My View: Advice to a new teacher
President Obama honors California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 Teacher of the Year at the White House on April 24, 2012.
September 5th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

My View: Advice to a new teacher

Courtesy City of Angels HeadshotsBy Rebecca Mieliwocki, Special to CNN.

Editor’s note: Rebecca Mieliwocki is a seventh grade English teacher in California who was chosen the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.  You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @MrsMieliwocki.

(CNN) - Are you ready to be sneezed on? Cried on? Laughed at? Hugged to death? I sure hope so, dear newbie. Because what no one will tell you, besides me, is it’s about to get very, very real all up in this place called the classroom. You’re going to do phenomenally, but it’s going to be challenging, frustrating and thrilling, often all three at once. I am so excited you’ve chosen to make teaching your life’s work. My heart is literally racing with excitement and hope for you. It’s going to change your life and you’ll never be the same after day one.

It’s imperative that you survive your first teaching experience so you can begin to thrive in the classroom. Teaching is such a kick-in-the-pants, joyous, gut-wrenching odyssey that it’s only fair I share with you some tips, tricks and ideas to get you started on just the right foot.

1. Before you teach one lesson, create the systems by which your classroom will be run. You need procedures for how kids enter/exit the classroom, how kids volunteer to talk, move around and help out, places for paperwork to come in and go out, plans for how to manage absent students and their missing work, seating charts, supply centers, everything. Figure this all out as you set up your classroom and before you meet even one student.

You can always tweak and improve as you go and you’ll find out quickly what you like and don’t like. But classrooms without systems create challenges that can get even the best teachers into quagmires. Good systems allow your class to run smoothly so you can focus on what YOU do best: teach!

2. It’s all about the pencil. It took me far too long to realize this, so I’m telling it to you up front. New teachers often get trapped in a struggle with kids over supplies: where they are, why they didn’t bring them to class, losing them, borrowing them. It’s exhausting and it often keeps you from doing what you need to be doing. In our zeal to teach readiness and responsibility we mistakenly make having supplies a hill we choose to fight for and die on. Stubborn teachers do and kids suffer.

I once worked with an incredible social studies teacher named Karen whom I observed frequently. I watched her quickly lend supplies to any kid who was without during her lessons. I asked her about it later and she said, “I simply have too much to do with kids to get bogged down by supplies. I won’t let anything get between my kids’ learning and what I have to teach them each day. You shouldn’t either.” I have incorporated that theory into every decision I make and you should, too.

3. Make sure you have a clear focus for each day’s lesson that includes what it is you expect kids to learn. Publicize that on your board and say it out loud at the start of class. Knit together each day’s lesson to yesterday’s learning and explain how and why kids need to know this. At the end of the period, right before they leave, ask kids to tell you what they learned. Studies show that teachers who draw connections from day to day increase comprehension and retention of their material by more than 50%. Wow! This is a little thing that gets huge results.

4. Maximize your instructional power by putting kids to work. Use classroom helpers or “employees” to help you run the room so you are free to teach. Between call-slips, the phone, tech procedures and the paper trail, there are dozens of tasks you have to attend to to keep things running well. Most everything can be handled expertly and enthusiastically by your students. Hire them, pay them in goodies or extra opportunities, give bonuses for good work, review their performance and rotate duties frequently throughout the year so many kids get these unique chances to shine and help your room run smoothly.

5. Discipline your students with dignity so every tricky situation is a win-win moment. New teachers often get into power struggles with students as they attempt to learn how to assert themselves in this new arena. Avoid this completely. Instead, use proximity and language to sort out what’s happening. Do it with a neutral tone of voice and with a smile on your face whenever possible. Lean down or squat near kids who are off task so you aren’t towering over them.

Ask kids who are misbehaving what they are doing, what they are supposed to be doing, and what they are going to do now. These three simple questions from classroom guru Rick Morris get to the heart of the matter quickly. Kids see you have a clear focus on what’s supposed to be happening and that you need this child to get right back to it. There is no personalized blaming or attacks, just a “let’s get back to work” focus. Figuring out quick, thoughtful ways to neutralize problems shows you care about your work and your kids. That goes a long way toward keeping your class running without disruption.

6. Design lessons and activities that give kids freedom, choice and fun. This is another Rick Morris gem (seriously…check this guy out!) This is where your creativity and personality can come in. You know what content standards you must help kids master, but HOW you do that, how you personalize it to match your students’ interests, and increasing kid choice in how they show you they’ve learned is what will make your classroom a lively, special place.

7. Collaborate like crazy. Great teachers are social, reflective, proud but not egotistical and always open to improvement. So find a buddy on campus - or five. Wander into each other’s classrooms. Soak up what you see that works and watch what doesn’t. Talk to each other, share ideas and support each other. Give good, constructive feedback to them and be willing to hear it yourself. This is how teachers grow and improve. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel or go it alone.

8. Take care of yourself. Teachers, especially new ones, naturally invest insane amounts of time lesson-planning, grading, searching for new curriculum materials and attending to teaching duties. It’s a never-ending stream of work, work you love, but work all the same. Teacher burnout isn’t a myth, it’s a reality. Be aware of this and become protective of you-time. Carve out two nights a week and one whole weekend day for yourself and nothing else. Read, travel, garden, exercise, cook. Whatever you do, do it for you.

Don’t become your job. Instead, let your job become a beautiful reflection of the person you are and makes you the crazy great teacher kids love having.

9. Have courage to teach boldy, with creativity, and beyond the test. Kids must learn, you must grab kids where they are and move them. They’ll come to you with a whole host of issues, whether they’re at grade level or not. Your job is to find out where they are, find out what they need and then give it to them. Move them. Any forward academic movement is a good thing. These are the results people are dying to see if we can achieve.

So there you go, Teach. It’s a short list for sure, but one filled with good advice that, if taken, will set you up not just for a great first year, but for a well-run classroom and an exciting career in this incredible profession. I envy your first day, the first set of kids all your own to teach.

You are going to change these kids’ lives forever for the better. It’s a magic moment and one you’ll never forget. So, go to it.

Go forward and do that thing you were born to do: TEACH!

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rebecca Mieliwocki.

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    September 16, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  2. Andrew

    What a great read! Thank you for the advice! I am almost done with my third week of teaching and wow has time flied! I was laughing at times and also thinking to myself that this has already happened to me and I was like OH BOY! I am truly living the life and am excited to always find great stories like this one to read and share with other teachers. Thanks again!

    September 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
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  5. Texasteacher

    I am a first year teacher. And for every person on this blog who says teaching is "easy" or "anyone can do it," Well you are wrong. Not ony do we teach, but we have to meet the standards required by the state, deal with parents who think their kids are perfect, all while grading hundreds of assignments.

    For those who want to teach, please don't listen to anyone who says not to. Know that you are giving these young minds the tools necessary for them to succeed. And that is more important than anything.

    September 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  6. A Teacher

    I work from 7:40 to 10PM or later most nights for 6 months a year. The rest of the time I work I might get off at 5. Yes my scheduled time ends at 3:15, but I stay over and grade papers and make lesson plans (because I want to do a good job) I coach for free, I tutor for free and I spend many hours at walmart with parents talking about many things. I have students come to my house for all kinds of things. I DO NOT HAVE A JOB, I HAVE A TEACHING LIFESTYLE. I do not get paid for the summer time off, I work during those time trying to make ends meet. I Make such little money my children eat reduced lunches. Before you judge me I dare you to come work for one year as teacher! I will gladlt trade you jobs and see which one of us last longer.

    September 7, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Moishe

      You seem gentler upon yourself.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Andrea

      Before you go on and on, remember you chose that profession. Your choice, you were not forced into it. So if you want to complain about it, choose to do something else. Otherwise suck it up. Everyone's job sucks. It's work

      September 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
      • Mike

        She is not complaining about her job. She is complaining about the lack of respect she gets for it.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  7. Debi

    It is interesting to read all of the viewpoints on this. Everyone has a complaint (whether against teachers, the system, the government etc.) but no one is really suggesting a solution. I have been teaching for six years and I love teaching. I love the kids, I love the process of imparting knowledge and wisdom. I love the challenge that every day brings. There is never a dull moment, and always something new to learn.

    However, there are days that just wear on you. When you get to school at 6:00 A.M. trying to put together the perfect lesson, decide how to best differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of your fifth grade students students performing at anywhere between the second grade and tenth grade levels. How will you challenge all of your students to meet their highest potential? You scarf down your food because you have students coming in during your 1/2 hour lunch period to get some extra help or because they just need someone to talk to. You break up arguments and play referee, then take phone calls and emails from parents pleading for you to do something special for their child, who really needs you do more. You stay after school helping students who just need a little bit more one-on-one support. Then you spend hours reading their essays, giving well-thought-out feedback (because there are about 3 students in your class who will actually read it). You wake up in the middle of the night, worried about the kid who is two years below grade level, or the one who told you that his dad just got put back in prison. When you leave the school, twelve hours after you got there–often going straight to continuing education classes, you graciously hold your tongue when people joke about teaching... your "part time job". When you sit in a school board meeting and for the fifth year in a row hear things like "we're going to have to cut teachers' salaries, and classroom budgets, and supply budgets, and classroom aides, and increase class sizes, and extend contract days, and cut teacher prep hours...but you need to increase the performance of your students". You make up your mind that it is just too need a job that you can leave at the end of the day and not have to think about when you are with your family, and in the grocery store, and at ungodly hours of the night and morning.

    Then, you get a simple crayon drawn note..."We Luv you Ms. Brown!" email from a former student who tested into high school algebra as a seventh grader, saying "I know I wasn't always easy to deal with in class, but you're a great math teacher"...a smile from a third grade student in the halls with an "I hope I have you for my teacher when I get to fifth grade"... and you remember...even if for only an instant, why you got into teaching in the first place. Then, you read responses to an article on CNN and the fleeting glimpse is gone...

    September 7, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  8. Darron Chadwick

    Ok, here we go. My comment is to the Rick Morris fans. I'm sure Rick is good at what he does but his COLOR CLIP CHART IS MORONIC: RED-outstanding ORANGE-great job YELLOW-good day GREEN-ready to learn BLUE- think about it PURPLE- teachers choice PINK- parent contact. My assumption as to why this so called guru flipped the standard color chart upside down is for his own financial gain. My 6 year old is attending a school where some of the teachers use his system and she is constantly confused by the use of RED as a color for good. TEACHERS YOU CAN USE RICKS SYSTEMS JUST PLEASE PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN CLIP CHART OR JUST FLIP RICK'S UPSIDE DOWN

    September 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Rick Morris

      Darron, I’m glad we’ve been able to communicate regarding your concerns with the Clip Chart’s color scheme since you first posted your comments on the New Management Facebook page. What I wasn’t aware of until now is that your frustration was the result of your daughter’s confusion.

      Speaking Dad-to-Dad, I get it. We want our children to feel comfortable in class, get along well with their classmates, and have a safe relationship with the teacher. Being able to negotiate a classroom discipline program with both confidence and certainty helps a child achieve all three of those goals.

      It’s my hope that someone will be able to sit down with her to discuss the issue. Although at first glance it may appear unusual for the top of the classroom behavior chart to be colored red, it is clearly labeled with the word Outstanding. Getting her to focus on the label and not the color may help. Add to that the fact her teacher is using a program that promotes the recognition of students for their positive behavior and achievement–something missing from the traditional color-coded pocket chart–and I’m fairly certain her confusion will be replaced with understanding and acceptance.

      PS I left you a message on your Facebook page in case you wanted to discuss this further.

      September 10, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Tim Bedley

        I love how professionally and respectfully Rick responded here, in spite of the attack on his classroom management system. I have been using many of Rick's ideas for years and years. Every teacher I've ever spoken to who is familiar with Rick Morris raves about him. Is anyone perfect? Of course not. It's easy to throw stones though. And does Rick do this to make money. I sure hope he makes money from this. I know he's spent numerous hours working at his craft. He's been teaching for many years. Wouldn't we expect an expert in a field to make more than those who are novice or incompetent? Rick also offers to give away his materials free for those who cannot afford them. Awesome! He's a man of integrity and definitely someone that we teachers can hold in high regard. Thanks Rick for all you've done to make the teaching profession better, and in turn make the lives of millions of kids better. Don't let the negative people get you down.

        September 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  9. bob

    Advice for a new teacher. DON"T DO IT!. No Respect. No Control. No Discipline. No Authority. The kids can get away with murder but you scold or hit a kid who deserves it and you're the bad one. Hit one No I'm not talking about making them bloody. But teachers should have the ability to bruise a kid. Kids are disrespectful little scraps.

    September 6, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • kipito

      Yes, if you like to hit children (with or without blood), please stay far away from schools. The "problem" children Bob refers to? They get enough violence at home, and it obviously doesn't work.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Caiha

    I have better advice. If you have good math skills become an engineer or even an accountant. If you have good language skills become a journalist or writer. If you're good at anything at all, do literally any other career and you'll get twice the money and ten times the respect doing ANYTHING else.

    September 6, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • jmashburn15

      It must not have crossed your mind that teachers do not choose their profession for the money, nor for the respect. They choose it for the students, because they care about the successes and lives of children. More so, if everyone in the world who had academic skills chose professions aside from teaching for monetary value, how would the world function? Without kids growing in knowledge and skills being taught by teachers the world would be a dismal place.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • hopefulteacher

      Hmmm. Unless you were homeschooled from K-12, who taught you? Would you have the skills you employ in your current career without the skill and content knowldege possessed by those who taught you. Just don't get the logic...

