We Are Here to Change the World and Touch the Future- Shouldn’t We Make More Money?

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Teachers Like Money.Before I start, to the person who actually read “The End of the World as We Know It”- Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. However, I still don’t have a fear of getting run over by a float. Isn’t that a parental responsibility? If that did happen it would be a terrible accident, but as a parent isnst that a you problem, not a we problem?

This week my wife was nearly maimed by the kitchen light falling on her head. We live in a house that is about 3 years old and I assume the light just wasn’t installed correctly. No one’s fault, just an accident.

If she had died:

1.) it would have been awkward to explain to my second wife that it was an “accident”.

2.) should we ban kitchen lights because she was a victim of an accident?

That is a her problem, not a you problem (and it would certainly be my problem and a terrible loss to all of us….. she reads this Blog, mainly out of politeness I think). So…again, thanks again for actually reading my Blog all the way through (to think my high school English teacher said I would never amount to anything).

Now on to the next thing that has me confused (please no comments about me always being confused).

Why is it that when someone gets their first job in education they are so excited? As an administrator I consider one of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to hire a brand new teacher. I also think it is a big responsibility because a teacher hired for the 2007-08 school year may retire sometime around 2043.

By then, God willing, I will be 75 years old and only slightly more senile then I am now. Of course, by then I may not even know how old I am or recognize the fact that I may still be senile. I do know that at my school that will be 8 principals from now, so students and staff will have long forgotten my name (I may have also forgotten my name), but this year’s new teachers may still be working with students.

A new teacher looks forward to everything about their first teaching assignment…their new room, their own desk, getting keys to the building, a real paycheck, putting up bulletin boards, possibly even school lunch, and of course their first group of students.

Everything about the experience is positive and upbeat. They have no complaints about their schedule, or who their teaching partner is, or parents not being supportive, or the fact that they think teachers aren’t appreciated enough, or that their paycheck is too small.

A new teacher is open to advice and willing to try different things. There is no talk of “why change – that’s the way we have always done it” or “I am not going to use the computers- they will never catch on”. They are thrilled with the job, their colleagues, the kids, and the opportunity to make a difference.

This isn’t to say that veteran teachers don’t feel the same way. Many do and are a credit to education, but others may have begun to take the huge opportunity that we have been given as teachers for granted.

Many think they should get paid more, get more respect and appreciation, and maybe…just maybe…work less hours. But so should doctors, engineers, waitresses, carpenters, and the guy who changes the oil in my truck, and everyone else who works hard for a living for not nearly enough money.

Some people will say, since we work with students and are such a big part of shaping the lives of the future – we should be paid triple what we get now. I would have taken more money, but I am pretty sure I knew what my teaching salary would be when I was hired. I do recall on more than one occasion as I went through school, a teacher commenting on the fact that they didn’t get paid enough, so I was not shocked when I saw my first paycheck.

But somewhere, supply and demand comes into play. Sure, there are areas where good qualified teachers are hard to come by, but for the most part you can find a group of very good applicants for each open teaching position. If there were 50 candidates for every Neurosurgeon job, they probably wouldn’t make as much money as they do now.

It also must be human nature that over time some people begin to focus more on the things that aren’t given to us in our profession, and less about what we do get.

New teachers aren’t experienced enough to focus on what is not good about their job; they are too busy looking at the good side, they only see a chance to make a real difference.

Maybe we should all take a moment at the start of each school year to reflect on the excitement that new teachers possess and we undoubtedly had at the beginning of our careers.

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3 Responses to “We Are Here to Change the World and Touch the Future- Shouldn’t We Make More Money?”

  1. tchr5gr
    on Jul 15th, 2007
    @ 7:47 am

    I had quickly read the “Fourth of July Parade” blog, as well as the only comment before I left for a camping trip. Without a computer, I was left a little frustrated that I could not fire back a comment on “the comment”. Back from the “wilderness” and returning to respond, I find that the “Administrator” did a fine job of voicing my thoughts. As a parent and a grandparent, not to mention an adult citizen, I have attended many small town parades where candy was thrown to the children. We were always excited to sit on the curb, blankets on the grass, or in lawn chairs waiting for the first strains of the high school band and the candy-bearing floats. Holding on to little hands, we would run out together, pick up the candy, and run back to wait for the next float. Later, we stood next to our children, watched as they gathered up the goodies, making sure they shared with the younger children who couldn’t get there quick enough. How sad that those experiences, lessons, and memories can not continue because of the assumption that parents or adults can’t be trusted to be responsible. In the same context, how sad, then, that more and more responsibility is forced onto our schools that are being held accountable for everything from providing children with coats for cold weather recess to their physical fitness. (Just a thought: how ironic that PTA’S sell “Butterbraids” as a fundraiser for classroom parties where they serve soda and cupcakes.) Society, including our schools, must be allowed to return the responsibility of caring for their children to parents, and the parents need to understand what their responsibility is.

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