do some work for an online class I'm taking to improve my teaching skills.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  99. Curt

    In all this discussion, I never hear about putting the accountability back on the STUDENTS. I hate how old it makes me sound when I say this, but I'm not SO old that I don't remember grade school...and I remember that if I didn't do my homework, or if I got a low score on a test, or I got a bad grade for the grading period, it was MY FAULT. It wasn't the teacher's fault, or the school's fault, or my parents' fault, it was MY fault. What, in the span of 30 short years, has happened to our schools, where we are afraid to hold children responsible to ANY degree?

    Obviously, yes, I know, they're KIDS. They will make mistakes, they will screw up and screw off and raise five kinds of hell along the way...but must we pass the buck to teachers, or parents, or someone else, when it comes to EVERYthing our kids do (or don't do) in school? Some of the responsibility is theirs, and we should never forget that. We should get back to worrying about what they've learned, not about how they feel about it.

    We don't need longer school days or longer school years. We need good teachers who are fairly compensated. We need to get rid of teachers who don't care. We need to give teachers back the ability to discipline children, and the training to know when to use it, without the fear of being disciplined themselves. We need students who are taught some respect at home, so that teachers don't spend half their time teaching that, too...parents, forget about teaching your kids the ABCs at home, just teach them some manners and some respect, and you'll be doing 95% of what we need you to do. We need an evaluation system that makes sense, and we need governing bodies that are not bogged down by bureaucracy. We need more money to draw in better teachers, and less money wasted elsewhere.

    And where I come from, and I'm sure in many places, we need better facilities that promote learning. Forget the latest computer equipment, that's nice too...but we need schools that all have air conditioning (yes, some schools in Memphis, TN, still don't have A/C in 2012), so that school doesn't let out at noon because the building is stifling.

    There's a million things to fix in our education system, but they are fixable. But not until we decide we're willing to do what it really takes. When we decide we're tired of ranking so far down the ladder in education...when we decide it's a problem we REALLY want to tackle...only then will it get fixed.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Natreewwuyme

      wow!!! Great comments! Thank you Curt.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • BW

      Well said Curt.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • remy b

      I wish all parents would read your comments. Well done!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Ann

      Well said Curt. I have been teaching 17 years. I love my job. The problem is that over those years I have seen students become very rude and disrespectful and unconcerned about education. I do blame this on parents. Where I teach there is very little parental involvement, 40 students per class, no aides, very little supplies, sometimes no toilet paper or working bathrooms, etc...(air conditioning? Whats that???) and as you have read, very little respect from the community. What I get paid, a lot goes back into supplying to my students, the things I feel are necessary for their learning and will make them motivated to learn. Our parents consider school a babysitter. It breaks my heart when we have school programs and no parents show up to watch their children. When they are called because their child has been fighting, cursing teachers out, throwing furniture and destroying property, the first thing they do is blame the teacher or the school. Forget about discipline, manners, responsibility and respect for education being taught at home and homework is a joke.

      I never tell other people they have easy, cushy jobs, we chose our own paths. Parents need to do THEIR JOB and my job could return to normal.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:16 am |
      • Curt

        What gets me is that most of THOSE people you're talking about who have kids in school now, are MY age. This is MY generation. And I keep thinking, "I KNOW you weren't raised like that. What happened to you??" I know things are a LITTLE bit different today than they were when I was school-aged, but not so different that in that span of time, we should have forgotten how to instill some respect and discipline in our kids BEFORE they get to school.

        Don't get me wrong, the problems are multifaceted. There are plenty of rotten teachers out there...they need to be replaced without getting to hide behind unions or whatever. But there are a LOT of great teachers too...and they need to have time to teach, and not waste classroom time being a babysitter. There's plenty to teach, plenty for students to learn...how to be respectful should be the ONE thing that should be taught at home. And for the life of me, I don't know how that's been lost.

        The kids need to get shoulder their fair share of the responsibility for their own education, but this is ONE area where parents are largely to blame these days. That really needs to improve if we want to get the most out of our educational system. Schools shouldn't have to teach respect along with everything else.

        August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am |
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