      September 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Robert Morris

      And therein lies the problem. There are far too many people telling our best and brightest kids things like this. Teaching is considered a lowly profession and only those who "can't do" teach. Why can't someone with a gift for teaching do it for something more than a big, fat paycheck. It is not all about the money. I am a close personal friend of Mrs. Mielwocki. Did you know she has a LAW degree? Yet she chooses to teach because that 's how she can male a difference. I also have a degree which would allow me to do any of a number of things and make more money. I choose to teach because #1, I am GOOD at it and #2, what I do makes a huge difference in the lives of kids.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  11. newbie teach

    Thanks for the tips! I am super scared to begin my journey in the classroom! I am always worried if I am prepared or not. I pray I can reach my students

    September 6, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • twinteacher

      If you pray that you will reach the students, then you will. The first step to reaching them is caring about reaching them. You will love the variety and energy the students bring to your life!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
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  13. havanas

    My advise is to get out of teaching.

    September 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • John McDonough

      You spelled advice incorrectly.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • Leigh

        😀 @ John

        September 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jimbo

      You need a teacher to show you how to distinguish between advise and advice.

      September 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • John

      Hopefully you did! You can't spell.

      September 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. havanas

    My advise to a new teacher is to get out of the classroom ASAP. Mop some floors, you'll get more respect and less aggravation. If you want to teach and not baby-sit, go to someplace that respects education and teachers–maybe Europe or China.

    September 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Leigh

      I teach in Asia and make twice the salary of an average American teacher with twice the respect. I have taught in the States and would never do it again. (FYI, you can't teach in Europe as an American, almost impossible to get a visa. They have the entire EU as a source for educators.)

      September 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
      • elish

        I was a special needs teacher in America and moved to Ireland 7 years ago, and you are right, I was told on several occassions that I was over qualified to teach, I taught special needs in American in Ct. and here in Ireland it's the first thing to go during the budget cuts. So, here I sit with a masters and I can't use it because they always pick their own first.

        September 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  15. Teacher Bob

    Teechrs R Lazee parasites who don't do anything but sleep with their students and suk off the sistem. I don't make enougn $ and so they should not eethr. (How far are you all from this. We are dealing with social forces that nobody, including you, could stand up against alone. Shame on all of you who seek nothing but to bring teachers down to your level of misery because you think they somehow have been gifted with something they don't work for)

    September 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  16. Retiree

    Unions don't evaluate teachers,principals do. Come to Texas. Or better still look at your state and local policies. Stop bashing teachers and their unions. In my experience, teachers are not valued, intimidated and their is little or no autonomy left in the classroom. Students are over-tested and enabled by a system that is afraid to demand higher expectations fearing that those expectations won't translate into school or district ratings by the state and federal governments. There's plenty of blame to go around.

    September 5, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  17. sqeptiq

    "Hugged to death?" Where is this woman from? Hugs will get you fired, sued, arrested where I teach. You better keep your physical presence at a distance.

    September 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Bob Brown


      A few years ago, a bright, attractive, hardworking young woman came running up to me on graduation day with both arms out. I put up my hands in a "whoa!" gesture and said, "teachers do not hug students nor get hugged by them." She looked like she'd been slapped, and I felt low enough to crawl under a snake.

      I did exactly the right thing, unhappily for me.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  18. Jim

    Texas teachers fund 50% of their retirement pension, pay insurance premiums, retire at 60 (for newer teachers), work on one year contracts, do not have collective bargaining agreements, and cannot strike.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Retiree

      That pretty much sums up the importance of education inTexas.

      September 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Ken

      II work as a mechanical engineer. I have to fund 80% of my 401k (what's a pension?) , pay insurance premiums, will be llucky if I can retire by 70, and work on no contract. This is why teachers get little sympathy for their plight.

      September 6, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • kprob

        Bear in mind, sir, that your income is most likely two or three times that of a teacher. You also may be getting performance bonuses or Christmas bonuses; teachers get neither.

        I spend about $600.00 annually for classroom and laboratory consumables (I teach freshman physical science). What is your annual out-of-pocket expense for your job?

        I have taught in public schools for twenty-six years. I make less than $50,000.00 gross income per year. I'm eligible for retirement now, as I am under the "Rule of 80" (age + years of employment = 80). Because I am not yet 59.6 years of age, my retirement income would be about $1565.00 per month. I would have to pay for medical insurance (400.00/month), bills (averaging $550.00/month), car insurance, groceries, gasoline, and medical copays. I will have paid off my small two bedroom home in May of next year. I'll still have to pro-rate out payments for house insurance and property taxes.

        I put my son through college (by teaching one night class at nearby university, cleaning offices, churches, and a daycare center on weekends, and working the home football games. Forunately, he qualified for scholarships and scored high enough on the ACT/SAT for tuition grants. His father continued to contribute child support throughout college–$150.00/month, paid directly to him.

        My rewards? I'm relatively healthy (I get up at 4 a.m. and run 4 to 6 miles a day before work), my son is a respected, contributing member of society with a lovely family of his own, and three of my students became national merit scholars and named me as their most influential teacher. I've taught two Rhodes scholars. The downside? I've been verbally and physically assaulted by students. My home and vehicle have been vandalized. My student load has risen from 120/year to 167/year and my prep time reduced. My average workday is from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I get 40 minutes for lunch, unless I have lunch duty, which reduces my lunchtime to 20 minutes.

        Today is Saturday. After I take my 90 year old mother out for breakfast I will start her laundry and go to my class room to write a new powerpoint presentation for my college class (I still teach one evening class), clean my class/lab room, put away the lab equipment, make sure all the makeup work is graded and entered for student activity eligibilty, and I should be back at my mother's in order to fix her a nice supper by 6 p.m., fold the laundry, and have a cup of tea before going back to my own home.

        September 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  19. mrvillegas

    I love how everyone in America feels qualified to comment on the ails of education, simply because most of them have spent time in the classroom as a student, or have a child that is a student.

    One would never dare tell a surgeon how to conduct their job, nor a lawyer how to defend or prosecute their client. But, mention to anyone in the world that you are teacher, and they feel compelled to tell you how to do your job better.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Chuckster

      Some of us feel free to express our opinions because we pay for the system.

      If you don't want to hear from us, don't take our tax money.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
      • AnneSD

        When you need the services of a doctor or lawyer, you are also paying for their time - would you tell them how to do their job?

        September 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        Are you really comparing a grade-school teacher to Lawyers and Physicians in this regard? There are millions of people in this country who are not currently teaching, don't have education degrees, and who could walk into a classroom and do a decent job of teaching. Not very likely to happen with Lawyers and Physicians! Teaching is something that many people do as part of their job (teaching co-workers, managers, customers, clients etc.) or in extra-curricular activities (churches, environmental groups, other community groups, libraries...). And I don't think you should so lightly dismiss the power of being or having been a student to inform one on some aspects of teaching. Additionally, I couldn't come close to playing professional sports, but that doesn't mean I can't have valid criticisms of a play or a strategy or whatever. Of course good, experienced teachers have things to offer, but the bottom, say, quarter of teachers are pretty bad.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Poor Teacher in California

        You pay us? Really? You say that because I don't make a pay check? I don't pay taxes just like you? I work hard, teach well, pay taxes, vote, and after all that still spend much of my hard earned (measly) paycheck on supplies for students because my students can't afford to buy their own supplies.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
      • sci1701

        Yes you may pay for public education, but that doesn't mean your opinion is qualified to be shared about public education. Make sure you are educated about what happens in schools, both for the students and for teachers. You might be amazed at just what goes on there (positively) and how teachers are working to cope with young people who are not properly parented at home, but are expected to be parented at school. If teachers could concentrate on teaching content and helping young people develop their mental and physical abilities then our educational system would be much more successful.

        September 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      You just hide and watch me tell surgeons about their jobs, including writing a note on my skin that said, "The other leg!"

      Happily I don't have much truck with lawyers.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Renee

      Amen! Same issue with a lot of school boards. Most never even went to college, let alone have educational experience. Too many school board members do not address the need for more text books in the classroom (one example) but "gall darn it, that football coach isn't winning or playing my kid so let's fire him!".

      September 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  20. eroteme

    Advice for a new teacher? If you cheat to enhance your career take care not to be caught.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  21. The_Mick

    As a retired (2006) teacher, this is excellent advice. Especially #1: you need to establish a routine and a relatively tough set of rules to begin each new class. You can always loosen your rules as the semester progresses but if they're too loose in the beginning you'll have a hard time tightening them. As far as discipline goes, try to do it out of earshot of other students ("Let's step out into the hallway for a moment.") and with an intent of improving the student's leaning and grade and let the student know that you're on his/her side.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  22. lean6

    #11 – Keep your political opinions to yourself and away from my kids so that I don't have to tell them that you're an ignorant !d!ot who lacks self-control.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Lmyers

      You'll tell them every teacher they have is an idiot who lacks self control. But those teachers have enough self control NOT to express their ideas about you to your child.....

      September 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • California teacher

        So true. Best word of advice I ever heard and tell my students parents, "Don't believe everything your child tells me about you, and I won't believe everything they tell me about you." Teachers have a lot of constraint and self control. There is so much I want to say to parents and students, but I do value my job and love what I do, thus I keep my mouth shut.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • lean6

      Great argument. The only problem with it is that I didn't say "every teacher". I have enough discernment to know when my kid is telling me something that should catch my attention. There is enough ignorance visible everywhere for either of you to be foolish enough to think that a teacher couldn't be guilty of it. I live in a red state and the ignorance and brain washing is in the classrooms. Believe it.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  23. Matthew

    Funny how many teachers typed on this message board during school hours. How's that planning time going?

    September 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Texas Teacher

      I teach at a college, so I have a different type of schedule than public school teachers. For example, I'm here until 8:30 p.m.

      I read the news to stay abreast of current events. I saw an article about teaching and couldn't resist. Are you at work?

      September 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Evan

      It's called a 'lunch break'.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  24. lean6

    #10 – You are being paid to do a job just like everybody else. Don't get a fat head and think the world owes you for a sacrifice. Be a professional. Be the best at what you do. If you don't like it, find a new profession.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  25. VtMe

    #10 You and only you are the manager of the classroom experience. What happens there is up to you. If you fall into the trap of blaming parents, blaming students, blaming administration you abdicate your position of manager and transfer that responsibility to others. Manage the classroom with order, compassion, respect, objectives, responsibility (on both sides). As the manager you are responsible for making the most of the cards you have been dealt. If you cant accept that get out of teaching.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  26. sirmixalotalotalot

    Teachers in America are generally very lazy. They complain all the time about a job that requires them to work 1/3 or more less than the average college educated professional. My advice: Take the job for the right reasons and not just because its shorter days and a summer vacation.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Jim Herr

      The shorter days are beneficial for the golf game, and summer vacations allow world travel. Best of all, teaching is an ethical, moral livelihood.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Chuckster

        Teaching can be done in an ethical and moral way, but it's not automatic.

        Based on the teachers I know as friends (20+), 90% should keep their job.
        However, they let their union make dealing with the remaining 10% very difficult.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Heidi

      Really! Teachers in America are lazy? My job is 35 hours a week (I teach middle school). To get my job done I spend at least 50 hours a week, plus my own money for supplies and classes to keep my skills current.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Eric

      People who leave comments on websites from America are generally very ignorant and make assumptions based on sitcom stereotypes. They write their comment without having the courage to attach their name to it and have 1/3 less brain capacity of the average college educated professional. My advice: Leave a comment about something you have experience in, and not just because its anonymous and simple.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • tmac

      Those of you who think that teachers are lazy and have all of this time off why don't you come and try it out yourself, since its such a cushy easy job? If that was the case why do 60% of teachers get out of teaching before they hit year six? Have you ever had to teach a bunch of 14 year olds, try 30 or so, who really don't want to be there? You should check out all of the facts before you make a general uninformed statement that all teachers are lazy and have such a cush job, come and join us!

      September 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      I'm a teacher. Follow me around for a month. It'll be fun to see what you do on those days when I don't even have time for a restroom break for 7-1/2 hours.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      Oh, yeah... about that summer vacation:

      If you don't teach,
      you don't get paid.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Courtney

      1/3? You're off your rocker. I'm in the classroom 6:30 am to 4:00 pm 4 days a week (until 2:30 on Fridays) and then go home and work another 3-4 hours a night planning and grading. I spend at LEAST one full weekend day working as well. I have 170 students that I see every other day, which means every night of the week, I have 85 quizzes, homework assignments and class assignments to grade in addition to preparing the lessons and materials for the next day. I promise that hour-to-hour, I put in more time than many 9-5, 12 month employees. I do it because I love it and I believe that what I'm doing is important. It was my choice. But don't try to tell me that we're lazy.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  27. Tony the Italian Stallion

    That teacher is totally hot. I wish I would have had her in high school, I'd let her teach me a thing or two, if you know what I mean.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Richard Smith

      Great photo of her. City of Angels time.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • KJ

      Maybe she could teach you about the proper use of commas and run-on sentences.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Tony the Italian Stallion

        Thankfully I don't care none too much about your little bookworm, b/s insult. S3x eduction is what I'm in to. You can take your comma and your period, turn it sideways and shove it up your corn hole.

        September 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • Jimbo

        Wow...he thoroughly schooled you 🙂

        September 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      Yes. You mean that you're a moron who should not be allowed out in public without an escort.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  28. The Truth

    The advice she gives is all good and is taught to Naval personnel who are in positions to instruct others (at least when I was in the Navy). My question is why is this advice coming from a teacher to new teachers and not part of the standard curriculum for teaching degrees? I have to assume its not because why would she waste her time writing this article if the advice is already out there to all new teachers.

    Granted everyone coming out of college does not have experience for the job they are seeking, but many professions like Engineers are ready to start doing their job on day 1. They don't need general advice on how to setup or run their work area. So are we teaching the teachers properly so they are ready to start on day 1 effectively?

