Jesus Loves You, But Everyone Else Thinks You’re An Asshole
That’s sort of how I feel. After all day with administrators wanting their data standards assessment profile action plans and students asking dumb-ass questions about work they are not going to do, you’d think we’d get some love on the outside.
I’m not sure where to start. For at least a few years now the drumbeat of “we have to get rid of bad teachers” has been getting louder. (Nevermind the complexities of defining what a good or a bad teacher is.)
In recent days the drumbeat has become deafening and hostile. (Again…pay no attention to complexity or nuance. They don’t get along with loud or hostile.)
Is this job worth it? We are attacked, but there is no defense. If teachers dare to question any proposition that would adversely affect their working conditions, they are labeled as “putting adults first, not kids”. This is the Emotional Blackmail of Education (EBE). If you’re not on board with whatever the current pedagogical, social, budgetary, or Gates program is; you are against children. Shame on you.
This idea that teachers are the problem has really blossomed and come into its own. Suddenly it’s all on us. I have had parole officers call my classroom for students. I have had child protective services call my classroom because my student’s child is being neglected and is about to be taken away. I have had my principal call my room because a student’s father was arrested on the way to school.
I can’t compensate for that; not remotely. And it is unfair to expect me to. Seriously, it just happens to be the case that all the shitty teachers are in poor parts of big cities? Seriously?? And we have to get rid of them? Then what?
Anyway, people are mad at teachers. This is all over the place now, but in case you haven’t seen it, my girlfriend, Diane Ravitch, was on Jon Stewart last night. (I talk a bit about her new book here.) Both of them were excellent. The hypocrisy and misplaced anger at teachers was well-displayed. My other girlfriend, Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post, posted some highlight video and analysis. I don’t have anything to add to that.
Watch it if you haven’t already. Share it with friends.
We’re not the bad guys, are we?
And one last thing…
The New York Times ran a piece yesterday about a teacher feeling really dumped on. Here name is Erin Parker. She’s new to teaching and works in Wisconsin.
She seems to feel bad that she wants to teach and the state is now telling her that she’s got it too easy and her fancy $36,000 every year, plus being able to go to the doctor, is just a little over the top. She was bitching and moaning about not being able to save for a down payment for a house. Whining and wetting herself because her student loan debt is more than 70 percent of her annual, bloated income.
Then some douchebag from the Cato Institute responds. (Something tells me he has never been a teacher.) (Something tells me he probably doesn’t know anyone who has a household income of less than $200,000 per year.) (Something tells me he lives in a 95%+ white neighborhood and that, if he has kids, they go to a private school.)
He looks at her salary and the hours she is contractually obligated to work. He concludes that, on an hourly wage basis, if she worked a full year (Monday through Friday; 8 to 4:00; 50 weeks), she would be making almost 95% of the state’s median household income. (By the way, she doesn’t work a full year and she deserves not to because this is a messed up job. And a very large number of us take other employment in the summer because we have to.)
(And also, by the way, could people stop calling our summer a “three month vacation”? Even Jon Stewart said it. We get out in mid/late-June and come back in mid/late-August. It’s nice, but it’s nowhere near three fucking months. Trust me. I’ve checked.)
Anyway, Ms. Parker also has a college degree. As of 2004, only 25.6 percent of Wisconsinites 25 or older had a college degree. I’m curious if Mr. Douchebag would care to go to the effort of calculating the median wage for possessors of BAs in the Great State of Wisconsin. I bet not. And I bet that it is more than what Ms. Parker makes. Wanna bet, Mr. Douchebag? I’ll bet you don’t want to bet because we already know that she makes less than at least half of the people who don’t have college degrees.
Mr. Douchebag also cites a “time diary analysis” study that indicates teachers work less than 40 hours per week. I have none other than anecdotal grounds to contest that. Any of the three schools I have worked at would grind to an absolute halt in a matter of days if teachers stopped working nights and weekends or otherwise limited themselves to 40 hours per week.
What Mr. Douchebag fails to mention from the same study, accidentally I’m sure, is that teachers are more likely to work at home, work on Sunday, work between 10pm and 6am, and to hold multiple jobs than other professionals.
How many hours do douchebags at conservative think tanks work? What’s your hourly wage?