Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Money Grubbing Teachers? Ha!

I'm trying an experiment today. I added advertising on to my blog to see if it actually does earn any money. However I am aware that I do not have a high-traffic blog, nor a high interest blog for the masses.  If it does generate any income, I will work on a better blog that isn't just me expressing my thoughts. I do have my travel blog that I add to periodically, and I think I'll do the same thing with that one.  It's personal thoughts too, but those are things that I have learned from traveling, and I do have a few unique ideas on that.  

Now, lest you think that I am simply a greedy person, let me point out a few things about my chosen profession. I am a public school teacher, and I have not gotten any kind of raise at all, not a cent for cost of living, in over five years.  Once I had attained 15 years of teaching experience, I stopped having any ability to get a raise. That is simply the way the pay scale is structured. Teachers cannot get paid more money because they have extensive experience. Rather, our experience is completely disregarded past the 15 year experience mark in my state. I don't know if that is the case in all states, but it is certainly true in mine.

Furthermore, we are expected by everyone to continue paying for additional degrees that we do not get paid along the way for. In other words, we are expected to continue our education on our own dime and not be compensated for it by pay raise unless we finally earn a new degree.  The doctorate that would gain me a couple of thousand dollars a year more in pay would cost me far more than that to achieve. It used to be that for every 10 or 15 semester hours we earned (and paid for ourselves), we would get a tiny pay increase. But that is over now.  Only another full degree will earn that tiny pay increase. So, you can understand it it feels very much as if we are being encouraged not to get any higher education in our field.  

So I'm not going to attempt earning a doctorate degree.  Too bad for whomever that might affect. I simply can't afford it now or in the future, and in my case, it would only be for bragging rights. Very expensive bragging rights.

Here are some assumptions and reality about teaching:

1. We are allotted a small amount each year for purchasing consumables, but often that ends up being pencils and paper and folders and erasers that I give away to students because we are expected to supply them with their school supplies now.  (I do not, however, give them cash on the frequent occasions that they ask me to, to support their personal interests outside of school.)  That allotment is never enough to pay for everything we need, and it can't cover the costs of the decorations that make students excited and welcome in a classroom.  I can't get it in cash, anyway.

2. We have fully furnished and decorated classrooms supplied for us.   While it is true that there are desks and chairs supplied for myself and my students, there was no chalkboard or dry erase board in the room. I spent my own money at Lowe's to find building materials to make my own dry erase boards to fill in those gaps, because I couldn't use my supply money there, and I'd already 

3.  We have paid holidays and summer vacations, and we get paid for snow days when school is cancelled.  The truth: we are paid to work 200 days, and we are not paid our fully earned salary each paycheck.  We often work more than 200 days, unpaid, to get things ready.  We knew that when we became teachers.  Imagine for a minute what it would be like to have 20% of your salary, before taxes, withheld so that in the summer when you're not working, you still have money coming in.  That's money you earned the previous calendar year, which you were not paid.  Now imagine you had no choice about pay options.  I will say this: it works for me.  I get paid once a month, 12 times a year, and it makes me budget very well.  I've got no complaint about the system, though that first two months before I got my first paycheck were very difficult.  

It's all very American and capitalist. Don't worry, your teachers aren't getting paid for time off, EVER.  We don't ever get a free ride.

4.  Despite no pay increase whatsoever in five years, my health insurance has tripled in that time, my deductible has skyrocketed, while my benefits and coverage have been decreased, and property taxes on my run-down little house in a bad neighborhood have doubled my monthly payments.  Oh yes, I'm single, with no roommate.  Isn't that peachy?  

5. I love my job... But you need to understand this: when I get my unpaid week of Spring Break, it doesn't mean my hours become subject to your convenience.  I do not suddenly need to have my appointment with you become 8 am on my time off, when it is usually late in the afternoon the rest of the year.  Consider that I might have work to do at home during those daylight hours that I normally can't do during my wintry work week when it is dark at 4:30.  Consider that I'm exhausted from burning the candle at both ends on teaching days when I already don't get enough rest.   I'm sorry.  Spring Break is for teachers, staff, and students.  If you aren't one of those, please don't expect us to give you the break when we've earned and need that break ourselves. You could've been a teacher, too, if you wanted to deal with all this stuff, and get an unpaid week off too. :)

So, I apologize if the forthcoming ads bother you.  I can't get overtime at my job (besides, John Q. Public thinks teachers should be working 24/7 anyway because he doesn't want his angels at home with him, EVER -- he was probably one of those difficult students all through school anyway), so maybe I can earn a couple of dollars a month on this, since I don't have the time or energy to write the "Great American Novel" that is the teacher's cliché.  Lol. I promise, I'm working on some useful posts that will possibly be worth reading.  

Just remember that often, the John Q. Public that says all teachers are bad, all schools are bad, and the education system is broken is usually the ill-behaved kid who was in and out of correctional interventions on the few days he did attend school, and was only present to ruin class for everyone, and prevent the teacher from teaching a meaningful lesson.  Check their records -- they won't be the decent student, ever. 

I'm not averse to a second job.  I've done that repeatedly over the years. Currently I'm creating custom monogrammed shirts, but it's slow-going.  I've had one customer. Lol. At least I can beautify my own world a bit.  So far I've made myself a couple of shirts, a whole BUNCH of really classy kitchen canister labels (VERY helpful in my dark cabinets) and a couple of gifts.  Again, lots of people expect me to provide everything as a gift for them, and they don't want to hear that it's costing me a lot of money to do that. I... can't afford that. Sorry. :). Everyone wants me to be their mom so I'll make them stuff for free.  They don't even want to pay for materials, much less machinery costs, and how dare I need to make a couple of dollars profit after spending hours on their item.   So business is slow, because I have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, rather than a you-are-so-wonderful-to-me-you-deserve-lots-of-gifts attitude. :). So few people who fit in there.  Less than I can count on one hand.

Hey, I've gotta eat.  I need money to pay for all those vegetables that make me healthy enough to pay my crazy insurance and not get any benefit from it.  Lol. I figure if they really want me to make something for them, they'll accept paying for it or do without.  I'm sure there's someone else around who can afford not to charge you for anything.  Right?

Well, I'll take care of myself.  No one else will.  :)

By the way, did I tell you that I'm driving a 13 year old vehicle, and I know diddly about working on it?  :)


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