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Thread: Teacher Salaries

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    #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern-queen View Post
    Well, for a district near me some teachers make nearly 100k. The district is wealthy but the cost of living is very very low. I know there are other districts out there like that in other places so for me it is not an all teachers are paid well or all are underpaid. It varies by district at the very least and by teacher to teacher after that.

    *while not quite at 100k it is closer to that than further away.
    I wish I was making 100k, although everyone does. I'm not even hoping for that. Where I live cost of living is really high. In the district I teach in you have to be here around 40 years to be making 90k.
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    #32
    Quote Originally Posted by CountryStrong View Post
    I wish I was making 100k, although everyone does. I'm not even hoping for that. Where I live cost of living is really high. In the district I teach in you have to be here around 40 years to be making 90k.
    Yeah that would suck. Sucks your district is being shits right now in regards to pay.
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    #33
    I don't think teachers make enough mostly because of the extra things they are expected to buy like supplies for their classroom and extra time spent outside of work. Also the starting salary does seen a little lower, at least in my district, than what it should be. 37k is not very much money at all. I personally think a starting salary of 45k or so makes more sense for the area I live in.
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    #34
    I have been subbing this school year, busting my ass to get a full-time job, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Not even June, and I'm able to make that assessment. Sad. Oh well. Anyway. My point being that since I am already one foot in the education field, planning to get the other foot in there too, I have some opinions. I skimmed most of this - you'll have to excuse me, I do have a little bit of a migraine at the moment. But, I'm also like super hyper, so I was like "NEED TO DO SOMETHING....NO MORE CLEANING..." So, I came here.


    Anyway. I saw it was previously stated that we need to reform our educational standards, and that we rely a bit too heavily on standardized testing. Considering schools get their funding from standardized testing, and part of teacher evaluations can come from standardized testing, I think your signs are there for you. I've heard about children crying over this crap. Next year, our county has informed us that they will be decreasing the amount of standardized testing done. Of course parents were unhappy because, well, they are still doing that awful test. But, baby steps.

    Next, I feel like sometimes there are people be it parents or just the general public who do not acknowledge the work teachers do. Earlier it was mentioned that teachers would not go on strike if their needs were not met, but would only work their contracted hours. How ridiculous does that sound? "You know what I'm gonna do if you don't give me what I want? I'M NOT GONNA WORK FOR FREE! SO THERE!" But, it's true. All teachers, all educators, pretty much anyone who works with kids does it. I do it with my other job - I work with autistic kids in a 1:1 environment, and when I'm at home, I'm always looking for things we can do, and setting up things, and typing stuff up. It's the nature of things. Parents/people need to remember that teachers work for free all of the damn time to make school life awesome.

    All right. So those are the things that kind of suck. But, I have been working in this super amazing fantastical charter school that subscribes to the expeditionary learning theory of teaching. Basically, they do a lot of hands on things, to sum it up. Here are some things, I think would make schools run more smoothly:

    -So, once a week, this school gets out 2 hours early so that teachers have time for professional development. They always have a meeting this day. Sometimes it is PD presented by a peer, sometimes it is PD presented by an expert, but there is always PD this day. Sometimes it doesn't take the entire 2 hours, and you can still get stuff done. Sometimes it's not a PD you want to go to, and you can get stuff done. But, giving teachers that opportunity to expand their knowledge and become better teachers is awesome. We want our students to be the best students, we should want our teachers to be the best teachers. How can we expect that if we aren't providing them with the most current knowledge?

    -This school gives students the opportunity to solve problems on their own. I'm going to use math as an example. When a new topic is introduced in math, they will be given a problem at the beginning of class, and be asked to solve it (sometimes they will be told you can use use certain materials to help you if you need them, like base-10 blocks), it will be a word problem, but teachers, aides, etc, cannot help in any way whatsoever. After the allotted time (10 mins or whatever) all the kids talk about the different methods they used to try to solve the problem, and whether or not it worked.

    -Each semester each grade works on what they call an "expedition" which is just a unit of study. However, this unit of study goes across all subjects. I was in middle school a lot, so I'm more familiar with their expeditions - 6th grade did fracking, 8th grade did WW2 and then the Civil Rights Movement. I know 5th Grade did a unit on the Chesapeake Bay and then Pres. Obama K. did a unit on Nutrition. Anyway, so they read about it, they go on "field work" (i.e. field trips) related to it (they go on A LOT of field trips, like once a week, or every other week starting from a month into school, and they have pretty much died down now...but every single field trip they go on is related to their expedition, and they do an assignment to go with it...it really is work. It is not just a fun day away from school. I am sure they have fun getting away from school, but they get something out of it.) And, they have experts come in and talk to them about their expedition. So, they had people come talk to the 6th graders about fracking (pro and con) they had a person had a holocaust survivor talk to the 8th graders, and then they also had important civil rights activists talk to them - there were a bunch of civil rights activists who came in. Students interviewed them. So, at the end of the semester, they have to present a project of some sort, sometimes it's a paper, sometimes it's project they worked on, it depends. It is based on the information they gathered through the fieldwork and information they gathered. Usually there's some math involved somewhere. And then, their project goes somewhere useful. Example. 8th graders also made transfer boards (like when you are disabled you want to transfer yourself from your wheelchair to another surface)...so, when they finished, they got voted on by some scientists at some university in Chicago, and they took the bestest ones...the rest got donated to another place that uses transfer boards. So, they aren't doing cool things just to do them and say they did them. They are doing them to help other people, to be acknowledge, to learn, to win, to get experience, etc. For a purpose. I think that is the best way to learn.

