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What do Teachers Make?

28/03/2013

Warning: Some mildly offensive language and gestures in this video

I’ve been fortunate enough to be around people who are educators my entire life. When I was in grade school, my grandmother volunteered at my school, helping with classes and helping kids gain a passion for reading that she’d instilled in me at an early age. My mother is a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Champlain College in Dublin, and she always stressed how important it was for me to get an education and to constantly ask questions. Today, one of my best friends, Jennifer, is a high school English teacher, and I’ve seen how much heart and soul she puts into helping each and every one of her students, year in and year out.

Up front and honest, I’m a liberal; bleeding heart, some would say. About as far left as you can lean without jumping out of line…so I tend to side with teachers unions and educators on issues. Here in Florida, we have a standardized test called the FCAT, which in the past has been used to take funding from schools where scores on the highly criticized test were lower than the accepted levels. In all of our school districts, despite students being enrolled in different levels or courses, teachers are directed to instead cover FCAT skills – so, rather than an AP English student focusing in on the subtleties of Shakespeare’s sonnets, they are instead forced to relearn things like basic sentence structure and word definitions. To say these tests are disliked by teachers would be an understatement.

I’ve never quite understood the vilifying of public educators, yet some seem to think that just because a group is unionized – like teachers tend to be – they’re evil.  So rather than hearing teachers out on their requests for a better wage – in Florida, for example, teachers average median salary is good for 44th in the nation, according to teacherportal.com – some legislators and voters would rather suggest, in no uncertain terms, that teachers are being greedy, that they should be happy with what they get. That a teachers time is spent in the classroom…and as such, the $ 45,732 that a Florida educator brings home in a year is somehow good pay for the seven hours a day they have to work. Oh! And it’s only nine months out of the year, they should feel fortunate that they get paid that much.

Except…it’s not seven hours a day. A Florida high school teacher’s day begins at six in the morning. They work, in an underfunded environment, struggling every second of every day to help kids become better rounded, more valuable members of society. The school day ends at 2:30 in the afternoon, sure, but their job? They’ve just hit the half way point. Many teachers are involved in intramural and extracurricular activities after hours. They have to go home and grade papers. They’re constantly evaluating educational materials and their syllabus to ensure that the hard work, sweat, and tears they put into each and every one of their students is impactful and meaningful.

I’m thankful for all the educators in my life. But, in particular, I’m thankful for Mrs. Anne Ragland. Anne (she HATED when I called her that!) is the reason you’re reading my words today. She taught me so much about writing, and built in me such a love of books and newspapers that I will never, ever be able to thank her enough. Everyone has one of those teachers that truly impact their lives in an amazing, positive way, and Anne was it for me. I can look back and remember exactly when that moment was, too. We were tasked with doing a report for our English Literature class, and we had to write about a classic British author. I was hemming and hawing between Shakespeare and Chaucer, but what I really wanted to do was write about Tolkien. So, rather than ask permission, I just did it. That was the first time I’d ever earned an A from Anne, and the feedback was simple – she said it was nice to finally see me write about something I loved. That one sentence changed my life.

Definitely Beautiful. Definitely Beautiful. Definitely. Beautiful.

~Jay Malone

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One comment

  1. […] Other wise here is a link to other more mild stories: LINK […]



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