    September 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Jim Herr

      The difference between an art and a science.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • VtMe

      After observing teachers for 12 years over more than three kids, across three school systems one what exactly is going on in teacher education these days. There seem to be no end of faux methodologies that take kids longer to master than the skills and facts themselves. Ever watch a kid try to learn to do math my touching various parts of their hand? - no I am not talking about counting on fingers or kids tasked with mastering all of the learning objectives before (the verbal statements about what a student should achieve at grade level before they are given to a chance to master the skills and facts themselves.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  29. Jollie

    I have been a teacher for 17 years. I DO NOT get 3 months off during the summer. I have about 6 weeks. AND I DO NOT get paid for that time off. My hours are 7:30-4, but most of the time I am here from 7-5. The health insurance is NOT the best plan. I pay $120.00 per month, but if I were married I would pay $795.00 for my spouse and myself. This DOES not include children. I am very thankful for the insurance benefits, but contrary to what some people think, teachers do not get their benefits for free. I make $52,000 a year (after 17 years of teaching). Every 5 years, I have to get 15 credits to keep my certificate to keep my job. Those 15 credits cost me about $1500 out of pocket. In the state of Washington we have not gotten a cost of living increase for 4 years. I love what I do and I wouldn't do anything else. I'm not complaining, only stating facts and trying to clear up some misconceptions. note*when I first started teaching my income was below the state poverty guidelines and I qualified for food stamps and medical for the first 3 years.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Jim

      Jollie, As a professional, you earn a salary; you do not get paid on an hourly basis. I find it troubling that you would assert that you do not get paid in teh summer. As a teacher, you receive every governmental holiday off, in-service days, planning days, weekends off and long summer breaks. $52K seems about right. Teachers are indeed important; noone disagrees with that. Let's be a bit more honset on teh benefits, including early retirement after 30 years. Folks in their early 50's on a full pension; talk about that please.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • M

        To back up Jollie, let me describe my teaching job. My contract, along with any other teacher, is a 10 month contract. This means I DO NOT GET PAID FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS. If I wish, I can have my paycheck spread out over 12 months, but that's just a method to manage your 10 month salary, if it helps. I do not receive all government holidays off. My in-service days are spent working at school–you apparently don't know what in-service means (I thought the name gave it away). I get weekends off. I spend half that time working to prepare for the coming week. Benefits are mediocre, but not appalling. Don't have anything to complain about there.

        Do yourself a favor and don't comment on something you don't have a working knowledge of. More often than not, someone else will come along and make you look foolish.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • Jollie

        My salary is based on 9 months of work. I choose to have it pro-rated over the 12 months so I will get a monthly check in the summer. I'm not complaining about the 52K per year, but how many other occupations requiring a bachelors degree + fifth year + 15 credits every 5 years (out of pocket expence) + 17 years of experience only makes 52K. My statement on health care benefits is the reality. I can retire after 30 years, but with health care costs being out of control (because I will no longer have them through the school), my retirement will get me through but I certainly won't be traveling, etc.......Every state is different and the teachers in Washington took a 1.9% cut in pay in 2011-12 and also this year 2012-13, so with the increase of health care benefits, I am actually making less money than I did 2 years ago. I am still thankful for a job and love my job, just stating the facts........

        September 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Jimbo

        I think you need a teacher to teach you how to spell.

        September 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Jim Herr

      Try the private sector or stop complaining.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • Matt

        I have to agree. I teach personal finance to high schoolers (not part of four years of curriculum, right?) at a non-profit and even the academics with whom I teach say they left for the private sector partially because they thought their time was worth more. In no capacity whatsoever should a public job's pay be even close to its private counterpart. Private firms' sole responsibility is to earn a profit. The public sector exists to give services to the taxpayers.

        September 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  30. Larry

    Do yourself a favor and get out of teaching. No matter what, it will be your fault that Suzy didn't learn. It will be your fault that her homework didn't get done, had no breakfast,spent the night watching TV, and didn't come to school ready to learn. And for all of this you will be over paid, and have no pension or retirement. So get out and use your education for something better for you and your family.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • coaxicoatl

      You meant 'under' paid instead of overpaid I am sure.
      Also, number one rule of being a teacher: FYI: DONT FKUR STUDENTS.
      Just in case any of you young ladies/wh)ores from generation Y/lazywh'ores didn't know that.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • barry

      If only someone suggested your teachers and they heeded to it. we dont have to see such comments and many Tea baggers running around in this country who want next generation to be illeterate and turn this nation into africa.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Come to Suburbs in PA

      You need to come to the suburbs in PA and teach! Public school teachers by contract: $90K after 10 years, 182 day work "year", 7 hour work day, NO take home work by contract, Pension you ask? OH YES, it's the best part! After 30 years you get to collect 90% of your highest pay FOR LIFE. Health care? Won't cost you a thing and it will be the most expensive policy available ($22K per year). And it's free after retirement (at age 55) until age 67!. All paid for by the taxpayers! Yipee, welcome to PA. Max social security is $2,500 but retired teachers (who worked 8 months a year) get $6,000 a month.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Matt

        It's these ridiculous contracts that are causing PA school districts to lay off so many of our teachers. I was included in the furloughs at my district. At least I never joined the union. I saved $700 dollars a year, while others paid it and still lost their jobs. Unions and the contracts they make are killing our standard of education. As for the no take home work according to contract, you're right, but those of us with a little pride in what we do took about an hour's worth. It's dreadful. I loved my job, and lost it for greedy, lazy people.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Matt

        Oh, and I forgot to add one thing. I don't know where they are that they get 90k a year, must be Dallastown in York county. Other than that, I haven't heard of a teacher in PA making 90k until about 20 years of service.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Kim

        What PA suburb are you talking about? I teach in a PA suburban SD and don't get anything even CLOSE to that! No work to take home based on contract??? That is unheard of, and totally impossible anyway.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Baramos

      I was wondering about merit pay for teachers–they want to cut core subject teachers' pay to be cut based on the student's performance on tests. I was wondering if they were also going to cut gym teachers' pay based on whether their obese students lost a certain amount of weight. I assume that much like core subject teachers' are able to monitor their students' behavior outside school and force them to do their homework, study, and get a good night's rest, gym teachers are able to keep their students from eating unhealthy foods and large portions, and exercising regularly during the summer and holidays. As such, they should be held accountable for the poor health of their students and have their pay docked accordingly.

      I plan on writing my congressman about applying this to doctors, as well–there's no reason there should be so many obese people if they are doing their jobs of warning them about their diets and exercise regimens, and then following them home and making sure they follow through on these warnings, as they are clearly capable of doing.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  31. hyalineblue

    More proof that we have excellent teachers in America–great article.

    Now, let's address the fact that we also have a lot of teachers who are terrible at what they do, a system that educates teachers inadequately (often churning out mimics who have memorized educational theory but are pathetically under-educated on the actual content they will teach), and no methods by which to differentiate which teachers are doing a good job and which are failing our students. We keep wanting to throw money at the problem, but there's a deep-rooted cultural issue in the education "guild" that's to blame as well. Teachers aren't the problem–the way we approach education is. Address is, and then we might actually get somewhere in improving education in this country.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  32. nick garcia


    September 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • mylife55

      I just learned the value of NO caps-lock key.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jim Herr

      You make a good case for home schooling.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • VtMe

      Yes after 12 years times 3 kids and 8 years times one kid and 10 years times one kid, we pulled our kids out of public school and sent them to a school where teachers liked what they were doing, liked the students, liked the parents, liked the administration. Our only regret was we didn't do it sooner. Yes it cost us dearly.

      It turned me from a liberal public schooler to an advocate for vouchers, vouchers, vouchers.

      Any system that has captive students, captive parents, captive teachers, captive administrators is a system in which everyone is a prisoner.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  33. Jorge

    My advice to new teachers:
    1-Make sure you like the challenge of teaching before you choose it as a livelihood. Too many people stick with teaching because they're bored with being housewives, or because they couldn't be chemists, or to get out of the 'hood. Then they end up bitter and miserable, because they're really not cut out for putting up with other people's spoiled brats. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
    2-Keep a poker face-Not a sour one, just be professionally polite, and no matter what you do, don't lose your cool. Kids secretly admire grown-ups who can keep their cool under pressure and respect them, even if they ARE trying to get on your last nerve all the time. They are just TESTING you for coolness factor.
    3-Set the ground rules, remind students of them often (young'uns have teenie tiny ROM chips) state your reasons for them-("because I said so" will just remind kids of their moms, after which all they will hear from you is WAAWAAWAAWAA when you talk).
    4-Know your chit, know it well and stick to it- Nothing will elicit the smell of blood and weakness in a herd of smartalecky, bored kids faster than a teacher who is poorly prepared, makes mistakes that hurt their grades or leads them off-topic and rambles in the classroom too often. If you also happen to be in a classroom with poorly relocated, smart kids who had a hotshot teacher before you, they will eat you alive.
    5-Be wary of "Roboprincipals"-These throwbacks from the coal-mine strikebreaker era really have no place in education, their only goal is to kiss up to the board in order to make the next pay rate, don't expect any support, you are on your own with them...until it's time for them to cover their you-know-whats when the doo-doo hits the fan on campus for something or other. Even us parents can tell when they're flakier than a box of pastries.
    6-Don't tell a colleague or parent anything that you wouldn't want to tell a conniving, get the picture.

    This advice has been derived by me from my daughter's experience as a new teacher in a Texas elementary school, during her rants and raves when she comes home after class, while she eats chocolate ice cream out of the tub and hyperventilates.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  34. Jetboatn50

    Hey Mikey.....
    What does "chouce" mean??? Sounds like you need to go back to school and try to graduate 8th grade.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Fidel Chavez

      Him and most other Americans.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  35. Bob

    How about: #1. Dont sleep with your students

    September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  36. Jetboatn50

    What does "chouce" mean??? Sounds like you should go back to school and try to graduate 8th grade.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  37. nick garcia


    September 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • former teacher

      Don't you mean "?" rather than "/". There is this little "shift key" thing on the keyboard. There are good teachers, who work more than you would believe and there are bad teachers. Unions, combined with elected officials who can offload costs to their successors and their descendants, create a lot of bad situations. I have seen a lot of teachers who take sick leave time as vacation time and brag about it. I see 6 figure income useless administraters and staff at central office that do nothing. Another problem is that teachers want to be treated and paid like professionals but get guareentees like unions. They are not compatible.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • Matt

        Best choice I ever made as an educator was not join the union. I was so ignorant to all their nonsense, I got a chance to focus on teaching, not complaining or worrying how people were going to take care of my job. While others were fighting and scraping and begging to keep their jobs, I taught. We all still lost ours in the foreign language department, but at least I went out with some dignity.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  38. biggal195

    #1: Find another way to make a living! I thought I wanted to teach but student teaching was enough to teach me otherwise! I wouldn't do it for all the money in the world!

    September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  39. Mikey

    Public school teachers are by and large professional failures. They never aspired to do more, or were so bad at it they had no chouce but to get into a line of work that will happily accept any ragamuffin who couldn't hack it in the real world. Teachers whine and moan about how hard their job is, but they only work a few months of the year while enjoying 12 months of paychecks and benefits. Public screwels have ruined this country. We can blame the economy or our status in the world on many things, but I FIRMLY believe it's all the end result of the libtard teachers and their cronies.

    Public education is the worst thing to ever happen to America. It has no value.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Gerry Daley

      So, who taught you to read and write? Are you holding a job? Where do you get your skills from?

      You basically sound like yet another Tea Party idiot who would be happy moving America back to the stone age.

      Enjoy your self-pity.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • Mikey

        I went to Catholic school, decided not to go to college because I valued my career, my mind and my soul, so spent 12 years in the USAF. Following discharge due to injury I went into business for myself. Thirty years later I'm a self made millionaire who owns numerous businesses, is active in my community, gives generously to several worthy charities, has no debt, and sends all four of his kids to the same Catholic school where I received my world class education, plus they actually get to learn about God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Elmer J. Fudd

        My name is Elmer J. Fudd. I own a mansion and a yacht...............

        September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Texas Teacher

      You obviously do NOT know what you're talking about. Why don't you educate yourself (especially since you believe teachers can't) before you open your mouth and reveal your ignorance.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Tom

      Yes, everyone. "Mikey" is the authority on education.

      ...or so says everyone at the Jiffy Lube where he works.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Reply to Mikey

      Hey Mikey,

      I can only speculate from the content of your comments that you did not enjoy your Public School experience. Sorry that it was such a letdown for you. However, you should never generalize, as your experience is unique to you and to everyone else.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        "You should never generalize." Now that is an interesting statement!

        September 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • William F. Phuckley

      I disagree. I think that they have done a wonderful job in brain-washing the population with romantic bullsh!t about how "great" Lincoln was, for example, and other such nonsense. They've also performed admirably in ensuring that the empire has an endless supply of gawd and country "patriots" who willingly allow themselves to be cannon fodder for corporate profit. No, our Leviathan needs more of these dedicated professionals, not less. An indespensible tool for an ever growing totalitarian police state.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • hahaha

      I went to Catholic school, decided not to go to college because I valued my career, my mind and my soul, so spent 12 years in the USAF. Following discharge due to injury I went into business for myself. Thirty years later I'm a self made millionaire who owns numerous businesses, is active in my community, gives generously to several worthy charities, has no debt, and sends all four of his kids to the same Catholic school where I received my world class education, plus they actually get to learn about God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Allow me to translate for Mikey:

      My Parents paid for me to attend a school taught by people not certified by any authority to teach, Decided not to get a further education because I could not get into any college, and was not Man enough to join the United States Marine Corps, and was left joing the Airforce. After a serious bout of carpel tunnel syndrome, I fudged my VA paperwork and got separated at 10% disability with severence. Following my discharge I Took my severence money and piddled it away. Now I like people on the interwebs to think I am important, and Troll CNN websites all day, because, hey, someone will belive I am a multi-millionaire if I say it enough. I never participated in the Public School System and saw how Many teachers care deeply about their students and their success. I really do realize that teachers are inthe classroom with students 9 or 10 months a year, spending much more than 60 hours a week at work, planning for work, or grading others' work. Since I also don't have any personal experience with public schools, I will spout tripe out of my mouth about many things which I can't possibly know, and recite fables from the world's best selling work of fiction as truth.

      Am I prettty Close there, Mikey?

      September 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • TalkSense

      Nasty little troll, you are.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Rob

      Yeah, the best thing for this country is to go to war with every country that has oil. The hell with teachers, and policemen and firemen. Mikey, you are the reason I vote Democrat. I hate all politicians but putting the blame on teachers is so pathetic. Keep your kids at home so my kids do not have to deal with your spoiled, "I want everything for nothing" kids. Again like the previous post said, parenting is so PATHETIC. Get you head out of Glen Becks ass. You are a complete joke.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Andrea

      My father was a PHD from Stanford who really enjoyed teaching high school English, history, economics, and drama on his measly salary. After he retired, he taught grade 12 students who needed remedial coaching. Teaching the ones who were struggling was his greatest happiness. My father died 6 months after retirement from leukemia. He inspired his two daughter to also become teachers, one ESL and the other multiple subject elementary school.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • teacher

      Oh my I can not believe your post. Wow we get what people think is 2 months of vacation with pay. What most don't realize is that many times we are at school before 7 am and we work from home until 10, 11 pm. That is without counting all the open houses and PTA meetings we must attend at night. We work more than 8 hours a day and on weekends and holidays so we have worked those 2 months. Also to be a teacher is very difficult, the requirements in college and the requirements set by school systems are high, I don't know how anyone could think that only unmotivated people can be teachers.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
      • Come to Pennsylvania

        You should come to PA. You won't have any of those problems. By contract: 7 hour work day. NO TAKE HOME work ever. 182 day work year = 4 MONTHS vacation. Salary $90,000 after 10 years. Pension: 90% of highest salary FOR LIFE. Health care = Zero cost, plus free after retirement until age 67. That's teaching in the burbs in eastern PA. Must be terrible.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Marc

      Mikey. This one takes the cake. My supervisor is a republican just like you and he complains that his 17 yr old kid has to carry too many books in school. He too is a millionaire. I was taught never to stereotype groups of people, but I know why I lump you rich prisses in the same group.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Laura

      I feel sorry for your children since they will likely grow up to be as ignorant, single-minded and arrogant as you are.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Matt

      Have you ever known the joy of teaching a child a foreign language? To hear them communicate with their friends in something that others don't understand? There is no greater aspiration in life than to pass on knowledge, good morals, and a sense of joy in what you do. Shame on you for saying we have no other aspirations.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Kristin

      So, Mikey, what happens to children who's parents can't afford to send them to school? Do they just have to go throughout life without schooling just because their parents aren't able to afford private education? I think I know about some countries who follow this belief. You know, countries that are fighting for economic stability and have absolutely no chance of ever becoming a super power. OH. And, btw, the people who gave you that "first class education" were...wait for it...teachers! Wow!

      September 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  40. Army Wife

    After 40 years in t he classroon, I've learned "Never turn your back to your students."

    September 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  41. Rebecca

    wow, the comments.... ONLY in America is the teaching profession held in such disdain... who's gonna come up with the next big breakthrough in medicine or science if you don't support training the next generation? Turn to God if you want, but I distinctly remember something about "God helps those who helps themselves." I'd say then that God wants us to support TEACHING and even critical thinking (SHAME on you Texas Republicans for trying to ban the teaching of critical thinking in the schools!). Teaching I'd say certainly falls in line with helping oneself.
    For something truly educational, go watch the Bill Moyers series, "God and Politics" and see how far the conservative movement has got in attaining its goals since the series aired in the mid 1980s. The program of BRAINWASHING the public these conservatives laid out for Moyers (there is really no other term for it) has certainly borne fruit over the years, judging from these comments and the way people hypnotically froth at the mouth any time the word TEACHER or TAX is mentioned, or scream SOCIALISM!!! whenever someone suggests letting the government run a program because the government can do it on a large enough scale that has a prayer of being applied evenly and fairly. Remember that a lot of services we take for granted are Socialism in action–police forces, fire departments, and the armed services. For those who see Socialists around every corner, remember that our founding fathers did put in caveats that the government could step in and provide for the good of the people as necessary.

    I speak as a parent and as someone who hasn't voted Republican in a national election since Reagan... and I see fewer and fewer Republicans on a local level who are truly interested in good governance over theocracy and rewriting history, which is really very sad.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bruce

      My mother taught at highschool and college levels a Texas republican teacher who devoted her life 50 years to teaching with great sucess in her students but, teachers good or bad are teacher devoid of political affiliation in the class room. you are a biggot

      September 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • Rebecca

        it's B-I-G-O-T, but I assume you were in a hurry. Call me what you like.
        Glad to hear your mother stuck with the profession for 50 years. I bet she has (or had) some stories to share about how the profession and its environment changed over the course of her career.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  42. isolotus

    I hope the Mayans were right because all of you sarcastic, cynical and truly spiritually bereft people deserve to die.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • MPS

      Here here!!!

      September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  43. TheMovieFan

    My wife is a kindergarten teacher in an upper middle-class school system.

    Here is my advice for any new teacher: change careers now!

    * The pay is crap no matter what the anti-tax/anti-government people say.
    * The vacations are not as great as what the ignorant may complain about. End of June through the middle of August. That is the window for our vacations. So we end up paying a premium for airfare, hotels & car rentals. The destinations are also crowded. Our vacation schedule is dictated to us by my wife's school schedule. Flying off some place off-season is not an option.
    * Benefits? We use my health insurance since the plan offered by my company (publicly traded on NASDAQ) is cheaper than any offered by her school system and covers more. She'll be lucky to get $200.00 (annual max) for any college courses she takes. 20 years ago, I was getting $2,500.00/year.
    * You will be verbally abused by stup!d politicians who will blame you for the ills of society.
    * If you have a meeting with a parent over some issue and it seems like it ended amicably with an agreement, don't be surprised if you are blindedsided the following day if you principal drops by saying she just got off the phone with an angry parent.
    * Try to discipline any child? You'll get complaints from their parents that you are being mean to their little prince or princess! Do nothing? You'll be vilified politicians who will accuse you of not doing your job...well, they will always do that.
    * In order to keep property taxes down, schools supplies are you end up taking that "large" paycheck you get to buy what's needed. I know. I deduct those expenses each year when I do our taxes.
    * Many parents believe that your lunch time or classroom preparation time are office hours for their exclusive use.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • DizBear

      I teach high school. It's like you were reading my mind. 🙂 That is EXACTLY what happens. Especially the "parent meeting ends amicably" and then later you get blindsided.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • James

      Being a former teacher myself, I would say that if your wife feels the same way, then she should get out and stay out for the sake of the children she's entrusted to serve. No 3rd shifts, no weekends, holidays off, several weeks during the summer off, time for family and friends. I loved teaching but did it for the kids' sake not mine or for some so called summer vacation.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • TheMovieFan

        If that is how you chose to interpret my posting, there is no point in clarifying it.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • LOL

      You are complaining about a month and half of vacation. What is that? 40 business days or so? You realize that 4x what the average is for any other industry (if they're getting vacation at all). God forbid instead of flying to some crazy expensive exotic location, you can do something local.

      Your gripes are pretty benign. I'd take 35-40k + 40 days of vacation any day.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Tom

        Yes, when you figure the average teacher works 15 days less than those of you in "regular jobs" it seems like a cushy job.

        But then you have to figure that teachers are paid for 56 days less than those of you in "regular" jobs.

        In short, it isn't a vacation, morons. It is a furlough (meaning unpaid time).

        September 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
      • TheMovieFan

        I get 4 weeks vacation plus 10 holidays. My 4 weeks are paid. My wife is contracted for 10 months.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Gerry Daley

      You make it extremely clear just how easy computers have gotten to use...even by people are incredibly limited brainpower like you.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Tom


      September 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • DorfonGolf

      Wow. Just wow. I guess we should cherish our history before unions, like say circa 1900? A small very wealthy class and a huge poor labor class. Yep, thats very American. The work conditions, low pay, 12 hour days, 6 or 7 day work weeks, no health care, etc. ... people like you are a disease. And if things keep going the way they are we'll have another civil war. Actually I can't wait. The tree of liberty needs watered, this time with the blood of corporate stooges, conservative brainwashed fools, etc.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    If you want to teach, then leave the Union that is holding you back and teach in a Catholic school. You will be teaching the one true word of God along with all the basics are children need.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • LW

      And with a screen name like yours, I'm sure you follow the 'true word of God'???

      September 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      I was raised Catholic and went to parochial school. By your name I'd say you were sleeping during those religion classes...or your parents sent you to parochial school so you would not be in school with non-whites.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Quagmire


      September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • LOL

      At least you won't have to teach anything of substance any can make up whatever you want for those tricky things like Math, Science, and Engineering. English is a lot easier too, you only have to teach one book.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  45. Rebecca

    My son has a first year teacher and I wish her the best of luck. I will support her in any way that I can and hope the kids and her have a great year together and many many more. Telling people not to chose a profession because of things that are wrong in it, doesn't help the situation. Help find a solution instead of bickering about everything wrong.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • TalkSense

      Thanks and bless you. Why would anyone want to intentionally rip someone's career to shreds, especially on their first or second year on the job.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  46. 27 year teacher

    11) Realize that you will often not get support from parents who will treat you like the enemy. "How dare you discipline my perfect little angel!"
    12) Know that there are those in this country who will hold you in disregard and believe that you have an easy job with lots of time off.
    13) Realize that far right politicians hate you and will try to use you as the scapegoat for all that is wrong with America. Don't expect any support from your Principal or your school hierarchy. They are there to protect their jobs not yours.
    14) BUT remember those moments when a student has an "AH HA" moment and learns something new that they didn't learn before. If you teach elementary, treasure that hug an child gives you knowing that he/she doesn't get many hugs at home. These are the things that keep us coming back year after year despite all the mistreatment.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  47. ProudTeacher

    I am saddened by the amount of ill-feelings towards our teachers and the teaching profession. I work in a great school district, surrounded by educators who truly want to help students achieve. Yes, there will always be some teachers that aren't putting whole hearts into the work, but most of us do this because we love it. No, the pay isn't great. Summers off are nice, but I sacrifice a higher paying salary for it. (Believe me, I'm still working on my own time over the summer as well!) Those that think the hours are short very quickly change their minds when the reality of being a quality, dedicated teacher comes in to play. (I recently worked 25 hours in a two day period – just because I wanted to make sure my lessons were the best possible and I wanted to have face-to-face meetings with any parent that wanted a meeting.) Teachers have the best of intentions and we WANT your children to succeed! If you are unhappy with the education your child is receiving, then investigate! Your school district will happily supply the standards that your child should be learning. Ask your child's teacher what standards have been covered and how they taught them. Help your child with homework. Ask them about what they learned at school everyday! (hint: most kids will tell you "Nothing" unless you press them for a little more.) Come in and observe a class! Most teachers will be happy to have your involvement. If, after all this, you still aren't happy – homeschooling is always an option. It's always much easier for a child to learn in a quiet, calm, one-to-one enviroment. A public school can't provide that if that is what you're expecting. Most teachers love what they do. Most teachers understand that a lesson can always be improved. Most teachers deserve your thanks – because we're doing all of this for your child.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  48. Rick

    Sadly, think twice about becoming a teacher. You will rarely see a raise, and when you do, the local politicians that are your school board will try to get you fired because you're too expensive. Your state government will support this effort by trying to limit your bargaining rights. Ultimately, teaching will be a 5 year profession.

    So much for a society that encourages and rewards the best teachers to stay around. Its ultimately all about the Benjamins.

    You are better off doing anything else for a living, and our children will suffer as a result.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  49. Dave

    Advice from a 20 year veteran:
    Find ways where you can get the job done without working yourself to death. Teaching can take all of your time and energy if you let it. Don't volunteer for too many extra duties and if you really want to be a good teacher don't coach. Super Teachers who do it all and White Knights who are out to save the world very rarely make it to retirement. If you burn out you aren't doing yourself or you students any favors.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  50. Todd

    " Collaborate like crazy. Great teachers are social, reflective, proud but not egotistical and always open to improvement. "

    *...proud, but not ....

    You need to have a comma after the "but". There, I just corrected America's #1 teacher.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • isolotus

      Your grammar "correction" is unnecessary and erroneous.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • derp

      *...proud, but not ....

      You need to have a comma after the "but".

      Uh, you just place the comma BEFORE the "but"

      There, I just corrected Todd.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Erik

      Sorry, but you are wrong. See my example is the previous sentence 🙂

      September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • norm

      Where did you get the idea that a comma is needed after "but"?

      September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw


      September 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Guest

      You got it wrong, Todd. If there are any additional commas to be put there, it would go after "proud" not "but". But the sentence is grammatically correct as it is. Go back to school, fool.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • judeamorris

      The comma would come BEFORE the "but," NEVER after. (English teacher here with two Masters degrees.) By the way, teachers are open to error. If they weren't, students would never learn what to do with their mistakes - fix them by finding out what IS correct and move on. Good English teachers set up writing groups in which students help each other to correct their writing and grammar errors. It's part of the learning process since all published writers have editors who help them to do the same.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Wildfawn

      I'm a professional editor. No comma should follow the "but".

      September 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • GuestEnglishTeacher

      The sentence is correctly punctuated as it is. Use a comma before a coordinating conjuction like the word "but" to join two independent clauses. There is no comma before (or after) the word "but" in this sentence because it is being used as an adverb modifying the word "proud."

      September 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  51. Rick

    Run as fast and as far away from teaching as you can. Teaching will always be a broken system as long as teacher unions hold sway with their mantra of us first and students second!

    September 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Allison

      Dead wrong, Education should not be treated as a business. If cuts are to be made, "lets release the teacher who makes the most.–She may do the best job but who cares if kids are educated properly." We can't cut an athletic program, that would be wrong. I am sure glad my parents never complained about teachers, that is why they were educated during the times of authority and responsibility, not in todays finger pointing world. I will do the best I can to support the generation after me just like my parents did. Todays generation is so "ME ME ME", no wonder I am so ashamed at the stupidity of this country sometimes. PATHETIC!!!

      September 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • derp

      I'm juts curious why you would think that teachers unions are the problem in education when the states with very strong teachers unions consistently outscore the states that don't have them?

      Wouldn't common sense tell you that if states with teachers unions score consistently better than states that don't have teachers unions, that not having a teachers union is more of a problem?

      September 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Norm

        Not when they are driving the state into bankruptcy.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • UTGRAD

      Rick, have you been an educator?

      September 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • jason

      Oh stop it.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Aezel

      Yeah right, when beginning teacher pay is on par with a gas station clerk clearly overpaid teachers because of the unions are the problem.....

      Hey I've got one I'll teach you: "Rick, Rick, he's dumber than a brick."

      September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Army Wife

      Amen! Finally, someone with guts enough to speak the truth!

      September 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Terry

      My wife was nearly fired for pointing out that the school's policy violated education law. She kept her job in the end because the union backed her up. THAT'S why we have unions.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  52. Robert

    I wanted to be a teacher, but with some of the pathetic parenting I see nowadays, I would rather deal with fat republican "hannities" than kids nowadays. Todays parenting is so ridiculous, teachers are not teachers, they are baby sitters, PERIOD.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bill

      RIGHT ON!!!! Could not have said any better.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Techie

      yep failed parenting. Somewhere along the lines "parents" decided parenting was "mean"... so they decided to be "friends" with their kids and gave up on guiding, nurturing, leading and teaching. Plus for this round of parents that would take sooooo much work...omg when would it be "me" time!

      September 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Walker

      I am in my eighth year of teaching and am sorry to read your comment. Teaching is not for the faint of heart or the cynical but it is wonderful–wonderfully taxing, exhilarating, stressful and rewarding. Teachers change the future every single day and that's what makes me come back every day ready to face new challenges.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  53. angryersmell

    If you only require minimum qualifications, and you're only willing to pay the lowest possible salary anyone will accept, you're going to get the least qualified people who do just enough not to get fired. This is the reality in any business, and this is the new reality of the Education Industry across the US. Education is no longer a right; it's a business. The average school is run like a factory. Teachers who push back are fired and replaced with less qualified people who will put up with almost anything for a paycheck. Administrators and school boards no longer have any interest in your kids' education. Dedicated teachers like Mrs. Mieliwocki are now literally the only thing between them getting an education, and simply being "put through the mill", and there are less and less like her each year.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  54. SSGT Noble

    Very interesting. Much of this advice is the same stuff that worked when I was training soldiers. With some minor changes for age and situation. The previous hostile comments towards teachers is just another indication of the contempt too many Americans have towards education. Which is why we're on our way to becoming an ignorant 2nd world nation.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Yep

      Well said sir, well said!

      September 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • jason

      BAM!! Well said, SSGT.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Allison

      Excellent post!!! Obviously you were well educated unlike all of these people who hate education and are stove piping each other.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • 27 year teacher

      Amen and see my post above!

      September 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  55. grjane

    The last so-called art teacher (also first year) had the second grade kids do the same "artwork" (smearing paint on a 5×7 piece of paper) throughout the year, so that by the eleventh piece and seven months later, I finally complained to the principal that this was not acceptable. As a piece de resistance, the last week of school he had the kids cut pictures out of magazines and glue them to paper. Wow.

    My kids are academically advanced, so it wasn't a problem for them to adjust and keep up, but I felt sorry for the other kids who not only struggled at school (with or without supportive families), but also had to deal with these teachers that weren't willing to work with them.

    It absolutely takes a special kind of person to teach, and I'm happy to hand off the academic responsibility to someone who has that passion. However, the cold, hard truth is that the number of really special, really outstanding teachers is far outweighed by the incompetence and mediocrity of the rest. We just started our second year of homeschooling because I got tired of our educational system – in general – for many reasons, i.e. not willing to hire for skill and talent, lazy administrators making classroom decisions from their lofty positions, etc.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • jocelynplease

      I agree with you 100%. Clearly, the state of our classrooms and our education system are not the fault of our teachers but by people like those on this board. Education starts at home and is encouraged by good parents. Teachers don't stand a chance with parents like this teaching their kids that teachers are stupid, lazy, greedy or boring. This is perhaps one of the most depressing things I've ever read.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • jason

      Ahh, I see you have all the answers. Congratulations. Now translate the one on one experience you have at home to the classroom of 30 kids. I'll wait... What? It doesn't work as well with 30? Right. Just because your "gifted" children learn well one on one, doesn't make you the expert and the average teacher icompetent. It just makes you an understandably proud parent and apparently a bit of a blowhard. Again, Congrats.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Yep

        You said it Jason. Try to teach 30 kids that are all at different levels of learning and capability, not too mention the lack of good parenting and lack of respect that kids give their teachers and it's no wonder why education is in the state it's in.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        Yep: Maybe we should re-think the system that puts 30 kids of widely differing abilities and interests in the classroom together and treats them very similarly. Frustrate the slow, frustrate the fast, hit about 20% of the kids just right. Whatever the fiscal pressures on teacher/student ratios, this is really kind of a silly system.

        September 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • grjane

      Not sure why the first part of my post won't go thru, but here goes again:

      Teachers are like servers: they get paid squat, don't have a say in what's being served, have to deal with every type of ignorant yahoo imaginable, yet are still expected to treat everyone the same. I have the utmost respect for teachers and have spent lots of money, effort, and time volunteering in classrooms. I have friends that are current and former teachers, so I've heard the war stories, and can empathize with the difficulties the teaching profession has to deal with.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • isolotus

        The teachers union in Chicago is readying to strike. They make an average salary of $75,000. That is not "squat" to my thinking. If they want more money than we should be seeing results from the students that qualify it.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • J Lamb

        As a 25 year veteran of the classroom making $42k, I can tell you that teacher pay is not on par with other professions of similar education and training. It is also not comensurate with the importance of the task we have been charged with, namely the future of our country. That said, it's a liveable wage, and if you do it for the money only, do something else. We aremissionaries in the field spreading our faith in education among the "heathen". Our country, as a whole, doesn't trust education (even less educators) and treats highly educated, dedicated, and smart people as "elitist" and "not one of us". True, we have earned some of that by allowing sub-par teachers to keep working because no one else will take the job. If you find a solution that works, let me know.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • CDM

        One thing that folks seem to forget about teachers, is that every damn one of them has at least a Master's degree.

        $75K isn't bad for skilled labor, but most folks with Master's would make more in non-teaching environments.

        That does not take into account the dismal lack of support that public school teachers get from their administrations.

        I have a number of teachers (at various levels) in my family and close associations. I'm quite aware of what they go through.

        The thing that bothers me more than anything else, is the political move to codify ignorance and intellectual laziness into our national policy. That is an incredible shame. This has nothing to do with creationism/evolution, but that is a symptom.

        People seem to believe that all of our answers must be simple, and understandable by folks with third-grade educations.

        As an engineer, and someone who was raised in a diplomatic environment, I can assure you that this is almost never the case.

        "There's always an easy solution to every human problem; Neat, plausible and wrong." -H. L. Mencken

        Learning seems to be a difficult and frightening thing for most people, and we seem to want less of it.

        Shame, that.

        As for the article? Meh. Good points. Good teacher. Congrats...yadda...yadda... In the end, just more folderol. Preaching to the choir. The folks trying to dumb down Amerricka will never read it, and the folks that will read it will feel a bit better. However, in the long run, nothing will change.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Al

        Besides the pay, the Chicago Union wants a 2 year contract that pays every teachers 19% on the first year and another 3% on the second year. Talk about being out of touch with reality!

        I am for better pay for teachers as many are underpaid in the nation. However, here in Chicago, the Chicago public school has one of the shortest school day in the country and some of the worst test score in the nation. Yet, the Chicago teachers get some of the most generous pension plan in the country (which is one of the many reasons why Illinois is bankrupt) and unlike many other teachers, Chicago teachers are paid for the entire year. Being an independent, it is refreshing to see Ram Emmanuel willingness to go against its own party's biggest supporter (the Union) to tackle the issues that everyone in the past have avoided. I salute him for taking on the tough challenges and doing the right thing for our children.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        CDM: I know many teachers who do not have Master's Degrees- at least not yet. And if you compare what it takes to get a masters in education vs. a masters in business, any science or technology, or almost anything else you can think of, they are fairly different experiences. Getting a degree of a certain nominal level does not and should not automatically lead to a certain level of salary.

        September 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • grjane

      That said, out of my youngest's last three classroom teachers, two of which were first years.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • grjane

      The Second grade teacher was gender-biased, snotty, had a flawed classroom system that worked against even the most diligent student, refused gentle suggestions for improvement, and made unreasonable demands on the kids that simply couldn't be fulfilled by the poorest families.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • grjane

      The Kindergarten teachersimply wasn't a good fit for little kids. She was cold, impatient, demanding, and had unrealistic academic and social expectations for 4-5 year olds.

      I gritted my teeth, kept my mouth shut, and breathed a sigh of relief when school was finally over for the summer each time.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  56. ROMNEY 2012

    The world doesn't need more lazy union teaching jobs. Let the Priests and Ministers of the good Christian Churches teach the children with the righteous and correct messages and learning's that made America GREAT!

    Obama just wants more union stooges to force feed kids to rely on the government and to vote democrat.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • jason

      OK fella, who's buying? Get a grip. The vast majority of teachers I know are "union" because they have to be. Otherwise they are very cnservative. you know, personal responsibility and all. The teachers unions need to be pushed out of the political process an just represent the teachers in appropriate situations. It would help the public perception of teachers.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • UTGRAD

        Jason, I'm in a "Right to work state" (Texas). Starting teacher pay (state base) is about 25K. Unions help fight the state governments that underfund education. Education itself has become political, so unions are needed to protect both teachers, and the kids from special interests imposing their will through government.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Tom

      But if that were really true, he would not have supported Michelle Rhee.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jane

      Do you mean the "learning's" that left out the lesson of apostrophes? Religious education does not have a place in the public education system. Priests and other religious figures should not be teaching their "messages" in public schools.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Allison

      You are a Tool. Yeah, what this country needs is more rich, lazy, poor blaming people. I would vote for HItler before I would vote for this Tea Bag.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • ROMNEY 2012

        All the proof we should need. This wacko democrat just said she would vote for HITLER?!?!?!

        And for some reason I am the crazy one? Wow, you have completely lost it. Go to your nearest church and pray for forgiveness.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • UTGRAD

      This is sarcasm....right?

      September 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • derp

      "The world doesn't need more lazy union teaching jobs"

      You do realize that the strong union states like VT, NJ, NY, MD, MA and VA consistently outperform the non union and weak union states in every measurable public education criteria.

      Maybe we should unionize all the states teachers so the kids would score higher in the states that suck.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Shiny Happy Person

        VA is NOT a union's a right to work state. Our "union" is merely an association with no negotiation rights. We lost our longevity benefits last year locally, our promised retirement benefits statewide from a deal made with the General Assembly in lieu of raises, no raise in sight for years to come. I am happy to have a job teaching when so many other people have been cut but at the same time, I am tired of being asked to continue to put in so many more hours that are unpaid. If I hear ONE more person tell me that I get 2-3 months for vacation, my head will explode.....I only get paid for 203 work days a year(10 months) NOT 12 months. I choose to get my 10 month paycheck spread out over 12 months. I work jobs during the summer to make ends meet.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • ROMNEY2012

      Seems like every week there is a story about some worthless union teacher sleeping with 14 year olds. The unions let these pigs thrive while they keep the REAL teachers from making a good honest wage. Sandusky was big on the Unions, but you democrat trash don't like facts do ya.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • Michaela

        ROMNEY2012 is your user name? Really? Are we a little obsessed and slightly psycho? Where are your little hearts? I <3 Romney, maybe? Get a life! I'm pretty sure Gov. Romney would not have the time of day for you once he had your vote.

        September 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • annoyed

      Can you please please please respect the fact that there are people who live and work in the United States who have religions other than Christian? Everyone's religious belief is a private decision between that person and their God or Gods. And it just seems ignorant on your behalf when you make comments like that. I know your heart is in the right place, but I feel that God would prefer that you treat everyone with compassion and kindness and respect no matter who they are, just as Jesus did.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  57. m1234

    Tip #10 for unionized teachers:
    Always make sure you put the hotties next to the teacher's desk.
    And schedule lots of after school activites with them

    September 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  58. AZTeacher

    I have just started my 4th year of teaching high school government in South Phoenix. I arrive at work at 7am and leave at 4pm–if I don't have an AVID, IB, professional development, or PLC meeting after work. I have 217 students I am responsible for this semester. I am also the student government teacher which means I run all community service on campus, every dance, every pep rally, every spirit week, etc. I do indeed have lots of "time off" so to speak but I also don't get paid for it. I spend much of my summer at trainings, meetings, and preparing for the next school year. I make a whopping $38K a year(no raise in 4 years) which is bolstered a bit by a decent health insurance policy and a state retirement plan (which is totally insolvent right now so who knows if I'll ever see it). It disturbs me to see some of the comments below about teachers having such an easy career. I think Fiona said we ought to join the real world and see how hard it is. Wow–they have no clue! There are awful teachers indeed but the only way you will see an improvement in education is if we can collectively as a nation support the system. Parents need to be more involved and teachers need more support. But if anyone still thinks it's cake get your fingerprint clearance card and come job shadow me for a week–heck a day would suffice.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Brian

      Oh dear lord you work a normal 9 hour shift 180 days a year, how do you ever survive?
      Rule Number 1: If you have to spend a good amount of your time convincing people your job is hard, it probally isn't.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • Chuckobuck

        #11 Get a separate degree outside of education – just in case.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • WOTAN

        Why don't you read what the lady wrote – she pointed out that she has more than a 9 hr day, more than 5 days a week, and the summer is NOT free time like people think it is. You don't read it becasue you are are pile of vile bile, an ignorant, beligerent, self-centered american slime of the universe – a mindless bag of rotting bacteria – not worthy of life as an intelligent being – and, its 2012, so, bye bye.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • AZTeacher

        Oh are indeed correct–clearly I have an easy 9 hour a day job. But unlike you when I get home at 4:45 (long drive) I don't get to watch tv and troll facebook like you. I get to grade 217 papers and plan the next day's lesson. Somewhere in there I try to find time to eat and spend a little time with my fiance. But sure it's easy and I'll admit I love what I do. So easy I am ending this post so I can get ready to welcome 36 17 year olds to my classroom to teach them how the electoral college system works. Enjoy your day and also–if this job is so easy–why aren't you a teacher? My bet is you wouldn't last 2 weeks.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • C


        Welcome to the real world. Most people with jobs work just as hard, if not harder. I'm not sure when teachers started believing that these kinds of expectations were abnormal.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • jason

        Hey Einstein, it's spelled PROBABLY. You only see the 180 days of PAID TIME. Again, if I only worked my 8 hours for 180 days I could never be a decent teacher. You are a moron. Go back to sleep.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • UTGRAD

        Brian has no clue. A friend on mine is a first year teacher and has been staying up until 1am grading papers, doing research and writing plans for what the next lesson will be and the best way to teach it. Get out and shadow some teachers and then form an informed opinion, not just one that you blindly follow from a radio host.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • WOTAN

      I can make it better for you,for all of us, but the wholly-ignorant public will elect the same mentally-deficient people they have been electing for 30 years or more, so, I can't help you. For one thing, even Bill Gates didn't have a computer in school, nor did anyone else who invented computers and most of the technology we have today. The guys that sent men to the moon and the ones who designed the shuttle and the international space station did not have computers in their K-12 systems either. Nobody over 50 yrs old saw a computer until college, if then, and we built this country. Teach that.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mikey

      Would you like some cheese with your whine?
      Get a clue. Real people with real jobs work far harder than you ever will, and never raise a peep of complaint. No-backbone liberal...

      September 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • Tom

        ...and remember. "Mikey" knows everything.

        Or so says everyone at the Jiffy Lube where he works.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • DW

        You are very wrong. As I said in another post, I am a financial professional (15 years) and work over 50+ hours a week. My wife is a teacher (17 years) and works many more hours than I do per year. She makes a fraction of what I do, but deserves to make more. Especially considering that her job actually makes the world a better place... unlike mine... I just make my bosses money. She loves her job and doesn't complain about her salary because it was a choice she made (she is brilliant and could easily out earn me, but wants to make a difference with her life and career rather than just make some bank... though these days, working for the greater good is somehow considered un-American to more and more people). However, I will complain on her behalf when nitwits start throwing stones out of ignorance. Know that good teachers often spend more time working outside of school hours than they do during school hours.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  59. reality check

    She forgot the most important part...find a teaching job first!

    I don't think anyone has a clue how many new teachers that are newly minted and can't find a teaching job anywhere. Anyplace in the Northeast is darn near impossible to find a job, unless you went to be a math teacher. Then you MIGHT have a chance. Even then I know a handful of math teachers still out of work.

    Great advice...doesn't do you any good when you can't even get a chance though.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  60. Whoever

    QUIT NOW,Find another profession that will actually reward you for your work.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Ramona Powell

      AMEN! My husband is teacher, underpaid, overeducated and overworked! Worst profession in the world! Especially in California! Find a better job!

      September 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • jocelynplease

      And who, if you don't mind me asking, will teach our nation's children if someone doesn't step up to the plate. No teacher walks into their first classroom with out the complete knowledge that they are going to work more than 40 hours a week, get low wages, frozen pay, yelled at by parents, ignored by students, forgotten by administration. They do it anyways. Many of them work more than 1 job to make ends meet. But they still go to their classroom each morning and try really hard to live up to expectations.
      Who will do it if our teachers don't? You're asking for failure. Do you even realize what that means?

      September 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • Victor Tonelli

        After 2.5 years of absolute MISERY, I was laid-off from high school teaching job in an affluent California district in 2008. Since school districts all over were slashing teachers, I had NO option but to explore an alternate career. It was the GREATEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME. I am now making less $$$ in an admin job, yet I am finally a happy person. No more loud-mouth, ill-mannered, spoiled brats yelling in class. No more tedious lesson planning and grading tests all night long. NO MORE!!!

        My advise to prospective teacher: You will leave the profession within 5 years! GET OUT NOW before you end up sticking around for the retirement and medical benefits.


        September 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  61. Mark

    She left out the part about ditching the children to protest anti-union governors who were rightly voted in by the people of their respective state. And don't forget to get the fake "doctor notes" while they're out there so they can still get paid with taxpayer money. Remember, "it's all about the children."

    September 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Yaggi

      ....finally, someone that's more cynical than I am...LOL – (so true)

      September 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • reform teaching

      I see by the comments here that most people are smarter than to believe the smarm this woman is selling...the REAL story is in the budget cuts, the pay cuts, no paper for homework, teachers having to buy it all themselves, clueless over paid administrators, waste, union dues that go to support political campaigns, and the list goes on and on and on...!

      Don't be a teacher! And stop selling it with lies!

      September 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • DW

      Make administrators accurately and fairly access their faculty on a regular basis with built in checks and balances to prevent abuse and bias (like most corporations have), and the need for unions will disappear. As it is, many administrators only observe their teachers 1-2 times per school year for maybe one class period... if even that often. How can someone really judge their staff with that level of oversight?

      September 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  62. Marc


    September 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Brian

      Was that something that you thought was acceptable?

      September 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • Yaggi

        LOL...I thought it should be #1 – validates all my earlier comments by putting it almost out of the top ten....

        September 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  63. sameeker

    There needs to be a system of parental accountability in place. Parents are simply too lazy to parent their kids anymore and work with the teacher to provide the best education to their children. Our job is to TEACH. It is not to babysit and raise your kids. I can tell within ten minutes which of my students have good parents and which don't.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Yaggi

      Unfortunately, it's too late for that. This genertion of kids will end this country in our lifetimes....

      September 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • DW

        LOL... that has been the refrain of the old since time immemorial.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Brian

      True. You want students to do well on these "high stakes" tests? If a student does well, tax break! If they fail, tax hike. This underachievement would be curtailed dramatically within a year or two of parents having to pay extra when little Johnny failed the test.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Thomas

      Amen, a teacher I know told me she had a student who came to school with her hair uncombed, so she would combed the child hair a put ribbons in her hair so she would look nice. After a week of that , she told the child, to ask her mom to fixed her hair for her. The child reply, that her mom said the teachers are ones to comb her hair. If that not crazy. My hats go off to teachers

      September 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  64. Yaggi

    My advice: don't have s. e-x with the kids or you'll be back on CNN!!! LOLOLOLOL

    September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  65. rick1948

    Anyone who is willing to put up with other people's kids to try to teach them for what the pay is gets my vote for hero of the year.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  66. glenview0818

    Teachers hold our future in their hands; they need help, not criticism. Somewhere we lost our respect for teachers and they had nothing to do with it. I believe some people think their children are learning everything they need for the future from the TV and Internet, and I am afraid of a future run by people that are byproducts of those devices.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Yaggi

      ....well, be afraid – very afraid because America is on the fast track to being nothing more than a note in a Hstory book.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • DW

        Again, the same old song that old people have song throughout the ages. BTW- if you are over 40 like me, you too helped create what you curse.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • learning is everywhere

      Glenview: learning occurrs everywhere every day of the week and year. The most critical skill any person can and must master is learning how to learn on their own. Teachers get kids started in the classroom, parents continue the education by providing high quality materials, including supervised access to the internet and TV programming. The internet provides the sum of human knowledge at the other end of a keystroke. The key is in knowing how to search, what to search for and how to distinguish crap from valuable content. Most U.S. citizens cannot do the last requirement. Bigfoot anyone?

      September 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  67. Bill

    My advice to new the spitwads!

    September 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  68. Magistra_Elizabeth

    I didn't realize there were so many people so full of poison about the teaching profession right now (see comments below for way more than anybody should have to deal with for one article). I'm a first-year teacher, and while I may be green and naive with regard to how things work in schools in general, the public high school where I work is far better off than the one I attended in terms of resources, teachers, and administrative support, and I haven't even changed states.
    Thank you, Rebecca, for this article. While I may be a newbie I came into education realizing that it's more than a job–it's a calling, and people who think of it as a job won't last very long. Teachers may deserve to be paid more (as some other comments vehemently assert), but there are also people in poverty who deserve to be millionaires, so I'm not about to start complaining.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • John

      Not yet, but your time will come.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Mark

        Exactly. I'd give it a couple of years before it turns from being "all about the children" to being "all about my perks and taxpayer-funded retirement plans and Viagra."

        September 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  69. TheMagusNYC

    Great suggestions that will take time to absorb and apply. In the meantime, do not dismiss us veterans as burned out and costing twice as much as "energetic, young, fresh blood." Those labels come from those seeking to privatize public education and destroy union protections.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Doc

      "Energetic, fresh young blood" is just another way of saying "people who will work for less money and have little experience." It saddens me. There are so many amazing teachers out there making a difference and changing lives, who are pressured by administrators to do more and more with less resources, then penalized when children underperform.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Doc

      ...and public school should NEVER be privatized. That's why it's called PUBLIC SCHOOL.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Nancy

      Amen to that. I worked just as hard in my last years as I did in the beginning! Most of the really good colleagues I had were the older experienced ones. And, in my state, experience does not translate into significantly more money. Average "longevity pay" raises are about $600 per year given once every four years.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  70. Truthbetold

    Good advice....if you can get a job as a teacher. At least here in NY state the market is flooded and there are hundreds of applicants for most openings.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  71. badcyclist

    As a long-time teacher and part-time cynic, I was ready to read this article for laughs. But this article is exceptionally thoughtful and actually has a lot of good advice for new teachers. Thumbs up.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  72. John

    My advice to new teachers–keep your resume current, as it won't be long before you decide to move on. The teacher bashers are alive and well and posting on this site.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Thomas

      Seem like folks in Ohio blame teacher for our bad economic problems. Folks are saying teacher make so much money they are driving BMW and Mercedes Benz. Also saying they are lazy because they only work half days and get the summer off.
      I know teacher at my church, they don't drive top of the line cars, they used their own money to buy supplies for kids who can't afford them. During the summer they take classes that they paid for themselves, to better teach. And working a half day, they bring work home. The ones who are calling them lazy. How about the parents who don't see to it that homework are done, or go to school meetings.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Andrea

      Even if you don't want to move to another profession, the annual "pink slips" handed out in California may speed you on your way. The up side may be a better career where your hard work and education may make your life better and easier! Take your ideals with you.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  73. PeterD

    National award for seven grade English Teacher is a Political move from barry and a Joke. There are far better deserving High Scholl Grade Math and Science Teachers who desrves award more than this political propoganda.

    September 5, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Not A Teacher

      Did you fill your post with mispellings on purpose or do you really not know how to write? I bet the irony is lost on you: a teacher basher who complains about inept teachers being honored but the basher himself shows how poorly educated he is through his writing. Par for the course on CNN comments!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • Meg

        Well said and well written. I am sick of people posting without either checking grammar or spelling. But then again, one would have to know how to spell or use proper grammar in the first place. I personally can't stand those that bash teachers. Yes there are some good ones and there are some bad; just like in any profession. I say to those who bash, you try and be in a classroom for a week with those little people and see how YOU fare!! And NO I am not a teacher either.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Annoying Pedant

        " I personally can't stand those that bash teachers."

        Do you mean "those who bash teachers"?

        September 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Chris

      Ever teach 7th Grade, yourself? Hardest Grade I've ever touched. Doesn't matter how smart you are, if you can get 7th Graders to do ANYTHING, then you're an awesome teacher!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • 7thGrade=Puberty


      Ever taught at a middle school? Seventh graders are hitting that wonderful time of puberty where the hormones start raging and they question every bit of authority thrown at them. At this point in their academic careers they have no choice but to attend school. With our dropout rates for high school students, they have a choice to either go or not go, so chances are, those students in high school want to learn and be educated which basically makes the jobs of those teachers somewhat easier. Give me 2-5 or high school students anytime. Kindergartners and first graders are too babyish and the middle schoolers are just disrespectful...

      September 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  74. Evan

    Good advice all around, though a 'short list' of 9 elements might be intimidating for a new teacher to implement all at once. Try to pick and choose what you can do for the first year.

    However, #8 is critical for new teachers. If one works too hard or too long on trying to perfect everything the first go around, one will be 'one and done' unfortunately. I've seen it happen and it isn't worth it. Try to get that free time in to put things in perspective and be your non-teacher self. Eventually one will realize that it takes years to get close to a perfect system, so don't try to do it all in one's first year.

    September 5, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  75. Fiona

    Please, new teachers, do not join the "poor us" schoolteacher brigade! Do not constantly those of us who work 10-12 hours a day, with maybe a couple weeks off if we can find the time...that you are underpaid and under appreciated. You work part time. You have summers off (or equivalent time off of you are on year-round schedule). You have weeks off during the scool year. You get home early enough to see your kids, have dinner, have lives. If that's not enough of a trade1off for you, stop teaching and get a job in the real world and see how you like it.

    September 5, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Ellie

      Really? You have no idea what it is like to be a teacher. So you only work 10-12 hours, huh? What, that's it???? So ignorant! I've seen people who have switched careers come and go in the education field. Before you post an ignorant comment without any experience try teaching for a day and see how that goes for ya!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
      • A Teacher Myself

        I am one of those people who left a good career in law to become a grade school teacher. I can't believe the rampant self-righteousness and socialized martyr mythology that permeates public school teachers. From the way my colleagues talk, one would think they could give lessons to Jesus on sacrificing. It sickens me to listen to organizations like the teacher unions try to peddle the "poor teachers" construct; teachers do not know how good they have it (tenure, lavish pensions, no accountability for results) . Our teachers have the local PTO wrapped so hard around its fingers the PTO has "teacher appreciation days" where they buy gifts for the teachers, even though the kid's test scores are miserable (I don't take the gifts; my paycheck from the taxpayers is enough, and the parents should save the money for the kids). What is needed is accountability and results; students fail to learn because teachers fail to teach. Simple as that. There is no magic in teaching, no "innate ability" or call from God to do it. Anyone can be trained to be a teacher. But if that little secret were public, teachers would lose their "mystique" and... brace yourself... have to work at a job where there are *gulp* expectations!

        September 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • John

      Your "real world" is not the same as mine. Improve your skills and get a different job, yours sucks.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • DW

      I've worked in a high pressure financial career for the last 15 years. I put in 50+ hours a week. I only get a couple weeks off a year and some years end up giving some of that time up to work. My wife is a teacher who gets summers, Christmas, Easter, etc. "off." She gets home 2 hours before me everyday. So on the face of things, it sounds like you might be right... but you are not. You are dead wrong. She works many more hours than me in the long run. Her job is more demanding, meaningful and MUCH MUCH more important than my career (and I have a good one IMO). Even though it will never happen, I truly believe that she deserves to make considerably more than me. If you really think that teachers are "part-time" you are ignorant of what really goes into teaching young people and your comments do America a disservice by minimizing the efforts of the people who we trust our future to. Shame on you.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • Dave C

        Thank you DW. My wife is also a teacher and you said it perfectly.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • derp

        Nailed it.

        Yes, I am a corporate executive who works 50-60 hours a week, and has to travel, and work weekends etc etc etc. However, I make three times what my teacher wife makes. Last year my bonus was more than her yearly salary. If your job sucks, and you are underpaid, and you have lousy benefits with zero time is not a teachers fault, it's yours.

        I get paid substantially more than any teacher I know. I also work a lot more than any teacher I know. Working in the private sector offers me UNLIMITED earning potential, but guarantees me nothing. Working as a teacher offers LIMITED earning potential, but guarantees my wife good benefits and a secure retirement. It's trade off. She will never ever in her career make as much as I have for the last 15 years in a row.

        If you are not doing as well as a public school teacher, look into a mirror and ask yourself why you are not.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        The teacher arguement is a very tricky one, and I am speaking as someone who has a partner who is a K-1 teacher and she and I DO NOT see eye to eye on this issue at all.

        She states that teachers deserve to be paid more, and has argued that they deserve a high 5 figure to low 6 figure salary. She states that teachers do not just work the hours that school is in session, but they also work on lesson planning, grading assignments, preparing for projects, speaking with parents, volunteering on school committee's, etc. So her job is actually 2-3 hours longer each day than many people think. Her weekends are also spent working on school related items. Her vacation time is ample but the "paid-summer" is actually a 9 month check that is stretched across 12 months. So she make less per pay period, but in turn collects a check over the summer. She is a strong advocate for more teacher pay and I disagree.

        Though I see her point, the fact remains that the public school system churns out a sub-par product nowadays and no one wants to advocate for paying someone more for bad results...even if the product is their child's education. Many argue that this bad product (students who do not have the skill to continue their education or make their way in a profession) is not the fault of the teachers, and that is very much true. The fault lies with many parts of the system: overfunding of administration, students without enough support at home, parents who are so busy trying to work to pay bills and feed the family that they do not have time to support their child's education, students who do not have the resources to overcome learning disabilities, the neighborhoods and streets these kids have to battle that are like war zones, etc. These are all real barriers in the landscape of education and when I discuss the issue with her, these things don't get brought up....only her paycheck. My questions is: "how will paying teachers more money help with the issues that really are hurting the education system?"

        Secondly, American's education system is like an irresponsible child with money...they don't spend it well or wisely. I believe there is enough money in the system now to give a boost to teacher pay...the thing is you have to pull it from the paychecks of administrators and superintendents. The average U.S. public school spends more then $11,000 per child. The average U.S. Catholic school spends about $9,000 per student and they outperform public school in a dramatic way (I spent 10 years in Catholic school, and my family is not Catholic but the educational value is what mattered to them.), and though their teachers make less...their teachers are much happier with their jobs, on average they stay with a school 3 times longer that the average public school teacher stays with their school and they do not report some of the issues that public school teachers report, such as multiple out of pocket expenses for school supplies. Many even get stipens to prepare their rooms for the year. Say what you will about private looks as if the public school system could use some financial lessons from the private school system on budgeting. Before teachers and their unions start demanding more money, I think some re-budgeting is in order. I think triming some administrative fat and having a financial planner on hand could really put our tax dollars to better use. Freeing up excess funds would benefit teachers and students.

        Speaking of unions. Teachers MUST get rid of their union. Teachers – Your union seems ridiculous and seems to only be interested in the status quo, keeping bad teachers and getting more benefits. Your union is tainted in the eyes of the public and they are keeping you from being taken seroiusly. They are the main reason why no one wants to pay you more. First, you should review whether you still need a union...and if you believe that you do, then get a new one. I, like many, have seen first-hand the damage the teachers unions can do. They block new charter schools and educational opportunities, they bad-mouth alternative schools because they don't hire union teachers and the belittle teachers who are not in their union. They are bullies and their are protecting you by throwing their weight around at the expense of children and families...your union s*cks.

        Basically, adding money to a teacher's paycheck isn't going to, no one wants to because honestly, many people don't think teachers deserve it. Try these 5 things (I tell my partner the same thing but she doesn't believe me)
        1. Audit your own system! I have actually looked at the numbers and "administrative cost" can take up to 30% of a school's budget. That is ridiculous. Teachers – insits that there be a cut administrative cost and bring it down to 15%
        2. Fire or drastically restructure your union. The unions should appear to advocate for education and not only for themselves. Put into place your own systems of accountability and some yearly professional education requierments could not hurt either. Turn teaching from a "job" to a "profession".
        3. Parent,parent, parent – No it is not your job to raise a child...but for the children who have parents who are too busy, too stressed, aren't there or simply don't are a parental figure. Enbrace that and show that you care about these children like they are your own. Be sure that you are active in your community and that you understand what your kids are going through. Become leaders and advocate for what your community needs (playground, fresh produce, clean-up, computer access, training, etc). . Become a leader for parents who aren't doing a great job and a partner for parents who are.
        4. More school – Those summers need to be cut a little shorter...not because "teachers need to get back to work" but because...the rest of us are working and with parents working and kids out of school, extra funds that could be paid to teachers go to day care, camps, playgroups, babysitters and nannies. I would have no problem paying more money to teachers who worked through the summer. I don't mean sticking kids into a classroom all summer, but having teacher work with students on art, drama, music, outdoor education, fundraising, sports, etc. No lesson planning or papers to grade...just fun, educational activities (make a dream catcher or learn about differnt types of clouds or slugs). Children learning in a structures and supervised environment, teachers earning more money while working (though not as hard) during the summer and parents, with supervised activities for their kids with people they trust during the summer, minimizing or eliminating the need for summer child care. Wanna know how to pay for it? See point #1.
        5. This is an expansion of #2. You are a profession, demand that you be treated as such. Don't trade bad teachers to different schools...don't allow any "C-" slug to become a teacher. Demand educational requierments, demand professional development, demand more collaboration between teachers and state officials. Demand that you be taken are not the future doctors, lawers and scientist...but you are training them and their success depends on how good you are.

        Teacher's of the U.S. (and my lovely partner) I wish you the best.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • DW

        To A. Dixon: Thank you! While I do not have time to respond as your post deserves, I want to thank you for showing that people can have thoughtful, intelligent conversations even when they disagree. It is refreshing to read something with some depth and sublety of thought even if I disagee overall. Thank you. Sadly though, I suspect there is a large portion of the people here who saw your detailed and nuanced post and thought "TL/DR" (too long/didn't read).

        September 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Becky

      i don't know where you work for just 10 hours a day, but a teacher generally gets to school between 7 and 7:30am, receives students around 8am, supervises the exits after school and stay until around 4 or 5pm. then, again, the majority of teachers go home to continue their work, grading papers, tweaking lesson plans, writing up IEP/behavioral plans, all to educate our children. Then have to find out that the state that is supposed to be backing them, is making cut after cut. They are not eligible for social security, so when their retirement time comes they better damn well hope the district has paid in their portion just like the teacher has had to all those years. Signed, a parent, not a teacher!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • tim miles

      wow condescending and ignorant, you must be quite a catch!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Cathy

      I have to say that it's people like you who are the reason why kids don't take teachers seriously anymore and make our jobs so much more difficult. "The real world?" Trust me I live in the real world. I don't complain about my job, but it is not all fun and coloring. Have some respect for the people who are teaching the future of America and working hard to succeed. I respect people who are working in healthcare, business, marketing, I have a master's degree in math education, so I would only expect the same level of courtesy to be shown to me.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Cahoulie

      Fiona, apparently you have never been in the education field. Most of what you said is not true. Part time work? summer's off? Teachers put in endless hours outside of the classroom grading papers, preparing lesson plans and talking to parents, nights and weekends both. Summers are spent in required training. Gone are days of the "free" summer. After 24 years in education I now work in the business world I now see how much I did that I did not get "paid" for. I loved every minute of it but when I comes down to it, it is a job and people deserve to make a decent living. Get your facts straight.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Teacher

      Fiona, why aren't you teaching, then, if it's so easy?

      September 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Laura

      I have a friend who is a teacher. She goes into work before the kids around 7 am and stays late grading papers, meeting with parents, professional development, planning etc...every day of the week. On the weekends, she grades and plans so I don't know what you mean about a part time job. Oh and during the summer, she has to attend mandatory meetings and professional development classes. She also goes through student files and plans for the new school year so there goes the summer. A new teacher was fired from her school. He had been an accountant for twenty years but couldn't last a quarter in elementary school. You clearly have no idea of what you are talking about. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs out there. You are clearly mistaken with your assumptions.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Art

      So according to your logic, lawyers, for example, only work a few hours a week. How you ask? Well if I stood in a lawyer's office with a stop watch keeping track of how much time he spends in it, I'll bet it's only a few hours a day. Oh but he also spends time in court, you might say. Oh really? According to your rules, only time spent in your official place of business counts. Teachers often spend more time doing work outside the classroom that in it. I have met dozens of people who left private enterprise to go into teaching. Most left within 2 years. Why if it's so easy? The ones that stayed said it was much harder than the jobs they lef but liked it enough to stay. Only an idiot thinks they know what a job is like without ever doing it.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • meme

      I am a teacher and I indeed work physically 10 hours a day every day. I also work an extended year (with the month of July off, which I use for planning). My paycheck says I work 40 hours a week, my contract says 50 and in actuality, it ends up being more like 55. I work in the inner city with ZERO air conditioning and hardly any money for paper in the xerox machine. I am good at what I do and getting better all the time. It has not been easy, but it has made me strong!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • teacher

      I've taught for 25 years. I make 50,000 a year with a masters degree. I leave school and go to a second job. I work 5-6 days a week in the summer. I don't get home in time to have dinner with my kids. I do this to make ends meet and provide for my family. I know many others that do this as well. No complaints here! I do consider it the real world.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Brian


      Teaching is not a job as you conceive of it. A teacher gives an assignment in class. The grading of this assignment does not happen in class; it happens during the teacher's "free" time. Oh wait, those lesson plans that must be completed weeks before school starts, when do you think that happened? Yep, during ALL of that time off. Oh yes, there is not just one assignment for one class but there are 7 classes in a day, and you must upload all of those graded assignments by the end of the week, in between IEP meetings, and conferences for ESE and ESL students. Whoops, there goes lunch. Oh you want to take a break? Sorry, you are the teacher, and your administrator can walk in for observation at any time. You go full speed for the school day, and then you have to plan for the upcoming sessions, collect materials, make copies (by the way, you have a limited number of copies, and the printer is broken), and then afterwards you have fill out administrative reports, and grade everything. So yes, there is time off, but any good teacher regularly risks their job becoming their life and subordinating their needs and wants to that of their students.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Ed

        THANK YOU Brian! But I have a feeling people like Fiona, those that have a whole lot to say about teachers without any experience themselves or those that put down ANY decent career just won't get it. They are too miserable about their own lives so they have to put other people down.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Brandon

      Please share with us how many years have you spent in the classroom so that we can all be comfortable trusting that you know what you're talking about.

      September 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  76. Pete

    "Are you ready to be sneezed on? Cried on? Laughed at? Hugged to death?"

    Or sued for doing anything whatsoever around some hyper-litigious lawsuit lottery craving American's kid?

    September 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  77. Former Teacher's Husband

    What? Be sure to carve out 2 weekday nights and a "whole day" on the weekend for yourself? But I thought teachers only had a 6-8 hour day, 165 days a year? Don't they have all the weekends and nights off?

    So teachers should spend their smallish paychecks on supplies for the classroom kids who forget their stuff? Isn't that the kid's responsibility? Or the schools?

    Hey, don't go giving out treats in class...that's against health and fitness rules....and oh by the way, who's gonna pay for those treats?

    It sure sounds like you're advocating for teachers to enslave themselves to the profession...sounds a lot like taxpayer parents who refuse to grant pay raises and then ask teachers to commit more personal time to the school in the name of "the kids' best interests."

    September 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • William Spendlove

      Welcome to the system, people like construction workers have to buy tools.. they're not furnished for us. :p

      September 5, 2012 at 11:46 am |
      • Fitz

        True, but those carpenters don't have to buy the electricians their wire, the plumbers their pipes, the drywallers their mud, the brick layers their bricks, the finish carpenters their trim, the countertop guys their granite, the landscapers their trees, the foundation guys their forums, the roofers their get the point.
        Yes, I am a teacher.
        Yes, I've framed houses on and off for years.
        I have never bought a co-worker a tool while framing.
        I have spent thousands on children, who do not have the funds or the parents who care, to provide them with tools for learning.

        Let me guess, lawyers buy judges their robes and gavels too?

        September 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Danielle Rossi

      Thank you.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Jun

      Where is everyone getting the idea that teacher's work only 6 hours?? They start at 7am and usually work until 4 or 5 pm. Some stay even later to plan depending on the teacher. I agree getting their summer's off is nice, but it's not like they are receiving a check for the time off. No wonder American education sucks, it's because so many disrespect the teaching profession. Look at other countries, teachers are held with the upmost respect and those countries are squashing the Americans. Oh and no I am NOT a teacher. I just wish this country had a little more respect for the people educating the next generation.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Thegoodman

        I got the idea from my friend who went from a science field into teaching. He has told me it is as easy and great as it sounds.

        I want to some day be a teacher (I am currently an engineer with a lot of debt, unfortunately) for many reasons, one of them is the ample amounts of vacation time. I don't understand why so many teachers insist that they are martyrs. Their careers are important and difficult, but not without perks. 7:00am-4:00pm, in the AC, with 6+ weeks of vacation a year sounds pretty awesome to me. Throw in a couple 6 day weeks in each month for good measure and you still have a terrific schedule. The job may be mentally and emotionally taxing, but that doesn't make the schedule any less awesome.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
      • BioHzrd420

        I just started teaching and if you are getting into it just for vacation time and a 6 hour day then you are sorely mistaken and will probably make a poor teacher.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • angryersmell

        Your friend either secretly hates you or is a liar.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • Brandon

        Or your friend is an aweful teacher....

        September 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  78. EB

    Nice article with some very sound advice. From a school administrator's point of view, #5 'Discipline With Dignity' (surprise, surprise) is absolutely the foundation every successful classroom is built on. Effective classroom discipline isn't about winning power play battles and lording over students, it's about redirecting students back to the task at hand, solving or avoiding issues before they become disruptive to the student and the class and finding the root cause of the disruptive behavior and working with the student and/ or teacher to tackle that issue. No matter how knowledgeable and enthusiastic they are, if a teacher can't get a handle minor classroom discipline quickly, they will be facing a very long and very frustrating school year.

    September 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • VtMe

      >Nice article with some very sound advice. From a school administrator's point of view, #5 'Discipline With Dignity' (surprise, surprise) is absolutely the foundation every successful classroom is built on.

      While I totally agree My personal experience/observation is that Discipline by Degradation is all too frequently practiced. I know way too many families to can identify a year and teacher from hell who work seemingly consciously to destroy a kid and we are not talking about so called brat kids either. Often these very same kids have a no-nonsense teacher whom they adore.

      September 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
      • EB

        I think you just hit the nail on the head as to why many people have such a disdain for teachers and the teaching profession. As is obvious by the comments to this article, many people have a very emotional reaction against teachers. I would guess the vast majority had a teacher(s) who were either tyrannical, arbitrary, or subjective in their method of classroom / school discipline. Every child deserves to be treated as an individual with fairness and respect. With discipline that means that students are aware of rules, the rules have a clear purpose in supporting the educational process, and the rules are applied fairly. It's really that simple.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  79. nhguy

    i have much better advice. get a career where merit gets you somewhere instead of time of service. i've been teaching – and loving it – for 10 years AFTER 25 years in the priviate sector and nothing will improve in education until compensation issues are changed. there are plenty of great teachers out there but even they'd improve based on merit pay.

    September 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • derp

      How do plan to implement that?

      September 5, 2012 at 11:17 am |
      • nhguy

        derp – the same way it's done in just about every other profession – your boss observes you, informs you of that observation and you make the adjustment. if you do it well you get a nice raise – not the same as everybody else. if you don't in the real world – you lose your job. in education you call your union and complain. i see you wife is a teacher – she should know this.

        September 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • DW

      You are right, but until there is a balance between union power and incompetent administration is hammered out, I don't see a fair way for this to happen. In many schools, administators do not manager their faculty well enough to make reasonable, non-biased staffing decisions. Instead, teachers are often judged by rumors, personality impressions and parental feedback. Even test scores are not always unbiased, because tracking (students being put in classes with other students of like skills) often causes some teachers to have a higher proportion of already high acheiving students than other teachers have. On the other hand, there are unions (not all... maybe not even most) that protect their members regardless of merit. Thus we end up with bad teachers in the classroom for decades after they should have been let go. Until we find a solution for this conundrum, merit pay will be very hard to implement in a fair or meaningful way.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Art

      Having your supervisor observe you is fine IF AND ONLY IF you can do things your own way. When a teacher is told how to teach, how long each lesson must be to the minute, even how to arrange her own classroom then it's wrong to grade a teacher on a lesson where the teacher has no say. In NYC the above mentioned situation is strictly enforced in most schools. I might also add that most administrators in NYC now have very little if any teaching experience.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • derp

      My wife has been observed once in the last three years. The administration simply does not have time to effectively evaluate teachers. As a corporate executive I have five direct reports that I supervise and evaluate annually. I struggle every year to find ways to fairly and appropriately, and I have unlimited time to do it. The HS where my wife teaches has thirty five teachers to each administrator. Each administrator has other responsibilities ranging from Principal, to Vice Principle, to Athletic Director, to discipline.

      Exactly how do you expect an administrator to effectively evaluate a teacher for overall career effectiveness even if they evaluate them once a year, or twice a year? So what do you go by? Do you think a person can spend one day with teacher in that class and truly evaluate their performance off of that? They would need to spend weeks with them. Do you think most administrators are properly trained to do a fair assessment of teaching ability? You better be prepared to hire another ten principals if you plan to do a fair and reasonable assessment of teaching ability. Because if you start screwing with salaries without a fair and thorough evaluation, you are going to be knee deep in lawsuits.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • nhguy

        derp – never heard of a "corporate executive" with so much time on their hands as you do trolling.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  80. Dan

    A few translations...
    intro) "Teaching your life's work". Because this job has low pay, long hours, and little appreciation. If you don't absolutely love the good parts, you will hate the experience.
    2) Pencils. Spend your own money to buy stuff for your kids because you are not allowed to expect them to handle such simple things as bringing a pencil. And your school is too cheap to provide the stuff.
    6, 7, 9) Sorry, not allowed. The district specifies what you are doing each day, and you are not supposed to deviate. Except no one pays attention to what you teach each day, so do whatever you want.
    8) Understand that the biggest impact on kids is not you, but their parents. Don't break yourself trying to help the kids whose parents are no help, because you cannot do it.

    September 5, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • byebyeobama

      Ha Ha – Low local HS – $88K is the average teacher wage. $150K for a principal. Free medical, 1 year off if you have a child, pensions with medical, 8 months of work (off days, three 1 week breaks, summer off), 7:45 to 2:30 work day, etc etc.
      Wonder why AMerica is bankrupt and taxes through the roof.........................

      September 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Concerned Parent

        I don't know where YOU live that teachers make THAT much salary, but I suspect you are either exaggerating or simply LYING in attempt to make teachers appear to be "bad" people! There are NO teachers in our community that make ANYWHERE CLOSE to that! Your screen name implies that you blame this ficticous "problem" on Obama! So, I would have to assume that you are nothing more than an ignorant, clueless, bigoted Obama-hater who is intentionally spreading LIES to try to hurt Obama's Campaign! Please go TROLL somewhere else!...

        September 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • Vince

        Where is this? I would be willing to move to teach in such a district. I've never even heard of a teacher that works the 7:45 to 2:30 school day and then heads home, this is a 6 hour and 45 minute work day. The district I teach in has a school day from 8:30 – 3:30, but teachers must be at school from 8am to 4pm minimally, but there are after school meetings a few times a week and morning bus duty means arriving by at least 7:30am. Most teachers stay much later than this, so I am certain that teachers in your district do the same. Teachers must also grade papers and develop lesson plans which requires far more time. Obviously you've never been a teacher, either that or your district is the best in America.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
      • DW

        In my area the districts with wages and benefits like that are in very wealthy suburbs. Also in my area, those schools with the more generous wage and benefit packages out perform surrounding districts by a considerable margin. I am really, honestly curious whether either of those apply to your disctict? It it a wealthy district and how are the results compaired to surrounding districts?

        September 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • Art

        byebyeobama.. Teachers might make 88K or more but that's AFTER 15 or more years of teaching AND with a BA, MA and 30 credits above that. I guess you have no idea how expensive those degrees are. 88K after so many years is a bargain compared to other professions that require those degrees (to get that salary) and how important the profession is. Name anotherprofession that requires those degrees and extra credits that makes 88K after so many years.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
      • Jay

        Yup... you figured it out. America is bankrupt because teachers make too much money. Brilliant!

        And I wanna know where your "local" HS is cause my job has no leave for childbirth (gotta take your own time off), insurance ONLY for me (cost me half of every paycheck to add my wife or son), and a shrinking pension thanks to the governor and people like you who don't appreciate teachers. You treat education like a second-rate profession and you still wonder why America is lagging behind the rest of the civilized world.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • derp

        "Ha Ha – Low local HS – $88K is the average teacher wage. $150K for a principal. Free medical, 1 year off if you have a child, pensions with medical, 8 months of work (off days, three 1 week breaks, summer off), 7:45 to 2:30 work day, etc etc."

        That principal makes considerably less than I do, and I bet he supervises about ten times the number of people I do. If you are making less than $88K a year, you screwed up somewhere in life. Don't be mad at teachers because they make more than you, be mad at yourself for never doing anything in life to put yourself in a position to do better.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  81. derp

    That's funny, my wife is teacher and requires that the students have supplies like a pencil, their book, and a notebook daily. She does not make an issue out of it, because it is part of her classroom expectation. She makes the rules, and the kids follow it. Don't have a pencil? You miss that days notes. Don't have the notes? You better get them from someone else or you won't be prepared for the test. Not prepared for the test? You fail.

    Just like in college.

    Her students learn quickly that they better be prepared. Her students do well in High School, but even better when they go on to college because she prepares them for it, and makes them be responsible for their own success or failure. Not making kids come to class prepared because "I simply have too much to do with kids to get bogged down by supplies" is the reason our schools are failing.

    Raise the expectation level, and they will rise up to it. Allow them to come unprepared, and they will. How in the world did this person become a teacher of the year.

    September 5, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • J Mil

      I assume your wife teaches at a public school for the sake of my argument. Good luck with that. A kid doesnt have a pencil and cant take notes? O NO! I am sure they will be terrified of that. If the parents dont care, why would the kids? that is the root of the problem, if a failing kid isnt disciplined by the parents, there is no incentive to do better. A teacher can keep failing these kids but guess what? they will be back the next semester, in the same class doing the same thing.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Cory

      Until you are actually in the profession I wouldn't be so quick to comment. Just because the person you go to bed with at night does it one way doesn't make her path the only path to success. Your wife would rather focus on responsibility apparently and is willing to leave certain students behind - on the flip side, the 'Teacher of the Year' would prefer to focus on the material and keep EVERYONE focused on learning her actual subject matter. Your wife is exactly what is wrong with the country – focus on the top performers and let everyone else drown. To fix our society we need more people capable of strengthening the middle and having the tools to reach higher.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • RG

        Requiring students to be prepared in class prepares them for life. If you showed up to work without your tools or to a staff meeting without something to take notes on, what would your bosses reaction be? What is you were habitual in being long would you have that job? I understand Mrs. Mieliwocki's decision not to fight the supplies battle, because it can be an arduous one. However, if you follow her advice in #1 and clearly share your expectations for the class, missing supplies need not be a battle.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • derp

        My wife is able to focus on the material because the kids come to her class prepared. It is not a desire, it is an expectation. She has managed to create culture where it is expected, even by the other students. Students are embarrassed to show up unprepared. Like I said, if you accept unpreparedness, they will come unprepared. If you create a culture where they are expected to be prepared, they will come prepared. Expecting them to be prepared and follow the rules, will take them far further in life them handing them a pencil. My wife has folders full of letters from former students who went on to college thanking her for preparing them for the experience, teaching them that they can accomplish anything, and believing in them.

        It all starts with discipline.

        I have read a bunch of comments suggesting that some kids won't care because of the lack of discipline at home. So we should just forget about it at school too? My wife does not care less that a child's parents are not disciplining them at home. She demands it in her classroom. The students follow the rules. They sometimes struggle at first, but almost all of them invariably come around. Many of them seek out the other courses she teaches BECAUSE of the classroom environment. She has almost zero discipline problems in a NJ school that is an SDA District.

        September 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Becky

      not all students are in high school and old enough to take the responsibility. What about the little kids who are at the mercy of their lazy parents? punish a 4th grader who can't control whether the parent can/will provide? Great idea!

      September 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Vince

      It seems that your wife must have the best class of public school students ever. Certainly this methodology works for students who have involved parents. Even if there are only a few students in the class who are apathetic then this method has created a huge problem. Not to mention the students whose parents care so little about their child's education that they will not even buy pencils. I had a parent tell me that their child "knows they need to come to school or I'll go to jail." If the only reason you can think of to send your middle school student to school is so you don't go to jail, there's nothing the teacher can really do.

      September 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm |