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What do you think about teachers and the teaching profession?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Basschair, Jun 2, 2005.


  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    This is one of those topics where people seem to take one of two sides:

    1. Teaching is a thankless job, and teachers shape the future of our country/world.

    2. Teachers whine too much, get paid too much, and get paid for a big a$$ summer vacation.


    I can testify that, at least in my area, teachers get paid solely for their working months, and only receive checks for summer if they have a certain amount deducted from their paychecks which is then disbursed during their off-months. Alternatively, they can get paid for teaching summer school if they are fortunate enough to work in an area where there's funds for it.

    I've been thinking a lot about it lately because I teach in California, where the Governor has targeted the teachers' union, and hence the teachers, as a likely candidate for drastic changes as far as how they are evaluated, how they are paid, and how they receive tenure.

    As far as tenure is concerned, I understand the argument that 2 years to tenure seems a bit short. Still, the protection that tenure provides (not to mention being unionized) offers a justified protection against parents who are way, way too liberal with their accusations and charges. Of course, there are those teachers who, well, begin to suck once they've received tenure, and those who've been teaching so long that they feel entitled to keep teaching in their accustomed style regardless of whether or not they are addressing the needs of their students.

    My sister-in-law works for a major lobbying firm in Sacramento...yes, she's a professed liberal and yet she represents major, MAJOR conservative-based interests: she sold out. The other day she was talking about how why is it that teachers think they deserve tenure so soon and why is it they're treated differently. Well, even the best teachers become targets for the personal vendettas of some parents, of some administrators, of some government officials. All the responsibility comes down to the teacher...ALL of it. Ideally, the parent should share responsibility, but (at least in my area) this really isn't so.

    At any rate, I'd like to open it up to your comments on teachers, the profession, and the treatment of teachers...
     
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I think my teachers whine too much, get paid to little, and they realize from the onset that the profession on the whole is pretty thankless.

    They don't get paid for summer break around here unless they are teaching summer school.
     
  3. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I don't think teachers in public schools here in Texas get tenure. At least I've never heard of it. You're right about all the burden being put on teachers. Here at the school where I currently work every year they seem to try and make all these changes with the teachers to make up for poor test scores and whatnot. While it's good to improve teacher quality I think the bigger problem here in Waco is lack of parent interest and participation, which is a common thing in districts like this that have a high rate of "at-risk" students and low income families. The kids aren't being motivated or getting any of this stuff reinforced in the home and somehow that becomes the teacher's fault.

    I'm mostly against unions in this day and age but in this litigious environment it seems like it's just about the only way to really protect oneself.

    Currently I run a specialized learning program at a high school but I'm getting certified to be a regular teacher this summer and hopefully I'll be teaching elementary school in the fall if I can get a job, it actually seems pretty competitive in this area. I haven't decided if I'll join a teachers' union or not.

    In Texas most teachers are definitely underpaid. State minimum is $24,000 per year. I'm trying to get on with Waco ISD, which pays a good bit more. It's definitely not the career for someone who wants to make a ton of jack. I could be making way more had I stayed in the corporate world.

    brad cook
     
  4. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I think teachers don't make nearly what they deserve.
     
  5. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    I heartily agree ;)

    However, I do know of a few teachers with whom I've worked in the past that are payed far more than they deserve simply because they've been around forever.


    Man, teaching in Texas is tough (from what I hear). In spite of what GW Bush has told the public (not a comment on him or his politics), Texas is definitely not an ideal model of education reform. This has little if anything to do with the teachers, though. I'm willing to bet that they are top-notch.
     
  6. I think good teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. I think bad teachers are coddled by the unions. I think the good teachers would be able to negotiate their own contracts and get paid better without the unions. As long as teachers are paid by taxpayers, they'll always get the minimum.
    I don't like the idea of unions in civil service jobs.
     
  7. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    True, but I think there's more to the problem. Because of the fact that education is funded by taxpayers' dollars, it has become a political point of contention, which basically forces teachers into unionizing to fend off budget cuts and the results of them: not just pay/benefit cuts, but cuts in funding for classroom materials which directly effects student learning. If people who know just about nothing about education start making decisions regarding what students should be learning and how teachers should be teaching, it's a recipe for failure. And once you politicize education, you might as well write it off and start all over.
     
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, let's see, at the risk of being "slightly" political, I think that most public school teachers are operating under a set of "constraints" that's enormously difficult.

    IMO, a "good" teacher, will engage the kids. It's not about shoving memorization down their throats, or indoctrinizing kids according to a pre-arranged curriculum.

    The best teachers, get kids "interested".

    My favorite teacher of all time, was my 5th grade instructor "Dr. Yasumoto". We couldn't pronounce his name, so we just called him "Mr. Y".

    This guy stayed after school, on his own time, and helped us build crystal radios, and model boats from blocks of wood, that kind of thing.

    He deserved, and got, the loyalty of the entire class.

    He was a "good" teacher. He got us engaged. He got us to think, on our own. And, because of him, we got things accomplished. We "learned" because we wanted to, not because we had to.

    Mr. Y, wherever you are, thank you man. :)
     
  9. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio
    Basschair..I respect teachers over almost any other profession.
    My mother was a Catholic School teacher for almost 40 years and a principal for another 10 years. She retired making a whopping $24000 a year. She would do it all over again in a second.
     
  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Well, well, well. . . . . .
    Since you asked. I have been teaching in special education and in the community college system in Northern California for over ten years now. I have seen the very best and the very worst that the educational field has to offer. I have been through a teacher education program. Here are my thoughts:

    1. Teaching is not a job, it is a lifestyle - it is a lifestyle that only the most dedicated and tolerant can be good at (25% of all first year teachers in the K-12 system leave the profession after their first year)

    2. The majority of teachers cannot support themselves on the salaries they are paid. If anyone thinks a teacher is overpaid in the K-12 system, you are not a teacher. The only overpaid individuals are the administrators that suck the life out of the system for their own benefit

    3. We live in a culture that places the teaching profession at the bottom of the vocational heirarchy. Regardless of the fact that almost all people within our society and culture are deeply influenced by a teacher at some point in their lives. Without teachers, the enculturation and socialization process fails and our society loses all cohesion. Other cultures place great prestige upon their teachers. Not here. We are a foolish culture for doing so and in doing so cultivate a social environment of ignorance and mediocrity

    4. Teachers are increasingly confronted with impediments to getting their jobs done: lack of respect from selfish parents and disrespectful students, diminishing resources, low pay scales, inadequate facilities, lack of control over texts and curriculum, and inept bureaucracies. No other profession sets its own up to fail more than the teaching profession

    5. Because the United States does not employ a dual school system (one that separates out those destined for college and those who are not), there is an overemphasis on getting every child through the system with the same results. This is utter nonsense. Billions of dollars are wasted every year trying to create achievers from non-achievers. Our publically funded system is plagued by students that are unmotivated, unwilling to learn, and convinced that if they can't get with the program it is someone else's fault. If they won't learn, send them to vocational training

    6. Unions are not the enemy. They are the only thing that stands between current trends in "part-time" educators and quality, functioning educators. Schools are being destroyed by this idea that they need to be run like businesses. Nothing could be worse for the profession. I know, I have seen this. My primary college has been destroyed by the business-case model and 42% of instructors are now part-time. The quality teachers go elsewhere where their education and sacrifice are appreciated

    7. Schools employ underqualified teachers because that is the best they can do. Administrators fail to find adequate incentives to attract and hold on to quality teachers. An undergraduate degree is a $20,000 minimum investment. A teaching credential is another $10,000. So why would a good teacher accept a salary under $30,000? It makes no sense.

    8. There is a saying in our society that goes: "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, criticize." Aside from this being the most insulting thing ever devised, it reveals a lot about how ignorant people are, in general, about education and its role in their maturation, enculturation, and socialization. Ignorance, anti-intellectualism, and superstition are political conditions created by minority factions that seek to bend the essence of democracy to accomodate agendas that do not jive with majority wants and needs. Uninformed citizens make poor political decisions that benefit the few at the expense of the many. The best way to maintain that environment is to develop a perception of decay and mediocrity with the educational system, and to demonize those agencies, like unions, that seek to maintain some stability within our culture.

    I am a teacher, and will be one until the hypocrisy and exploitation simply drive me away or insane. Where are all the good teachers? Here in California, most seem to be selling real estate.
     
  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    As a former educator, education is a big issue for me. I wrote something up a while back that describes issues I see with education. Here's an excerpt that deals with this the topic at hand


    "Did you know that most teachers were not the best students in class? The average high school GPA for teachers was just a little above 2.6. As a social studies teacher looking for work, schools were as interested or more interested in whether or not you can coach a sport than if you are competent in your field of knowledge. Where are all the people who had good grades and school performance? They're all doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, businessmen ,etc. Why would they go busting their butts in school if they are only gonna wind up eating the same ramen noodles at 30 that they ate as college students? So that leaves us with some teachers who barely made it in school, some that are capable, and a few knowledgeable teachers that really care about the students and want to do something good other than making some corporation rich. But why do we expect teachers to be so altruistc? Do we expect people to repair our air conditioners for minimum wage? Do we expect that some middle manager be responsible for 120 employees and their issues for $30,000 a year? We vote with our dollars, and the payscale for teachers tells us where our priorities are. A professional horse groomer can make more money than a teacher who is starting out. What the crappy payscale for teachers does is discourage bright and capable people from the teaching profession. It also burns out the capable teachers who are altruistic. Sure you can feel good about what you are doing, but decent food, decent housing, and cool gear is nice too. We all need to decompress and have recreation. Why should the greedy corporate guys be the only ones who get to play golf on a Sunday? Sure some school districts pay well, but that is not the majority. It also takes a lot longer to get the higher salaries in the teaching profession than in other industries."

    If you want to read the whole piece I wrote, click here
     
  12. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Very well said Folmeister. Very well said. If you're ever in the DC area or I'm out in CA, I'd love to buy you a drink.
     
  13. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    :D

    I won't quote everything you've said, suffice to say that I'm glad to see there are other educators here besides myself who feel as I do about quite a few things. It looks like I'm not too far from where you're teaching.

    Today is the last day of school at my site, and I just finished an advanced band rehersal with my students, who are performing for the graduation ceremonies. Since I have a moment, I thank you all (educators or not) for your words.

    It's funny how our governor has labeled the teachers' union as a special interest (at least, at one point he did). Sometimes it's difficult for me to support everything the union does, but I'm proud to be part of a group who's "interest" is educating children.
     
  14. It depends on what kinda stick they got up their ass.

    The serious type teachers all hate me and the easy-going teachers love me . So my opinions are divided.

    Ill tell you who needs more pay, those poor folks who have to clean up after the students. They go through some crazy messes.
     
  15. bassturtle

    bassturtle

    Apr 9, 2004
    I can see it now. Mrs Smith, the 90 year old english teacher, is waiting for you in the parking lot with a baseball bat - "So, you're too good for the Union, eh?" **sound of Brad's knee caps being crunched with a bat**

    Bad things happen to good people, Brad. Don't forget that.
     
  16. eric234

    eric234 Guest

    Mar 11, 2005
    philadelphia
    well as you all know i'm a smartass so i never got along with any of my teachers
     
  17. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    I think teachers definitely deserve a lot more respect than they get, especially today when they have to put up with the crap given to them by some idiot kids, AND their parents. It almost makes me ashamed to be a teenager.

    My favorite teacher is my current history teacher. He makes the class entertaining and fun, and actually makes the students want to learn. He's a funny guy and each class is like watching stand-up comedy that's educational. He's got a rare sense of humor that is clean and wholesome that really isn't around anymore.

    Vince
     
  18. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Why is it that you think it's the teachers with these ass-sticks? I know quite a few students (and parents) who have this condition, this inner-rectal-cellulose. I don't doubt that there are teachers you deal with who are uptight and who don't relate well. Have you ever taken a moment to ask your teacher how they're doing? I'm definitely not criticizing. In highschool, I never, never bothered to reach out to a teacher to see how their day was going. I regret it.


    You and I would probably get along well. I love listening to students with smartass comments, turning it around with a comment of my own, and then watching their faces contort as they try to figure out what just happened. :D
     
  19. I was just kidding, but Im nice to teachers until they give me a reason not to be. BTW I dont include failing me a reason to be mean to them. Thats my own problem.
     
  20. eric234

    eric234 Guest

    Mar 11, 2005
    philadelphia
    lol i'm a master though so i would twist your stuff around and you would be trying to figure out what i said :p