The Remarkable Job Teachers Really Do

This week I scrolled through Facebook, something I’m prone to do once or twice a day. I came upon one post in particular that caused me to pause and read further. It started like so:

This sounds oddly familiar: Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit! We can get that for minimum wage. That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That …would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to……… 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).


Immediately my hackles raised. What! We babysit! Let me tell you about babysitting this week. I have a small load as far as classes go. Many teachers would love to have my classes. My largest class now has 27 in it. My smallest class has 9. This, however, is in a district that has 62 students in the high school and now 50 in the junior high.

This week, I checked in on a student who lost her mom to a sudden heart attack two weekends ago, I counseled a student about being a leader toward good and not bad, I took 11 students on an overnight field trip to the University of Oregon to celebrate Foreign Language and International Studies, I guided students in writing a play to perform and video, and I encouraged high school students to do community service so they can graduate. That was just a few things.


Where did someone think teachers get 45 minutes for lunch when we have a contracted half-hour lunch. This year, the only time I’ve had a full 30 minutes was on days when we were at work without kids–professional development days (think work training) and grading days (think filling out endless forms).

Besides lunch my day runs from 7:45-3:45. That varies from school district to school district, but most places have an 8 hour day. As for planning time, have you ever tried to do your job without being prepared? It’s horrible. Just once, try standing in front of 22 people to teach them how to do what you do, and you’ve not had time to make the copies to give to them or get the presentation ready for the projector or even create an outline of what you need to say. That’s really what prep period is.

Pay scale

Now that my blood was boiling, it was time to read further.

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

My jaw dropped. $105,300 a year!!! Now, we’re talking true professional level pay. So, I went looking to see if any Oregon teacher even makes that much money, and I discovered in 2010 teachers in the Portland area who worked two positions, such as night school and teacher, or who were athletic directors made $102,718 or lower. Oregonlive continued to state that “Most teachers with the very highest pay worked extensive evening, weekend, and/or summer hours.” However, of the schools my size reporting salary pay this year the minimum salary with base education is $34,321 and the maximum for the top level is $63,273.


The post carried this thinking even further.

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year. Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

In Oregon, a Master’s program is now mandatory for not only teachers but substitute teachers as well! That’s three years of education beyond a Bachelor program, and Master’s level courses cost more than the Bachelor level, around $200 more per credit hour.


The post finished out.

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

What a deal? I’d say we need to educate our population a bit better. If America is going to raise the standard of education, it is going to start in the mindset of parents at home, and we must view teachers as more than just babysitters.

According to one site, this is the job description of a teacher:

“Prepares lesson plans and instructs students in an assigned school. Evaluates and monitors student’s performance. Requires a bachelor’s degree, 2-4 years of experience in the field or in a related area, and may require certification. Familiar with a variety of concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. May lead and direct the work of others. Typically reports to the principal.”

Although this description is faulty, it still illustrates what teachers do. Step into a classroom and watch what all goes on. From the teacher moving around guiding and directing students, to experiments, reading, speaking, and active engagement, to students with difficulties trying to focus on everything, there is too much to contain in one little sentence, and yet it all happens every minute of every day in school.


How did the piece end?

Heaven forbid we take into account highly qualified teachers or NCLB…
Make a teacher smile; re-post this to show appreciation ♥ all you out there!
Standing up for our children’s educators, one of the most important people in our kids lives.

By the time all was said and done, yes, I did smile, but it got me to thinking. Teachers are one of our nations best kept secrets.

As a parent and a teacher, I see the value in schools and the inherent issues as well. When my daughter returned from Finland, she raved about the schools there. The educational world has also noticed the wonderful schools in Finland. After a year back in the States, my daughter finally came to the conclusion that Finnish schools are as good as they are because of more than just the teachers, administrators, and any laws. They have the results they do because of the society they are based in. Standards at home and societal norms enable teachers to do their job to the best of their capabilities. I wish this was true here in the United States.

In the meantime, I’ll do as one of my Master’s level professors said, “Do the best you can within the bounds of what you’re given.” Therefore, I’ll rearrange my room to allow student interactions, I’ll counsel students, I’ll take field trips and open up new horizons for my students, and I’ll collaborate with other teachers to bring the best possible education for students. My bio statement is true because I really do teach students about “Spanish, leadership, and life.”

What's your take?