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Are teachers (K-12) undercompensated?


#1 berzirk   I'm not so serious CAGiversary!   2506 Posts   Joined 11.2 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:50 PM

I have several relatives who are teachers, and in fact, if I had to do it all over again, I would have selected that as my profession as well. As someone who works in the private sector, I can't help but get annoyed when a teacher-friend or relative complains about how underpaid they are.

It seems that in many states the starting salary is anywhere between $35-50k. I don't believe that includes required health insurance premiums, and definitely doesn't include required union dues (whether you choose to be in the union or not-another time, another thread), but when compared to the private sector, that's a pretty damn competitive starting salary depending on the nature of your work (not to mention the good retirement/pension system many have in place).

When you consider that K-12 teachers are also getting a couple months off in the summer, another 3 weeks for Christmas/Spring Break, their salary starts to look pretty high. I've discussed this many times over, and at least anectdotally the teachers feel like they are underpaid, and deserve that time off because their job is so tough. To me, there aren't too many stressful jobs I'd turn down if I could work 180 days a year, and have year round benefits.

I don't take this position to undermine one of the most important jobs out there, but do you folks think teachers are underpaid, overpaid, or paid just about right. Me personally, I think their salaries are about right, if not on the high end, when benefits are included.

(Again, I'm talking K-12. I know dmaul is in the university system, and I don't know much about their career paths or salary structures, so I'm not talking about higher ed)

#2 detectiveconan16   Delicious! CAGiversary!   7124 Posts   Joined 12.2 Years Ago  

detectiveconan16

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:00 PM

When the bell rings, it doesn't mean that a teacher's job is over. So yes, they are undercompensated, but the bigger problem is an underfunded education system.

#3 panzerfaust  

panzerfaust

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:11 PM

Boo

Edited by panzerfaust, 11 January 2012 - 01:58 AM.


#4 Javery   Drug-Dealer-Keeper-Awayer CAGiversary!   22421 Posts   Joined 15.6 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:13 PM

Don't get me started on this. They are not underpaid at all.

EDIT: At least where I live - I can only speak to my area.

#5 nasum   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   3480 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:25 PM

so how is Wisconsin these days berzirk?

As stated earlier, the teacher day doesn't end with the student day and that goes k-12. Sure, you're not grading papers for 6 year olds, but you're prepping activites for the next day and things of that ilk. The farther along you go the more you need to deal with actual student outcome and it becomes more and more time consuming.
Teachers don't get the summer off either. Sure, they don't have to punch the clock at 8am, but they're working on curriculum for next year, attending conferences, year end reviews with administration, etc... You've fallen into the plithy anti-education notion that teaching is essentially a part-time job. That's blatantly false and one needs to be pretty god damn stupid to subscribe to that notion.

Yes, there are some shitty teachers out there and they might even be 5-10% of the population. There's also some shitty Jiffy Lubers out there, are they overpaid? So instead of denegrating the profession at the expense of 5-10% of the population, let's think of a better way to weed out the bad so that the good can flourish? Nah, it's more fun the other way!

#6 Dead of Knight  

Dead of Knight

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:31 PM

Depends on the area. Salaries can vary a lot.

#7 Mr Unoriginal   Cheap Amish Gamer CAGiversary!   7456 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

Mr Unoriginal

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:31 PM

As others have said, the problem isn't that teachers as a whole are under or over paid, it's that there is realy no criteria for evaluating the job they are doing individually. In the current system, you could be the best teacher in the world and make the same as the worst teacher in the same district. I would personally be happy to pay more for teachers as long as they are continually proving they are doing a great job.

#8 mykevermin   Queen of Scotland CAGiversary!   37011 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

Don't get me started on this. They are not underpaid at all.

EDIT: At least where I live - I can only speak to my area.


You easily make 3-4X what a teacher makes. Are you overpaid, vastly overpaid, or absurdly overpaid, then?

#9 xycury   there is only one CAGiversary!   4503 Posts   Joined 13.5 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:33 PM

I'd love the whole education system to be redone. At least that's one area where some control can be kept.

Now if only the kids/kid's parents took it as serious as the good teachers out there...this nation would be somewhere instead of the dunce of the world.

#10 mykevermin   Queen of Scotland CAGiversary!   37011 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:48 PM

Parenting is a huge area where education suffers - both in the inability of undereducated parents to assist/oversee their own children's development, as well as their general failure to hold their children responsible for their own mediocre to weak educational performance.