    -Every day, two things happen. 1) Teachers start off the day meeting in the cafeteria, they have a greeting, an initiative, and share important things. They also mention any subs in the building. 2)Every single grade K-8 does this also. Middle schoolers don't do it in the morning, they do it before or after their lunch. In all cases it is called crew, often times teachers relinquish responsibility to students as the year progresses and they demonstrate responsibility. In middle school, generally different days are for different things. (Monday - nap day, Tuesday - Academic day, Wed- Lunch bunch, etc) It creates community.

    -Once a month there are community meetings in the school. 3 grades at a time make up a community. (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) So, Primary meets on the first Friday, Intermediate the second Friday, Middle School the third Friday, and the 4th Friday is the make-up day. During this meeting, they acknowledge everybody's birthday for the month, anybody who had perfect attendance, they talk about the habit of excellence for the month, and how you can demonstrate that habit, they play a game, they do a greeting where each class is greeting everybody (So Ms. Blah blah's Crew, what's your greeting today? And they will have like a cute dance or saying or something that they made up.) Then each grade acknowledges somebody who has done a super awesome job. They usually look for someone who 1) hasn't been chose and 2)is demonstrating the particular quality that is being highlighted that month. And finally, there is also a stick that gets passed around the classrooms. They look for a class who is being super fantastic. During community meeting there is music. When the music is on, you can chat, and dance in your seat. As soon as it goes off - zip your lips. And, at the end, you get to dance out! Because, well...as KP says, it's our duty to give everyone to dance, and we need to be a party, not in a party, so BAM! So, we have that creating community.

    - At the end of each semester, we also have SLC's (student led conferences.) Exactly what they sound like. Conferences. Led. By students. Like instead of parent-teacher conferences. But, holy moly. They put so much work into them. They have a whole outline of what they're going to say about what they've learned, and how they've grown, the things they could improve on, etc. It's amazing. AND, they are knowledgeable about it. It's not just teachers telling them "well Johnny, it looks like your Math scores have sky rocketed, but your English scores have plummeted, so maybe you could work harder on your English." No. They look at their own work. They see what it is that they haven't so great on. They reflect on it. They are in charge of their own learning. RESPONSIBLE LEARNERS! I love it so much.

    -At the end of 8th grade they have a thing, I forget what it's called, but they reflect on their learning for at least all of middle school. (The school keeps copies of everything for them, so if they need copies of that science project they did in 6th grade, BAM! There you go.) So, they write 5 paragraph essays for all core subjects, and then just one for all extra curriculars. Then, they present it to a panel of people as part of their transition. It's so awesome.

    -Ooh. I haven't even mentioned staff. Okay. There is a Special Ed teacher for every grade. Except K-2 just gets one Special Ed teacher. (My guess is they are still figuring out who is special ed and who is not, so they use just the one, plus there are more TA's) Then, Every K classroom has a TA, then every grade has a TA, except middle school has one TA, then there's lots of 1:1's. it's like...staff out the ying-yang. I love it.

    -They have a uniform. I used to be completely against the whole uniform idea until I started subbing and saw the difference in the kids. It's like night and day. I have seen two options. It's always khaki pants. But, it's either red and white polo shirts or blue and white polo shirts. The place I sub at does blue, and they also require jackets worn inside the building to adhere to this policy (anything worn outside for recess can be whatever color.) Our 5th graders probably have the worst time with being up in each other's business. But really, they're all awesome kids - they really are. They just need some redirection. And, I have seen them debate the uniform before, and what surprises me, is that a lot of them actually prefer it.

    -They have a lot of interesting classes in middle school. Like they have a lot of school pets (fish turtles lizards, etc) And one of their classes is learning how to take of them.

    -They have a class for extra math support, and extra reading support, but also leadership type classes. They gear classes towards their students. Like, they added the reading class part way through the year because they realized it was needed.

    So, this school constantly does things that impress me. I am constantly in awe of the fabulous things they are doing to push the education of the students forward, and how much work they are willing to do in order to accomplish that. I feel like this is how schools *should* be run. Do they give standardized tests? Well, duh. They have to. But, even if they didn't have to, they would. Because, it helps the students have evidence when talking about their growth for their SLC's. But, it's not really what they're about, it's not their focus, it's a side note. Teachers get so excited talking about lessons, and field work, and "oh I'm going to check such and such a place, because I'm not sure if it will be a good place to go to for our field work..." I literally heard that conversation one day, that a teacher was using their free time to see if a place was an adequate spot for field work - AND they were really excited about it.

    I feel like if you create a positive working environment, those are the teachers you get. If you are not compensating your teachers properly. If you are not giving them PD. If you are creating this textbook environment, you get burnt out teachers.

    /soapbox
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    #35
    Quote Originally Posted by ChandyPandy View Post

    I feel like if you create a positive working environment, those are the teachers you get. If you are not compensating your teachers properly. If you are not giving them PD. If you are creating this textbook environment, you get burnt out teachers.
    This is 100% true. The school you are at sounds amazing and I would love to teach in a school like that. However, is it a private school or a public school? This does not sound like a public school. Our professional development days are never helpful. We are told we will get materials, etc. and we never do. Most of us have started using the days to grade because we have never gotten anything helpful or developmental out to them. It is always the same meetings just on a different day.

    I wish every public school could use this model. However, with class sizes of 30+ students and around 150 teachers in every building it would be difficult. You said your school gives the standardized tests, but doesn't focus on them. How do they do that? If it is a public school they have to focus on them. It's going to be apart of the teacher evaluations unless the state opted out. However, even if the state opted out the students will still have to pass them as a graduation requirement.

    It sounds incredible. However, I could never see the model working in a public school.
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    #36
    Quote Originally Posted by CountryStrong View Post
    This is 100% true. The school you are at sounds amazing and I would love to teach in a school like that. However, is it a private school or a public school? This does not sound like a public school. Our professional development days are never helpful. We are told we will get materials, etc. and we never do. Most of us have started using the days to grade because we have never gotten anything helpful or developmental out to them. It is always the same meetings just on a different day.

    I wish every public school could use this model. However, with class sizes of 30+ students and around 150 teachers in every building it would be difficult. You said your school gives the standardized tests, but doesn't focus on them. How do they do that? If it is a public school they have to focus on them. It's going to be apart of the teacher evaluations unless the state opted out. However, even if the state opted out the students will still have to pass them as a graduation requirement.

    It sounds incredible. However, I could never see the model working in a public school.

    It is a public charter school. Their class sizes are about 30, but they don't go over 30. Actually, I will be back to answer the rest of the questions...I realized I don't have the time to answer them all right now.
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    #37
    Quote Originally Posted by ChandyPandy View Post
    It is a public charter school. Their class sizes are about 30, but they don't go over 30. Actually, I will be back to answer the rest of the questions...I realized I don't have the time to answer them all right now.
    That's amazing. I wish my classes never topped 30. They are talking of increasing class sizes to 35 or 36. It takes me 15-20 minutes to grade each student's essay, if I really want to grade it well. That's impossible with 35 or 36 students in each class. Ugh.

    I'm glad you found a school like that. Do not leave.
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    #38
    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I wasn't feeling so hot today. I had a migraine all day today, so when I got home, I went to bed, and I called out of my other job, and I'm over-explaining myself...you don't care.


    Okay, I am not sure that you know what charter schools are - I know *I* really didn't know jack shit before working in one. So, a charter school, is like this weird gray area between a private school and a public school. They are are publicly funded, but they don't run by the same rules as public schools. So, when I say that this school follows the expeditionary school of thought, that's what they have decided works best for kids. But, there's a couple other charter schools - not all of them use the same learning theory. It's like shopping for the best education for your kid. I really like this concept. HOWEVER. Using this idea, you have to have back-up plans, because each school is going to have a "lottery." And, once they are full, they are full, none of this overcrowding bullshit. But, you get to research the schools in your county, " oh this school subscribes to this theory, this school does this theory. blah blah blah..." Once you have made it into a school, you get grandfathered in, it is just when you want to switch schools. I think that there are several different theories/styles of learning/teaching, and you should be able to 1) teach in an environment that feels right to you, and 2) look for the right environment to send your kid school to...

    As far as standaradized testing - they are a necessary evil in the building. It will be interesting to see how things go when county-wide testing is reduced next year. But, they really just tell kids to try their best on the tests. They students are well-prepared for these tests, but it's not like teachers are sitting there like "this is what you need to know, this is how to do it, this..." No. They are busy working on real-world problems. That is more important. The real world problems are what is preparing them for the test in the first place - they have no idea they are being prepared, it is coming naturally.

    I don't want to leave. I love it there. But, my bank account also wants me to have a full-time job. So, hopefully, next year they decide to hire me. I might cry if after two years I can't get a job.
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