Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Admitting when I'm wrong

Last week I wrote a post called "Teachers". One of my readers (Hi Andrea!) Left a comment that has had me doing a lot of thinking, and instead of replying only to her comment, I wanted to write another post.

She makes a lot of good points. Not all teachers are like some of those that I know. There are some of my friends and family that are excellent teachers. They teach, it's something that they are passionate about and they shine, as do their students. They are often the "favorite teacher" in many children's lives. Those are the teachers that make me proud.

Then there are the others. The ones that think because they are a teacher that they should be entitled to "better" benefits. There are a couple of this type in my family. They always complain about how bad teachers have it and about how more should be done for teachers. I know here, that there are tons of places that give discounts and fringe benefits to teachers. Yet, law enforcement or members of our military don't get the same treatment. I would think that the people who risk their lives for us each day deserve those benefits more than anyone else. I don't think it's write for society to play favorites in order to drum up business. If your going to give the teachers a discount, then just knock the price down for everyone. Am I jealous? Nope. I dislike any person or group that thinks that they should get something special or that they are entitled just because they are a cop, or a teacher, or a rocket scientist.

These are the teachers that only became teachers so that they could still have summer's off. Here, the average teacher makes $35,000+ per year. While, it's not a ton of money, it is a decent salary. Slightly doubled from that of minimum wage. Teachers get excellent retirement packages, but unfortunately thanks to the economy, those aren't doing as well as they have in years past.

As far as benefits, yes, heath care is expensive, and yes, insurance companies have raised their rates and they have reduced the amount that they pay out in response to laws and other needs. I understand that. My husband's insurance went up as well.  But in the original posts, I didn't just mean health benefits, what about the discounts that they are offered? And I'm not just talking locally, without naming names there are nationwide chains that are located here that give discounts to teachers, as well as local businesses. Does the guy that is working in the back of my office right now get those benefits, those perks? Nope. But he still has a college degree, and his job is more physically demanding.

Yes, teachers often work at home. So do I. So does my husband. He still has to answer his cell phone when it rings even if he isn't in the office, and if there is a problem, then he must fix it. Even if he is on "my time". His boss called last night and needed some information about some stores that were being remodeled. John had to stop eating dinner to go get on his computer and get the information off. It couldn't wait until today. That isn't an usual occurrence. He spent 20 minutes gathering information for his boss, on his own time, not company time. Yet, he can't go to a local office supply store and buy his office supplies at a discount and the teacher can? There are tons of people who go home and work. It's not exclusive to teachers. I had a teacher in high school that never took papers to grade home. She did it all at school. She went to school at 7:30 and she went home at 5. But that was "her" time as she put it on the first day of class. She was probably the most influential teacher I ever had, and my favorite from the time I hit 6th grade. Part of it is a choice. My mother-in-law admits to goofing around on the internet instead of grading papers, and then she has to take them home and do it. Whose fault is that?

No, I have nothing against teachers. The ones that do their job and teach and realize the power that they have to shape lives, actually have my utmost respect. I can't imagine standing in front of a room full of kids and all that comes with dealing with children. I have no desire whatsoever to teach. I don't have the patience, and the OCD in me likes things simple and neat. I explain and you get it. No other explanations necessary. I don't work that way.

Our Senators, representatives, and even our presidents have totally screwed up our education system. But we put them in that office, and often they aren't voted out, so realistically those who go and vote, and those who sit at home and don't vote have put them in office. The mistake was ours to make, and now it's ours to fix.

Do I know the absolute truth of how it works? No, because I'm not a teacher, just like you won't know how debits and credits work if you aren't an accountant.

So yes, some of my opinions could be misinformed. But then again, I was raised by people who don't believe in credit cards, and who don't believe in buying something that you can't afford and for saving for a rainy day. I was raised by people who didn't spend more than they made, and by people who believed that hard work would get you anywhere. Could I live on a teacher's salary? Absolutely. It's about $13,000 more than I make in a year. Could I have afford a $700 house payment and a $400 car payment? Nope. Ok, yeah, I could, but I wouldn't. We would find a cheap 1 bedroom apartment, and a car with a much cheaper payment. Would we be happy? Probably so.

I might not be a teacher, but I've learned that money doesn't buy happiness. You could make a million dollars a day, and be completely miserable. Are there teachers out there who love their job, and do it because of a passion? Absolutely. Those teachers - they are rare. And those teachers are worth their weight in gold. Those who don't have that passion to teach are the ones that make the rest look bad. Which can be said about any profession.

So I would like to offer my apologies, because yes, I did do some stereotyping in that first post. There are teachers out there who have a passion and who do an amazing job, and they go above and beyond what they have to do. They have my utmost respect. And to the teachers out there that have lost that passion - find something else to do, or find the joy in teaching again, because you have the ability to change someone else's life with what you do. Use that power wisely.

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