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Where Are All the Men?

Relief!

That's the word that describes my emotions last week when we received the long-awaited postcard telling us who the first-grade teacher would be. While we're lucky that our school has many very good teachers, there are a few I'd rather avoid. A good teacher means my son will likely have a great school year; a bad teacher means... Well, thankfully we haven't had to cross that path yet.

Still, my relief was a bit tempered. Despite knowing that he got a great teacher who will be a good fit for him, I deep down hoped he might get the male first-grade teacher. Not only have I heard great things about Mr. Teacher from parents, I simply like the idea of my son being taught by someone his own gender.

I remember from way back when I was in school that many male teachers had a different way of relating to students than female teachers. Their anecdotes, analogies, senses of humor and expectations all uniquely enriched the students.

My thoughts were solidified in a conversation with Bryan G. Nelson, the founding director of MenTeach.org. Nelson is a longtime educator who works to recruit more men into the field of teaching. He agrees that men, particularly men of different races and cultures, bring distinct talents and ways of relating to kids.

There are three main reasons that teaching, particularly to younger children, is so dominated by women, Nelson says. First are stereotypes: "People don't think men can do the work, that they aren't nurturing," he says. Other reasons he cites: parents fear male teachers will abuse their child and young teachers are discouraged because teaching is a low-status, low-paying job in relation to other careers.

According to the National Education Association, only 18 percent of elementary school teachers are men. Overall, men make up just 21 percent of 3 million teachers.

Nelson says there's lots of data about what fathers offer kids, such as dads playing more actively and being more rough and tumble than moms. And while the studies aren't as extensive on male teachers, they tend to play more on the playground with kids, he says.

"Why do we need to do research to verify the need for diversity?" he asks. "Did we research why women make good lawyers and doctors? No. It's funny that we need to justify that children will benefit from having male and female in the classroom. ... Amazing things happen in the classroom. [Children] benefit by seeing men and women interacting in the classroom."

Nelson does see small changes, such as recruiting and mentoring programs for male teachers, and he is hopeful the male/female teacher ratios will get better.

Unfortunately for my family, first grade is the only opportunity for our son to have a male classroom teacher until middle school.

Does your school's gender makeup give you pause? What has your experience been with male teachers?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 25, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
Previous: 'Greener' Schools | Next: Time Out for Timeouts

Comments


It's simple; with so many male teachers being accused of inappropriate behavior by thier students, it's not surprising more and more men decide to look elsewhere for a career.

Posted by: John L | August 25, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

As a male teacher, I can tell you that trying to be the primary breadwinner is very difficult on a teacher's salary. I have known many male teachers to leave teaching when they start a family so that they can survive financially (or at least have a financially viable life).

Posted by: billq | August 25, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Raise salaries and you will have more men entering teaching. really. Stop paying so much for administration, and you'd be able to do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Because women don't want to let men in their little club of being teachers!

Posted by: Reverse Discrimination | August 25, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

men who teach are either geigh or stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Some of my best teachers growing up were men; that said, a few of my worst were as well, so I'm not really sure gender had anything to do with it (gasp!).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'd be curious what percentage of administrative positions are held by men - in my experience, men gravitate and are encouraged to fast-track to administrative jobs, while women remain teachers for their entire careers.

Posted by: jen | August 25, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

My son is starting 7th grade and has had one male teacher. He always rates him as the best teacher he's had. That being said my thinking on the subject is that he was just different and the only one he had made him stand out. I taught for 11years and if it wasn't for the pay I would still be doing it today.
It's impossible to raise a family on a K-8 salary even though I enjoyed the work.
also I agree with JohnL one accusation from a disgruntled student can destroy you. Who is willing to take that risk anymore

Posted by: ease99 | August 25, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

As a male teacher, I can tell you that trying to be the primary breadwinner is very difficult on a teacher's salary.


Well, either marry a rich career woman or get the one you did marry out of the kitchen. Raise salaries? They are already high enough for people who get three months off in the summer and all kinds of holidays.

Posted by: llb | August 25, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Very good answers above:
- perception of men who want to work with small children as potential predators/ molestors - "playing more actively" and being "rough and tumble" are just setting you up for that one complaint that destroys your career and life

- salary level

- men who work in schools moving to administration

- "standing out" - you know ahead of time if you're a male elementary teacher that you're in a small minority in your field; you have to decide if that's for you

- and low status due to ignoramuses like llb ("high enough for people who get three months off in the summer and all kinds of holidays")

The only male teachers who seem to get respect are the football coaches.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

My two sons have had mixed experiences with male teachers. Overall I can't say gender always matters. A good teacher is a good teacher. It is nice when you feel like the teacher really understands your child, but I don't think they need to be the same sex to do that. My favorite teachers for my boys tended to be older women with grown sons. I always felt because these women had raised their own sons, they appreciated the challenges that boys face and understood their special quirks and needs. Maybe I liked them because they understood me too.

Posted by: The mother of two boys | August 25, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

During the Vietnam War, men who went into teaching were draft-deferred, so there was a boomlet in male teachers who didn't want to go into the military but didn't want to abandon their country either. Not that I favor returning to a military draft, of course, but at least back in the 1960s and '70s teaching was recognized as a respectable alternative public service.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

My husband teaches in a middle school in Southeast. Sadly, the majority of his students don't have a male figure in the home. His daily presence in their lives makes a difference for a few, and maybe more than he knows. In some communities the impact of a male teacher is very meaningful.
I have also noticed a change in my husband. Although the pay may not be as high as other fields, the rewards can be invaluable.

Posted by: JB | August 25, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Move to Long Island if you want a decent salary (schools are not County-wide, and unions have a big unfluence) -- teachers there are very over-paid. It's very easy to be a single-income household there. My friend's father retired with an almost 6-figure annual pension. He taught HS math.

Posted by: Oh please | August 25, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite male teachers in high school taught American Lit. He ended up marrying a girl in my class that he taught after she graduated.

She was quite a hottie too.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree - stop whinning about the salary.

Plenty of men go into state/local government and are making no more (and maybe less) than teachers in the public schools - have the same background (college degree) AND those men don't have the 3 months off.

Teaching is a government job - just like working at the courthouse - and the teachers' salary is NOT out of line with other government jobs.

It's not the salary, and you do get more male teachers once you get out of elementary school. Perhaps men prefer teaching older children? Plus, in jr. high and high, you typically only teach one or two subjects, not all of them. So maybe the majority of men prefer to specialize?

I think it mimics men as fathers. Many men prefer to leave the little children to mom, and can't wait for the children to be old enough to be more interactive and play sports, etc.

Thus, there could be many reasons...so please stop the knee-jerk complaint about low salaries. In this economy, a teacher's job looks pretty well-paid and secure to me.

Posted by: Amelia | August 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

My cousin went back to school around 40 to get a teaching degree. He is now teaching in elementary school. Yes, the pay isn't the best, his wife works, but she was never going to stay home.

The reality is that the benefits are outstanding. And they continue way into retirement. My MIL is retired, my FIL is retired. FIL spent entire career working in hospitals/for insurance companies/etc (he's a pharmacist). Well, they always used my MIL's benefits, no matter what. And that's what they are on now. So she gets full payment of healthcare, and she gets a pretty good check each month, too. I don't know what other perks. Oh, wait, one is that as a sub, she is paid higher than someone with no teaching experience (a worthy perk, something I think is actually a good idea).
I'm not sure if she collects social security, but that's no big perk in my mind.

And then you get lots of holidays off, etc. The perks aren't necessarily monetary right off the bat, but along the way, you do get compensated well.

My cousin who's a teacher is a counselor (and bus driver) for a summer camp and he gets his two kids to go for free, and then he gets compensated on top of that. Not so bad...

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I had a male teacher in 5th grade and remember him well, but it might be that that is just an age at which we start remembering more than just bits and pieces.

I had a 6th grade male teacher, who my mother was ADAMANT that I get - both my sisters had had him, and she thought he was incredible. I remember him fondly, and we always went back to visit him, until he retired when I was in high school. The kids in the class liked him so much we got together to do a play about how much we thought of him, writing songs, doing skits, etc. I don't know that it was cause he was male, but he was very personable, strict but fair, etc.

I never knew that about draft deferments, I guess both those teachers might have been part of that. Hmmm.

Here in Georgia, you need three classes to become a teacher, and there are so many openings, due to the increase in population over the last 10 years - from people moving here AND from people having kids. They are building schools like crazy, and obviously needing teachers like crazy. I don't know if that has increased salaries at all, but I do know that there is a small shortage of math/science teachers. Apparently, no matter what, you can't pay anyone more for those type of jobs, (i.e., you can't pay the math teacher more than the english teacher, no matter what the supply/demand is). So there are pseudo shortages (they can take a literature teacher to teach math, but I doubt that is as effective as having the proper teacher teaching the course).

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I can't think of many men who would want to work with/for 80% women. And teaching elementary school.

Men who want to teach, like to teach HS math, physics, economics, chemistry, etc.

Raising pay won't help, either. I work in a technical field, and let me tell you, when salaries were in the stratosphere, a lot of people were attracted to technical fields, no doubt, but most of them were totally unqualified. Raise teacher salaries, and what do you think you'll get? Crappy teachers. Lots of them, sure, but very very crappy.

Posted by: Bob | August 25, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

My cousin who's a teacher is a counselor (and bus driver) for a summer camp and he gets his two kids to go for free, and then he gets compensated on top of that. Not so bad...

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 9:30 AM

i bet his kids are proud to say that his dad's a "bus driver."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Bob: no, you'd have a larger pool of people to choose from, rather than it being a buyers market (i.e., there are so many teaching positions and not enough teachers).

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

fr Amelia:

>...Plenty of men go into state/local government and are making no more (and maybe less) than teachers in the public schools - have the same background (college degree) AND those men don't have the 3 months off.

Teaching is a government job - just like working at the courthouse - and the teachers' salary is NOT out of line with other government jobs....

Teachers, male OR female, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT have "the 3 months off". Get a grip.

Posted by: Alex | August 25, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Bob: no, you'd have a larger pool of people to choose from

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 9:41 AM

You have confused quality and quantity.

Posted by: Bob | August 25, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Alex, you must troll this website waiting for someone to post about teachers, their salaries and summers off.

Please provide proof that teachers do not get 3 months off, unless they are working a year round schedule. The traditional summer off schedule for students is the same for teachers, they start the week before students and work for a couple days after the school year and get the rest of the summer OFF. If they choose to only get paid 9 months/year they are stupid or do not know how to budget.

Again, document your claims. I know you can not.

Posted by: Honest about teacher | August 25, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I have family members who are teachers. Please explain how not going to work every day isn't time off? They stay a few days after school ends and go back a week before school starts. Other than that they take trips, work around the house and, basically, HAVE THE SUMMER OFF!

Posted by: to Alex | August 25, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if all these anonymous posts are from the same person but one of them makes a great point about administration.
I can never understand why taxpayers allow such blatant waste in admin cut it back and raise salaries.
and to llb I would have preferred to teach year round but every time its suggested it gets shot down by the pta's and such so to make ends meet I cut lawns for a landscaping outfit in the summer.By the way, I married a doctor and still quit. It has to do with my worth not anyone elses

Posted by: ease99 | August 25, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

to "Honest about Teacher": "Please provide proof that teachers do not get 3 months off, unless they are working a year round schedule. "

The last day of work for Howard County (MD) teachers for the 2007-2008 school year was June 17. The first day of work for teachers for the 2008-2009 school year was August 18. Please explain how that equals "3 months off."

And that ignores the summer obligations of the teachers, such as new teacher orientation, continuing education seminars, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm the child of two teachers. Let me answer the "time off" question: my parents got two months' UNPAID LEAVE every year. That's right, that "great, high" salary is only for 10 months' work. And let's talk numbers: my dad made $47,745 in his last year of work. His retirement was, naturally, less than that. My mother never broke $40K. She also stayed home for a few years after I was born, and when she wasn't working, we qualified for food stamps. How does this picture make anybody want to go into teaching, a field where all you get is abuse from parents and kids who think they're better than you because teachers are so low-status?

And for all of you posters who can't spell, you clearly respected *your* teachers, didn't you?

Posted by: BxNY | August 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I can attest to the fact that teachers do NOT have 3 months off. In my county, teachers get out in mid- to late June, and then return to work in mid-August. In between, they may have special trainings or summer jobs. Even if teachers have more time off than those in other fields, it's well-deserved. Most teachers I know and worked with work 10- to 12-hour days, not to mention weekends, and they're usually "on" from the moment they step into the schools until they leave. Compared to the multiple office jobs I've had since teaching, it is the hardest (and lowest paid) job I've ever had.

Posted by: former teacher and spouse of current teacher | August 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

To speak to the point of the post, male teachers in elementary grades: aside from the real risk of being (falsely) accused of child abuse, K-8 teachers generally make less than high school teachers. So where's the incentive to teach the lower grades?

Posted by: BxNY | August 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, sorry - 2 months - pardon me! What other occupation gets 2-3 months off during the summer, all federal holidays, every weekend, 2 weeks at Xmas, and one week in the Spring?

New Teacher orientation and continuing education is voluntary in the summer not an obligation as you stated. If a teacher does choose to help with new teacher orientation, I can almost guarantee they are being paid extra, just like they are with afterschool activities. Teaching certifications in VA must be renewed every 5 years and most of the teachers I know take the continuing education during the school year - imagine that.

I can argue all day on teachers and their whining. Cry me a freakin river.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

My son attends an all-boys school with an all-male faculty. He is thriving, because the feminization of American education is actually hurting the boys in this country. (I am a researcher in elementary education, and a mom.)

Posted by: VA | August 25, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about 3 months off... but they do get some time off. From what I can see of Prince William County in Virginia, the teachers come back 2 weeks earlier than the children. I think they work an additional 1 week (maybe 2) after the year ends. I guess that would whittle their summer vacation down to 2 months? Regardless, I have no desire to teach so I am thankful that teachers exist.

My beef, since we just got the list for items needed, is the school supply list. I was somewhat pre-warned by this blog - THANKS! I can understand purchasing consumables for my child like pencils/crayons/paper and so on. But what gets me is that I am paying for bathroom supplies. Liquid Soap? Kleenex? Hand Sanitizer? Paper Towels? We are being asked to send enough pencils that my child can go through a pencil a week? Will he really go through a pencil a week in Grade 1? Is he really going to go through 72 crayons in 8 months? I have had two children drawing every week for the last 8 months with 96 crayons and I have yet to unwrap the paper on any of them. And I am being told by other parents that not one item will come back home to us at the end of the year.

And then a co-worker is telling me that they stock the school store with supplies that don't get used in the classrooms. Am I really subsidizing their store too?

Posted by: Billie | August 25, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Former teacher, wa-wa-wa, get a blanket, and while your at it, get in line with every other civil servant.

Your complete and utter disregard for other occupations in the public sector and whining is exactly what is wrong with your profession. Instead of using the "poor teacher' defense, why don't you set up REALISTIC expectations for yourself.

Thankfully most teachers I know do not whine and complain like you and Alex (not that he knows anything), they are hard working, bright, helpful and have secure attitudes, not bloated heads.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

John and Bill, the first two posters, hit it on the head. One, it's viewed as risky being a man in the teaching profession because of the possibility of a sex abuse scandal; two, the pay STINKS. Regarding the pay, no one gets into teaching for the money, and the men I've known who are teachers genuinely love their jobs in spite of the crappy paycheck. But there are too many instances of men being falsely accused of improperly touching a student and a whiff of scandal is enough to bring down any teacher's career. My father, who worked in education for 33 years and was one of those who loved his job, had a very good friend (an assistant principal and coach) accused of sexual abuse by two 10th grade girls. This was maybe 15 years ago. The school board put the a.p. on administrative leave, an investigation was conducted, and the girls confessed about a month later that they had made up the story because they were mad about getting benched as punishment for being consistently late to practice. He was completely exonerated, the girls were reprimanded (though not expelled) and he returned to work -- for about 4 months. Some people, or maybe most people, refused to believe he was innocent. So after a wonderful and rewarding (intrinsically, anyway) career in education, this lovely man quit. I have no idea what became of the girls. I hope they realize what they did, and regret it. They could never take it back, though.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 25, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

i bet his kids are proud to say that his dad's a "bus driver."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 9:39 AM

Is there something dishonorable about having a job, showing up for working, and earning a salary, no matter what the job is? Are you saying you are a snob and wouldn't talk to someone who is a bus driver?

Bob: My point was: make more people want the job, and you can have your pick of people. If only one person applies for a job, then you don't have too much to choose from. If 4 people apply, you can be choosy, if 40 people apply, you can be choosier still. Why is that so difficult to understand for you? You get more people applying, and you get better people applying. As opposed to what is happening now, when unemployment for teachers is at about 0% precisely because there aren't enough people going into teaching - so you take whatever you get. As the school, you can't be picky and choose who you want, you get what you get...

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

My husband is a high school teacher in NC. The school year starts (for teachers) in about the middle of August and ends in about the middle of June. That's two months, not three.
Also, he is required to attend two or three weeks of classes, seminars, etc. every year, so this means that he can't get a short-term job over the summer and still make these obligations. This is in addition to the classes that he takes during the school year to keep up his certification and to increase his own knowledge and skills to better serve this community.
During the 10 month school year he works about 60 hours per week, not including required attendance at extracurricular activities. All preparation, test writing, paper grading, etc. has to be done outside of class time - this means at night, since the hours directly after classes end are spent giving extra help to students who struggle.
My point is just that teaching is not an easy job from 8 am to 3:30 pm, 9 months per year. In actuality, it is more time consuming than many professions and certainly pays less.

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

NOBODY else gets the kind of time off that teachers do. It may only be 2 months in the summer, but count up the rest of time off that NOBODY else gets - and it easily comes to a total of 3 months. They get 2 weeks at Christmas and a week at Easter and Thanksgiving Friday - who else gets that? Maybe other government workers - but not the private sector.

They have incredible time off, that - also unlike private sector - has NO impact on their sick days. Right? If a teacher gets sick and has 5 days of sick leave in September, they STILL get all those vacation days. Everywhere I've worked, it's either or - you get X days off a year, and if 5 of them you use for sick, then your vacation is X-5.

I don't even understand why anyone would dispute this. The time-off is one of the reasons that some people opt to teach. It's a great perk. Once you have school-aged children, you have no childcare costs.

Posted by: Amelia | August 25, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

To VA: No joke. I have sort of seen and definitely read about this. I have two boys, so keep my eyes and ears open.

The reality is that we as a society have, for some reason, thought that pushing more academics at a lower age is better. So we have kindergarten, which is what first grade used to be, etc. So the girls are fine - yet the boys don't have the maturity to sit still for as long - that's just the way it is. So you have more and more kids (no, boys) being diagnosed with ADD and put on ritalin - because they are doing age appropriate behavior. I can see, even my relatively well behaved first grader has difficulty sitting still for too long. It is completely age appropriate, but given that we are pushing more and more academics at a younger and younger age, the kids are being expected to do what the girls are doing, and it's not right.

He's fine so far, but then I wonder what my more active son will have do. We'll see.

And then, you have on the other end, more girls going to college than boys, at an ever increasing rate.

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The number one reason behind social and economic mobility is education. How can anyone be educated without quality teachers?

I am not a teacher, but I am forever grateful to my teachers for giving me an education. Compare teachers' salaries to other professions. Then compare their result.

Your values are misplaced if you really think teachers make "enough" money already.

Your values are misplaced if you really think that education does not deserve an investment.

Link to Bill Gates' speech on education:
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/Speeches/Co-ChairSpeeches/BillgSpeeches/BGSpeechNGA-050226.htm

Most current teachers are doing the best they can. The least that we can do is support their profession.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I've felt for some time that part of the reason we have bad math and science scores in middle- and highschool is the quality of elem teachers. Maybe more men in the ranks would help there, but I agree the position isn't likely to attract men. What's the career path? Elem Ed principal?

Posted by: MSchafer | August 25, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

To Honest about teachers: I am STILL a civil servant, just not a teacher anymore. I wasn't whining about teaching, but it just seems that a lot of people are unaware of what goes into the job. You seem very bitter and whiny to me as well.

Posted by: former teacher and spouse of current teacher | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I can almost guarantee they are being paid extra, just like they are with afterschool activities.
Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 10:17 AM

What's an "almost guarantee?" While this may or may not be true in some other locations, I can "completely and absolutely guarantee" that this statement is not true in our shcool district. Every teacher is REQUIRED to attend training seminars and classes in the summer. Every teacher is REQUIRED to attend a set number of after-school or weekend extracurriculars. Every teacher is REQUIRED to either show up 45 minutes before classes begin or stay 45 minutes after classes end to patrol the bus lots. NONE of this results in extra pay. Teachers are considered salaried professionals by the Fair Labor Standards Act and over time pay is not required by law.

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

all the teachers and their defenders on this blog need to stop whining. if they didnt want to make $25k a year for 10 months, then they should have chosen another profession.

Posted by: wah wah | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Okay, soapbox topic for me.

Amelia, a teaching job is 12 months of work (or more) crammed into 10 months. I get that people are still annoyed that teachers have "so much time off", but if you take into account the prep work and correcting papers alone, you're looking at an additional 10-15 hours of work a week minimum. Also, if it's such a great job with so much time off, why don't you do it?

I speak from experience as I was once a teacher and my mother was a teacher. And no one who has ever been a teacher or lived with a teacher claims that teachers get more time off than they deserve or need.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I have heard many stories of untrue accusations by students regarding sexual harassment/abuse and it angers me every time.

Each and every untrue accusations casts doubt on the stories that are actually true. It is hard enough to come forward to tell your story without the additional worry that maybe you won't be believed and the situation won't be stopped. Sexual harassment/abuse is not a joke but some seem to think it is ok/funny to use it for their own purposes.

As a victim of sexual abuse, I can not understand the thought process or morality of these people who think this kind of lying and destruction of lives is acceptable.

Posted by: Billie | August 25, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Amelia: I don't know where you work, but all the jobs I've ever had have separate vacation and sick leave for employees.

Posted by: sick and vacation leave | August 25, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

You may get time off, but my MIL really needed those two months in the summer to decompress. YES it *is* stressful teaching those kids. You get no downtime during the school years, and you have to be 'on' all the time. You can't just step out of the classroom to get a cup of coffee and hide like you can in an office environment. Just sayin'

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

My theory has been stated here before: Most elem ed teachers (not all, most/many) 'like kids.' That does not mean they like math or science - most of them like the liberal arts much better.

So they teach their students that science/math is something that is required, that they have to drudge through, that it's something to get through to get to the stuff that they 'like.' So they teach, at an early age, kids to not like math/science.

This follows the kids forever. I mean, most people say they 'hate' math. Trust me, as someone who was a math major, I got in college (even from those studying engineering!) oh, I 'hate' math from most other students - and in the 'real' world I get that A LOT. Most people 'hate' math cause they were taught to hate it their whole school career.

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: here are the men | August 25, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I have had some absolutely awesome male teachers in my life. Most were at the college level, but I had some in High School that I absolutely loved.

I don't know if having male teachers for very, very young children is a concept most parents are comfortable with. I know it is a stereotype and that many male teachers do a great job, but there is always that fear that they are a child molester who just wants to be around kids. I am sorry, but that is truthfully how many parents feel.

Posted by: D. Rodriguez | August 25, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Every teacher is REQUIRED to attend training seminars and classes in the summer"

This is complete and utter BS, please provide proof. I don't know one teacher that is required to do anything during the summer.

Also, I said after school activities, not after school hours. If a teacher wants to teach an enrichment class, or coach a sport or activity they are compensated. The 45 minutes after school is part of their work day, wah-wah-wah.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if having male teachers for very, very young children is a concept most parents are comfortable with. I know it is a stereotype and that many male teachers do a great job, but there is always that fear that they are a child molester who just wants to be around kids.

Posted by: D. Rodriguez | August 25, 2008 10:51 AM

its probably very true.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: former teacher and spouse of current teacher | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM

If you are still a civil servant you should know better. It may well be your opinion that teachers deserve sympathy, but they are compensated fairly for their work and get inordinate amounts of time off compared to other civil servants.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

It's completely weird and pervy for men to want to teach elementary school. Would you want a man around a classroom full of 6-year-olds? No way. I never had a male teacher until I got into high school and then they taught the science and math classes. Most of them had degrees in other fields but ended up teaching. The principals were often retired military people.

Stop whining about the salary. If it's just the money you want, get into another line of work.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The blatant teacher-hating expressed by the majority of posters here suggests that, though out of school, many of them were extremely poor students while attending. It's never too late to grow up, or to read a book!

Posted by: DaveD | August 25, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Most elem ed teachers (not all, most/many) 'like kids.' That does not mean they like math"

I doubt that most elementary teachers (5th grade and below) can do simple algebra. For those quirky math teachers in the 8th and 9th grade that understand it, teaching it is a problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Again, enough with the mean comments. Everyone should really try and get along with each other and write nice things too one another. Haven't we learned anything from the Olympic spirit?

Posted by: nancy | August 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Weird and pervy to teach elementary school if you are a male? Why is it not weird and pervy for a female to teach elementary school. After all... there are little boys in school. And women abuse too. We always seem to forget that.

I had two memorably teachers in elementary school. I had a female teacher that taught me for two years (Gr. 3 and 4?) and a male teacher that taught me in Gr. 6. Elementary school in Canada goes to Gr. 6.

Posted by: Billie | August 25, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that my life long love of math was fostered by my first male teacher in 6th grade, Tom Murphy (Allenwood Elem.). We played an elimination game to improve our mental math skills which I still look back on fondly. I guess that wouldn't be possible in the current teaching mindset stifling competition but it went a long way in making a shy, Af-Am girl feel competent about her math ability. I respect the teaching profession but when you run across enough (meaning 1+) lazy, uninterested female teachers, any change to the status quo would be appreciated!

Posted by: Flabbergast | August 25, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

In this free market economy, you get what you pay for. That's the free market that Republicans keep reminding liberals like me about.

If you don't like the quality of teachers (or the lack of men), free market rules say you have to offer higher pay, more benefits, and MORE time off. Ask any successful businessman, that's how it works in this great country of ours!

Those of you who have chosen jobs with only two weeks of vacation, and are complaining about teachers who seem to have two months off, are in the wrong job. Come on down to your local school board and sign up to teach!

I'm a teacher whose engineering degrees could earn him double his current salary, even with the long summer break figured in. I chose to teach because the satisfaction I get more than compensates, and I live frugally.

I feel bad for those few people who have posted here who clearly hate their own job choices, and seem determined to take that out on teachers who sacrifice so much for other people's children.

Posted by: Tom Henning | August 25, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

This is complete and utter BS, please provide proof. I don't know one teacher that is required to do anything during the summer.

Also, I said after school activities, not after school hours. If a teacher wants to teach an enrichment class, or coach a sport or activity they are compensated. The 45 minutes after school is part of their work day, wah-wah-wah.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 11:01 AM

********
Good grief! What in the world is the matter with you? Why do you hate teachers so much? Why do wish to insist on putting down the enormous amount of work that they do for your children?

Provide proof? What kind of proof would satisfy you? My husband is, in fact, required to go to classes and seminars and such every single summer. He is also required to attend sporting events, dances, etc. (which are ALL after school activities) because a certain number of staff are required to be at every event. He is also the volunteer staff sponser for the Math Club - only the sports coaches get extra pay for activities, but my husband (like so many other teachers) does this for the kids. As I said before, maybe it's different where you are, and maybe you can "provide proof" that you are not just making up these wild claims that you can "almost guarantee."

Besides which, if you would read my post again, you will see that it's not in the form of a complaint, but merely a statement of what I see my husband and most of his colleagues actually doing as opposed to what know-it-alls *think* they do or do not do.

Get a grip and stop being so childish.

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

i don't get the arguments from some of you. the people who complain about people "whining" about their low salary professions are also the ones who ridicule those who make 6 figures. are you just so unhappy with your own choices and lives that you have to gripe about EVERYONE???

teaching is a noble profession.....and a difficult one, i know i could never do it. these people spend their lives making sure the children of this country learn and excel and make something of themselves, a great change from some of the role models they have at home (which unfortunately includes the snarky, close-minded idiots who post on this blog). i dare any one of you bashers to spend a week in a classroom full of 4th graders and see how long you survive!

Posted by: spd | August 25, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Tom the Teacher, no one is taking anything away from teachers. I never complained about the quality of teaches, funny that you brought that up. Teaching is a calling and you couldn't pay me enough, good thing I realize this. That you do it with that chip on your shoulder is amazing. Congratualtions on living frugally, like millions I do it everyday without beating my chest.

I am tired of the 'teachers are underpaid' crowd, the NEA robots have already done enough damage. Good luck with the snow job, I am not buying it.

Posted by: Honest about Teachers | August 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

and low status due to ignoramuses like llb ("high enough for people who get three months off in the summer and all kinds of holidays")


Oh AB, it is so nice that you noticed my post. Being called a name by someone who most people on the blog can't stand is a real honor. No where in my post did I say anything about status. I simply said he should either marry someone with more money or make his wife work. Tax payers should not have to supplement a life choice. Being a SAH parent is exactly that. What I didn't say is that most teachers should stop whining and enjoy all their time off.

Yes, I regularly work ten hour days too, it’s called life in America.

Posted by: llb to windbag, come in windbag | August 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

DaveD and Tom Henning: The majority of the posters on this blog are bitter and angry women who aren't 'fulfilled' (whatever the heck that means). They spend their time berating everybody else and if they have time to post on this blog they obviously aren't employed. They also have an inflated sense of superiority. Probably have degrees they aren't using and can't get a high-paying job anywhere because they can't concentrate on their work. (We have a woman here who only puts in about 45 minutes a day while everybody else is pulling 14-hour days. She's a mutha.) Teaching is and has always been an honorable profession. The angry and bitter women here feel they can look down on teachers. I'd hate to be the one teaching their little wretches. They probably snear at nurses, too. The 'traditional female professions' are now considered inferior because after women's lib hit the fan women can be engineers, lawyers, pilots, truck drivers, chemists. Well, la de friggin' da.

FWIW, I've always had a fear and loathing of math. Never had a good foundation for it, it wasn't taught well in elementary school. I did, however, do very well in science because I had a crush on my first male teacher -- a science teacher. We were taught to respect teachers and I was scared to death of them. Now kids talk back to their teachers and do things we'd be punished for back in the old days.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Teacher's wife, I don't hate teachers, I hate whiners.

I don't know anyone that is not an administrator that is REQUIRED to attend sporting events/dances etc, it is strongly encouraged at the HS level but required.

What you are trying to do is prove how 'busy' teachers are. Imagine that, a busy profession. Actual work. Long hours. Low Pay. Join the club, it's called life.

Posted by: Honest about Teachers | August 25, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The angry and bitter women here feel they can look down on teachers.

What a sexist thing to say. I am sure that some of the posters are male like you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"You may get time off, but my MIL really needed those two months in the summer to decompress. YES it *is* stressful teaching those kids. You get no downtime during the school years, and you have to be 'on' all the time. You can't just step out of the classroom to get a cup of coffee and hide like you can in an office environment. Just sayin'

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:44 AM

Try being a nurse - we don't get to just take a break when we need to decompress. heck, we are lucky to get a chance to go go the bathroom. Lunch? You must be kidding me.
Long hours? You betcha. Try 10 and 12 hour days. Try working 3 weekends a month. I could go on but I won't bore you. Every job has it's ups and downs. Most people do it because they are either good at it or they love it. Whining changes nothing.

Posted by: to Anonymous @10:44 | August 25, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

sorry but it's me again, as I've read the posts I noticed that most people don't understand the difference between a K-8 teacher and a High school teacher. they're different worlds. The pay is much better but the requirements are stricter which is as it should be and why most men teach at that level. You will not find much difference in the sex of the teacher at that level.
Where the problem lies is in the lower grades. I find it funny but now that I think of it all my teachers through 8th grade were female and all my teachers through high school were male.I never really thought about it till now. Weird
anyway a lot of you are comparing apples to oranges it's not the same

Posted by: ease99 | August 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"teaching is a noble profession....."

Every profession has its incompetent members.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

one of my sons had a male preschool teacher. He was the best preschool teacher in the school. He moved out to somewhere in Burke, VA. So a great shoutout to Adam, you are the best. His teachers since then have been 50/50 through out elementary, middle and high school. The payscales are augmented by at least 15% here so maybe that is why there are so many male teacher in this school district.

Algebra? one of the easiest courses known to mankind, with calculus next one down, imho. It is all so self-evident. Noone can argue with the answer.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank you to all the teachers who inspire children to reach for their dreams and beyond.

I know I would love to teach but I cannot afford to. Just to get my teaching degree it would put me a minimum $20k in debt, then I would have to figure out a way to make it on my own on $28k per year.

My plan; to teach in my 50's after I have banked enough to keep a roof over my head, eat, and have the heat on all at the same time.

And for those of you from the Know Nothing party, teachers are required to take continuing education classes to keep their teaching certificate. The cost of these classes often are not picked up by the districts.

Posted by: sierra | August 25, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

11:57 -- Poster 11:54 is a woman, not a sexist male. I have an intense dislike of bitter, angry women who feel they must be put on a pedastal because they spawned.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Continuing education is required in many professions - many unpaid and on your own time. Next argument?

Posted by: to sierra | August 25, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Please provide proof that teachers do not get 3 months off, unless they are working a year round schedule.
Posted by: Honest about teacher | August 25, 2008 9:55 AM
**************
Oh, sorry - 2 months - pardon me! What other occupation gets 2-3 months off during the summer, all federal holidays, every weekend, 2 weeks at Xmas, and one week in the Spring?

I can argue all day on teachers and their whining. Cry me a freakin river.
Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 10:17 AM
******************
I don't know one teacher that is required to do anything during the summer.

Also, I said after school activities, not after school hours. If a teacher wants to teach an enrichment class, or coach a sport or activity they are compensated. The 45 minutes after school is part of their work day, wah-wah-wah.
Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 11:01 AM

**************
and get inordinate amounts of time off compared to other civil servants.
Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 11:05 AM
**************
What you are trying to do is prove how 'busy' teachers are. Imagine that, a busy profession. Actual work. Long hours. Low Pay. Join the club, it's called life.
Posted by: Honest about Teachers | August 25, 2008 11:55 AM

*************

OK, which is it? You are contradicting your own statements. Do teachers have all this time off, or are they so obviously busy that I shouldn't take time to defend them from the uninformed? Make up your mind.

Also, your statement:
"I don't know anyone that is not an administrator that is REQUIRED to attend sporting events/dances etc, it is strongly encouraged at the HS level but required."

What you may or may not "know" not constitute the PROOF that you demand from every one else. Where is your proof? Or is it that only people who say something that you don't agree with need to provide "proof?" Maybe, maybe your statement is true for teachers in your area, or maybe it's only true for elementary school teachers, but that does not mean that it is true for all school districts.

And it is very clear from your vitriole and your vigorous attempts to belittle the profession that you do have a problem with teachers in particular, regardless of your denials.

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

the thing is we really need more male teachers both as role models and as father figures and more importantly, to counter the wacky feminist, man-hating element that seems to infest the profession.

Posted by: ryan | August 25, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

11:57 -- Poster 11:54 is a woman, not a sexist male. I have an intense dislike of bitter, angry women who feel they must be put on a pedastal because they spawned.

Then you really must hate yourself. I didn't know other woman could hate on woman that much, but then I forgot about "your" type. My mistake. Sorry men, these woman are way worse than you.

Posted by: bitter party of one | August 25, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with WorkingMomX. Maybe the Cubs will win the World Series this year.

The bottom line is if you want good teachers, you need to pay salaries comparable to other professions. The time off issue is moot because you can't pay the bills with time off. If I was given the option of taking a 25% pay cut to have 3 months a year off, I couldn't afford to do it and I don't know too many people who could.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"So you have more and more kids (no, boys) being diagnosed with ADD and put on ritalin - because they are doing age appropriate behavior."

Give me a break. Could you shine your ignorance on a different topic please?

No one is diagnosed with ADD because he exhibits age-appropriate behavior. That's like saying, more and more adults are diagnosed as suffering from depression because the workweek is now longer than it was 30 years ago. This is nothing more than urban legend passed on by the ignorant and uninformed.

Posted by: ish kebibble | August 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Re the original topic: When I was in grammar school(K-8), there were no male teachers. However, my son and daughter each had two male teachers in elementary (K-5) school. I felt it was especially important for my children to have positive male models at that age, as I am a single parent and they saw their father for no more than six hours each week. Those teachers seemed to enjoy teaching children and the students seemed to respond to them. This is not an insignificant factor in today's society.

Posted by: adak | August 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"DaveD and Tom Henning: The majority of the posters on this blog are bitter and angry women who aren't 'fulfilled' (whatever the heck that means). They spend their time berating everybody else and if they have time to post on this blog they obviously aren't employed. They also have an inflated sense of superiority. Probably have degrees they aren't using and can't get a high-paying job anywhere because they can't concentrate on their work. (We have a woman here who only puts in about 45 minutes a day while everybody else is pulling 14-hour days. She's a mutha.) Teaching is and has always been an honorable profession. The angry and bitter women here feel they can look down on teachers. I'd hate to be the one teaching their little wretches. They probably snear at nurses, too. The 'traditional female professions' are now considered inferior because after women's lib hit the fan women can be engineers, lawyers, pilots, truck drivers, chemists. Well, la de friggin' da."

Speaking of bitter. La de friggin' da, indeed.

The majority of the posters here took their meds this morning, unlike you, 11:54.

Posted by: uma | August 25, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

From the NEA website:
As of the 2008-2009 school year, all of Maryland’s 24 school districts will start new teachers at a salary of $40,000 or more.

Firefighter in NYC first year:
STARTING SALARY
$36,400 base
$4,090 OT, etc
$40,490

Both serve society. Who is more underpaid?

Posted by: Salary comparison | August 25, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The "old gals network" might admit a few males into the elementary teaching field, provided they were quadriplegic and devoid of aspirations for principal posts. Such an individual might deflect parental allegations of "man-handling" their unruly brats, but still get written up, sued, fired, and forever disgraced for "verbal abuse." Anyone who claims they can teach kids without ever using tough words or even a touch of a finger is a liar or a fool (aka Ed.D.) Kids who witness nothing but defiance, uncouth behavior, and profanity outside the school do not magically morph into angels inside a classroom. Any newcomer to teaching must lose their nurturing impulse soon and grow a thick shield of cynicism.

Posted by: jkoch | August 25, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I feel for teachers in this country but there are a lot of jobs that are grossly underpaid. There are a lot of people who work overtime, and deal with a lot of stress in their lives... and they have to struggle to get two weeks off muchless as much as teachers get. On top of that they have to pay childcare costs before and after school, which- especially in this area- are enormous. Families with teachers in them do not.

I agree that it is a difficult profession but I'm just saying it's not the only one out there that is. And at the same time, they get much better benefits- and a pension when they retire. Most of this country would love that.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Folks, just ignore the trolls. Honest... is basically looking to tear folks down and whine about whiners. Neat trick, that.

My niece decided to be an elementary ed teacher from a relatively early age. Temperament and interests. It sure isn't the salary.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | August 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Whoops- hit submit before I was done.

There may be many reasons that people are not teachers, but I think being underpaid shouldn't be made into the biggest one. I considered being a teacher when I graduated but when I considered how many restraints are put on you out of the school systems fearing being sued, any potential lawsuits from someone thinking you abused their child, plus dealing with parents who cannot be bothered to pay attention to, muchless discipline their own children at home. It became incredibly unappealing.

It would be like someone becoming a surgeon even though they have been told that 90% of their patients would die. It's just not worth it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Women don't need us. Just ask around. Men are stupid, aggressive, arrogant, self-serving perverts who have no place around children. I've tried and given up.

Posted by: Downtrodden | August 25, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The person who identified average salaries for firefighters is spot on.

Another profession that is high-stress and underpaid nurses, LPNs and orderlies working in nursing homes. They deal with Alzheimers patients and others with diminished capacity and social skills. If we paid those employees more, and nursing homes could pick and choose their employees, perhaps we'd hear less about horrific nursing home treatment. They also don't have any mindless tasks like cutting out construction paper nametags, changing the bulleting boards and writing lesson plans for a substitute teacher that include instructions to hand out the weekly reader and have the students read quietly at their desks for 15 minutes.

On topic, the biggest reason you see so few men teaching the elementary grades is that, when single men hit parties and bars seeking a mate, many women don't want to hear, "elementary school teacher," when they ask what a guy does for a living. They bypass the man with that answer and keep looking for the IT guy or the doctor. When the average 23 year old woman's selection process for choosing a mate becomes as enlightened as her 40-year old self's comments on this blog about the worth and value of male teachers, maybe the laws of supply and demand will change.

Posted by: allegra | August 25, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

From the NEA website:
As of the 2008-2009 school year, all of Maryland’s 24 school districts will start new teachers at a salary of $40,000 or more.

Firefighter in NYC first year:
STARTING SALARY
$36,400 base
$4,090 OT, etc
$40,490

Both serve society. Who is more underpaid?

Posted by: Salary comparison | August 25, 2008 12:52 PM

But the schoolteacher has at least a Bachelor's degree, for which s/he or her/his family likely had to pay for at least four years of college education, which the firefighter did not.

Posted by: beware the false analogy | August 25, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

And who runs into burning buildings?
PS - many firefighters DO have degrees.

Posted by: to beware..... | August 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It continues to break my heart that we all cant just write nice things about each other. It brings me to tears reading some of the hateful remarks that some of you all post.

Posted by: Nancy | August 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It's not about being male or female. One of the male teachers in my daughter's school is more whiny, vindictive and gossipy than an average woman. Fortunately, she never got him. The others are fine. Some of the female teachers (not many) are capable of getting on the floor with 1st graders or let them play rough on the field trips. Seems like school system in general attracts docile personalities, regardless of gender. Strong personalities either beat the system (see "Freedom writers" or "There are no shortcuts") or quit/fail.

Posted by: Kim | August 25, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

hmm, came back after several hours, and no new reasons for the paucity of male teachers, particularly at the lower grades. So it looks like we covered them all with salary, status, fear of being accused of molestation/sued, and the 'old girls network?'

Did want to respond to Tom Henning's post:
"In this free market economy, you get what you pay for. That's the free market that Republicans keep reminding liberals like me about.

If you don't like the quality of teachers (or the lack of men), free market rules say you have to offer higher pay, more benefits, and MORE time off. Ask any successful businessman, that's how it works in this great country of ours!"

The tone's kind of snide, but the content is correct. The salaries of a position are mostly determined by the perceived supply and demand. If the employer perceives a high demand and low supply, the salary's going to be high, such as for engineers with specific skills. If the employer perceives a high supply and low demand, the salary's not going to be so great, and in many places that's the situation with teachers.

How else would you have it determined? Should some arbitrary panel of 'experts' determine the salary of each occupation based on 'required qualifications' and 'worth'? If so, how do you determine that?

(And I'm strongly biased towards teachers. My mother was one for 40 years until she retired; my sister has been one for 29 years; any my niece is finishing up her education degree this year. I've spent 12 years teaching college as an adjunct or visiting professor, but I don't qualify as a "teacher" because that's a very different thing.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

And it is very clear from your vitriole and your vigorous attempts to belittle the profession that you do have a problem with teachers in particular, regardless of your denials.

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 12:14 PM


are you sure you're not AB or atb? you've been posting all these windbag posts today. simmer down. you're upsetting Nancy.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

As the posts here seem to suggest, we ALL need more time off. Maybe we wouldn't be so cranky...(though some seem to have plenty of time to scour the web for opportunities to get ugly).

Don't be a jealous hater, join the "work to live" movement and fight for more vacation and holidays for everyone! (or continue being a slave to your corporate masters if you want)

Posted by: jerry g | August 25, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It's not about being male or female. One of the male teachers in my daughter's school is more whiny, vindictive and gossipy than an average woman.

Posted by: Kim | August 25, 2008 1:26 PM

He must have been geigh. Real men aren't like that.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

PS - many firefighters DO have degrees.

Posted by: to beware..... | August 25, 2008 1:13 PM

But they're not required, as they are for nearly all teachers, many of whom go on to earn graduate degrees.

Posted by: beware the false analogy | August 25, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

looks like Nancy has finally left us to go stink up the celeb blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

llb, I'm truly sorry if I hurt your feelings with my knee-jerk response to your posting. However, as I noted above, I'm biased towards teachers, coming from a family of them. And I felt that your crack in response to billq

"Well, either marry a rich career woman or get the one you did marry out of the kitchen. Raise salaries? They are already high enough for people who get three months off in the summer and all kinds of holidays."

showed a lack of knowledge of the situation. First, teachers DO NOT get three months off in the summer - even if you believe that teachers do nothing at all work-related in the summer, it's two months not three. Second, based on personal experience I know that most teachers do a lot related to work in the summer.

So I apologize for calling you an ignoramus - I should have instead used a term like 'insufficiently educated.'

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

llb, I'm truly sorry if I hurt your feelings with my knee-jerk response to your posting. However, as I noted above, I'm biased towards teachers, coming from a family of them. And I felt that your crack in response to billq

"Well, either marry a rich career woman or get the one you did marry out of the kitchen. Raise salaries? They are already high enough for people who get three months off in the summer and all kinds of holidays."

showed a lack of knowledge of the situation. First, teachers DO NOT get three months off in the summer - even if you believe that teachers do nothing at all work-related in the summer, it's two months not three. Second, based on personal experience I know that most teachers do a lot related to work in the summer.

So I apologize for calling you an ignoramus - I should have instead used a term like 'insufficiently educated.'


Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 1:59 PM


shut up you windbag!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

One thing overlooked in this whole discussion - many people decry the "low" salary but how about the fact that most teachers retire at 80% of highest salary, and usually with full benefits. Try finding that in the dreaded private sector.

Posted by: buzz | August 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

are you sure you're not AB or atb? you've been posting all these windbag posts today. simmer down. you're upsetting Nancy.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 1:41 PM

*******
HaHahahahaha!
Thanks Anon at 1:41. I needed that. Nope, not AB or atb, but I do, admittedly, get worked up on the subject of teachers and how hard they work and what it means to many of the kids they teach. I will go quietly into the corner until I feel I can play nicely with the other kids...
Sorry Nancy for upsetting you - if you do indeed exist!

Posted by: teacher's wife | August 25, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Don't be saying that, you will upset Nancy. Utilize Euphemisms!

Such as, AB, please reduce the velocity of oxygen across your vocal cords to 0 m/s."

Now that's a good one. Props to this anon.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you whinny teacher! What are you doing writing into this blog? Shouldn't you be teaching, or preparing classes? Obviously, the quals for a teacher include raging PMS and/or raging menopause. Tell your unions to negotiate for unlimited free Midol, free Prozac and free strogen treatments. You'll feel a lot better, and we won't have to read or listen to your hysterical complaints.

Any male who goes into K-12 education as a first career is gay-gay-gay.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Completely agree with anon at 2:38 PM

Posted by: atb | August 25, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading all these comments spouting "salary, salary, salary" - but it isn't just the salary. I've read over the results of several surveys conducted on thousands of people who were leaving old jobs for new jobs. Salary is consistently the third, or worse, ranked reason. Reason #1 is usually job satisfaction.

Let's face it: American society, however much it pays lip service to the importance of education, does not respect educators or education. How many times do kids throw around terms like "nerd" and "geek" and "bookworm" to describe people who enjoy learning? How many times do adults use those same words, or different ones with the same meaning (i.e. 'intellectual elitist', etc.)?

Does everybody know about the 'math gap' between boys and girls? Guess what: studies have shown it all but disappears when the class is segregated by gender. Why? Girls are afraid of looking 'too smart' in front of the boys because they're taught from an early age that boys don't want a girl who's at least as intelligent as themselves.

Let's move on to educators. How many times have we all heard the phrase, "those who can't do, teach"? When several friends of mine in college expressed an interest in becoming teachers, their parents asked why. Not why as in 'why do you want to become a teacher?' but 'why would you want to do something like that?' like becoming a teacher would be wasting their talents/lives.

Our society has this insane belief that anybody can teach. That is, in my opinion, one of the reasons why salaries for teachers are so low (IMO, when you compare the importance of their job to what they make, those salaries are laughable). Anybody can attempt to impart information, but not just anybody can teach. IMO becoming a good teacher takes just as much work as becoming a good engineer. Remaining a good teacher requires just as much devotion to continuing education.

Posted by: Matt | August 25, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think it boils down to vanity.

A man who chooses a career in teaching may not think in terms of teaching the early grades because, after all, what teachers stand out as memorable to you? I am guessing high school.

Of the male teachers teaching elementary school, I wonder how many found themselves doing so because of economic pressures or to help out for a while and ended up liking it.

There is a part of me that would love to teach, but I would scream if I had to teach the texts and the tests that I see.

There is too much rote learning. Pi = 3.14159... but very few people know how to derive the value themselves, and therefore do not know how it relates to so many other things.

When we were taught the relationship between distance and gravity, why, for the love of God, did they not relate it to the surface area of a sphere. Few people understand the roll of the Federal Reserve in the US. If you are among them, here is a simple picture that is better than no picture at all: the Fed is the money pump for the economy. It auctions treasuries and gives the money to banks. When you pay taxes, that money ultimately ends up at the Fed which it uses to buy back, or retire the notes that it auctioned. Was that hard?

Teachers, challenge your students! Hide the text books for 1 hour a day. Dispel fear for one hour on Monday, teach them about money on Tuesday, teach them how to rapidly find information on Wednesday, have them run a company on Thursday, have them run a country on Friday, have them do something for society on Saturday, and have them do something for their family on Sunday.

Then publish what they did on your website so we can all see. I am financially invested in education by paying taxes. I would like to check up on my investment now and them.

P.S. my investment is available to ALL children, even those that crossed arbitrary lines without the proper paperwork.

Posted by: K Ackermann | August 25, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"why dont you go post on the celeb blog with the other windbags?"

'cause I don't give a rat's tochas about "celebrities."

"Any male who goes into K-12 education as a first career is gay-gay-gay."

Okay, I'll get roasted for saying this, but as a heterosexual male - what's with all the use of "gay" as some kind of ultimate insult? The century in which we currently exist is the 21st; you ought to try living in it sometime.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 25, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"Okay, I'll get roasted for saying this, but as a heterosexual male"

Sure.
In cyberspace, even Clay Aiken can be heterosexual.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

AB - good thing you did there giving props to the 0 m/s comment... This anon is truly one of the witty ones. I bow to you, anon.

I think male teachers experience the same problems I had when I was the only female engineering prof my students ever saw. The old boy network really shut me out just as the old girl network shuts out the male teachers. Oh, I earned tenure anyways, just like the male public school teachers do, but the whole experience was adversarial, not collegial.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jes | August 25, 2008 2:35 PM

as yourself have become so coldhearted that they don't wish to respect other people.

Posted by: Nancy | August 25, 2008 2:31 PM

It is not that we don't respect others, it is just you, Nancy, we don't respect.

"Disrespect, earned, not given!"

Posted by: Plato | August 25, 2008 2:35 PM

See. The thing is.

Nancy is a fake.

There is no real person who cries because we are mean.

Ignore him/her. (and get some gnat spray)

Posted by: Curmudgeon tut-tuts | August 25, 2008 2:33 PM


not to be on Nancy's side or anything, but how do you know that there is no "Nancy." thats like saying there's no curmudgeon. i think thats a little unfair.

Posted by: I could be the real Curmudgeon | August 25, 2008 2:38 PM

Nancy, looking back over the posts, I don't see where someone started this by attacking you. Your first post was sticking up for someone else. You can't be everyone's savior.
Did you ever wonder why the poster's name was ANONYMOUS? Think about it.
Quite frankly, it was none of your business. Unless... YOU are the poster Anonymous!

Posted by: anitajohnson | August 25, 2008 2:39 PM

ep, kinda relieved you went there, I have to say. Lawyerdorks unite!

Posted by: Sigh | August 25, 2008 2:42 PM

Nancy, looking back over the posts, I don't see where someone started this by attacking you. Your first post was sticking up for someone else. You can't be everyone's savior.
Did you ever wonder why the poster's name was ANONYMOUS? Think about it.
Quite frankly, it was none of your business. Unless... YOU are the poster Anonymous!


Posted by: anitajohnson | August 25, 2008 2:39 PM


This is what I was talking about. I'm being targeted by you all for absolutely no reason, completely unprovoked. I'm just a simple person with a heart of gold.

Posted by: Nancy | August 25, 2008 2:58 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, does anybody else miss OB? (Hi, Fred, how's Frieda?)

Posted by: OldBAM | August 25, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't realized the gender discrepancy was so wide.

Let's see, younger son is starting middle school today, so I don't know his teachers or their genders yet. In elemetary school he had female teachers in K, 1st, 2nd, and had male teachers in 3rd, 4th, 5th.

He's also been taking private guitar lessons with a male elementary music teacher for the last two years, but the teacher has decided to quit teaching private lessons. Between the school day, and rehearsals and performances with his band (they seem to be really taking off locally) he just doesn't have the time any more.

Older son is in 11th grade now. When he was in SDC classes, his teachers were all female. His two elemetary years in general ed classes were with female teachers. Middle school was mixed, and so is high school.

I think my elementary school years (through 8th grade in small-town and rural districts) included 4 years with male teachers.

I'm not sure that I have a point, other than how far our family's experiences have been from the statistics. And that I don't care about the gender of any teacher so much as I care about the teacher's abilites.

Posted by: Sue | August 25, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

fr Honest:

>....The traditional summer off schedule for students is the same for teachers, they start the week before students and work for a couple days after the school year and get the rest of the summer OFF. If they choose to only get paid 9 months/year they are stupid or do not know how to budget....

My younger brother is a high school teacher in the Philadelphia area. To make ends meet during the summer, brainiac, he is working at a local Sears store, and his wife works. He also takes continuing education classes to keep his accreditation current, and usually works late into the night to prepare for the next day, he sees parents after school, preps the classroom, etc.

Your snarky remark about "budget" was thoroughly uncalled for, not to mention juvenile.

Posted by: Alex | August 25, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Det. Mike Kellerman: You sure you want me with you?
Det. Tim Bayliss: Yeah, sure, why not?
Det. Mike Kellerman: I don't know, uh, last time we worked together you were kind of snarky.
Det. Tim Bayliss: Snarky?
Det. Mike Kellerman: Yeah, snarky, you know, from the ancient Greek, meaning butt head.

Posted by: Snarky, like this blog! | August 25, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Women science/tech faculty get preferential treatment at the college level, because schools need to fill their female quotas.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I remember my fifth-grade teacher. He was a great guy. My sixth-grade teacher, also male, not so great.

Posted by: alex | August 25, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The idiot who assumes all male elementary school teachers are gay (and spell it right, you're not fooling anyone) is one of the big reasons more men don't go into elementary ed.

As for us, we did specifically ask for the one male teacher in the school when my son (who has ADHD) was in 4th grade... he was the only one that truly "got" my son. And his overall approach was that it was his goal for each and every child to succeed. Sadly, both he and his wife (38 and 33 years in the classroom respectively) retired from teaching at the end of last school year. My son was privileged to have had them both.

Posted by: just me | August 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice. And I'll bet you assume all child molesters are gay, too - "no straight man would ever molest a child."

Puh-leeze!

Posted by: just me | August 25, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

uh..anon at 3:32...no they don't. As a woman engineering prof with tenure, I've been around to know. If a woman faculty earns tenure, but a man, with essentially the same package, does not earn tenure, the man can/will/has sue for beaucoup bucks. I've seen it happen at one school stupid enough to even *look* like it was giving preferential treatment to a woman. At the end of the day, schools realize it isn't worth it. Tenure is all about how much research $$$ you bring in, how many refereed journal papers, how many students, your field, etc....not your gender. There are no quotas. Name one school with a quota please or else stop 'crying wolf'. There is no wolf there.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Actually, studies have shown that those who accuse others of being gay, do so to overshadow their great fear that they themselves are gay. Poor tormented soul.

Posted by: alex | August 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

There are no quotas. Name one school with a quota please or else stop 'crying wolf'. There is no wolf there.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 4:00 PM

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

your theory lacks one crucial element: evidence

Miss that part of thesis-writing 101? Or were you busy misquoting Shakespeare?

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I had a friend who was teaching in NY and had to work over the summer to make ends meet. She said not working was not an option.

She moved down to GA, and salaries were pretty much the same (maybe a slight bit less). She said she didn't *have* to work during the summer in order to make ends meet (she did most summers, anyway) due to the lower cost of living....

Posted by: atlmom | August 25, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

your theory lacks one crucial element: evidence

Touchy much?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I've seen it happen at one school stupid enough to even *look* like it was giving preferential treatment to a woman.

Evidence?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't have to be a teacher to know better than to reply to illiterate anonymous drivel.

Posted by: Fran | August 25, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"

I've seen it happen at one school stupid enough to even *look* like it was giving preferential treatment to a woman.

Evidence?"

Start with

http://www.adversity.net/c30_buszek_v_delta.htm

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

teacher's wife, well, I have a problem with you, that is clear. I have not belittled teachers one bit, they are portion of my child's education. Why I have to agree that they are underpaid, overworked and underappreciated is beyond me. As someone else stated, I don't see people getting their panties all in a bunch over Police Officers or Firefighters pay, and their job takes a lot more cajones then teaching. They are all jobs that suit the individual, few can be PO's, few can teach, not everyone can be a firefighter. That they are underpaid is old, tired and lacks originality. I know a couple cops that would do backflips to have weekends alone off, not to mention all major holidays, Xmas and Spring break and 2 months (OMG THEY HAVE TO TAKE A CLASS WA WA WA). Count your blessings and the get the chip off your shoulder where your husband is concerned. I've had enough of the sob stories of the poor teachers.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Firefighters sleep all the time. Cops don't need high pay because most are on the take. Yourself, for example, I would hate to be pulled over by someone with as big a chip on their shoulder as you.

Posted by: eye of the beholder | August 25, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

anon: your point makes mine. The plaintiff, the man, won big bucks because of reverse discrimination. Universities don't have quotas because of they've been sued out the wazoo to end them. See also University of Pittsburgh, sometime mid 90s.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Nope, it makes my point, namely that colleges DO favor hiring women in fields with few women, so lower the standards in order to fill their quotas. Sometimes they get caught, other times they get by with it.

See also University of Pittsburgh, sometime mid 90s.

Explain.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Nice. And I'll bet you assume all child molesters are gay, too - "no straight man would ever molest a child."

No but straight men don't hide in bushes and restrooms at parks trying to get off with strangers.

Posted by: that's your comeback? puleeze | August 25, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

one more time into the fray: hiring != tenure If you equate hiring with tenure, then you do not understand universities at all.

University of pittsburgh was sued by a guy claiming reverse discrimination regarding the awarding of tenure. The decision found no evidence of his claim of tenure quotas.

Posted by: dotted | August 25, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Lower the standards? How can you possibly be serious?

How can you even think that standards need to be lowered for women to get jobs or into schools? Do you really believe women cannot meet high standards?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

University of pittsburgh was sued by a guy claiming reverse discrimination regarding the awarding of tenure. The decision found no evidence of his claim of tenure quotas.

Link to a source?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"Where are all the men?" Duh, raise saleries maybe, just a thought. Even though society is more equal these days in terms of pay, men are still counted on to bring in the income or more of the income of families.

And you cant raise saleries without diverting government funds or raising taxes. So you get what you pay for.

Posted by: MajorDuh | August 25, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"Where are all the men" ???
what type of blog topic is this?
it sounds like a posting on some geigh magazine site that AB subscribes to.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

There, there, Nancy. Don't go worrying about those nasty On Parenting People. Now it's time to get back on your knees and get to work. Please don't jerk your head too much, or my drink will fall off it.

Posted by: Jeff Stryker | August 25, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I still remember how happy I was entering fourth grade when I learned that I had drawn a seat in Mr. Bridge's class. He was one of the only male teachers at my elementary school and one of the most popular with students. As suggested in the article, he was much more active with his classes -- taking us on hikes, day trips, holding an after-school chess club (which everyone attended), and everyone's favorite: playing soccer with the class every Friday. Maybe he was so popular because, as a man, he stood out but I do know that my friends and I did look up to him in a way that we didn't to female teachers. He wasn't a better teacher because he was a man but he was an important role model because of it.

I think it's important that a healthy, well-adjusted child have both male and female role models.

Posted by: Garrett | August 25, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

University of pittsburgh was sued by a guy claiming reverse discrimination regarding the awarding of tenure. The decision found no evidence of his claim of tenure quotas.

http://www.adversity.net/education_3.htm

Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh):
Federal Jury Orders U. Pittsburgh to Pay in Reverse-Bias Suit

A federal jury on Thursday found the University of Pittsburgh guilty of reverse discrimination for denying a male faculty member tenure in 1995 and ordered the institution to pay him $350,000 in compensatory damages.

Posted by: Google is your friend | August 25, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

John McCain will take care of this.

Posted by: Macadoo | August 25, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the salary, folks. It the job satisfaction and how our society views teachers.

I've lost track of the number of people I've met with views similar to "honest about teachers" - that teachers are underworked (b/c of 'all that vacation time') and overpaid. I don't know about other counties, but I have some experience with teachers in Fairfax County. My mother is a teacher here, one of my friends is a teacher, and I still keep in touch with several of my former teachers, mainly because they happen to be friends of my mother's. Not a single one of them takes the whole summer off. They all do things to prepare for the next year, keep their certification current, bring in extra income, etc. A few of them worked for a textbook company editing a new math textbook. Another grades the AP statistics exams. Several teach summer school.

Let's talk about the school year. Contractually, they must be at school in FCPS (for the middle school and high school teachers) from 7:30-2:45. I don't know a single teacher of math, english, science, or history who leaves the building at 2:45 more than once a week, maybe twice a week at the beginning and end of the year. They stay after school to provide help to kids having difficulty with whatever the current topic is, they volunteer to be the faculty sponsor(s) for different clubs (which, if they don't volunteer, the administrators wander around and keep asking for volunteers until enough people step forward - so not exactly a volunteer at that point), do parent-teacher conferences, and prepare for the next day.

There are 7 class periods in middle and high school. Each teacher gets 5 classes. The other two periods are 'prep' periods to do administrative things like make copies of handouts, grade papers, etc. In the core academic subjects, the average class size at my old high school was around 25 students. That's 125 students whose homework, quizzes, tests, and papers (for english and history) need grading. You're not getting all of that down in your two 'prep' periods, so every teacher I know takes home work. I don't know a single teacher who works less than eight hours a day. So enough of this 'underworked' hogwash.

As for the vacation time - those teachers earn that. Do you have any ideal how stressful it is to deal with 125 kids and, most especially, their parents? Many of the parents are not that involved but, trust me, the ones that are more than make up for the rest. In one memorable parent-teacher conference, a parent of a student who had a bad grade (and who, surprise, surprise, wasn't doing his homework) told my mother that if she was any good as a math teacher the students wouldn't need homework! How ridiculous!

It's poor attitudes like that which contribute to the dearth of people wanting to be teachers. Personally, I think I'd make a good history teacher. I have a genuine love for the subject. But I'm not going to bother subjecting myself to the abuse from parents, the lack of support from administrators, and the students who don't understand why you won't let them turn an assignment in late and go crying home to mommy and daddy about how unfair you air, and then see aforementioned comment about parents.

Posted by: Matt | August 25, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

31 comments by anonymous, so this is what passes for polite discourse in the post. No wonder nothing ever changes.
Well I guess I'm not bitter or smart enough to keep up with you all, so I'll crawl back in my hole and keep my sanity and my manners.WTG folks

Posted by: ease99 | August 25, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that most people have poor images of teachers, due to the teacher's union, that seems to not take the position that educating our children is the most important thing.

Posted by: Another view | August 25, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

llb, I'm truly sorry if I hurt your feelings with.......


Nope, I am actually laughing my butt off at your supposed superior intellect. If your mom, sister and niece are such great teachers, maybe one of them will teach you to shut up once and a while.

You are not the only person with teachers in their family.

Posted by: llb | August 25, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"I think that most people have poor images of teachers, due to the teacher's union, that seems to not take the position that educating our children is the most important thing.

Posted by: Another view | August 25, 2008 7:15 PM"


Bingo. It is all about the teachers, their pay, their work, their dues (most importantly). The students? Just a vehicle.

Matt, Thanks for the diatribe, but if a teacher needs to work in the summer to make ends meet, they should be thankful they have the OPPORTUNITY. Again, what other civil servant can supplement their income this way? None. Give me break.

As for how hard teaching is "125 students!!" - it is a chosen profession. If someone is too stressed that they can't handle the work load, perhaps an occupation change is in order. Deal with it.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 25, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

What's a matter "Honest about teachers"?

Did a teacher put a dunce cap on you and sit you in a corner one day?

Posted by: Enough hating! | August 25, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

What people here don't seem to understand is that while teachers may make a decent salary for the number of hours worked, if they want to make as much as someone with a regular, private-sector job they then have to go out and get another job during the summer. Not many people want to have to go and find a job for two months- what can you do for two months? I remember seeing several of my high school teachers working at places like Safeway during the summer bagging groceries, and I'm sure others temp or do things like that. But really, who wants to deal with having to find extra employment every year to make up the difference? And if you are in a district with year-round schooling, then finding extra work during the breaks is really impossible, since the breaks are all broken up throughout the year. My point is, the combination of salary/time off is great if you can afford to only work 10 months out of the year, but otherwise it's just not a profession that can work for you, and that limits the pool of potential teachers considerably, and men who want to maintain the traditional "breadwinner" role will probably shy away from teaching because of this. I don't think there's really much to be done about this, unfortunately.

The fact that teaching is such a low-status job is another matter, and I think that can be attributed, at least in part, to modern feminist ideology which sees value only in activites that were traditionally performed by men. Vocations traditionally held by women- teaching, nursing, secretarial work, etc, are seen as demeaning jobs by many, which is a real shame. And why is it feminism to believe that activities traditionally performed by women are without value?

Posted by: va | August 25, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Other civil servants get the opportunity to supplement their income. I've met people working for the county who hold another job. Perhaps, dare I suggest, you might think about what you're saying before you say it.

That may be so, but more difficult professions get compensated more than less difficult professions - except for teachers. You don't often see doctors making less than somebody who runs an Olive Garden. Ditto engineers. I'm not knocking the restaurant profession. I've worked in it. My in-laws run a restaurant. But it doesn't take nearly as much training as becoming an effective teacher.

I've seen guys straight out of Harvard, nothing more than the degree and an internship, land jobs paying more than teachers in Fairfax County make after 10 years on the job. This country does not value education - and people like you are the proof in the pudding.

Posted by: Matt | August 25, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Last guy's got a point. I'm a 29-year old male with a PhD, and I'd love to teach: high school, college, whatever. I even looked into it. But I'd have to take a no-kidding 50% pay cut to do it. I have a mortgage, a wife, and a kid, and I just can't afford it. If this country wants qualified and interested teachers, they're going to have to start paying better.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I had some awesome male teachers while growing up.

Under the current system, however, men would have be pretty stupid to accept a K-12 teaching job. All it takes to ruin a male teacher's life is one jilted student who starts screaming about sexual harrassment or molestation. It doesn't even matter if the accusation is blatantly untrue; the nitwit, overpaid, useless administrators will always take the jilted student's side. No amount of money is worth dealing with that sort of BS.

It's very unfortunate, too.

Posted by: Tirade | August 25, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Matt, Do you know what civil servants vs private sectors earn? That answers your silly reference to "less difficult positions" analysis. That teachers don't make more is not the fault of of the public, there is no us vs them. People pay their taxes and they are wasted, the money does not go to "education" or the teachers.

Most of you are living in a make believe world when you think that the professions that deserve more pay will get it when there are Unions and bloated bureaucracies involved. You are not fighting the good fight by complaining on a message board. If you want teachers (apparently no other civil servants jobs, just them - oh lord they deserve it!!!) to earn more money, you better fight the fight against the public school system. That we have good people toiling in a bad systems sucks, but that is the reality of the situation.

Lastly, put a price tag on being stay at home mother or volunteer, or coach, or community organizer (since we may get one for our President, yikes). You can't. You can't pay people enough to join the military or go out on the street to fight crime or fires, so sitting in a classroom all warm and dry does not seem like such a bad gig. Get over it.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 26, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

fr Honest about teachers:

>...You can't pay people enough to join the military or go out on the street to fight crime or fires, so sitting in a classroom all warm and dry does not seem like such a bad gig. Get over it.

No, YOU "get over it". Get over the fantasyland idea that teachers get 3 months vacation every year. TALK to teachers, and see how they would LOVE a "3 month vacation" each year. They don't get that amount of vacation, no matter what you think.

Posted by: Alex | August 26, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Alex, So far you have provided nothing to the conversation except the "NO 3 MONTH VACATION' continual rant. You need a new battle cry. Everybody would love a 2-3 month vacation dumba**, so taking a poll would be worthless. Teachers get the summer off - is this so hard to admit?

I know plenty of teachers, some in my family and many friends and neighbors. None of them are whiners like you and Tom the Teacher. Thankfully you are a distinct and irritating minority that sees nothing but the the problems with teaching, constantly bemoaning the fate of the poor, pitiful teachers. Teaching is a noble profession that deserves more than your rants.

You live in a whiny, narrow world where soldiers, LEO's and Firemen put their lives on the line - for sorry a** jerks like you - for the same amount of money (or less for military) as teachers. Get your priorities straight and stop the crying, you sound like a baby.

Posted by: Honest abut teachers | August 26, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Here in Oakland, CA, starting salary for a brand new police officer fresh out of the academy is > $70k. It's about the same for firefighters. Starting salary for a fresh-out-of-college teacher is about $38k.

It's possible, just barely, to live in the Bay Area on a police officer's or firefighter's starting salary, but not possible on a starting teacher's salary.

Posted by: Sue | August 26, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sue,

I'd say Oakland is an oddity, just looked it up and the 70K is with signing bonuses for PO's and Oakland is touted as the best paid in the state. I just looked up the teacher's salaries and Special Ed can start at 55K, so it depends on what you are teaching. I don't think your example is representative of much of the country.

In NOVA and much of MD starting salaries for both PO's and Teachers is about equal. I understand this is a probably a regional issue, but from where I stand - if one group is going to get paid more, I say it is group of people strapping on guns and running into burning buildings and saving lives. Call me crazy.

Posted by: Honest about teachers | August 26, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

fr Honest:

>...None of them are whiners like you and Tom the Teacher. Thankfully you are a distinct and irritating minority that sees nothing but the the problems with teaching, constantly bemoaning the fate of the poor, pitiful teachers. Teaching is a noble profession that deserves more than your rants...

I do not know anyone named "Tom the Teacher". I have no idea who you are talking about.

Posted by: Alex | August 26, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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