It’s worth noting that not all legislators agree with the approved budget. For her part, Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County said the funding for public education was barely adequate, calling the one-time $750 increase an “insult” to veteran educators [1 minute 51 seconds]:
After three continuations, there were rumblings Friday evening of a budget deal finally being reached. However, leaders in both houses declined to give any specifics, so we don’t know if the $500 raise or even the $750 one-time bonus discussed for teachers made it in.
Since they haven’t offered to give any details, I thought I’d put a few details and specifics together in an infographic.
However, it’s not imperative that a teacher be an expert in #edtech. Like our students, there’s a range of abilities and circumstances. Also like our students, what makes the biggest difference is the approach, the attitude, the willingness to learn.
And I have to say, teachers are oftentimes the worst learners. It amazes me when teachers offer up excuses they would never allow a student to give them.
We are months away from 2016. Being a tech expert is not required, but ignoring educational technology is no longer an option. It’s in the standards. It’s part of your job.
Make. An. Effort.
So, borrowing the concept from Bill Maher’s segment of the same title: “New Rule”…
If you wouldn’t allow the excuse, don’t offer it as your own.
They say there is no such this as a bad question, but, “Is this a grade?” makes me think otherwise. This is one of my least favorite questions of all time, and teachers are asked this by students often.
It reveals a student’s thought process on if a learning experience is important and worth their time or not.
I have tried several approaches to this question. I have tried to ban the question from the classroom without success. I have tried consistently using the vague response, “All things in life are assessed.” They have been undeterred. My students have even gotten savvy enough to know to ask, “Is this formative or summative”?
I decided I do not want to answer this question again. To that end, I have created a flow chart to post on my wall:
Clearly aimed at generating a headline and talking point during re-election this November, the NC GOP has pulled a “please just re-elect us” rabbit out of their hat. They’ve done some “smoke and mirrors” math, such as removing our earned longevity pay (which the other state employees get to keep by the way) and not including that subtraction in the figures as a loss when declaring they gave teachers a 7% raise.
In fact, some teachers will make the same or less.
And as teachers point this out, we’re set up to look greedy and unable to be pleased, since all many voters will hear is the “7% raise” party-line. Even the state paper now has a headline that sets up teachers for blame. (We paid for your raises by cutting all these things – are you happy now?) As seen in the comments section, for some voters the teacher-blame is already in full-swing:
“Unbelievable. The GA does more to increase teacher pay than since Jim Hunt was our Governor and you still whine about it.”
“Amazing… teachers get the largest salary increase in State history and that is still not enough for some.”
And this misinformed mentality is just what those up for re-election are counting on this November. “We tried to give teachers a raise, but they just can’t be pleased.” *shrug*
Educators and parents of school-aged children can only hope the NC public is smarter than the NC GOP thinks. Otherwise, they will see what’s left of our dedicated North Carolina teaching force…disappear.
It may be only be six weeks after New Year’s, but already both the state of North Carolina and Wake County have grave concerns about filling the needed teaching positions for next school year.
And so they should.
North Carolina often fills positions from teachers in states like Ohio and New York where turnover is low and teachers can’t find positions. However, with no more pay for advanced degrees in NC, most of those candidates will likely no longer be coming here anymore.
Besides needing to attract teachers, there’s the issue of teacher turnover. NCDPI was concerned enough about this very issue to send a report to the General Assembly. You can read the whole report here, but I’ve compiled a few highlights:
You’ll notice it’s not just that more teachers are leaving, but that more and more tenured, experienced teachers are leaving. The mentors of the beginning teachers. The department chairs. The leadership team members. The teachers any principal needs upon which to build a school.
The concerns the data raise are only the tip of the iceberg for what I feel is impending, based on my front-row view from the classroom trenches.
For example, of significant note but not yet reflected in this report is the fact that in Wake County alone, the number of teachers who have left specifically to teach in another state have already doubled so far this year from this data last year.
And…it’s still only February.
Also consider this year so far this blog has included:
These are some of the best educators in North Carolina classrooms from all over the state. And although I can personally vouch for their exceptionalism as educators, I am certain these sentiments are not exceptional. Conversations like this one are happening on every facebook wall and in every teacher lounge in the state.
Yes, indeed…they should be gravely concerned about the mass exodus coming North Carolina’s way.
However, I surprised myself by reacting in an entirely different, non-serious way. Perhaps it’s due to the current state of education, particularly in my own state of North Carolina, where we have to laugh or we’d cry, but my husband and I just kept riffing (and laughing) on all the ways teachers are soooo not either of these professions.
I thought others may also get a chuckle from what we came up with…and maybe add a few more in the comments.
So, I present to you:
Ten Ways Teachers are Soooo NOT Doctors or Surgeons
You knew it was coming. Let’s just get it out of the way, shall we? I made an infographic on easel.ly to see what the difference was in my own city.
I was curious.
Credibility. Even in the face of death of a loved one, “I did everything I could.” actually means something coming from a surgeon.
Concrete data. A heart attack presents like a heart attack and cancer is treated like cancer, regardless of a patient’s ability, motivation, or intelligence. This makes quite a difference if you are expected to act on the information with the certainty and confidence demanded of all three professions.
Help. Doctors and surgeons have nurses. Physician’s assistants. EMTs. Those people that check you in and out. Orderlies…etc. A very small, ever-shrinking percentage of teachers have teachers’ assistants. (And anyone who thinks they don’t desperately need them should come teach a class of 24 kindergarteners solo.)
Teachers can’t excise a tumor of laziness or ignorance…though a girl can dream, can’t she?
Doctors don’t have to write plans for a substitute doctor to try to see all the patients in their care in a day. They can simply reschedule their appointments for the day if they’re out. (Actually, someone else probably does that for them.)
Please show me the surgeon who has 35 people on operating tables…at once.
Rarely is a patient unconscious on the table and still able to hurl obscenities at the surgeon or threaten them with bodily harm. (Of course, I’m just guessing.)
I’m pretty sure there are very few doctors buying their own tongue depressors out-of-pocket.
No one ever criticizes a doctor or surgeon for the appointment not being engaging or entertaining enough.
UPDATE Comments have had me look more closely at the data in the table. For example, I realized I should have divided by 5 instead of 7, since weekends were already removed from both sides. The infographic has been updated several times to reflect the new numbers. Many thanks to commenters and their efforts to keep this an active, living document!
“Thank you for your time and energy to bring the plight of NC Teachers to the forefront of America’s awareness! Your graphic shows the breakdown for pay only for days directly teaching students. I’m a math teacher, so I want to show the numbers just a bit more specifically. We are paid for 210 days. At this point, most people get agitated about how “little” we work. So let’s compare to any other profession. Most careers, with college educated professionals work Monday through Friday. With 52 weeks a year, that is 104 days off for weekends. The US has eleven recognized paid holidays. Taking the 365 days in a year, and subtracting the 104 weekend days and 11 holidays, that leaves 250 work days. Most career professionals get two weeks of vacation, or more, but let’s use two weeks as a beginning point. That is 236 days working in a year. Teachers only work 26 days less than the average beginning career professional. I would venture to say the typical career adds weeks of vacations as a perquisite the longer one holds the job. Teaching days remain constant through the life of our career.”
WRAL wrote about how the Red for Ed movement is now extending into the classrooms. The website features a letter by Angie Panel Scioli, a Leesville Road High School Teacher, and a WRAL video about the Red for Ed movement, which asks that everyone wear red on Wednesdays in support of public education.
And so, as I expect many experienced teachers may soon do, I recently priced my house on Zillow. Unfortunately, I learned it is worth only about $4,000 more than what we bought it for…over a decade ago.
So, I then channeled my frustration, anger, and disgust with the current state of affairs in my home state into yet another easel.ly project.
It surprised me, to say the least. I spent the week mediating, reading, and responding to more comments than “Teaching Speaks Volumes” has received in its entire year.
The 176 comments thus far mostly fall into three categories:
1. Passion and Experience Passionate, dedicated educators (and some in college studying to be one) shared their experiences and articulated their frustrations. Also, those that understand our plight voiced support. It was clear that this post resonated with educators of all political walks, as I’d noted at the beginning of the post was holding true in the other discussions I was having. It’s worth the read – these comments were quite moving.
2. Political finger-pointing “Gov McCrory has only been in office for less than 7 months. It’s not his fault”.
Ironically, I’d be willing to bet it was the same people who get angry when President Obama’s camp brings up George W who made sure to point out how short McCrory has been in office thus far.
Both “sides” can make claims about how the other “side” did such-and-so “before they got here”. As I tried to articulate in the post: I don’t care to argue who created what portion of what mess; I care about cleaning it up. Can we all get on the same “side” please? The one with the American citizens’ best interests? Politics right now is so into being on sides with “winners” that it is our society’s future and the children who are the “losers”. The blame game is not helpful. We are where we are. And where we are sucks. Let’s just fix it.
Gov. McCrory and the current legislation are the ones tasked with the care of our state now. We address them not because they are where it all started, but because they are where we need it to begin to end. It is my fervent hope that a better understanding of teachers’ current frustrations, both from the data in the infographic and from the experiences witnessed in comments by educators, could help them make better decisions than we have experienced thus far.
3. Accusations of Greed “If you’re only doing it for the money, then go find the money. If you’re doing it because you like your job and you want to help kids, what are belly-aching for? They haven’t fired you, have they?” ~Actual commenter quote
Some comments provided excellent examples of the opinion pervasive in the public that makes this such an uphill battle for teachers: “If you really loved the kids, you wouldn’t be griping about money.”
It is this line of thinking that, while I can’t speak for all teachers, I personally find the most insulting and infuriating. It is as condescending as it is out-of-touch with the reality of our situation.
Wanting to serve the best interests of students doesn’t shouldn’t mean we have no right to be able to provide for our own families. We are not expecting to get rich from what we do. We are wanting a living wage. It is increasingly impossible to be a teacher and afford life’s basics. Some can’t afford basic care for their own kids. We are college graduates – this should not be a poverty-stricken job.
Just how rich are we not getting?
I close with my latest easel.ly infographic where I explored that very question: