December 17th, 2012
01:36 PM ET

My View: Above all, teachers are in it for the kids

Courtesy CNNBy Donna Krache, CNN

Editor’s note: Donna Krache is executive producer of CNN Student News, and an editor of the Schools of Thought blog. She is a former middle and high school social studies teacher.

(CNN) – In the 1980s, when I stepped in front of my first class of high school students, we didn’t worry about attacks on schools. The phrase “school shooting” was not part of the education lexicon. The tragedy at Columbine High School was years in the future.

There was no Internet and no cellphones, a time most of today’s students would think was hundreds of years ago.

And yet, something that my first principal said about teaching still rings true today.

“No matter what some people will tell you,” he said, “anyone who is in teaching is in it for the kids.”

The teachers I know are certainly not in it for the money, nor the accolades, nor – despite what some believe – the two months off in the summer. That’s when many teachers find second jobs to make ends meet until they can return to their classrooms.

They’re in it in part because of a passion for a subject and for knowledge and they want to pass that love of history, or science, or math to the next generation.

But more importantly, they are in it for the kids.

I come from a family of teachers. Those teachers and all my teacher friends would do anything for their students. They’ve dipped into their own pockets for lunch money for kids who have none; they’ve given rides home when someone else forgets; they’ve miraculously produced a pair of gloves for a kid who spends recess with hands in pockets; they’ve listened to a child who needed to express fear or sadness.

They call their students “my kids.”

On some level, every act of compassion for a student is heroic. For some kids, the kindness extended by teachers is the only kindness they know. It’s not a requirement of the job, but it’s something many teachers do, never giving it a second thought.

But when did it become part of a teacher’s job description to protect the lives of their students and risk their own?

We see it over and over in stories of school tragedies in the past two decades: the heroic measures that teachers, coaches, principals and support staff display, all in the name of protecting their students.

We see it again at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and we stand in awe of this courage and commitment to young lives.

What is it that compelled principal Dawn Hochsprung to charge the shooter who threatened her school and kids? What prompted teacher Victoria Soto to position herself before a huddle of students, making herself the shooter’s target? How could a teacher like Janet Vollmer read aloud to calm her students as they heard gunshots?

All the educators at Sandy Hook will be forever remembered as heroes. It’s the kind of bravery we see everyday from police, firefighters and EMTs, but increasingly, we’re seeing it from those who teach our kids.

Why do they do it?

It would not surprise me if research someday determined that teachers are hard-wired not just with a passion for learning, but with a passion for the lives of their students, that heroism is part of their very being.

They might be all about learning, but above all else, they are in it for the kids.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Krache.


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Filed under: School safety • Teacher Appreciation • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (454 Responses)
  1. Darslow

    I agree that there is absolutely no reason for private citizens to possess assault weapon. A handgun is one thing, but an assault weapon such as a semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle should not be legal to own due to its high-capacity magazine clips and its potential to kill many people within a few minutes. That should have never been legal in this country. What has the world come to, when people can just walk in a gun shop, pass a background screening, and several days later, pay for and walk away with a military-style weapon that's specifically designed to kill (humans). I agree with many posters here – this problem will not go away until we 1) address the mental illness that engulfs our nation and 2) make common sense laws that limits private citizen ownership of assault weapons. Why do people feel that they need a weapon of this sort to protect themselves? If the government wanted you, they could have you in no time. Compared to the weapons they have, a private citizen would need more than an M-16 Bushmaster .223 rifle to do the job.

    December 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  2. Ben

    I had a teacher who from day one put his feet up on his desk and said "Turn to page __ and read silently...if you don't well I don't care I get paid wether you learn or not." True story...not all teachers are in it for kids. This was back quite a few years ago too.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • prettymuchjulia

      Whether. Obviously you didn't learn to spell from her.

      December 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  3. ProudTeacher

    I teach because i am good at it. I serve my country everyday by preparing the next generation of workers. "My kids" continue to come see me years after being in my class, to tell me how I made a difference in their life. I serve my country without a gun, without a fat salary, without receiving any medals or fanfare. I serve my country because "my kids" deserve a teacher who serves their country proudly.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • JKR

      I also teach and I agree, and let me say God bless you. I could never have it any other way myself. Many years ago when I asked why a priest or nun would decide to go into their vocation, I was told they "had the calling" to do so. Now I understand what that calling is and that is why I am a special education teacher.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    Society brings ALL of its problems and potential problems to the education system. Those not resolved are given back (to society.) I wrote that when I began teaching, over 20 years ago.

    There are not enough counselors (or teachers for that matter.) This 20 year old shooter should have been taught to play music, years ago, instead of guns at a shooting range. We can change laws, but until we change the mental health care system, we are spinning our wheels. This will happen again.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Karpew

      Absolutely. The precedent was set at Columbine-probably even earlier-for those who suffer severe, persistent, major mental health issues to target schools. Obviously guns aren't to blame-what 'typical' citizen wouldn't do something as unfathomable as this. It's the fact that there are no ways to support (and no support, period) people with mental illnesses unless they are incarcerated. And even then, what is happening in the prison system to help these people. Nada.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  5. Nietodarwin

    I have begun to tell some story, (maybe even about a school shooting when I was teaching) and always have to stop and correct "my kids" to "my students" when talking to a non-educator. I remember teachers who WERE parents talking about their kids, and then having to ask them "Do you mean your kids or YOUR kids?" Nice article

    December 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  6. Penny

    There are not enough tears to honor Vicki and the brave staff at her school for their heroic, selfless sacrifice on behalf of their dear young charges. One way I intend to honor Vicki's memory is to remember her and the other teachers and the principal of Sandy Hook, by doing nice things for my children's teachers, including but not limited to giving them thoughful thank you gifts when appropriate.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  7. Jim Callahan

    It is fifty – one years for me. I must agree that many of the teachers I have met certainly are extremely dedicated people. The only ones that I have met that do not fall into that category except one are those in leadership roles in teacher unions. Like Mr. Shanker said when asked when will you do something for the children. His answer was swift and to the point. His response was, as soon as they pay union dues. These leaders of these unions make sure that those who are not in it for the kids are able to remain in place for years and years. I have also met a number of those protected people who make pretense of being a teacher because they show up often at a school. Teachers on staff know who they are and will not let their personal children be in a class that they pretend to teach. Many times these actual teachers become the leader of the union in their district.

    To all the wonderful teachers I wish you a Merry Christmas to those of you who are pretenders I ask you to quit today.

    I also wish to say to those loved ones of the six teachers that lost their life protecting children, I will remember this member of your family forever, as they were more than teachers, they are and were a hero of the highest kind.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Really?

      Couldn't, for once, we just focus on the good teachers do without slamming the union?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Roman

      If these people are so hated, how are they rising into elected positions?

      Yes, please, condemn the guy who's doing his duty by representing the people whom he represents. Advocate for him to abuse his power by going against the will of his people. Sure, it sounds cold that he would dismiss the students that way, but the Union is integral to student well-being in that it protects their teachers, and his job is to protect those teachers so that they can, in turn, protect the students.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Maryanne

      If we say something enough times, I guess it becomes the truth. Although many like to repeat this quote attributed to Al Shanker, there is no proof he actually said it.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  8. Joe M.

    I'm a teacher and I can tell you why I would protect any of my students from a madman's bullet. Because I love them.

    December 19, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Laura

      I am a teacher, too. I love my kids/students, too. Couldn't have said it any better than you, joe!

      December 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • mimis

      Yes, most of my kids' teachers are very dedicated and loving in our district . Not all are, though. Some literally bully the students verbally even. Few but they exist. Obviously Sandy Hook students have been a very lucky group before this incident and those ladies were the best of the best. I do not want to get into individuals' behavior on a discussion with rightfully honors the very good teachers , but like in any other profession, some teachers' have chosen the wrong profession. They are not supposed to work with the young.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • shari ka

      Thank you, Joe

      December 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  9. joe pre-k teacher

    I have taught for 33 years. The teachers I admire are many; but the teachers, who are just collecting a paycheck, are growing in number.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • mimis

      Yes and no. Yes, some teachers are for the paycheck but regardless of age. Some young teachers are really good and hip . They engage the kids very well being closer to their generation and they are dedicated and energetic. On the other hand, we had a classroom teacher of 25 years experience who held grudge against 8 year old children if they spoke their mind. I had to tell my kid, very unwillingly, just to get done with that school year without going in much discussion with her, because the teacher cannot have an open mind.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  10. Chas.D

    I'm at a lost to understand that if God could part the Red Sea to enable the slaves to flee egyptian rule then why couldn't he save those babies or even prevent this from happening in the first place, may you rest in peace Vicki Soto, you will always have my heart and I will always think of you and your thoughtful actions to protect those babies......

    December 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Carl

      Seriously man, the Red Sea? You must still be living in the "Stoned" Ages. It was not the rRed Sea and Moses parted nothing, just a lucky high tide. In addition, the burning bush was probably a Mushrom hallucination and he carved those tablets himself.

      God is alive but in each of us to see and believe in as we wish. The God of the past is a false God, asthe people of the past understood nothing about life or science and were therefore pagan and simple.

      Today, jus because we have that understanding, it does not mean we abandon God or that he has abandoned us, only that we havE create a mess he cannot easily undo.

      Have faith and pray on your own. Collectively, all of us can make the change that gets this crazy world to a better place.

      A teacher.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  11. Basher

    Funny, the teachers I know anxiously await their retirement at 55.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • joe pre-k teacher

      Basher, you are the obvious reason why retirement is a thing to look forward to daily. By the by, did you come by your name honestly or was it because older kids were mean to you?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • pattyanne

      The ones waiting to retire have put in 30-40 years and are "burned out". They teach at least 5 days a week until 3:00pm or later and then they are required to have meetings. Next, they have to update lesson plans daily and finally they take home hours of paper work because the school building is closing for the day. Besides doing their work, the teacher has to be at school early for morning duties, such as hall, cafeteria, yard, etc. They also have afternoon duties, such as bus duty, helping car riders, tutoring, etc. I taught for over 40 years and I can tell you, most people wouldn't be teaching unless they loved the kids.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • Really?

        There's no use trying to talk to people like Basher. He's clearly never taught before.

        December 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Teacher for 36 years

      If teachers are looking forward to retirement, maybe it's time for them to go. Those of us who have been eligible for several years and still love our jobs, dread the day we will say goodbye for the last time. I love what I do, and would protect my "kids" with everything I have. That's just the way most of the teachers I know are wired.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • ProudTeacher

        I for one am sick of others griping about teachers retirements! Cops out at 20 years full benefits, military ditto, border patrol ditto, firefighters ditto! But not us teachers! 30 to 40 before we can retire. Why do others get such great retirement packages? It is because our communities only value those whom they deem valued or important. I for one work for my pay. Other profession get overtime for extra work. We get nothing for our overtime, we are just teachers with advanced college degrees who don't fight back because we are told we serve the public and must take it. Amazing how our society will pay millions to see athletic events but complain about teachers salaries. No wonder other countries are educated better. Those high functioning countries actually have the teachers and education as a high priority. Wow, we value athletes not education. Well , step on up to the unemployment line wearing your $120 athletic jersey.

        December 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • vivienne

      ha ha, what teacher can afford to retire at 55???

      December 23, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  12. MrsB

    I have taught preschool for 10 years. As some teachers have stated, I also found myself wide awake in bed this past weekend pondering what I would do if faced with a similar situation. Not for myself, but for them. Where would I take them? Where would I hide them? How would I keep them calm and quiet? I always call them "my kids" and although I don't have any biological children I doubt that the way I feel about my students would change based on that. I feel like some jobs/careers should be accepted with different expectations than others. This would include teachers, pilots, captains, etc. I don't think ship captains should be "falling" into rescue boats. Just as I don't think teachers should use children as shields. Whether these expectations are written in black and white or unspoken, we accept these responsibilities wholeheartedly. We are not in it for the money and as long as our bills get paid and we have spouses who accept that our weekends are not our own and the we don't stop working because we have clocked out or left campus we rarely complain. We constantly spend our own money on our class, spend our time researching the latest teaching tactics, prep and plan for upcoming days, and take home work to grade, progress reports/assessments to complete and the like. We understand that in the event of a real emergency such as earthquake or fire we would be required to stay with our class before going home and tending to our own families. So many of us feel called or destined to teach and it's an honor that we don't take for granted. My prayers and thoughts go out to each person who was affected by this recent tragedy and I pray that only people who belong in the classroom are granted the privilege to do so.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Ms. T

      Well stated!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Simply a Teacher

      I'm relieved to hear that is what other teachers are thinking. I've been thinking and thinking what would I do if faced with a similar situation?? The event in Newtown proved it can literally happen anywhere and that gave me such an unsettled fear of being a teacher. What if I couldn't protect them, where would I hide my students, would it be better to stay and hide or try to escape?-I have a ground level window that opens. I've been thinking about all of these things this last week. I feel connected by their pain, I look at the faces of my students and I feel an immense weight on my shoulders and fear for their safety.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  13. OtvoriteOci

    17 years in the Secondary and higher ed classroom. Motivation? For me, I just love to see young people experience that 'Aha!' moment. Overall, I have known more sincere and dedicated teachers and administrators than poor ones, and I have tried to do my best. But despite our good intentions as educators, we do not have sufficient systems in place to identify and help troubled kids who need serious clinical intervention. Ignoring the mental health problem and hoping it goes away has not been effective school policy. We can do better, and we must do better.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. lisa

    You can make them illegal but it is just like drugs people will still get guns from someone, some where. Schools should get grants to have policemen they can walk around the schools in different locations. But who knows what will people come up with.

    December 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Heidi

      Look at the statistics in other countries where guns are not so readily available. They speak for themselves. This continues to happen because of easy access to guns in the U.S.A. My heart breaks for those children and families who have been destroyed, because a young man had access to his mother's guns...this is not something we here in Canada have in multiples anywhere in the home. I hope they did not die in vain and that your gun control laws will finally reflect the times we live in. R.I.P. little ones.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
      • OSA6311

        Canada has 3 types of firearms licences; possession only licences, possession and acquisition licences, and minors permits – so, it's not that all guns have been banned and no private citizen in Canada is armed – something like this could, feasibly, still happen in Canada. I think the morals and family values in Canada have not been allowed to rot away in the same manner American society has allowed ours to disintigrate... just saying that it's not necessarily about the access to guns causing the tragedies in this country, but the mindset of the citizens and the lack of human decency being ingrained.

        December 19, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • ISUANDY

        This is not a gun control issue, it is a mental health care issue. People like this shooter should have access to medical help to get the mental problems they have under control, without having to have an episode to recieve treatment

        December 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  15. Anon

    That is very a ignorant way of thinking. Look throught our society and see how many individuals go from rags to riches through following thier passion. Why? Because people are willing to pay them. Look at those entertainers, sportstars, and movie stars. People are willing to pay thousands to attend events to see them. But a teacher, who shapes the future working overtime cannot ask for a fair pay? They are humans too, they have a life, they have family of thier own.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Richard Jordan Ed.D.

    As an educator for the past 36 years both in the classroom and at the administrative level I firmly believe that the job that educators do is of the greatest importance. Teachers are the mainstay of the educational system. We rely on teachers to help our children become adults and well rounded citizens. Each day a teacher comes to work they do so with an understanding that they can and will make a difference in a child's life. In fact, all do so knowing that most of what they do will be noticed by only a few. The teachers at Sandy Hook knew what to do not only because of the training they had recieved but because they werre protecting their kids, their extended family. This is how all teachers would respond. They would protect their kids without hesitation.

    Education is our hope for a brighter future for the world, and it will be because of teachers who care. Teachers who teach their students as if they were teaching their own children.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  17. Marie

    I am glad those teachers were there for the kids during what will be the most horrific thing they will ever see. I know that the teachers in my children's school would have done the same. I have respect for teachers but don't think that they are under paid. I work at an apartment complex and would take a bullet for the kids that live here if they were in harm's way. It's not a grand gesture on the part of those teacher's, it was doing what had to be done. No one would just sit by and not try to protect a child in that situation. I am filled with grief this holiday season for the victims and their families. I know that they will have some hard times ahead, and wish that I could take away that pain from them. Instead I will just keep them in my thoughts and hope that others will do the same. I wish that teachers wouldn't take every opportunity to toot their own horn like this. The days after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary is the worst possible time to do it.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Teal

      I don't think anyone's "tooting" horns here. First responders wouldn't be "tooting" if they lauded for swift action and because they did their job. You miss the point of this article. I am a teacher and I work everyday, just like you. I care for other people, just like you. I deserve respect, just like you. I would protect a child, like you. But I am not a hero. I have never been tested like these teachers have been and YES, they are deserving of high praise. Teachers, in general, are a specific type of individual. They are patient and giving, passionate and sometime heroic. Toot!

      December 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • mike

      I am a teacher and I get offended that you think she was 'tooting" her own horn. Seriously, you think she is looking for attention? Just a collegial nod to those that were forced in that split second to cower or stand up. I'd like to think most people would do the same.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • annette

      teachers are very underpaid, for the job they do . those people are holding our future president doctors lawyers in their hand. they spend their paycheck buying supplies for their students . all teachers need a ton of more money. call ur school office and find out. i work in the school system we dont make kids are my world it aint about the money

      December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
      • robert

        You work in a school system? Maybe you should take some classes and learn to write.

        December 19, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  18. Irene Alonzo

    While reading this article it reminded me of the good teachers that I had while growing up and attending school in Austin TX. I'd be surprised if they are still alive because I'm now 45 but these teachers made everyday of school a good day and I look back with fond memories. Thanks for being great teachers!!
    Allison Elementary – Ms. Dunlap, Ms. Minere, Ms. Naomi White and Ms. Esquivel
    Martin Jr High – Ms Washington
    Murchison Jr High – Mr. Washington, Mr. Weber and Ms. Shultz
    Austin High – Mr. Gibson (science), Mr. Bartels (photography), Mr. Shirke(Govt)

    Each was an excellent teacher

    December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Gun advocates in America are nothing short of a bunch of cowards who seem to have an intrinsic urge to possess firearms to protect themselves from some imaginary threat that does not exist. They want guns to protect themselves from big foot, from aliens, from black bears, from some unforseen intrusion on their freedoms, from black, hispanics and asians, and imaginary threats from all minorities and the insane obsession goes on and on and on. This is the same society that was once terrified by a diminutive African-American woman who sat harmlessly on a bus in Montgomery Alabama in 1954 and the same society that was terrified by a young minister from Atlanta Georgia who strived for racial equality and justice through non-violent means. Unfortunately, much hasn't change since the Jim Crow era in America. Attorney General Eric Holder once said that we're a nation of cowards and you know what? He's right...we're a nation of cowards.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • FunnyStuff

      yes, people have guns to defend aganist imaginary threats huh? That is why guns are used defensively, according to different studies, up to 2 million times a year, and why crimes in areas with high levels of legal gun ownership are lower than those in area where there are strick gun laws. Also, most adults are legally required to own a gun, yet there is almost no gun crime preasent there. It has nothing to do with the guns, but everything to do with the society we have produced in this country. If all guns were removed, then you would see a dramatic increase in knife violence. It is the way children are raised, the media and entertainment, and (in my belief) the moving away from faith in this country. Thankfully, the mass shootings have decreased over the years, despite what the media portrays.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

        Would you have felt the same way about assault weapons in our society if one of the victims was your loved one??? I doubt it.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • More short sighted thinking

        Care to extend your comparison to full on other Western democracies with much stronger gun controls? No? I thought not. Your reliance on states with lax gun controls is facile. When comparing per capita gun ownership internationally, the next closest country is Yemen. Do we like that comparison? How do we stand with our actual peers (UK, Australia, Canada) in terms of accidental gun deaths and violent crime?

        We catch a shoe bomber before anything happens and we all take off shoes in airports now. 20 babies are killed and what do we do? A great big nothing...... What does this say about our society? We place the importance of actual human lives below the creature comforts of the gun culture and gun culture lobbyists. Sickening. Every parent should be appalled.

        Yes, mentally ill people will find ways to lash out and hurt others. However, they are much less efficient in their mayhem with knives and baseball bats. That is simply a fact. You want to protect yourself? Buy a handgun. You want to hunt? Buy a rifle or a crossbow. The only sporting prey that requires an assault weapon with a reloaded suppy of 30 or 50 bullets is a human.

        December 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Tipper111

        @ moreshortsighted – please keep in mind that the guns of Columbine were just there to pick off the stragglers. the real intent was to blow up the cafeteria and have the roof collapse on everyone's heads. The survivors were to be blown to bits in the parking lot by car bombs with the stragglers picked off with the guns. Fortunately, these guys were lousy bomb-makers, but Timothy McVeigh and others had more success.

        We need to address not only keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, but also to keep them from running for political office, from running Wall Street, from driving cars (4000 lb. bombs) and SUVs (6000 lb. bombs), from being school administrators and for getting help for those who desperately need it. This is a societal problem.

        December 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Soup

      I have to agree with Fiona on this one. Why are the tools of destruction always to blame but not their operators or any influences on them by unseen forces?

      I have to be honest here, I think its one of the most insane mentalities ever to think that if we banned guns the problem will just go away. Would it be the same effect that was had when we banned alcohol? How did that work out? Are we to assume that since drugs like pot and cocaine are illegal that the problem just disappears?

      I would not surprise to find violence to increase if guns are banned as people would take to racketeering for protection. I hate to say it but criminals are criminals for a reason. Cant say I have heard of many law abiding criminals...

      December 18, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

        Would you have felt the same way about assault weapons in our society if it was a loved one of yours killed at that that school? I doubt it.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Chris

    It's funny that we make blanket statements about all teachers when in fact there are millions of teachers but we probably know less than 100 teachers. The profession itself is what we should be talking about. I teach at a low income charter in LA and I love "my kids", but definitely will not generalize anything.

    All I know is while I love my job, I wish I worked a longer school year for more pay because yes, I try to find more lucrative summer jobs to pay the bills. I also wish I wasn't constantly working during the week and weekend, but at least I like working for the most part. I do think I deserve a higher salary but the public is not willing to pay adequately for its social and public services...

    December 18, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Amelai

      the public isn't willing? Teachers are paid by our tax dollars.The government decides how much you get paid not "the public" If you are looking for a job that paid your bills and you didn't need a summer job maybe you should have NOT been a teacher.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • Karen

        Wow, that is sad, but true. I taught many years and held two part time jobs while I was teaching. After 8 years of scraping by, I finally went into the business world as a corporate trainer. I work longer hours and have shorter vacations, but at least I can pay my bills and afford to have a house and car. I loved teaching, but I was quickly being worn out trying to keep up with my student loans and other expenses while working for such a small wage. I worked part time for a department store on commission where I could equal or surpass my monthly teacher's salary with one good sales week. There's something wrong with the system when the people we trust to educate our children make less than a part-time department store clerk. I find it hard to encourage people to go into teaching. If you are married and your husband makes a good living, then you can afford to teach. If not, you are constantly weighing the merits of what you do with earning enough to live. We say we honor teachers, but in many states, their pay is the pits.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Me


        "The public" very much determines teacher salaries based on how they vote. If governing officials are voted in who refuse to raise taxes, then salary increases are not possible. Unfortunately, the American public has a ridiculously skewed view of what is worth paying for. $100 to watch grown men play a game? Let's go! $100 in taxes towards paying for a child's education? Heck no!

        December 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • Liz

        I hate to say it, but that is a very ignorant point of view. Obviously, you do not understand the teacher psyche. We do it for many reasons, but mostly for the kids. The intrinsic value of what we do makes life worth living. You have given back. It is a shame that it has gotten to a point in the profession that you can barely survive on what teachers are paid. It is not that teachers are paid low, it is that the first 5-7 years in the profession, you can barely support yourself, much less a family. Most teachers take on extra duties, work as coaches, provide tutoring or other services to make ends meet, especially those first few years. But some do it for the security of the job, others do it because they can spend their summers doing others things to enrich their lives, but first and foremost, we do it for the kids. If we followed your logic, then there would be no teachers and you would not be educated. Think about the number of teachers you had that were parents. They, like all of us, had to struggle through those first few years. Teachers are under paid and under appreciated by some. I am grateful for the wonderful parents and students that have graced my life. I would not give up a day of it, even though I could have made much more money doing other things. My mother cried when she found out that I was going to become a teacher because she felt like I would be poor the rest of my life. But, that same mother of mine also decorated my classroom for me when I was pregnant. It took her a couple of years, but she got it. I hope you get it.


        December 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • Parent/Teacher

        I really feel sorry for such an individual as yourself. I'm assuming you either have no children or higher education than high school. If most Americans actually new how much one spends to become a teacher and then further their education for the minimal salary increases, more would understand how truly underpaid teachers are. There are many government employees that do not have college educations and start out making more than a teacher of fifteen years. I drive to work every single day excited to see my kids and do my job educating our future Americans. Your opinion is very poor and cruel.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  21. some of you suck

    I teach and coach. I love it. I have learned to live on the money I make and not cry about the things I don't have. I would take a bullet for any of my students in a heart beat. Not to be a hero..because I truly care about them and they need my protection if something bad is about to happen. Some of the trolls on here just don't get it. They have never dealt with overbearing parents or parents who could care less. I read their whiney posts and smile at their ignorance because they just do not have a clue. When did we start hating teachers? When did this all start? I don't get it.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Zipperhead

      The reason that teachers like many other professions are so hated these days is because for every good teacher, cop, judge, doctor, etc there is an equally malicious buffoon in that position. People have started to realize that people are simply just that, people. There are good people and bad people in all professions all over the world.

      Some teachers call their students, "my kids" because yes, they truly care. Some teachers however also call them, "my kids", because they are power hungry and to them, that's a form of control. I've also had personal experience with teachers who stifle creativity and innovation simply because you need to do things their way or the highway.

      Remember, there are always two sides to everything. The lead no2 pencil could be yellow OR... it could NOT be every single other color, but yellow. It depends on how you want to perceive something. We're better off not hating on a profession and simply dislike those we dislike for their own personal merits.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • lynne

      Amen – I teach and coach also. I care about my kids – not because I am "hard wired" or duty bound to, but because I spend hours EVERY DAY with these teenagers. They are good kids – even when they are obnoxious – as teenagers often are! I see these kids more in a day than their parents do. I know them. I listen to them talk about girlfriends, boyfriends, fights, hopes, plans and dreams. Teachers take on a de facto parental role much of the time. It is simply a byproduct of what we do. I love my job, despite the long hours, low pay, and lack of respect I seem to get for my choice of career.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Amelai

      you read their whiney posts b/c they don't have a clue? That's right, you are a teacher, you MUST know everything that goes on with the tens of kids that you teach daily. Gee get off your high horse, you're not that great

      December 18, 2012 at 11:38 am |
      • Plz think before you speak

        Tens of kids each day? Try thinking of it this way: 30 kids per class (give or take a few) x 3 classes taught a day. Thats 90 kids a day. 2 semesters in the school year a makes 180 young lives a year a teacher influences. Usually 30 years to reach retirement with full benefits. Thats 5400 young lives a teacher will touch during his/her teaching career. Thats more special than any career path that I can think of.

        December 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • Andy

        What would you be without teachers? You are clearly clueless on the real world of teaching and have no facts to back up your outrageous claims. If I were to attack your profession(if you have a job), I would research it first. This way I don't sound as idiotic and uneducated as you do. Get a hobby and actually do some good for this world.

        December 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      when did it start? just about the time people started acquiring knowledge from tidbits of info projected at them on the internet or other means of 'fast' exposure to 'facts' and other news....It started just short after the decline of education. When more and more information meant less and less knowledge and common sense. Now, the average american highschooler possesses and uses just about 300 words on his/her daily functional vocabulary...and that is in what is known the richest (in terms of vocabulary) language in the started when the average american family known to have 2 parents dropped to an all time 'high' at which point about 51% of our kids come from single or as politically correct people would call it non-traditional family (i know many single moms and probably dads are great and they do an excellent job with their kids, but kids still need 2 parents)....

      December 18, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Marie

      You shouldn't be a teacher. You obviously don't like your job and you are whining about it.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  22. eyeshigh

    I am in my 10th year teaching. I knew from a very early age that I was meant to teach – this is not a job, not a career. This is a calling for me. And these children are MY KIDS. I work in an inner city school where many of the kids are only safe when they are here.

    My first year teaching, one of my girls disappeared. No one knew where she was. There were missing posters everywhere. I cried every night, and prayed that she was ok. Over time, I cried for her less, but I never stopped thinking about her and where she was. Five years later, one of my new kids asked if I remembered her – and then told me that she was ok – she had fled from her parents, and for years didn't tell anyone where she was – but she was back. I burst into tears in my classroom, and hugged Rosie hard for telling me. Then I got an invitation to her high school graduation. I cried at the ceremony. She told me I was the one that made the difference for her.

    Then a year later, one of my kids was shot and killed. He was a hard kid, one of the troubled ones, so people expected it. But it hit us all hard. Another one of my kids was in the park with his brother, and a fight broke out with some gang members and he was shot protecting his little brother, but he lived. When he came back to the school – I cannot say how relieved I was.

    I have fed and clothed my students. I spend I cannot say how much money on pens and pencils and notebooks. I work 9-12 hours a day, and on Saturdays when I need to, when the kids need me to. I go to all of the sporting events that I can fit into my schedule. Heck, my family rearranges our plans to make sure I don't miss a game, because many of these kids do not have a parent in the stands.

    And I'm not alone. Almost every teacher at my school has these stories. The kids that we couldn't save; the kids that come back and tell us that we saved them; the kids that saved us when we were frustrated and giving up.

    Paying the bills is a struggle, and my car... I cannot afford a new one to replace my 12 year old vehicle, and I just hope that it will last a few more years while I save. My "pension" took a major hit, and I sincerely doubt I will ever be able to afford to retire. But that is ok, because I get antsy when I get that week off at summer (yes, a week – we have summer school and conferences and planning). Spring break scares me, because I never know if the kids will come back, and I do wonder if I can take another funeral and another fundraiser for a casket. We are still reeling from the accidental death of the student who should have been our valedictorian this year.

    We do the drills and make sure we know procedure to keep the kids safe while they are here, but a few years ago we had a gunman on campus. He didn't shoot anyone, but we went on lockdown, and my kiddos who think they are grown were scared. In that classroom, I covered the doors window, turned off the lights, and sat in the dimness and continued on with the story we were reading. When the all clear sounded, the relief was palpable.

    And then some lunatic starts ranting about how I get paid too much. I started out making 27K a year. The district has worked very hard to give us pay raises, and now, I wouldn't say we are fairly compensated, and I wouldn't completely call it a living wage, but it has kept the good ones from fleeing the profession because they cannot feed themselves, because with that second job, and a spouse that has a decent income, you can make ends meet.

    At 7 pm, there are still dozens of cars in the parking lot. At 9, there are one or two usually. The parking lot is nearly full at 6:30 am, well before school starts – because we do tutorials before school, and during lunch, and after school. I've sat in the front of a school with a student until 10pm waiting for a student whose mom hadn't shown up, and I couldn't take them home, because she didn't know where they were staying that night. I've done tutorials after football practice, because the boys needed help, but didn't want to miss practice and get benched at the next game.

    I live on the coast, and during the hurricanes, we have teachers staying at the school because we have ice makers and generators for the aftermath. We have families show up looking to take showers in the gym, or use the toilets, charge their phones. And there are teachers there to help them, instead of being off with their families. In the last one, part of the roof blew off the library, and the teachers ran into the room to save all of the books for the students, because we had fought so hard to get the funding to get books the kids would actually read. When the school opened back up, the library was off limits, so we put the most popular books on carts and went classroom to classroom checking them out, because the kids didn't have cable or electricity for video games.

    Not every teacher has to be a hero. But the bad ones people groan about – those people are not even teachers, they are place holders – and most do not stick around because they find out very quickly that this is not a simple job that is business hours only. There is a reason that around here we get called "veterans" after you make it past 3 years.

    I am as frustrated with those bad apples as anyone else, maybe more so, because they make more work for me. But really, we have 120 teachers on this campus, and I can think of 2 who need to go, and several dozen who are amazing people who awe and inspire me every day, and its not just that they are "good teachers". It is seeing how the kids react when we walk down the halls, calling out greetings and a random "I love you" or "you rock" that gets screamed over the din. It's the kid who rushes into a teaches arms in tears when something is bothering them. The offers to carry heavy loads, the random argument you hear in the hall about the difference between mitosis and meisos. It is the kids who trusted us enough to give themselves a chance. The kids who come back to tell you that they actually enrolled in college, and could you please look at this essay for me. The kids who graduated, but come back to say hello and give you a heads up that you have their sister or cousin, and can you keep an eye on them for me, miss?

    Schools are a community, and a family. They change year to year, day to day, minute to minute, and it is up to us to watch over all of that change, and try to make sure it is all for the better, all to make the kids secure and successful.

    My kids make me proud, make me sad, make me angry, frustrate the heck out of me. They make me smile, warm my heart, make me laugh, and cry. My heart hurts when they hurt.

    I'm adopted, so maybe I have a different definition of family than most people – but isn't that what a family is, what a family does?

    December 18, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • steve

      Nice post. But since you have all the time to write that can you write me a paper for my masters. thanks

      December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
      • eyeshigh

        LOL Years of typing has made me very fast. Trust me, I have a shortage of time like everyone else. My papers are graded, and I don't have finals back to start grading yet, so I had a few minutes, that's all.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • 12 Year Teacher

      Thank you eyeshigh, this is exactly how it works.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • DJ

      Thank you for your dedication to an underappreciated profession. My mom has been an aide for almost 30 years now. For several years, she was in classrooms of emotionally handicapped (EH) 4 yr olds. Once a year, I would come in to do a reptile presentation for her classroom (and usually several others as long as I was there that day). I would only be there for a single day and found it exhausting and yet she would be there every day. I watched her spend many hours outside of the typical day helping with lesson plans or spending money out of pocket for items because there wasn't enough of a budget. She would have children come back years later just to give her a hug and say thank you. I know she cares greatly about them all.

      It takes a special person to be a true teacher.

      Thank you.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Engineer who took hiatus to Teach

      This is a Wonderful, most Accurate comment on Teaching. While teaching for almost 8 years as I obtained a teaching masters in mathematics, I found teaching to be VERY Rewarding. The kids DO BECOME your kids. It was a JOY to speak into the Life of a Child. Teacher, Mediator, Counselor, Mother, Friend....Teachers spend so much of their own income to ensure their students have all the Resources and Joys they need in the Classroom!!!! Our Benefit is seeing the Light in their Eyes when they finally Get it and when they Truly Know we Care.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • vicky

      Your students are your kids. Dedicated teaching from the heart of a true teacher, you're also taking the responsibility and challenge out of caring and loving that from the heart of a true parent.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Jub

      You said it all!!! Thank you for your love and dedication to our youth. I so appreciate you and all our kindred spirits out there. When people would ask me how my kids were, I would ask them...Do you mean my kids or my biological kids? It is a honor to be a teacher. I couldn't love it more. However, I was able to do it because of the joint income with my husband. I have a single friend who is a teacher who does not have that advantage. She teaches, tutors, makes jewelry and offers private lessons and can barely make ends meets. She is dedicated to her students and profession and is willing to make the sacrifices in her personal life to stay in the profession because as one writer said, it is a calling not a career or a profession. And folks, one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch. For every 'bad' teacher there are dozens and dozens and dozens of 'good' ones. Every profession has some 'bad' ones. Take the pressure off teachers when it comes to this issue and put it on administrators. They can get rid of 'bad' teachers by following protocol already in place in school districts. It takes time, it takes effort and it takes consistency....but it can be done. It has safeguards built in that protect good teachers from administrators with a grudge. Without union protections good teachers are at risk from bad administrators. I know, I am a dedicated, award winning and beloved teacher who did not agree with the new principal's educational philosophy. One where it became all about teaching to the test, children were treated as robots to be programmed and children's emotional lives were to be hung outside on the coat rack and only to be picked up on their way back home. I thought this philosophy was harmful at best and inhumane at its worst. I, in good conscience, could not treat my students like that. So I bucked her system and wound up with a principal who had a vendetta against me. I worked in Idaho when Proposition One, Two and Three were instated by Tom Luna the State Superintendent. These laws were revoked two years later by the citizens of Idaho. The laws were anti educational and anti teacher. But while these laws were in place it allowed my principal to bar me from returning to her school and she did not have to state any reason. I will say that again! She did not have to state any reason! These laws also stripped me of my seniority. The laws are revoked now but the damage to me was done. Unions and laws protect good teachers from bad administrators. If a teacher is a 'bad' apple there are tried and true methods to removing them from the classroom. If those methods had been followed in my case, my principal would never had dared tried. My students, their parents, my colleagues, and the school board would have supported me in mass.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  23. INVet

    Teachers teach because they love the kids – true
    Teachers also expect to earn a fair wage for their education, training and the hard work they do.

    There are many people who love their jobs and their jobs give them a sense of purpose – but most (unless they are independently wealthy) don't do it for free. We want good teachers? We have to give them the pay they deserve, the respect they deserve, and the cooperation and care of the community they serve.

    Most teachers love, truly love "their kids" and that is what the students need, but teacher (especially these days) need the support of their community. Its time we thank our teachers like we thank our soldiers, our police, our firefighters because teachers care for our precious children.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Anon

      The teachers also shape the future, through the kids.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  24. Chuck

    I have heard a lot about teachers and their passion for teaching, and love for the students. I also heard about teachers entrenched in tenured positions and earning 6 figure salaries. Based on my own experience, I can say that, in an overwhelming majority of the cases, teachers are in it due to their love for teaching. The same goes for most of the folks working in schools in non-teaching position.

    My wife is a nurse,working through an agency as a school nurse in an elementary school in a not-well-to-do school district. I have seen her several times spend money out of her own pocket to make her room more comfortable and calming for the kids, keep a stash of snacks (some of the kids are practically starved at their homes), buy clothes, etc. We have 3 kids of our own, and sometimes we cut back on restaurants/movies in order to make her actions possible. I see her doing this not out of philanthrophy or sympathy. Rather, it is her pure and unselfish love for kids, most of whom are at those most adorable and vulnerable age. She truly considers the students as her own kids, and they in turn go to her not just when they are sick/hurt, but more often just to talk and feel better.

    Though teaching is termed as a "profession", only those with real passion and love for kids& knowledge can become true teachers. It is indeed one of the most honorable professions, and for several of these professionals, teaching is a calling.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • lynne

      I am sure you are partially correct... but there are VERY few states with entrenched union teachers earning 6 figures. I teach in NC – a "right to work" state. There is no effective union – all our "union" does is provide representation of you get sued. I am not paid well – in fact, in most states, teaching is the lowest paid profession requiring a college degree – and I can be fired for any reason. I don't mean to whine – I certainly knew all of this before I signed up, and I love my job – but I wish people would see teachers in a more positive light.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  25. dragonfly310

    If teachers aren't in it for the money, why did they go on strike in Wisconsin, keeping kids out of the classroom and parents out of work?? If teachers aren't in it for the time off, why do they fight extending the school year and fight working through other days?? If they really want to pass knowledge to a new generation, why do I hear all the time, "Oh, we didn't have time to teach the homework in class?"

    December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • dragonfly310

      Also, if the teachers call their students "my kids," why won't they do the job if keeps all kids safe from other kids bullying them? Why do they just stand there talking to another teacher, not paying attention at all? Why do they laugh at another child being bullied in the hallway or flat out encourage it in the classroom itself?

      December 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Nik

        For the same reason bullying goes on elsewhere: Management.

        Next comment... we're battling ignorance and hatred today.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • B Walker

        You have a number of unanswered questions about the school business. My suggestion is to volunteer at a school and learn first hand what causes these problems. I am certain you will find the answers for your concerns. The experience will be most enlightening.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Nik

      We'll assume you finished school but forgot how burnt out students are by the time they reach each break. Yes, kids need breaks. Or were you a kid that cried to go back to school during Xmas Break / Easter Break / weekends / etc.

      If you weren't, then you're phony.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Aldo Remquist

      Dragonfly thinks by arguing a point he dismisses teachers as pro union die hards with little regard for the children they teach and prepare towards a successful life centered on building better communities. Mr. dragonfly Wisconsin represented a time where one needs to stand up against injustice and the removal of collective bargaining and the right to speak up to those voices whom the State legislatures tried to deny.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • dma

      You apparently missed the entire point of what was done in Wisconsin. It was partly about salary and benefits...but also working conditions and therefore LEARNING conditions for kids. Teachers were fighting to make their classrooms better places for kids. And it was about keeping teaching a viable motivated, bright young people who can truly make a difference see it as an option...instead of opting for a career where they make, wait for it...a livable or better wage.

      Arming teachers just adds more guns for more accessability for ill students. More guns in the mix will not change a thing.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Michael

      Teachers would not have a problem extending the work hours if they were compensated. The teachers in Wisconsin were facing cuts in their benefits which they need to support their own families. Teachers are in it for the kids!!! Why else would they pay the high cost of a Bachelor's Degree to get a job that starts at 40k? Hell I have $60,000 in student loans so I can make my $65,000 a year. As a teacher I say extend the school year but you have to compendsate the teachers for that extended time as well. You would not work longer hours if you were not being compensated.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Spanish Teacher

        I am a teacher, and my starting salary was $28,900 in a public school in Wisconsin 6 years ago. I do not know any teachers making in the 6 figures. The highest salary in my district is in the 60s, and that's with maxed out education credits (including a master's) and over 15 years of experience.

        And for the record, the majority of the teachers in WI did NOT skip school to go to protests. I know no one in my district did, but rather went on the weekends or after school hours. Furthermore, WI teachers are not allowed to strike as they are deemed necessary to society just as police and fire fighters are.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • INVet

      They, like you I assume, want to be fairly compensated for their time, their energy and their knowledge. Just because you love your job does not mean you should be expected to do it for free.

      How much is our kid's education worth?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
      • Brandy

        Could not have said it any better myself!

        December 18, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • mindshaper

      Teachers in Wisconsin did NOT go on strike. Please verify your statements before you make them.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Karen

      Teachers may not be "in it" for the money, but they do expect to be paid a living wage. Depending on where you live, the salaries can be vastly different. A single person trying to live on a teacher's salary in certain cities is not going to be able to own a house. They may end up working multiple jobs to make ends meet and to pay off student debt. And before you start talking about short days and time off, know that most teachers spend many hours at home putting together lesson plans and creating materials to use in class in the evenings. Most teachers end up taking more classes at night and on holidays. I taught summer school, took graduate courses, volunteered to help take several students on a spring break field trip, worked before school and after school as a bus monitor, tutored kids after school, taught private piano lessons, and worked other part time positions. I wasn't getting rich, just trying to keep up with my bills. I also bought paper and supplies for students, books and other materials for my classroom, and pad for I-don't-know-how-many lunches.

      You don't go into teaching for the money, but neither do you go into it to become poor. Teaching should not be reserved for those who are married or have trust funds.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Me

      Is it your opinion that teachers do not deserve to make a living wage? Is there some particular reason they should not be fairly compensated for the work they do? Do you also think that firemen, EMTs, and police officers should work solely as volunteers?

      My guess is that you went into a job you hate "just for the money" and can't tolerate the idea of someone making a living doing something they are passionate about.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • mom4

      Teachers were striking in Chicago, Illinois. They wanted to be paid to work extra time over an extended year. They also wanted to have materials available for the students on the first day of school, especially in low socioeconomic areas. They asked not to have their pay controlled by test scored of students who did not attend school. Seems fair.

      I have four children. That was my choice. I love them and want to be with them. I am responsible for their education in partnership with their teachers. I do not want longer school days or longer school years. I want to spend time with my children. I think if school days are used effectively they do not need to be extended. I do not need schools to keep my children so I don't have to.

      I hope my children's teachers would keep them safe in a crisis. I know they care and try their best every day. I am willing to pay them well for that. I give them my children.

      If we really think teachers are lazy and selfish – the republican talking point here in Wisconsin– what does it say about us as parents that we send them our children every day. If we really cared about our children we would not want them to spend lots of time with people we respect so little.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • truffle

      When I worked in research, I received 3 weeks of leave per year. I had paid tuition benefit for courses the company either mandated that I take, or that they approved that I take. I also had transportation paid to fly to take those classes when they were not offered locally within a specific time frame. I had sick days also that at the end of each year I could roll over or convert to vacation days.I earned $20000 per year more with less education. I had more benefits. What I didn't have was the retirement, but if I invested some of my extra pay judiciously, I would have had that also. So what do I gain as a teacher. I do get to enjoy kids who want to learn in my classroom. I also have my share of kids who do not want to learn in my classroom and my share who think that it will magically happen without doing the homework. I don't know where you went to school, but to earn high enough grades to be eligible to make it into the Naval Academy I had to do 6-8 hours of homework a night on top of working part-time and training for sports.When teachers tell you they do not have time to teach the homework in class it it because we have taught the concepts, the homework is to see if the student payed attention, participated in the hands-on and group activities so they can do the homework and show me that they can do it without having me there as a back-up. For the privilege of doing this I earn less, have fewer benefits, I have to pay for my own professional coursework, and I get about two weeks of vacation a year that I have to take during the summer. If you don't like the way your local school is performing or if you think teaching is a free ride, get a teaching credential where you do one semester of work, sometimes a year of work, for free, while you pay for university coursework. If you can't take that financial sacrifice, why not put in a day a month volunteering at your local school. Who knows, the teacher may make use of your time to teach those kids who didn't pay attention in class, who didn't participate in class, and couldn't do their homework.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  26. Ethan

    I have been blessed to have a few great educators. I was so lucky to have such a bond with my third grade teacher, She retired about twelve years ago and sadly became a widow a short time later. I make time to stop by and see her atleast three times a year. You couldn't have asked for a better person, who just wanted to teach.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  27. Amanda

    Wish all my teachers had been good growing up. When I was a 3rd grader in 1993, I used to attend a Christian school and I was being hit every day by a 6th grade boy who would punch me over and over. I once ran inside from recess to get away from him. I found my teacher and that loving, kind, caring person said "well just stay away from him at recess, it's your own fault. Now go back outside." It wasn't my fault that he searched for me at recess. I didn't want to go back outside so I got detention. I've had bad experiences with teachers most of my life (luckily when I moved to public school they got a bit better) and only have had a handful of teachers that I would say really cared about ALL of their students.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • ThatWasWorthless

      Cool story, bro

      December 18, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • ChancesAre

      It all depends on social and emotional IQ. If it's not so high, then your school experience is perceived as everyone is out to get you and it's their fault, not your own. Your teacher at that Christian school probably observed behavior from you that indicated it might have really been your fault. Then you say only a "handful" of teachers cared when you got to a public school. Go figure as to why you might think that.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • CosmicC

        "Social and emotional IQ?" Great buzzwords. Too bad you don't really understand much about the subject. Clearly a 3rd grader getting picked on by another kid is not at fault. If that kid was exhibiting behavior that in some way solicited a bullying response it was still there responsibility of the teachers to address the violent behavior first and then work with the victim on any potential socialization issues. Putting a victim back in harms way is a crime, at least in some states.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • Bullied In My Youth

        How wrong you are about IQ. I happen to have a notable IQ, but was bullied mercilessly as a child. Do you know why? Because I was the tallest in my class, and my mother "spoke funny" (was from Germany). That's it. I was kind, forgiving, always looking for the good, but was constantly being picked on – hit, spat at, rocks thrown at, called names, things stolen from me and name it. But, you know something? I grew up quite successful regardless – have raised a great family of 4 children, gone back to and studied at a university and graduated with a 3.9 GPA while working full-tiime, so no – IQ had NOTHING to do with it. Usually it IS "someone else's fault" the unparented child doing the bullying.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Patrice

        If someone was bullying my kid and the teacher said that it was her fault and to go back outside, there would be hell to pay. I don't care if the teacher thinks it's my kids fault or not or about "social and emotional IQ" – it's a teacher's job to get the student out of danger first and foremost and then maybe try and determine what's causing the behavior afterwards. If my child had been given detention for trying to get to a safe place away from a bully, I would not stop complaining until that teacher was at least reprimanded if not fired.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • cafecomm

        "It all depends on social and emotional IQ. If it's not so high, then ..."

        If the teacher's social and emotional IQ are not so high then the teacher might send a sensitive kid back into a bad situation. And that's a shame. Sorry to hear it.

        December 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  28. JG

    Tragedies and violence will be always around. To extend to an elementary school's classroom is certainly new, pointless even if one try to position on the mind of the perpetrator. It’s all becoming part of a "culture" of venting revenge, payback, over medicated and over analyzed spoiled society that we're living in America and also now in the rest of the Western World. Teachers carry on the burden of the "education" of a kid beyond the math and the science, now increasingly adding personality and understanding the kids that lack many at home from the parents. Maybe always was like that, I think today more than before. If violence as a reaction for bullying or mocking or detachment from the "pack" was a reason for previous school tragedies, add now more complex situation when an easy access to effective and devastating weapons are at hand. Can someone, politicians, communities, teachers, parents, law get serious and above the empty sorrow words and tears and do something?

    December 18, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Whoa...

      So let me get this straight:
      Teachers are required to protect their students and possibly give their lives for them, but it is out of order to ask for fair pay and benefits.

      Wow, glad you guys don't think that about police officers, firemen, soldiers....

      December 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Me

        Unfortunately, many people have the same view about police officers, firefighters, and soldiers. There are many enlisted soldiers who rely on food stamps to feed their families.Police officers make less than teachers, and most rural areas must depend on volunteer fire departments. The fastest way to make people angry is to suggest raising taxes so that those who serve and protect can have a reasonable salary. Our cultural values are incredibly messed up.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  29. Lyra Moon

    "But when did it become part of a teacher’s job description to protect the lives of their students and risk their own?"


    School shootings are nothing new.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  30. DCinDFW

    As a teacher, I can relate to much of what Donna says in her article. Many of you are right, we are NOT parents to all of our students, but we ARE mentors and caretakers. As parents, all of you send your children to schools with the expectation that they will be taught, protected, cared for, and treated as you would yourself... sometimes, in a much better way. It's true, I'm not their parent but they are my responsibility and, often times, that responsibility continues long after they leave my classroom. We invest the time to care about your kids and with that comes the privilege of calling them "ours". The greatest feeling a teacher can have is watching a former student step into their very own classroom and hopefully become a great teacher.
    On the other hand, I don't pretend to believe that all teachers are saints and martyrs. Just like any other occupation, you have bad police officers, bad doctors, bad pastors, bad priests and bad teachers. I'm sorry for those who have had to deal with them. Just please remember that for every bad apple, there are are hundreds and thousands of good teachers who are not in it for the paycheck. I would hate to constantly worry about the way my very own children are treated at school while I work every day... good teachers really DO care about your kids.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Brent

      DC – I couldn't agree more. My wife has been a teacher for over 15 years. Some of the kids show up hungry, late, and with missing supplies. She loves her job and the kids. We live in a small town and many of these kids recognize her and she recognizes them wherever we go. Many have younger siblings (she teaches in an elementary school) and they come to visit her, too. They usually express that she was one of their favorite teachers and some even become teachers themselves. Her job gives her great fulfillment.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  31. Claudia Maheux

    "For some kids, the kindness extended by teachers is the only kindness they know" That phrase rings so true for me. I came from a home with domestic violence & while my parents spent all their energy battling each other, we kids raised ourselves. And the only encouragement & kindness I got was from my teachers. God bless them – they saved me.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • TheRit

      Thank you! It is horrifying to see all these comments that are hating so much on a group of people that want nothing more than for their kiddos to succeed. Thank you for giving some credit and respect those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.Those few that are in it for selfish reasons SHOULD be criticized...but it is a very FEW.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  32. migdalia e

    "Ummm" you obviously missed the point of this article. She was expressing a simpler time when students and teachers did not have 2 fear for their lives. I wish we could go back 2 that time.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • CosmicC

      Funny, that's not how I read the article. The author's reference to 1980 was only to provide her credentials as an educator. The point is that people who work with children and youth for any length of time care for them as if they were their own. I have worked for years as a soccer coach and youth advisor. I'm glad I have never been put in the position of finding out what my reaction would be, but I'd like to think that I would put them first. I certainly have thought of them as "my kids".

      December 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  33. Just Me


    December 18, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  34. Mete Krop

    Yes all teachers say all the kids they are teaching are their kids. They want them to grow up, be healthy, be good and great etc. Because teaching is a loving profession.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  35. Stephie O

    Teachers call students their kids because they love the kids. They spend so much time with them each and every day.
    It takes a special person to be a teacher. It's becuase they care.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  36. doc58

    I do not understand the hate that some of you have in your hearts. If you heard the words of our (yes our) president Sunday night, how could you not help but be moved? My teachers helped to mold me into the person I am today, with a good job and salary. My heart is broken over what happened to the children and their teachers and administrators. If we do not get past the hatred and divisiveness that rules our country now I do not know how we will survive. Instead of cherry picking scriptures that happen to agree with your politics, remember that God gave us three gifts, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest is love.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • dragonfly310

      You do not understand the hate because you got lucky: You've never been the victim of teachers. You're also probably lucky enough to have never seen your own child the victim of teachers. You lucky ones, and those that are themselves teachers will never admit that there is something very, very wrong in our school system. Until that is addressed, there will always be the hate, because those of us that have experienced this or have seen it with our own kids will not be quiet until it is recognized.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • CosmicC

        I agree. It's time we do something about the quality of teachers we have in some districts: Pay them a living wage, commensurate with the level of education they are required to have and maintain. Once teacher's pay is attractive, we'll have more people trying to become teachers and we'll be able to be selective about who we put in front of our kids. While more money may not always guarantee success, less money will guarantee failure.
        Tenure keeping bad teachers employed, you say? Well, yes the current tenure system has its problems, but it was created to solve problems that still exist today. If we didn't have tenure, we'd still have teachers who were fired for giving the mayor's kid a failing grade or simply because they were experienced teachers who were pushed out for new, less expensive teachers.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • bird