#11 berzirk   I'm not so serious CAGiversary!   2506 Posts   Joined 11.2 Years Ago  

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:51 PM

so how is Wisconsin these days berzirk?

As stated earlier, the teacher day doesn't end with the student day and that goes k-12. Sure, you're not grading papers for 6 year olds, but you're prepping activites for the next day and things of that ilk. The farther along you go the more you need to deal with actual student outcome and it becomes more and more time consuming.
Teachers don't get the summer off either. Sure, they don't have to punch the clock at 8am, but they're working on curriculum for next year, attending conferences, year end reviews with administration, etc... You've fallen into the plithy anti-education notion that teaching is essentially a part-time job. That's blatantly false and one needs to be pretty god damn stupid to subscribe to that notion.


Sweet, took the bait, now on the hook. So does that mean only teachers work outside of set shifts, and nobody else works more hours, works at home, puts in weekend time, occassionally works an 80 hour week as a salaried employee paid for 40 hours? I know I sure as hell do. That's exactly where your rebuttal dies. Teachers are the first to list out every minute that they do something school related on "their time", but are either ignorant of the fact, or openly choose to ignore it, that hundreds of thousands of professionals, do exactly this, and do it year round for the same or similar pay.

And wouldn't end of the year reviews be at...the end of the year, and not two months into summer? And don't in-service days aid teachers to attend workshops? Lets say a diligent teacher spends a day a week of their summer working. That's outright inaccurate for all teachers I've ever known, but lets say there are a few. So they're working 10 months out of the year then. That's a good, good gig for 12 months of pay and bennies. Is their job more stressful and important than everyone elses? I hardly believe that.

I fully admit and believe that they have a tough job with underfunded, limited resources to try to perform them. As the husband of a teacher, I know we've spent a fair amount of our household income on my wife's classrooms since the school wouldn't pay for things she needed. My parents did the same for my mom, also a teacher. Buying extra supplies for kids that came from poor families and couldn't or wouldn't even buy a simple paper folder and pencil for their child. But they do not have the market cornered on tough, stressful jobs. Hell, depending on where you are, I'll bet a city cop makes about as much as a teacher. I consider a cop's job more stressful and deserving of time off.

So you're saying that the average K-12 teacher works a full 12 months out of the year? I think you might want to double check that. It sounds like you have a broken calendar.

#12 dmaul1114   Banned Banned   24688 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

dmaul1114

Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:15 AM

Depends on the area. Some places they're well compensated, others not so much. Sadly the lower paying areas are often poor innercity districts and poor rural districts where the tax base is low. Sad because these are the areas that most need great teachers.

I do agree that they need more rigorous evaluation standards and a tad less focus on seniority so you don't have so many older teachers who don't give a crap anymore and aren't working at staying good at their craft, keeping up with new information and technology etc.

But I also think teachers get a lot of unfair grief from miserable people who hate their jobs and thus are envious of teachers who they think get weekends and summers off etc---when any decent teacher is working a lot over those periods. Most teachers I know work well over 40 hour weeks during the school year with all the grading and course prep that has to be done on nights and weekends. Summers they may not work 40 hours, but are constantly trying to learn new things, update their course materials etc. And yes, many other professions also require working more than 40 hours while only getting paid for 40 hours, but people acknowledge that. Teachers are the only profession I can think of where people have a misguided view of how much work is put in.

And lastly, I agree 100% with Myke that there's only so much that can be done by teachers, or within the school system period. If the parents either don't care about their kids academic peformance, and/or lack the ability to help with their education that's a huge obstacle that's hard to overcome with in the 8-3 school day.

#13 willardhaven   Thief of Life CAGiversary!   7087 Posts   Joined 15.2 Years Ago  

willardhaven

Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:56 AM

Undercompensated? That's up for debate. Underappreciated and subject to scrutiny more so than many other, higher paying, professions? Definitely. We need to stop focusing so much on teacher evaluation standards and more on helping failing schools as well as the neighborhoods that surround them.

Dmaul I agree with a lot of your post but is that bitter worker argument your new go-to?

#14 Javery   Drug-Dealer-Keeper-Awayer CAGiversary!   22421 Posts   Joined 15.6 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:13 AM

You easily make 3-4X what a teacher makes. Are you overpaid, vastly overpaid, or absurdly overpaid, then?


Not sure but I do know I won't have approximately $1.6MM in an account after 20 years that I can live on for the rest of my life. I also pay $900/month in health insurance as opposed to nothing. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

#15 davo1224   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   3040 Posts   Joined 12.1 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:23 AM

It's iffy for me. On one hand, you're just teaching children. On the other hand, you're teaching children.

If you're the type of teacher that is a worksheet/busy work machine and is never available for school activities? I'd say that salary sounds about right.

For anyone who gives a crap? Hardly. Being secondary parents without being able to discipline the kids is one of the worst punishments I can think of. So is being saddled with that responsibility but not being given enough resources because taxpayers/politicians think that teachers are overpaid.

It's not fun either to pretty much constantly being on the job, even when you're physically not there. I also have never known any teacher, lazy or not, who spent the summer "off".

Do I think being a teacher is tough? Hardly. Would I consider it a desirable position because it's carefree and has great single mom hours? LOL is all I can say to that.

#16 ITDEFX   My foot itches..must be athlete's foot CAGiversary!   17260 Posts   Joined 14.9 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:00 AM

When the bell rings, it doesn't mean that a teacher's job is over. So yes, they are undercompensated, but the bigger problem is an underfunded education system.



I agree... some teachers leave within an hour of the last bell , others stay til 10pm :(

The school I am working at now is one of the lowest performing schools (when it comes to SOL's) and the school board is pissed. We are being watched big time. The people I am working with are one of the hardest working group I have ever met...problem is that we have a bunch of students who don't fucking care if they fail or have parents who don't care at all. The School board doesn't care...it's all about numbers...

Yea we get summers off, but I'd rather be teaching summer enrichment for that extra pay.

I would prefer bigger discounts on stuff though... teacher discounts aren't as good as they use to be.

#17 camoor   Jams on foot fires CAGiversary!   15229 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:01 AM

I have several relatives who are teachers, and in fact, if I had to do it all over again, I would have selected that as my profession as well. As someone who works in the private sector, I can't help but get annoyed when a teacher-friend or relative complains about how underpaid they are.

It seems that in many states the starting salary is anywhere between $35-50k. I don't believe that includes required health insurance premiums, and definitely doesn't include required union dues (whether you choose to be in the union or not-another time, another thread), but when compared to the private sector, that's a pretty damn competitive starting salary depending on the nature of your work (not to mention the good retirement/pension system many have in place).


Don't get all butthurt because you picked a shitty profession and you put up with getting paid shitty wages.

#18 camoor   Jams on foot fires CAGiversary!   15229 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:02 AM

Not sure but I do know I won't have approximately $1.6MM in an account after 20 years that I can live on for the rest of my life. I also pay $900/month in health insurance as opposed to nothing. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.


Oh really. So how many millionaire teachers do you know?

#19 dmaul1114   Banned Banned   24688 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

dmaul1114

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:06 AM

Dmaul I agree with a lot of your post but is that bitter worker argument your new go-to?


Not sure it's anything new. I've never had patience for bitter, whiny people who hate their jobs and talk shit about other professions as a result. Especially someone like Javery who makes six figures as a lawyer and still bitches and moans all the time.

I don't think anyone posting on here was born into a ghetto broken home or anything based on what all the regulars have posted about themselves over the years. So it's pretty safe to say that most (if not all) on here have no one but themselves to blame if they're not happy with their career choices.

#20 panzerfaust  

panzerfaust

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:26 AM

I do agree that they need more rigorous evaluation standards and a tad less focus on seniority so you don't have so many older teachers who don't give a crap anymore and aren't working at staying good at their craft, keeping up with new information and technology etc.


This is pretty much the issue. Most of the young teachers I knew in highschool were much more dedicated to their classrooms. Senior teachers sitting on benefits kind of just did crossword puzzles while flying through the same curriculum they've done for god only knows how long.

As for how much work teachers do, when they do it, and the difficulty of the work involved -- I guess that's a hard thing to discuss because I rarely meet someone who is modest about their career. Just how people are, I guess.

#21 mykevermin   Queen of Scotland CAGiversary!   37011 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:36 AM

Not sure it's anything new. I've never had patience for bitter, whiny people who hate their jobs and talk shit about other professions as a result. Especially someone like Javery who makes six figures as a lawyer and still bitches and moans all the time.

I don't think anyone posting on here was born into a ghetto broken home or anything based on what all the regulars have posted about themselves over the years. So it's pretty safe to say that most (if not all) on here have no one but themselves to blame if they're not happy with their career choices.


Well, I couldn't exactly bootstrap myself into a career as a bikini model.

;)

#22 dmaul1114   Banned Banned   24688 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

dmaul1114

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:39 AM

As for how much work teachers do, when they do it, and the difficulty of the work involved -- I guess that's a hard thing to discuss because I rarely meet someone who is modest about their career. Just how people are, I guess.


Well I can gauge based on my own experience as well as from talking to teachers. Working at a research university I have a pretty light teaching load. Two classes a semester, usually only teach on two days a week, 5 hours a week in the classroom.

And that eats up a lot of my time, especially when teaching courses for the first time. I couldn't imagine teaching 5-7 courses a day 5 days a week like middle school and high school teachers do. Or Elementary school teachers and all the subjects they have to cover.

It's a lot more teaching, and a lot more involved teaching than at the college level where I'm just lecturing and facilitating discussions etc. and doing very little one on one or small group actual "teaching."

#23 UncleBob  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:16 AM

Don't get all butthurt because you picked a shitty profession and you put up with getting paid shitty wages.


I wonder if camoor would be willing to say this to anyone who's got a job and isn't making a "living wage".

#24 Clak   Made of star stuff. CAGiversary!   8079 Posts   Joined 10.2 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:42 AM

I'd like to point out that some school systems have also gone to a year round system, so the idea of having the summer off isn't universal.

#25 Clak   Made of star stuff. CAGiversary!   8079 Posts   Joined 10.2 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:44 AM

I wonder if camoor would be willing to say this to anyone who's got a job and isn't making a "living wage".


And in your little world it's all the same. You are the most intellectually dishonest person on these boards.

#26 camoor   Jams on foot fires CAGiversary!   15229 Posts   Joined 15.5 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:05 AM

I wonder if camoor would be willing to say this to anyone who's got a job and isn't making a "living wage".


Everyone deserves a living wage. But I have no sympathy for someone who pulls a "misery loves company" routine instead of standing up for what they deserve.

You and bezkirk should worry a little less about what everyone else makes and a little more about why you are such bitter whiny assholes.

#27 soulvengeance   Beating dead horses CAGiversary!   4226 Posts   Joined 15.7 Years Ago  

soulvengeance

Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:11 AM

I'm not advocating either direction, but if you really wanted to become a teacher, you could, there are a ton of shortages everywhere, and many programs where you could become a teacher for practically free.

#28 Msut77   Occam's Shank CAGiversary!   6251 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:18 AM

Don't get all butthurt because you picked a shitty profession and you put up with getting paid shitty wages.


It also includes a masters degree which for some reason the usual suspects ignore.

#29 skiizim   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   10080 Posts   Joined 10.7 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:50 AM

Parenting is a huge area where education suffers - both in the inability of undereducated parents to assist/oversee their own children's development, as well as their general failure to hold their children responsible for their own mediocre to weak educational performance.


This is a big factor in the failure of our education, this article gave me a laugh but it's the sad reality we live in. I don't know how other states are but here in CA we have such a huge diversity of different kinds of people it makes it that much harder on the teacher. Don't get me started on "no child left behind" either, one of the stupidest things they have done.

Also, I'm not sure how it works in other States/areas but I know around where I live the amount of pay you start out with and the tiers you can reach are determined on the amount of schooling you have accomplished. Teachers are always being scrutinized by everybody without having all the facts straight. I can't count how many headaches my wife has given me due to her day at school.

#30 dohdough   Sum Dum Guy CAGiversary!   6854 Posts   Joined 10.0 Years Ago  

Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:56 AM

I think part of the ire that teachers get is that it's a scapegoat for society's failings without understanding all the little parts of it. We blame teachers for not making our and other's kids educated individuals without examining the metrics that we judge them by...and no, standardized testing is not a good one in an unequal society. Teaching to tests aren't answer either.

We don't really look at what we teach our kids and how we teach our kids. If there are programs that work, we don't expand them to districts that don't because we strip the funding to needy schools that were used for pilot/charter programs and never restore them. And if programs are designed for underserved communites that work, they are generally dismantled.

Between narrative and pedagogy, is it any wonder why the system is failing kids? But no, let's just blame the messengers of the garbage we want taught to our kids because our kids aren't well-versed enough on it.

We still have fucking debates on whether to allow creationism should be taight in schools. The US is fucking Bizarro-land.

Even if schools are considered day-care centers by parents, they're fucking dirt cheap compared to going to a after-school program or hiring a nanny. Or maybe some of you should just read "Lies My Teacher Told Me" and educate yourselves a little bit.