Friday, February 10, 2012

So You Think I am Overpaid?

'Money' photo (c) 2010, 401K - license:
Lately I have seeing a curious trend in the popular opinion about teachers. The idea that I keep seeing expressed is that teachers are actually overpaid. This doesn’t surprise me since I have seen my profession become less esteemed and more and more degraded every year since I became a teacher.

The theory about us being overpaid is that we are paid all year long for a part year job. So I decided to run the numbers to see if that is really true. Most jobs run on a 40 hour work week. Between holidays and vacation days I figure most people work 50 weeks a year. This means that most people work on average 2000 hours a year. Let’s see how teachers compare.

My contract is to work 187 days a year. My official work day is 8am-4pm which is an 8 hour day. Most teachers arrive to school at least ½ hour early and stay at least ½ hour late which brings it to a 9 hour day. Add to that a minimal 1 hour at home to grade papers, lesson plan or call parents and that means we typically work at least 10 hours a day. So 187 x 10= 1870 hours a year. However, I am also required to earn 150 Professional growth hours every 5 years so that breaks down to 30 hours a year. So now we are up to 1900 hours a year. I have to turn in progress reports every 3rd week and final grades every 6th week. Each time that adds about 2 hours of extra work as I work with students to make up work, make additional parent contacts and work with our annoying grading software that the district uses. This adds least another 12 hours. So now I am at 1912 hours a year.

If I sponsor a club, attend school sporting events, plays and concerts, volunteer for school improvement committees, keep up to date in new teaching practices, go to required open houses, an annual lighthouse event, department meetings, faculty meetings (which I do) I will easily spend at least a conservative 40 hours a year fulfilling additional duties.
That brings me to 1952 hours. Which means I work 48 hours less than my professional counterpart? But oh, wait, the state has changed the state standards for the subject that I teach so I need to rewrite my curriculum, or my principal asks me to teach a new class, or I decide to film each of my lectures at home so that absent students can watch them and not get behind. Plus, I decide to create a class website where they can get additional help for their homework and a class Facebook page so that I can keep them informed with due dates and upcoming tests. Then my school tried to save money by getting rid of two of our copiers so I either have to arrive super early to school, stay late or come in on the weekend to make my copies. So those 48 hours? They are gone and then some.

Ok, so maybe I work as many hours as a typical professional, but at least I have the luxury of a long summer, two weeks off for Christmas and an Easter break. I do not deny it, and I am grateful for those breaks. It would be hard to be a teacher without those times.

However, even with those perks please remember that I have a job that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I care for and love my students, no matter how many extra trainings I attend to be a better teacher, I have no possibility of promotion or external recognition. The only “promotion” would be if I got my administrators credential and left the classroom. However, why is the reward for being a great teacher to take me out of the classroom? I became a teacher to teach and I love to do it.

I don’t expect a pay raise any time soon, but I do want people to stop demeaning the efforts I make every day by telling me that I am overpaid.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I have a few hours left of my summer vacation. I spent my last free weekend in Beaumont, TX at my graduation with my family. Sitting with the other master degree students, waiting for my name to be called, I realized that not being a student leaves a vacuum in my life.

Since finishing my last class I have been throwing myself into learning new things. I've even tried creating a few android apps.

I love learning new things and it took going back to school to remind me just how much.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Star Chart Presentation

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Concepts of Educational Technology Assignment

Digital technologies are changing the world. If we are to prepare our students adequately to meet the global, technologically advanced workplace of tomorrow, we must change many of our antiquated teaching methods. The Texas Long-Range Plan for Technology is an ambitious plan to bring Texas schools, teachers and students into the digital future by 2020. While it is divided into four sections, it is the first, Teaching and Learning, that needs to be addressed.

Ideally by the year 2020, our classrooms will have undergone a significant shift. The teacher will be learning alongside his or her students, becoming a facilitator and a mentor to the students. This is an essential transition as we can no longer allow our students to merely consume information given to them. The vast amount of information on the internet, both true and untrue, means that our students must learn how to find, evaluate and apply information for themselves.

According to the Texas Star Chart, a tool for assessing the progress Texas Educators are making towards the four goals of the plan, Mesquite High School is among the 69% s Texas schools which are at the “developing tech” level in Teaching and Learning. This means that while we are using technology in some of our classrooms, instruction is still being directed by the teachers, rather than being student centered.

In order to reach our target goal, teachers must search for professional development opportunities to increase our understanding of ways to use technology in the classroom. We also must realize that the students themselves have much to teach us as well. If we are willing to learn, they can show uses for technology that we could never imagine.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy 4th of July... a few days late

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now I see it

People have been telling me for several months how much Maddie looks like me but I haven't been able to see it. Today, my Dad brought over some pictures of me and my sister Tracy as babies and I can definitely see it now. What do you think, does she look like Spencer or me or a combination?









A Hot Day at the Dallas Arboretum

We went to the Dallas Arboretum with some friends from work today. Man oh man, was it hot! I did get a few cute pictures of Maddie though.