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Michelle Motoyoshi

Michelle Motoyoshi
March 22
I don't know anything about this blogger business. I'm just a concerned nobody with something to say and access to the internet -- What? That's what a blogger is? Oh...


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MARCH 7, 2011 3:30PM

In Defense of Teachers

Rate: 4 Flag

Anyone who thinks that teachers are overpaid, lazy, complaining slackers whose cushy jobs could be done by 10 year old Indonesian factory workers is a freakin’ ignorant moron.

There. I said it. Someone had to.

Unless you’ve taught, you have no clue how difficult it is to teach well and how much hard work it requires, much of which is done outside the classroom.  I teach in an after school program which, I will admit, is not the most challenging teaching position out there. Yet, even in this low-key teaching job, I put in hours of prep work before the session even starts, and each week I put in more hours on top of class time correcting papers, putting together projects, and dealing with parents and other administrative tasks.  When all is said and done, I get paid for maybe half of the hours I put in.  My situation is the rule, not the exception.

Your typical teacher may only be in the classroom from 8am-3pm, but she is doing hours of work after that final bell rings. In addition, her lunch hour and breaks were probably soaked up by some school-related duty.  And I can guarantee that before the first day of school, she’s already put in at least a couple of weeks of work.  As for that long summer break, teachers don’t get paid for it. Many teachers have to get another job to cover their expenses during this extended “vacation.”

These are just the logistics of the job, the raw measure of the time a teacher puts into it.  Beneath that is the work itself, the actual activity of teaching.  Let me tell you, it ain’t easy.  To engage a mind, to make it think and understand, to help it grasp basic and not-so-basic concepts requires not only intelligence, but ample training and a generous store of patience.  Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can do it, much less do it skillfully.  If you doubt me, home school your kid for a month and see if you don’t start perusing boarding school brochures. 

As if that weren’t enough, teachers have to constantly deal with parents.  That’s a challenging job by itself.  First you have the demanding parents who expect you to transform their undisciplined, uninterested, unmotivated mess (there, I said that, too) into an Einstein in the brief span of a trimester and have no qualms making their expectations known via every available form of communication, including cornering you for an hour after school or calling you during dinner.  On the other end of the scale, you have the undisciplined, uninterested, unmotivated parents who fail to support their children or your efforts to help them.  Fortunately, the span between is occupied by reasonable, caring parents who only want the best for their children and who need your time and help as much as those on the extremes.  No matter where a parent falls on the scale, a teacher has to help them all.

I won’t bore you with the litany of administrative tasks teachers have to tend to, nor will I run through the numerous professional development seminars and other classes that teachers must take to keep their knowledge and skills current. And they do all of the above without the promise of fortune or fame, without million dollar bonuses or endorsement deals or golden parachutes. They do it despite the frequently hostile attitude of the ignorant public and the present decline in public teaching conditions. They do it even though we so easily forget and take for granted the enormous good they do for society.  Thank god they do it. 

So to everyone who doubts that teachers earn every penny of their meager salaries I say educate yourself.  Seriously.  You don’t deserve their dedication. 

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When I took a job as a teacher one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was, "Cool, Summers off." As the end of the school year began to approach I began to painic as to what work I could find for the Summer to feed my family. As it turned out, I could not afford the major pay cut that I took as a techer, so I had to quit and go back to my other job.
I don't see how anyone other than a young single adult who still lives at home can afford to make a living as a teacher.

As for the rest of your blog, let me say, "Yep...yep...yep...oh yeh...yep...uh huh....

Although it truly was one of the most stressful years of my life, after all, it was junior highers, I would not trade the experience for anything. And I may try again as a retirement job.
One thing they never mention is that schools reduce your teacher pay for the nine months you teach to cover the 2 1/2 months off in the summer. It's not a paid vacation; it's a reduction in an already minimal salary. As a middle school teacher for 29 years, I can't tell you how many hours I put in grading papers and writing IEP's at soccer pregame warmups, cross-country meets, etc., as well as in the middle of the night and every spare weekend minute. It is such a relief to be retired; I miss the kids and the excitement of teaching what I love, but not the hectic pace of life it required. Also, unlike private industry, no one pays teachers for additional education hours or gives them time off from their workday to complete the work.
Everything you say is so right on. Thank you. r.
I don't doubt that teachers do a tough job...but that doesn't mean anything with respect to basic economics, i.e. the events playing out in Wisconsin.

Tough job or not, if you work in the public sector you should not be allowed to extort taxpayers through the collective bargaining process.

If you're a Wisconsin public school teacher tired of being called lazy, or upset about your rate of pay or benefits - go and work in the private sector.

If fellow taxpayers are paying your salary, you should not expect nor be asking for continual raises in pay and benefits.