Thursday, June 13, 2013

Do not become a teacher!!

Last night I am lying in bed and thinking.  I usually do this during the school year with new ideas to try in my classroom, but last night I am lying awake thinking about my salary and it is summer.   Why am I lying here awake during the summer?  

Well, a couple days ago I went into my school to sign my contract for next year.  I signed my contract with no raise, not even a step increase. :(  It amazes me that the price for everything goes up but my salary either stays the same or gets lower.  It isn't fair!!

Yes, I know.  I am a teacher!  I have always wanted to be a teacher.  When I was little I remember lining up my stuffed animals and teaching them.  They were great listeners.(hehe)  I have never imagined doing anything else with my life but teaching.  I taught classes at the YMCA throughout high school and just always knew my passion was to be a teacher.  I was so excited the day I got my first job and I still continue to get excited for the beginning of the school year.  This coming year will be my 12th year teaching.  I just never imagined that my dream job would pay so poorly

Why oh why do teachers get paid so poorly?  Without teachers no one else would have a job.  I think teachers should be one of the highest professions out there.  I know my opinion really doesn't matter but still.  In order to be a doctor, you have to be taught by a teacher how to be a doctor.  It just isn't fair!

Luckily, I am married to a wonderful husband who has a good job.  If I was single, I don't think I could survive.  Especially with two kids.  I think that is just horrible.  I have a very important job but the pay stinks!  Teachers should be the people that don't have to live paycheck to paycheck.  I love watching the Housewives shows.  They are always very entertaining to watch.  I looked up what some of the housewives get and I just can't believe it.  Someone that is on a show is making more than a teacher?!  Actually way more than a teacher.  It would take me years to make what they make.  I find that ridiculous.  I think our country has the wrong thinking.  Maybe our education system would be better if they paid the teachers what they are worth!

Then next year they want to base teachers salaries off test scores.  I am all for keeping the good teachers and getting rid of the bad, however I think basing salaries off of test scores is the wrong approach.  I have always had good scores, but it is super scary when my salary is going to depend on that.  They don't know the make up of my students and their lives.  I have no control what happens at my students homes but now my salary is going to depend on them.  It is super scary.   I know I was never a good test taker.  To think I could have hurt my teachers paycheck if I scored badly.  I would have felt horrible the rest of my life.  I think doing this is going to cause some of the best teachers to quit because it is too stressful.

Again, I don't want to be all negative but I do think the education system needs help.  I have always wanted to be a teacher but with the stress I have thought about doing something else.  I don't know what that would be, but it has been on my mind.  I love teaching!  I love helping kids succeed.  I love watching my class grow.  I do think we as teachers should ban together to get our education system better.

Vent over! Thanks for listening! 

Kindergarten, 2nd -


  1. Right alongside ya... as someone who is just entering the profession, I hear this more and more and it makes me think my about my decision to be a teacher over & over again. But, I'm in it for the kiddos so I push through. But know you are not alone!!

    Miss V's Busy Bees

  2. I think that I have that same vent at least once a year. For about 5 years, teachers in our county did not get a raise or a step increase.

    I just keep hoping that one day this country will wake up and realize how much we are worth!

    First Grade Magic

  3. I feel your struggle. I've been teaching thirteen years and the past few we've had 0 increase on the base and now they've frozen our pay. UHG! I feel horrible for our staff as a whole, especially my friend who has only been in the system a few years. She was expecting a pay raise with her upcoming master's degree only to find out she'll be making the exact same pay as this past year.
    As Sara commented, I'm also in it for the kids so I press forward day after day.
    Where Seconds Count

  4. Why doesn't anyone realize this? It makes me so mad sometimes the amount of time and money I put in to my job, just to basically be told it's not good enough. Basing our pay off test scores is just going to make teachers not like other teachers, dislike students who don't want to perform, etc. I guess it all has to hit rock bottom before anything will change. God help us!!


  5. I feel exactly the same way. I can get myself so mad sometimes because I think about all the time and money I put into my job. And in order to get the "good reviews" - the job has to be your life. I wish people could see what we do and how hard we work. Basing our pay off test scores is just going to put teachers against each other and make teachers not want unmotivated students in their class. I guess it has to hit rock bottom before anyone realizes anything. God help us!

  6. I totally agree! I have always wondered why teachers get paid so little when we teach the rest of the future professionals (basically) :/ It is super stressful living paycheck to paycheck and a lot of our own money goes right back into the classroom or things for the kids. What other job does that?! It's sad and I have often thought about going back into nursing, which is what I was going to college for before I decided to follow my heart and switch to teaching.


  7. I have said all of the same things recently. It is really sad honestly. I have actually cried over tests scores this year. I don't think that anything is going to change until someone important realized that "Hey, maybe it has to do with the kids, their parents, and that darn high poverty rate!" Vent on lady! That is the only way to make sure that you don't explode!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  8. I hear you! I feel very blessed that our district continues to move us up on steps, and for most of the 5 years I've been teaching, small cost of living increases. However, our state legislature seems to be working to make it very unattractive to be a teacher.
    My daughter who just graduated HS, has a friend who wants to be a teacher. I think she would be good at it, but I've also invited her into my classroom as much as she wants, so she'll go in with her eyes opened wide!
    You are so right when you say that none of the other professions would exist without teachers!

  9. Wow, you said exactly what I have been thinking. I don't know how Ohio pays, but I'm in Oklahoma and last I heard we ranked 46th or 47th in teacher pay. I am a single mom and I get no child support. Several years ago, I missed qualifying for a Habitat for Humanity Home by several hundred dollars. I'm not trying to sound like I feel sorry for myself, but it is pitiful that my 10 year old daughter has friends who have cell phones that their parents are basically getting for free and I can barely afford to pay for the one that I have for myself. Oops, as you can see you hit a nerve with me. For the first time since I started teaching, I was wishing that I could quit this year. They are asking more and more of us, more demands on what we are supposed to be teaching and then as you say they are going to pay us according to test scores. It is very disheartening.
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  10. It is more than scary that a group of 6th graders who are remedial readers hold my job in their hands when they take state tests. How fair is it that I CHOOSE to teach these needy students and my pay and/or job is in jeopardy? And I'm entering my 26th year! I would gladly trade a pay increase for this Compass baloney to be done away with!
    I am actively DISCOURAGING my own son from going into education because the stress is just too great.
    And the biggest losers in all of this are the children.

  11. I totally get it April. If I wasn't about to get married I think that I would get out of teaching and find something else to do. I absolutely LOVE my job and it is the perfect creative outlet for me, but I love to eat and I also love to have electricity. I have been a single teacher for 3 years now and I have had 2 jobs the entire time. First I worked as a teacher assistant though and then I had THREE jobs. It is a discouraging time to be in education for sure.

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  12. I agree with your post. It is very sad and scary at the same time. I am a teacher for students with Emotional Disabilities and others with behavior issues. Some of them will shut down or have a fit at any time and guess what.. testing is a perfect time for that. I cannot do anything about it. I absolutely love working with these students and it is rewarding in the classroom but when it comes to the overall aspect and lack of understanding of those students from above.. I have been asking myself if it is worth it to be this emotionally and physically drained all the time. :-/ So difficult!

  13. I always find it interesting that in the "top performing countries" teachers are paid very well. Those countries realize that teachers need to be paid for the important work they do. I think the public takes for granted how much we do for kids. Though they are the first to say they could never do the job. I love the kids and I love the whole idea of educating kids. During hard times I have thought about teaching in private school. In my area the private schools don't have to take the state assessment.

    Hopefully the public will realize that teachers need to be compensated for all they do!

  14. I totally agree! It is so hard these days to be a teacher! If I could just teach and not worry about all the other stuff! Keep up the great work!
    Really Roper

  15. I think we all agree with you! We WERE going to get a "raise" last year, but then the earthquake hit and after insurance and FEMA, had to pay for a new elementary school and high school. Can't help that. Of course, it's been 5 years....with our health insurance going up every year! Then, we got a 2% for the coming school year....but 1% is to cover OUR contribution to our VRS (retirement fund)....and still getting a "cut" due to health insurance. :( It stinks. My husband lost his job at Circuit City corporate when they closed several years ago and he hasn't had a good paying job since! We're trying to pay off debt that has accrued since then and I swear, if it wasn't for opportunities like TPT and TN, I think I would have to have a second job (god knows when I'd find the time!)...and he also has a "second job" playing gigs with his swing band and the local theater scene!

    Yeah, I know none of us got it in for the money - just like no true teacher really has "3 months off" (hah!) - but it is upsetting when the "public servants" such as firefighters, police, and teachers are some of the lower paid professions!!! (when compared to some of the others, like doctors).

  16. You've hit a button that's hot with all of your readers today. We're all spending our precious sleeping time worrying over the lack of validation in our culture overall. Most people would say that teachers are one of our most valuable and important professions, but our nation does not put the money where it's mouth is. I wonder how my goofy little K5 kids will perform on testing when it may impact not just my administrator's opinion of me as a teacher but my compensation as well. They don't put much stock in answering questions on a computer well, usually only value their most immediate achievement and I don't want to be the one to stress them by telling them that we (them and me) are being measured for deficiencies. Or how our third & fourth graders performance will impact my paycheck back in K5, which is what our state is considering. I attended a meeting with our state superintendent of Ed. (who's never taught in the public sector, only private college). He came with a bodyguard to face a huge group of teachers. Though I don't see the answer to this problem of how to measure efficacy in education, I sure see the downfall coming if we try to measure everyone with the same ruler and we don't all measure from zero. Some are surely beginning in the negative end.

  17. I live in CO & we attempted to challenge SB191 {CO's legislation about 50% of teacher evaluation being linked to TCAP achievement}. I am not in a TCAP grade, so my scores (like enrichment/specials) would be determined by growth of my school. My school always scores well, and my students always make great growth on DIBELS - I am not worried. However, I don't agree with the mindset behind these legislative decisions, primarily because THEY are making the laws & have NO EXPERIENCE as an EDUCATOR!

    While in the committee attempting to change SB191 we were told a great example of this mentality, from a business stand point. In my district, we often hear that schools need to "follow a business philosophy when it pertains to education." So:
    It would be like Ethan Allen, a furniture making company with a high reputation for quality products, excellent service, & superior sales being asked to show growth BUT without control over fabrics, wood, or materials needed to create such high end furniture. The can't control their raw materials. Production can't diminish or quality, but they can't pick the wood or nails used - they get whatever they have & need to create the chair that the customer wants, regardless!

    In education, I am PROUD that every child has the right to a free & public education - I am a product of public schools, an employee of public schools, & a advocate for them! I LOVE being a public educator. That said, I can't control my raw materials - I get students who haven't eaten, don't have sufficient clothing, have divorced parents, are homeless, have been exposed to or have been physically/mentally/emotionally abused. I take them & I LOVE THEM! But their immediate needs are not being met, how can I justify forcing test performance when they don't have a winter coat or have eaten breakfast? I teach them, but I love them too - I meet their needs in order to build trust, security, & safety - once that's established, let's LEARN!

    Sorry for the rant - guess it's an issue NATIONALLY!

  18. We are feeling your pain in Michigan, too! I think the same thing about once a month... when we are out of money for groceries. In fact, today we got an email explaining the new evaluation process. This year, I was "highly effective" and my students all made growth. If I had the same class two years from now... I'd be considered "ineffective". I had a large portion of my class not come in at expectation. They all made about a year's worth of growth, but only 2 closed the gap completely. With my class- I could be fired. Sure, I have documentation and fancy graphs of interventions, but the test scores out weight the work that the child had to do just to get to that point. Sad.

    As far as having 3 months off- for most, those are 3 months off unpaid. TPT is paying for groceries this week. I just got the statement :)

    Take time, reflect, renew, and start again. It's who we are :)
    New Adventures in First Grade

  19. Teachers have it bad, there is no doubt. I have been one for over 15 years and it keeps getting harder, more demanding, and all with less pay. I know this may not be the place to write this but I can't ignore so many people feeling the same way I did. If you are remotely curious as to what I did to break free, please email me. We all deserve better...
    If we keep doing the same thing, we will always get the same results.

  20. Many teacher candidates are waking up to some of these issues now and are leaving the program and pursuing something else. Many professionals are leaving the field as well. I knew many of the issues and I was just like" oh, I can do it. Besides, I'm doing it for the kids!" well, after a few education courses and 40 hours of classroom observations, I decided that no way education would be a long term career for me. I would be out of the profession after a few years because of the extreme focus on standardized test scores and extremely low teacher pay. I want to be able to help youth and adults but I can't do that in a room full of thirty, common cores getting in the way of creativity, and this whole data driven classroom treating students like they're machines- we are using them as a commodity. Districts and states want students to get results so they can get money. The whole data driven classroom treats students as if they are subjects in some psychology experiment. That is how I personally felt when my education professor, a former school principal, explained this to us. I can't enter a classroom where I am expected to treat students like that. Nor do I have five hands and five brains. Looks like I will have to find another profession that makes a difference in the lives of youth. I can't help but feeling that many feel the same way which is why so many professionals are leaving the field and the government will only have themselves to blame when there is a shortage of teachers.