Teacher Appreciation Week
I am a high school teacher. This is my fifth year at the school where I currently work, which is my fifth year of being a certified teacher. Really, though, I taught for a year in graduate school and then taught for two years as Supplemental Instructor in my undergraduate program.
I both love and hate this time of year.
I love this time of year because I love what I do. I get to turn kids on to science. I get to interact with kids and help guide them to becoming the next generation of adults. I live my life out loud as an example to my students.
I love this time of year because everything begins to come together. Exams are in less that two weeks. The summer is right around the corner. There’s a lot of pressure, but it is so rewarding at the end when the kids do well and meet the goals they either consciously or unconsciously set out for themselves.
But I also hate this time of year.
Because it is “Teacher Appreciation Week,” which is a complete and total joke. Don’t get me wrong, I love the gifts that get from my students, or the “Thank You” images and messages from friends and family. I really and truly appreciate the appreciation, but seriously… Teacher Appreciation Week???
What a perfect way to get parents, students, friends, and family to remind you how awesome you are right when you are ready to pull your hair out from the end of the year push to the finish line.
Why do we have a Teacher Appreciation Week? Why do we need a Teacher Appreciation Week?
I’ll tell you why: so that we can overlook and ignore teachers the rest of year. Because we need to make a week to make it a point that maybe we should pay our Nation’s educators a little attention.
As David Cohen says, “If they need to make a special day, week, or month for you, you know you’re already a step or two behind. I haven’t noticed any need to appreciate other professions on special days. I’m sure those people are appreciated, but more importantly, they’re treated professionally, and compensated accordingly.” (Washington Post)
I was sitting at lunch today with a coworker. He, for whatever reason, looked up his paystub.
“Did you know that we’re only paid for 59 hours a week?”
I took a bite of my salad, “Nope. We’re paid for 59 hours on our pay check. We get paid twice a month. We’re paid for 29.5 hours a week.”
He looked at it again, “Damn, that really sucks. Why do they do that?”
“Because we are salaried, so they take our total amount to be paid and divide it up over the year. It comes out to about $30/hour for me. I was looking at it the other day because I was curious about what my pay raise would do to my pay check next year.”
Then, I crunched some numbers.
So I give you some FUN FACTOIDS for teacher appreciation week:
I have four years of experience and a Masters degree.
If we flip that around the $30/hour for 29.5 hours/week, my actual “hourly” pay is just over $23/hour for a 37.75 hour week (which is me coming to school at 8:15AM and leaving at 4:00PM)…
But, if we factor in the after school meetings EVERY WEDNESDAY (+1 to 2 hours/week), the after school tutoring we do on Tuesdays and Thursday (+2.5 hours/week), the ticket selling I do on a fairly regular basis as part of my duty rotation (+2 hours/game), the grading I do every week (+5 or more hours/week)…
So now… I have a typical week this time of year with a game/week… I work approximately 48 hours a week IF I don’t do more than 5 hours of grading… or stay after with students…
So according to my paystub, if my salary covers the amount of time I actually work, I am paid a little over $18/hour…
But I get summers off, right?
And if I don’t like it, I can go find another job whenever, I’m sure…
By the way, those last two lines were sarcasm.
But you’re welcome… And thank you for the card.