        What is wrong in out schools is that kids come ill-prepared to learn and then it is the teachers fault. You talk about both you and your kids being the victim of bad teachers. There is a common theme here and it is you. There are bad teachers just like there are bad truck drivers, firemen, etc. No one else is responsible for your happiness. I had bad teacher in my school career, but I made it through fine. It is time for people to take personnel responsibility.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Layla

      I agree doc58. I grew up in Palestine where the parents and children showed respect to the teachers. The teachers educated us and showed us love and kindness. I went back to visit and looked for my first teacher after 50 years of my first day of school. She had passed away, but I had fond memories of the woman who taught me for three years. I learned to read and write in three languages. She coaxed me into joining the drama acts she directed. I became less shy and bloomed as a student and person. Respect is given by society to teachers. In America, respect is given occasionally, but generally Teaching is not an honored profession. We need to rethink our priorities. Do you want an athlete or a celebrity (who may use drugs, bad language or beat his girl friend) to be your child's role model. He/She gets paid immense amounts or a teacher who wants the best for all HER KIDS. I teach because I love it. I work long hours and do not complain, but had to constantly borrow to pay my kids dental bills, their drama classes and help with college expenses. I spent a great deal getting my college degrees and do not spare any expenses from my class. I have wonderful students and parents. I can't retire because I have only worked 20 years, but I do not regret having come to teach in the inner city. Young people need to be respected and paid for their services, so they can make the commitment to go into education. Respect should be part of that package. Society in America needs to reevaluate their thinking vis-a-vis schools and teachers. Love is the greatest gift. My own children thank me daily for working and contributing to MY other KIDS.

      December 25, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  37. emmettlee

    if only those kids had body amour an automatic weapons

    December 18, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  38. SokrMom

    Teachers call students "my kids" because they are doing most of the raising!

    December 18, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  39. Teresa

    Great article! I am quitting my full time job in human resources on January 11th to finish my teaching degree. Not because I will get rich teaching, but because it's what I have always dreamed of doing. And yes, I will consider all of my students my kids. The teachers and principal at Sandy Hook that lost their lives protecting "their" kids are a great loss and my prayers go out to their families.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  40. Ummm

    Ummmm, the first US school shooting occured in 1964, why not go back and start your editorial again, this time with facts.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Julie R.

      Wow, you're a dick.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:58 am |
      • Sue

        Thank you for putting that, Julie R. because, yes, they really are!!!!

        December 18, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Nik

      troll elsewhere

      December 18, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • History teacher

      Correction, the first U.S. school shooting was in Bath, MA in 1927 where 38 elementary schoolchildren were killed.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:04 am |
      • bannister

        No, that was not a shooting, it was homemade bomb made from 500 lbs of dynamite.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • correction

        It was in Bath, MI, and it was not a "shooting." Still terrible, though.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:16 am |
      • KMR

        Bath, MA was a bombing. The only Shooting was the rifle he used to detonate the dynamite that was hidden in the school. He planned it for many months. The reason that we don't remember these things was lack of media involvement then. We weren't constantly connected to our electronics.
        I think we are missing the point of this article. Can we just come together as a country instead of being divisive? This was an act that makes me sick. I am a high school science teacher. I love my kids. I still call them kids. People need to support each other. The shooter wins if we constantly divide. We need to minimize the attention given to him. Support the families and focus on healing and loving them. Especially considering the season.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am |
      • INVet

        Bath, Michigan!

        December 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • CJ

      @Ummmmm: You need to do you homework and borrow a heart from the Grinch. Shootings in schools go back 1764. The first modern era shooting with mass killings was in 1966 at the Univ. of Texas. The difference is the sheer number of victims. Most earlier shootings involved a handful of victims – usually the shooter and one or two others. Many end in suicide or the shooter being killed. Most people write them off as a some hormone driven kid who couldn't cope. We express outrage and then, sadly, forget. Mass killing is a relatively new phenomenon in our schools. This latest one involving 28 people – mostly 6/7 year olds strikes a chord like none of the other – except Columbine (not to lessen their loss). This mass killing is causing people to examine priorities and to express outrage at the loss of innocence in a way the others should have done but didn't.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Anon

      Depending on your definition of "American school", the first school shooting was either in 1764 when a group of the Lenape Tribe attacked a school house in PA, or in 1853 when a student shot and killed his schoolmaster in KY.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • JIM

      Actually, school shootings have been going on for hundreds of years. One of the first shootings occured on July 26, 1764.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Basil Smith

      "Ummm" you may have the dates for the first school shooting correct but prior to that (1927 to be exact) students were assaulted by another deranged individual using explosives that took a number of these youth from us.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  41. GOP Babe

    Well put. I felt the same way as a teacher. Anyone who taught on 9/11 understands the protective nature of a good teacher. There are some in the teaching field who don't belong there, but they are the 1%. We should only concern ourselves with the gross majority. I applaud teachers. Noble doesn't begin to describe their nature.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  42. TheRit

    I just don't understand when all of this contempt for teachers began? There has not been a child in America that has not been positively affected by a teacher, if only by some kind words or encouragement. If anyone out there says different, they are lying to themselves. Give credit where credit is due. Teachers are no saints, but to villify them is perverse!

    December 18, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Timothy Rigney

      I never received one single positive phrase or word of encouragement in 13 years of public school. Except for maybe in Kindergarten. Granted some are lucky, but bear in mind that there's THOUSANDS of lousy school districts out there with many, many teachers. Let's not obfuscate where a part of this problem is coming from. Granted there's plenty of great teachers but there's plenty of self-centered, uncaring ones as well.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • Nik

        Wow, that's awful.

        13 years and not a single piece of praise or a kind word. Amazing.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • Wow

        @Timothy Rigney 13 years with no praise EVER? I am very sorry to hear that. FYI, praise is earned. Maybe instead of blaming the teachers, you should look inward. I lived and went to school in two states (NJ and FL) and received praise as it was due every year. I maintained good grades, volunteered for projects, and even helped tutor 1st graders when I was in 3rd grade (yes, I was a TOT, a teacher of tomorrow). Stop blaming others and take some personal responsibility. When was the last time you did something for someone other than yourself? When was the last time you volunteered at a school, church, homeless shelter, or any other community organization? Please don't blame others for your lack of recognition. Selfless acts are done for those that need it, not for the pat on the back you want.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:24 am |
      • Cheshire

        I am sorry for you. You missed out on something.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:27 am |
      • CuthbertAllgood

        @Wow - yes, that's typically how it works. If you're a good student who loves school, then the teachers love you. If you're a "square peg" kind of kid trying to find your way in a confusing world where the information is taught in the most boring way possible, the teachers have nothing but contempt for you. The VAST majority of teachers only teach the easy-to-teach kids and think they're great teachers. The truly great teachers reach out to the troubled kids and help them. There are very few great teachers. Most just show up, do their jobs, and try not to think how much they damaged the ones that really needed their help. Good students don't need teachers at all.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • Wow

        @CuthbertAllgood Good students don't need teachers? Really.
        They do. Both my kids do well in school but both work hard at it.

        Don't assume that I was a round peg (average, normal). Not so, in fact, I've always been different. My older brother and sister were the high achievers/normal/typical students. I was the short kid with glasses, funny name, left-handed, etc. Instead of isolating because of my uniqueness, I embraced the differences and used them to my advantage. Seems everyone here makes assumptions.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • bird

        Leads me to believe you were a pain in the rear. Why was it not one person said anything positive about you or your work? I bet it is because of YOU. This sounds like a YOU problem.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |
      • CuthbertAllgood

        @Wow - read your own post. You're not even remotely in the same area code as a square peg. You haven't the faintest idea what it's like. Of course the teachers loved you and praised you. But those other lazy idiots, they deserved the contempt from the teachers. That's was exactly your point, wasn't it?

        I repeat: great teachers inspire the poor students and raise them to succeed. Mediocre teachers teach to the easy kids (like yourself) and ignore the square peg students, because it's their fault, don't you know?

        December 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Timothy Rigney

      Wow: Every single day. Don't assume. I didn't let it affect me or my life path.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:32 am |
      • Wow

        Don't assume? Enlighten us, please.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Traci P

        @Wow – I have been teaching for eleven years, and the only recognition I receive is from students who leave me a note every now and then. My supervisors only see me teach one day out of the entire school year. Rarely will I have an adult (whether parent or administration) walk up to me or send me an email to tell me I am doing a good job. Mind you, I do not depend on that to keep going. I know I do my job well. I can see it in the young faces in my room every day. Please do not assume that we live for accolades for they rarely come. It does not affect my performance nor does it hurt my perspective. I do not need to seek service elsewhere (although I do because it is a good Christian activity to do) because this job is human service. I perform random acts of kindness every day not because I have to, but because I see the need. I feed a hungry student. I listen to a struggling student. I hug a hurting student. I clothe a needy student.

        December 18, 2012 at 9:59 am |
      • Glad

        Glad you're not bitter and you've accepted the challenge of making the world a better place instead of the mean awful one that 13 years of teachers deprived you. Whew. God bless and thanks for taking the time to write.

        You can make the world a better place.

        There's some encouragement from a teacher. Have a wonderful day!

        December 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • dragonfly310

      Oh, so we should just give them all a free pass then? I don't think so.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • Matthew

        No one gives you a pass to judge anyone.

        Judge not, lest ye be judged.
        Matthew 7:1

        December 18, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  43. myVu

    The President said the other day, "Those kids are our kids...". No truer statement could be spoken. Yes, they belong to all of us because we all have a responsibility to protect them as our very own. They are our American babies.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  44. IDontBuyIt

    That's funny, when I was a kid I never considered teachers to be my parents.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • TheRit

      What about for the millions of kids out there that don't have parents (or responsible ones). Your arrogance says a lot.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:38 am |
      • Just Here For the Food

        What was arrogant about that statement? Teachers aren't their students' parents. Calm down.

        December 18, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Canuda

      Obviously you haven't heard the term Parentis locus which is latin for in place of the parent. It refers to the legal responsibility of a person or an organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent, which a school actually does. As a former first grade teacher, when you spend such a huge amount of time with these people you can't help but build a bond with them. They do in a sense become your family for the year.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Nik

      In some states, teachers are, by state law, "in loco parentis"... in place of the parents, so yes, state law puts teachers in place of the parents.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Betty Walker

      I am sorry you feel that way.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • INVet

      Awake, students spend 35 hours a week in class (7 hours a day)
      Awake, student spend 44 hours at home (including weekends) (4 hours every weekday plus 12 each weekend day)

      So teachers do spend almost as much time with your kids during the school year, when you kids are awake, as you do.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am |
      • CosmicC

        I slept through most of school

        December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Fiona

      I don't think the article ever gives reason for you to think that teachers feel that they are parents to the children in their classrooms. I have been in childcare for years and every group of children I work with I refer to as "my kids", this doesn't mean that I think they are my children, nor does it discredit the parents. Teachers are invested in their students emotionally, the children mean something to them. For me saying "my kids" is not a term of ownership, but of endearment.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  45. Brian

    ONe elderly teacher I knew said "kids" are baby goats, she teaches children.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • B Walker

      "Kids" in my classroom was term of affection. For some of my students school was the cleanest.and safest place they would be for that day. For some the most food they would get that day. I treated my students the way I wanted my own children treated in a classroom. Treated with care, dignity and reverence.
      The teacher of young children is among the first to show the child what the world outside of home is.
      The work is not taken lightly. I went back to school for more learning in order to help my students more.
      Teaching is a "calling", not just job. Teaching is a "mission". HE was first a teacher.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  46. News Reader

    Many teachers are wonderful and certainly those who saved the children during this horrific act in CT should be commended, but I've also read many stories lately about teachers who haven't done the right thing by children. So, once again, don't jump on the bandwagon America and categorize everyone in the same way.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • INVet

      There are plenty of bad: soldiers, police, doctors, nurses, firefighers too. Yet, we thank them for what they do.

      Time to look beyond the few bad apples and see the large majority who do great work for our kids.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • Doctor MEANS Teacher

        Amen, because it takes all types to make the world go round (and just a few haters to ATTEMPT to spoil humanity).

        Kill them with kindness. Be infectious with kindness.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  47. Larry McFarlane

    Simply put...Nice article.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  48. fOb

    While I do think that as adults, most of us would try to intervene if we saw a shooter going towards a group of children, and I applaud these teachers for doing the same, the rest of your posting is ludicrous. Teaching is a job–a good teacher knows how to teach. It is a profession, not sainthood. You make it sound as if the teachers are the parents of the students–they are not. It is a ridiculous, European American ideology that the "teacher" must be a cross between a saint, a comedian, a missionary, a psychologist, and heaven's knows what else . . . just as a "mother" is supposed to be. I don't know about your family, but I teach to be paid. I am good at what I do, and I deserve a fair rate of pay–which I do not have. I don't have security, I don't have benefits, and I sure as heck don't have the respect of my community. Most of us are laboring under the ridiculous assumption that we only work 6-hour days, only work 9 months a year, and that when we retire, we are getting a king's fortune at the expense of the taxpayers. Your nonsense contributes to this. It makes it sound as though "the kids" make it all worthwhile and that we should be paying the community for the privilege of being with them. Well, darling, they don't make it all worthwhile–and that is why the average teacher lasts precisely three years. I'd like to get a regular paycheck and to have benefits. It would be nice to get paid as much as the average person with a bachelor's degree–and I've got a PhD. Most of all, it would be nice not to get these silly pieces that try to make it sound as though teachers should "gladly learn and gladly teach" while being impoverished. If the American educational system stinks–well, you know, you get what you pay for. And you are part of the problem–not the solution.

    December 18, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Lisa

      @fOb – Sounds like you need to get another "job." If that all teaching is to you – you are part of the problem.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • jay

      I couldn't have said it better. You are so right on the money!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • IDontBuyIt

      So, you're teaching for the paycheck, but you don't like the paycheck, and somehow you found one of the few teaching jobs in America that don't offer benefits/health insurance and that also don't offer a steady paycheck. I have personally known people who have taught in poor rural northern Florida public school districts, and even they got steady paychecks and health insurance. You're either a liar or a sucker. Which is it?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • PT

      Wow....bitter much? Teachers are all the things you mentioned in your rant.....and more. You have the potential to effect the life of every student that walks through your doors.....and you are saying that is not a privilege? Teaching is a calling, not a profession. I have been a teacher for 15 years, and these students are what give me the strength to endure all the federal/state mandates that seem to change every four years. To see a student reach their potential, to see a student understand a concept they are struggling with, to see a student master a skill. That is teaching. The rest works itself out. Worried about being impoverished? Take your PhD and your "skills" to another profession. If you are not taking a vested interest in your school and your community, then you are part of the problem.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:10 am |
      • dragonfly310

        Some could be said for you: If you aren't worried about the money, resign from your union. Once the teacher's union is busted, then maybe, just maybe, the schools will become about the kids again.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Educator

      fOb, Unfortunately, you are what is wrong with the education system in America. Real teachers go in to the field of education knowing they are not going to get a great paycheck. If you wanted better money, then you should have gotten a job that paid better. When people complain about the education system, they are complaining about you, not the teachers described in this article. I am working on my PhD full time and leaving my kids was the hardest decision I ever made. Yes MY KIDS. This article spoke to me because I am the one that gave gloves, and lunch, and clothes to my students. Don't misunderstand, I would love to get paid more, but life isn't what we want it. I am thankful I get to wake up every morning and do something I LOVE. How many people can say that? Not you, obviously. I feel sorry for your kids.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:12 am |
      • Edwin

        I agree with much of what you said, but we still deserve better pay. Teachers at my school have gotten 0% raises for the last 8 years. It does not take a math whiz to see that doesn't keep up with inflation. We were never paid well before, and now it's getting woes.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Reading Teacher

      Clearly, you aren't a teacher. You are possibly a person who sits in a classroom that happens to have students in it. There is a HUGE difference. I am a teacher. I LOVE and LIVE for my students... and yes, I frequently say that I have 100 17-19 year old "kids." Even though they drive me crazy most days, there is nothing else I could ever picture myself doing in life to be as fulfilled and happy as being a teachers to my students. I have spent more money than I would like to think about on supplies for my classroom, fundraisers for school teams and clubs, lunch money that was forgotten, field trips that a student wouldn't have been able to attend otherwise, and more. Do I wish that there was some magical fairy that would come give me the thousands I spend every year back,.... Yes!!! I would rather have a little less money and happier students than more money and have to see one of my students go without something that they need. This is the difference between a teacher and a person who teaches for a living. I never stop thinking about my kids... You never started.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:31 am |
      • Just Here For the Food

        Oh, simmer down. Good grief, talk about tooting your own horn. It kind of takes away from what you claim to do. Sheesh.

        December 18, 2012 at 8:50 am |
      • Refreshing

        Reading Teacher, your crown is ready for pick-up at the front desk.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • Sarah

        I totally agree with you, Reading Teacher. I feel just as you do, and I do many of the same things you do. I work in one of the poorest districts in the state, and for many of my students, school is the safest, most positive place they have. I worry about them constantly on weekends and snow days, whether they're cold, hungry, being treated right. NO ONE but people who work with children has ANY idea what we do. My husband, who works in the business world, wouldn't touch what I do with a 10 ft pole. He doesn't know how I do it. So, if my opinion matters, I want you to know that I don't think you are boasting, I don't think you are tooting your own horn. I think you are giving a clear description on what teaching is for you, and what it's like for you. I love my students, regardless of the cursing and bad days (and around here we have many). If it weren't for that, I wouldn't do it. There's no need for others to be inflammatory in their remarks. A bonus for my husband, for simply travelling extra for work for a few weeks, was a few thousand dollars. A bonus for me is when a student learns something, has a breakthrough, or is successful with a behavior plan. I know that there is no money to reward teachers who are doing their best or giving it their all, but that's just how it is. I don't expect it, because I know it just can't be. My salary has also flatlined after being decreased for concessions, but it's still what I do and what I love. My students deserve a future, and a good one at that.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • Guest

        Thank you for what you do.
        I can't believe the comments. First, people are saying that most teachers don't care. Then when a teacher says they care and take their job very seriously, they get accused of being immodest and "tooting their own horn".

        Tip of the hat to all the teacher out there like you. Keep up the good work. There are a lot of parents that appreciate all you do.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • teacher

      Please find another is people like you who give the rest of us a bad name. I have been a teacher for 25 years..sure I'd like more money, but I get paid well and I LIKE what I do. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder, please take it some place where kids are not involved!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:42 am |
      • cops, lawyers, teachers, professors, psychs and businessmen in the family

        Yes, please tell your story walking. Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

        Everyone needs to get paid but you can get paid to pump gas, even as a PhD. Children need positive role models, not that brand of negativity. Time to look at a new career and stop making other teachers look bad. Sadly, with teaching and cops, it just takes one or two to make the whole force look bad.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Austin

      fOb-I have a guy like you who teaches next door to me.Better off without him, and you in my opinion. Im sorry that whatever other thing you pursued in life never worked out, because that is obviously what happened, but do not be such a jerk about what many of us are ready to happily spend our lives doing no matter the pay. Whether you think so or not, your bitterness will trickle down into your students. Its not like there was a bate and switch. Almost every school system in America posts their salary schedule online. If you have that many yrs. experience, and a Phd, you are well above the poverty line, and should be just fine. If all your kids are is a statistic, or paper to push, or lines to fill, or even something to take up your time, go get a management job at a fast food restaurant, it will pay the same.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Cleansingbreath

      If you're not a troll, then yeah, you're burned out and should go find another job. You can't be as good a teacher as you claim while feeling so detached and bitter about the profession. Guess your three years are up sugar.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Hates Teaching

      I agree teachers are now required to do many things without any raise in pay. When I went into teaching 5 years ago, I had NO idea I would still be making the same salary. I am motivated by money not kids. Kids do not pay my bills or give me the lifestyle I want to live. I doubt many of you work in a job without pay raises – even a cost of living raise. The summers off and breaks off (like the Christmas break that is coming up) is the only thing that has kept me in the job this long. It certainly is not the "love of children" Becoming a teacher was the worst careet desion I have made.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • Refreshing

        Thank you for your honesty. Real talk, right there.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • MV

        @HatesTeaching-If you truly feel that way, I'm sure your students feel the same way about you and probably among the staff and peers. I'm sure you are not a favorite at your school. And if teaching really bothers you, then find a new profession. You clearly are in it for the wrong reasons. I hope you find your true purpose and stop spreading your hatred and discontent to our young people.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • Edwin

        If your career path is not to your liking you should investigate other choices. There are other careers that offer better pay and even flexible hours, so if you are feeling bitter about teaching look into them. I mean this sincerely - your bitterness doesn't serve your kids well, and it doesn't serve YOU well either.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • Time to move on

        I am not a teacher. In my job, I am required to sign an Employment at Will contract each year. Basically it boils down to... I own them a hard day of work and they owe me a decent wage for that effort. End of story. You sound burnt out. You don't think you make enough money. You sound bitter. All of that points to the idea that maybe it is time to move on. There is no shame in making the decision that teaching might not be the best occupation for you. If you are unhappy, do what you can to find something that makes you happy. Don't be bitter and stay in a job that is making you so unhappy.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Love teaching

        Really? Find another job! You are doing your students no service here. If you think you are fooling them. . . well, you are not. They can feel your lack of committment to them, and hence the reason for your lack of success. Do everyone a favor and find something else to do!

        December 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • B Walker

      Looks like you missed the boat. It seems that you did not learn to read between the words.
      Every one of the postings is a message of something missing and an opportunity to teach.
      All teaching and learning is about the learner, not the teacher.
      If there is no charity, the teaching is fruitless. Not exactly,we learn what not to do

      December 18, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  49. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What bothers me in the wake of this heinous and sickening tragedy is how gun advocates across the country continue to be ignorant and irrational regarding the importance of getting assault weapons out of our communities. Since this tragedy has occured, many gun advocates have posted comments saying that those against assault weapons have no case here because the assault rifle used in this tragedy was purchased legally. Well, yes the rifle was purchased legally but I'm afraid that that is NOT the issue here. The main issue here is WHAT weapons should NOT be allowed to be purchased legally. That is the issue here.

    December 18, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • PT

      Why are you bringing that up here? What does this article have to do with gun control? Really, don't troll articles just to spew your hatred for those who have a different view than your own. This article is about the heroism of the teachers in this mass shootings. Take your politics about gun control some place else.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Lea

      If you banned the sale of these guns today, how would they be out of your community? Can you comprehend how many guns are out there? Ban them this moment and you are no safer. If anything, there is a buying frenzy going on right now. Mcveigh killed 168 people, 19 children, with a homemade bomb. These tragedies seem to be becoming more frequent, but why? It isn't just the availability of guns and if you think banning them is going to prevent these tragedies you are wrong. It may be a component, but it is not a stand alone solution.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:08 am |
      • De Ath

        ... and bombs are completely illegal and well regulated, but people like little Timmy Mcveigh seem to be able to find the bits, pieces, parts to build them. Security at schools need to improve drastically and even the teachers need to walk through the metal detectors and show the ID along with the students. The people who currently have to show ID are the parents. They are generally not the ones burning up, blowing up or shooting up schools.

        We need to arm teachers. The principle actually thought she was going to talk him out of it and ran to the front door. Talk about not even taking a knife to a gun fight! The end came when the police showed him a 'real' assault rifle and he then decided to take the easy way out.

        Arm teachers! Some day one of your 'kids' is going to try and kill you...

        December 18, 2012 at 8:58 am |
      • curb your ignorance

        Bringing firearms or any weapons to schools and churches is illegal.

        Bombs are NOT well-regulated as anyone has access to fertilizer and the other easily google-able elements needed for bomb-making. Your comment displays ENORMOUS ignorance. One of my peers was brought out of school in handcuffs after he was found with a box of bombs enough to kill an entire classroom.

        ALL materials were homemade from common parts around town. I met the guy, saw some of his bomb-making materials, saw carnage of his destruction, destroyed property and listened to him brag about his "achievements". Thankfully a responsible teacher caught wind of it and had him locked up.

        You don't hear those stories too much but I remember it quite clearly (It was in the 1980s). Good riddance.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Fiona

      Although your comment is completely off topic with this article, I still have a comment. Do you really think guns are the problem here? I'm not saying they helped; but the gunman was a 20 year old, and he shot himself after his rampage. Why are we talking about the issue of guns more than the issue of mental health? Isn't it clear that the gunman did not shoot children because he had access to a gun, he shot children because of some underlying issue? Mental health is what should be discussed.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  50. jonathan

    Teaching is a partnership between parents and teachers. A teachers love of her kids in her or his classroom is what drives those kids to want to excell in school. Children want to please people who love them. I am thankful for the teachers that loved me and I am really thankful for the teachers that loved my chldren. My wife and I could not have made my children the sucess they have become all by ourselves. Thank you for being there for our Children and may we all never have to be in the position of having to protect our children from such a horrible situaton.

    December 18, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  51. Chedar

    To Siberianmommy. Your post is disgusting beyond the human realm. Shame on you.

    December 18, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  52. WandaE

    Tragedy is tragedy whether it involves adults, children, or animals. I think there is a far greater issue at stake here. I am an elementary school teacher...they have always been my kids. I am another adult in their lives to help them see beyond where they are right now – the joy of reading, the power of science and math, the wisdom of history. This isn't about whether a teacher is a hero – it's about an adult doing the right thing in the face of their own death. It's about an adult knowing that the children need someone to protect them from the bad guys. It's not about unions or gun control. It's about what's right and in a much larger sense – what's wrong with our system and our society. The lines between right and wrong seem to be fuzzier – grayer. Unfortunately for many the distinction between reality and fantasy is also skewed. There is so much violence around us everyday in the form of movies, TV, music, video games. How and when do children learn it's not ok to be so unaffected by the beauty of human life? I believe firmly that there is only one purpose for assault rifles and I'm not sure why we are selling them to anyone who wants them. I beleive even more strongly that our mental health system needs a complete overhaul. We cannot provide services to the people who would truly benefit from them. Maybe instead of worrying about teacher's pensions we should be looking at the pensions of our politicians? Our country was founded on some amazing principles and ideals. How and when do we get back to the basics of what is important so we can try to stem the outbreak of these kinds of heinous crimes?

    December 18, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  53. siberianmommy

    As a parent and not a teacher I am actually offended when a teacher refers to their students as "my kids" or when referring to my child, their student, as "our". I don't buy the village raising the children and those terms are like nails on a chalk board. I believe, for most people, it is an instinct to protect the young and trying to nail that trait solely to a professional group as a means to glorify them is so politically motivated and grotesque. Decent people do decent things for each other and DON'T expect something in return, they don't policitize it, they quietly do it because they are decent. Teachers are overpaid and fail in their job to educate kids on a massive scale in the US and they do all this while blaming the parents. So I'm sorry they're not "your" kids, they are the parents' and if you stopped talking about them as "my" kids or "our" kids then maybe these slacker parents you cry about would step up to the plate because you'd be referring to students correctly at "your" kid and putting the responsibility for these kids right back where it belongs-with the parents.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • Brian

      I'm a parent and not a teacher as well. I am PROUD every time a teacher talked about my kids as her/his kids. EVERY teacher I ever had as a student and EVERY teacher my children ever had treated them as if they were hers/his. I feel sorry for you and your narrow minded selfish viewpoint on teachers. I also feel sorry for your children that they have to be raised by you. I am however quite thankful that your children will have the opportunity to be around teachers who care and, yes, love them as their own. That is, of course, unless you pull them out of school and decide to teach them yourself.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:10 am |
      • Dad

        Thank you, Brian.

        Siberian mommy clearly doesn't understand the legal definition "in loco parentis" that states define teachers "in place of te parents."

        This is why the USA is in crisis – so much vitriol and hate. Thank you for eloquently putting to shame the concepts expressed above. Thoughts like those ARE the problem.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Caryl

      I am appalled by the anger out there for teachers even in the face of such selflessness and heroism. I am a retired teacher and I know of no one who was in it for themselves. Teachers are UNDERPAID. What are you thinking?! Other professionals get paid much more. People go into this profession because the care about the kids.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • Cleansingbreath

      Yes, because we all turn to angry, generalizing, us-against-them shrews for a lecture on what "decent" people do. Preach!! Lol.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Tonia

      Would you hold a teller reaponsible if you messed up your account and overdrafted or bounced a check? No.

      Would you hold Chysler responsible for filling you minivan up with gas and blame them for a meltdown if you never had an oil change? No.

      Would you hold your doctor responsible for your heart attack when you don't exercise and you pull into McDonalds every day? No.

      So tell me again why my funding and my job is based on whether or not little Johnny learns to read?

      The only thing I agree with is your mention of parental responsibility. I have no expectation that the school will teach my child everything they should know.

      We live in a culture in which most people seem to enjoy blaming others for things over which they, themselves, have power. It's far easier for society to level the blame at teachers than to tackle the issues of homelessness, poverty, drug use, joblessness, and erosion of the family.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • HenryB

      Where on earth did your anger come from? What is it that teachers do that makes you so bitter? I am glad that you are in the minority. You are the poster child for intolerance and pure hate. You don't deserve the attention that I and others give you.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • ness

      What are you? Some sort of idiot? Sheesh.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • Red

      In what world are you living in that teachers are overpaid? You probably also think that teachers only work while they are in the classroom; you don't count the hours spent working on lesson plans, grading papers, attending conferences. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean we aren't working hard. As a teacher, I also spend two days after school a week teaching through a drop-out program just to earn extra money because I am so overpaid. I also work a second job in the summer because I am so overpaid.

      I don't teach for the money. I teach because I care about the children and yes I do often refer to them as "my kids."

      December 18, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Joe

      Siberianmommy... I am a husband of a teacher. And I can tell you a few things. First you need to get a reality check. Maybe you are involved in your child's education. But I can tell you not all parents are. If you could see the nasty emails my wife gets from parents like yourself when their child does not get homework assignments completed. They blame my wife. Not themselves or their children. Half of my wife's students are on free or reduced lunches. Last year she gave a child a pair of my old glasses so he could see the chalkboard to complete his assignments. Why did she do it? Because his mother used the public assistance on something else and he would have to wait until this year to get the new glasses when benefits kicked in again. She has kids who are being physically and mentally abused in their homes, who are in the middle of messy divorce cases, and some who are living with grandparents on fixed incomes because mom or dad have abandoned them. She is not only a teacher but a psuedo parent to some of these children. And I can tell you if she doesn't get nearly enough in her paycheck to deal with 100 different people with different issues. She buys supplies with her own money to make sure they kids have what they need to succeed. And in case you think this is an inner city school, you are wrong. We live in a suburb with good schools. You seem to know it all. If it were that well paying of a job, why don't you do it. I guarantee you wouldn't last five minutes in the classroom with the abuse teachers take. Therefore, I invite you if you have a friend who is a teacher, go to the classroom with them and teach for a day. See if ou can handle it. But I bet you wouldn't do it, because you are too scared and it is easier to sit back and criticize something you know absolutely nothing about. So I leave you with this quote from Plato, that one of my high school teachers taught me. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

      December 18, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Terry

      Siberianmommy...G-D help your children. It's people like you this world needs to fear. Hopefully your children can find love and tolerance, and guidance elsewhere.

      December 18, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Kimberly

      My wish is that someday we would all work together for the benefit of all of our children and our communities. To hold such negative beliefs is incredibly destructive.

      Yes they are my kids and I am their teacher. I work two jobs just to live and I have no bitterness for that. I left an ivory tower job 20 years ago where I made much more money, because I wanted to teach. I spend about $2,000 a year on my kids and classroom – only $250 can be claimed for taxes. I have had kids come to school in short sleeves in the bitter cold and I have taken my coat off and given it to them. I did the laundry every night for one of my kids who was homeless and embarrassed to come to school, because he smelled. I have bought groceries for the families of my kids who couldn't afford to buy food. Many of my kids are hungry – there is always food in my room for them. No child should ever be hungry. I have visited the homes of my children and assisted them in many ways, all in the hope of making their lives better. I have worked with kids who have been so badly abused, it defies an explanation of humanity – I have come home many times in tears and laid awake at night crying.

      I will leave this now as I am getting ready for work, a job I love and would have no other. They are and always will be my kids. I love them when no one else has. Just to see one of them smile and also learn is beautiful. I will forever remain grateful to God for placing me in this position with the wisdom and compassion for making a small part of the world better.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:13 am |
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