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What I love about teaching:

The ego boost! Now this only really happens on rare occasions. A student tells you how awesome you were, how much you taught them, that you were right about whatever. Mostly on a day to day basis you get sleeping, distracted, unconcerned students. Blank stares, tops of heads, complaints and excuses fill your day. You essentially have to ignore that. It is a short term vs a long term payoff you are after when you teach.

Seems like thick skin is a requirement for teaching. As the strike in Chicago unfolds there is plenty of vitriol for teachers. I've read a few pieces about why people hate teachers, even liberals. Then of course there is the comments section, which has both support for and attacks against. Typical arguments are teachers get all kinds of vacation, great benefits, easy schedule, aren't being evaluated etc. Rejoinders; many teachers pick up extra work aren't actually paid well if compared to others with commensurate education, work many hours past scheduled duty hours, work over the summer, constant training to stay certified yadda, yadda, yadda.

The primary issue I truly believe is that you can see directly in state budgets how much of it is made up for education. Whenever teachers fight for better pay, working conditions whatever it is up for public debate. Very few jobs have the same scrutiny by the public. It is between the boss and employee. The employee can somehow work harder to improve the companies profit. The profit of the schools is all of society. Now measure that...go ahead I'll wait. OK how about this The salary of every person who every went to school is taxed and that amount is sent directly to the schools they went to. Of course some will go to the elementary, some the middle school, high school. Now college we pay for so I suppose we don't need to send anything to them...right? Anyway despite all the various bureaucracy headaches tracking all that information would take (as teachers and former students move etc), that plan shows how specific set of teachers effected particular students. But which one and how much? I would love to see an economics professor tackle that idea. Perhaps I'll see if any have studied it. Why would they? No money to be made for a company, the info would currently be of most use to politicians who will decide the issue on what voters/interest groups wants.

We produce intangibles, things that everyone takes for granted unless they don't have it. Things that everyone who is moderately trained in believes they are experts at (at least when speaking about teachers). Like any industry we are regulated by legislators who have little understanding of what we do. Unlike most we rely on our money (union dues) to fight for us as opposed to the companies profits. Don't get me wrong we have a fairly strong union, decent lobbyists etc. There is of course the extra PR hit of unions and lobbyists, but companies get that too.

The question of course is what is education worth to you? Professional sports seems to be worth a great deal to people, lawyers, doctors, financial analysts, bankers, venture capitalists these peoples value is rated quite high based on salaries.

Looking at the Tax Foundation's page for Tax freedom day, which is the day the average person has earned enough to pay their taxes for the year (usually mid April of late) and the center for Public Policy and Budget (Determine % of budgets spent on education) the average tax payer has to work 67.4 hours to pay for education. This is a rough estimate, obviously varies by state and taxpayer. Is it worth it?

For me it is worth far more. Yes, I have vested interest; I teach I have 3 kids in school. I also have a future of people I will depend on and their education.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tafl_hols
Sep. 16th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
I work a week for education? Shoot, I'd work two quite happily for that purpose.
agrnmn
Sep. 16th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks I'd appreciate the raise and the supplies.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )