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10 weeks off is enough
Old 01-28-2015, 09:00 PM   #41
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10 weeks off is enough

Remember that one reason for these unions,rules and fixed pay scales is the old practice of pressuring public employees to support certain politicians. "Joe, you need to canvas 200 homes this weekend for school board president Mr. Bigbottom. If you don't you might find we need you at the 9 PM to 6 AM shift guarding the school busses".
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:27 PM   #42
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Excellent view points and comments from the group. I expected nothing less. I still think back to my high school chemistry teacher who was also my football coach and sometimes fishing buddy. At 17 years old I wanted to be him.

He talked me out of pursuing a career as a chemistry teacher(probably for the reasons listed by others) and since I love science and math convinced me to study chemical engineering. By far the second best decision made in my life(marrying DW was the 1st). Fast forward 20 or so years and I'm not going to progress much more in my career and 3 weeks of vacation is not enough time when work weeks are often long or away from home. The days of saving mega corp millions here and millions there just doesn't motivate like it used to.

While I agree teaching is not easy and takes a certain something, usually things in life worth having are not easy and takes hard work and even dealing with politics or union rules. To get that sense of accomplishment and excitement back and a little extra time off I think it's worth a try. Heck I might actually be able to volunteer coach a little league team each summer which is impossible now with unpredictable work schedule.

Mid/late career changes to teaching have had mixed results based on my experiences and hirings. Almost all were hard workers but the ones that failed just couldn't connect with the ordinary student that wasn't really interested in learning. So it truly is an individual experience on whether it will succeed or not. On the opposite side however I have seen many teachers quit mid career thinking the grass is greener in the private sector and come back into teaching after a short hiatus.
I was lucky to be at some successful schools, but the ones it was the easiest was where I could bust out that paddle. The students tended not to like getting their rump roasted so usually a threat was all that was needed to bring conformity for a proper learning environment, with completed homework assignments!


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Old 01-28-2015, 10:27 PM   #43
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But why can't teachers negotiate their total compensation (which includes the intangibles) one-on-one, like most other professionals?
There are very few instances where an individual employee has anywhere near the same negotiating power as his or her employer. (C-suite executives being a possible exception).
And yet, this is how it works in the private sector. It's all supply/demand. When the economy was hot, people with in-demand skills were routinely job-hopping for 20% raises. How much power did the employer have then?

And while it may seem painful recently for many workers, it simply isn't sustainable to try to artificially prop wages above their supply/demand level.




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Moreover, unlike private businesses, teachers are paid through taxes. People hate taxes, and school boards respond to that pressure. If they could get the teachers to be indentured servants, I'm sure they'd be fine with that, because their property taxes would go down. ...
Again, I fail to see any distinction. People hate paying for things period. Don't all of us look for bargains, and price-wise would be fine with the workers making our products and providing services for nothing? But supply/demand keeps that in check.


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I have no skin in this game, but I have to agree with the teachers, or any career for that matter, where there is a step schedule. If that schedule doesn't increase then there in effect is no raise. In other words, a 5 year teacher today shouldn't be paid what a 5 year teacher was paid 10 years ago. If that is the case, there has been no raise in 10 years. This is common. In my old company todays first year hire is paid exactly what a first year employee made in 2002 for the exact same job. That's not cool in my view.

The military is a good example where the pay schedule is adjusted most years. You'll notice a 10 year sergeant today isn't making what a 10 year sergeant made in 2000. This is due to annual pay raises to the pay schedule.
I wasn't making any judgement on it. All I'm saying is that if you get a higher base salary in year 6 than in year 5 - you got a raise. But it is sometimes reported that some teachers didn't get a 'raise'. Even though they make more, either through the step increase, or in response to some certification. I'm just saying 'call a spade a spade', don't play games with me.

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Old 01-28-2015, 10:40 PM   #44
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Teacher with 15+ years checking in... Don't do it for the "time off". This time will be shared with everyone else (read: crowds!) Plus, much of your "vacation" is filled with training and recertification classes and courses. Teaching is also stressful and demanding, especially in the beginning. New teachers spend a great deal of additional time creating lesson plans, establishing and refining routines, and gathering materials (most which you pay out of pocket). The retention rate of new teachers is pretty high because of this. Teaching is also a calling. I would never think of doing anything else for w*rk, but it is not for everyone. Good luck! :-)
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:09 PM   #45
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ERD50,
I agree with you on raises. If your pay goes up, you got a raise. If this is a step increase, COLA, or other name associated with it.
I hear the other argument that if the steps don't move... it is not a raise. Those moving up the stairs still get increases. But the whole range is not progressing (unless their are COLAs or other adjustments.

I know I was making more a decade ago and DW (before ER @ the end of 2014) was making less than she did in the late 90's. All part of the tech bust. Pay does not always go up.
One difference from private to public is this whole idea of the steps. The stairs are often there in both, but in public companies most people don't climb all the way. In my first job... after 2 years I was at the same level as many that had been there over 20 years. It was more difficult to move beyond those levels. Years and education credits would not assure you of getting to the next step. Each level did not have a fixed pay, but a range. The higher you moved up , the higher the range. But the ranges had some overlaps in pay.
We can argue what is fair or what we want to call a raise. I think we can say that the steps typically result in an increase in pay.

I have no doubt that teaching can be a difficult job and that some are better than others at doing it.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:26 PM   #46
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Teacher with 15+ years checking in... Don't do it for the "time off". This time will be shared with everyone else (read: crowds!) Plus, much of your "vacation" is filled with training and recertification classes and courses. Teaching is also stressful and demanding, especially in the beginning. New teachers spend a great deal of additional time creating lesson plans, establishing and refining routines, and gathering materials (most which you pay out of pocket). The retention rate of new teachers is pretty high because of this.
Is retention the word you were looking for?

Ha
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:32 PM   #47
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In Connecticut, and I suspect many other states, it is against the law for teachers to strike or walkout. The last time it was tried here was 1978 in Bridgeport. A court found the striking teachers in contempt and put 274 of them in jail. But, regardless of that, why would you fault workers for trying to obtain the best employment terms that they can? Surely the rest of us want the best deal, including pay and pension, that we can get. And some of us may indeed value more highly than money the thought that we have changed lives and made a difference in the world.

As to your second point, schools are perhaps the ultimate in local effect. If the schools in Detroit are failing, we would hardly consider that an indictment of the school teachers, administrators, etc. in Beverly Hills. So your opinion that students are failing overall (and I don't concede that to be a fact) tells you nothing about any particular teacher or school. More importantly, condemning teachers "overall" offers you no way to fix the problems that do exist.

Finally, it is possible for a teacher to fail even in the best school system with the best test-taking students. Some people are simply not cut out for the classroom
Against the law here also. Doesn't seem to have a very severe inhibiting effect on striking teachers.

Teacher strikes illegal, but happen a lot - seattlepi.com
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:39 PM   #48
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Oops! You are correct, haha. I mean the retention rate of new teachers is LOW. :-) Especially in the first five years.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:45 PM   #49
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ERD50,
I agree with you on raises. If your pay goes up, you got a raise. ....

One difference from private to public is this whole idea of the steps. The stairs are often there in both, but in public companies most people don't climb all the way. In my first job... after 2 years I was at the same level as many that had been there over 20 years. It was more difficult to move beyond those levels. ...
I'm not sure you are capturing the idea of these 'step increases' in teacher salaries. You get what most people call a raise, just for staying on another year. Automatic. Separate from any COLA. In my examples, all else being equal, a teacher with 6 years on the job makes some X% more than the teacher with 5 years on the job. But this doesn't get called a 'raise', it's buried in the 'step increase' talk.

In my experience in the private sector, it was as you described - a range of pay for each level. And in general, the range associated with each level moved up each year. But it wasn't automatic for the employee to move up that same %. Some got more, some got less (merit based), and some got zero. But anything above zero was called a 'raise'. You wouldn't say you got no raise if you got the average. If you moved up a level, you got a promotion and a raise.


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I have no doubt that teaching can be a difficult job and that some are better than others at doing it.
Totally agree. It takes a certain skill set, and many of us do not have it. And vice-versa.

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Old 01-29-2015, 10:46 PM   #50
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Oops! You are correct, haha. I mean the retention rate of new teachers is LOW. :-) Especially in the first five years.
I understand, with conditions being as you have described them.

Ha
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:01 PM   #51
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I taught vocational courses at a community college for 10 years. No master's degree required, got the job with just an associates degree plus experience in the field. For six of those years I taught part time, 20 contact hours per week. Time spent setting up course materials and grading tests was unpaid. Overall though, I thought the pay was pretty good, plus I got benefits, including accruing a small pension. It was a great gig, I had tons of free time for skiing, sailing, diving, cycling, traveling; even went back to school part time and got a bachelor's degree. And teaching was fun!

One down side was that I couldn't take time off any ol' time, it had to be between quarters. I taught year-round, so largest break was 6 weeks between summer and fall quarters.

I moved to the corporate world because I was ready for something different and wanted to make use of my bachelor's in communication. I've regretted it at times, though the pay is much higher and I'll probably be able to retire earlier than with the teaching position.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:01 PM   #52
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I'm not sure you are capturing the idea of these 'step increases' in teacher salaries. You get what most people call a raise, just for staying on another year. Automatic. Separate from any COLA. In my examples, all else being equal, a teacher with 6 years on the job makes some X% more than the teacher with 5 years on the job. But this doesn't get called a 'raise', it's buried in the 'step increase' talk.

In my experience in the private sector, it was as you described - a range of pay for each level. And in general, the range associated with each level moved up each year. But it wasn't automatic for the employee to move up that same %. Some got more, some got less (merit based), and some got zero. But anything above zero was called a 'raise'. You wouldn't say you got no raise if you got the average. If you moved up a level, you got a promotion and a raise.




Totally agree. It takes a certain skill set, and many of us do not have it. And vice-versa.

-ERD50
The attempt was to say pretty much the same thing.
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Old 01-30-2015, 05:11 PM   #53
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I worked in a district that had a pay scale with various steps, usually about twenty, BUT moving to the next step was NOT automatic. The school board had to vote annually on compensation and they were always adjusting AKA manipulating the pay scale. Several years there was no increase in salary and at least two of those years I actually earned less than the year before due to an increase in my portion of health insurance. There was such an outcry about the published pay scale that the school board included a statement that said something like this......this pay scale reflects compensation for the current year only and cannot be used to determine past or future compensation.

My advice for the OP would be to visit classrooms in the desired subject and carefully observe a variety of teachers before deciding on a career in teaching or taking any courses for certification. I loved to see the progress students made especially in reading and knew that I was instrumental in changing their lives. That is what kept me going back year after year, not time off in the summer.
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Old 01-30-2015, 05:26 PM   #54
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I worked in a district that had a pay scale with various steps, usually about twenty, BUT moving to the next step was NOT automatic. ...
I'm sure it varies from area to area, but they are automatic in Chicago, and much of Illinois it seems.

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My advice for the OP would be to visit classrooms in the desired subject and carefully observe a variety of teachers before deciding on a career in teaching or taking any courses for certification. I loved to see the progress students made especially in reading and knew that I was instrumental in changing their lives. That is what kept me going back year after year, not time off in the summer.
Good advice, IMO.

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