In case you didn’t realize it, I’m a teacher.

At what point was it that teachers became the great satan in this country?  People want to talk about how much money we make, how we don’t deserve our benefits, that we suck.  Very little of this appears to be true.

Let’s bust some myths.

Myth:  Sucky teachers can’t be fired.

Fact:  If the administration has done its job correctly, then teachers can be fired like anyone else.  Besides, in what other job does one spend four years basically on probation and can be fired without cause during any point of that process?  If your school has a bad teacher, then it’s because the administration didn’t do it’s job during the four years of probation.

Myth:  Teachers get paid like $1 billion dollars a year.

Fact:  Teacher salaries compared to the salaries at other jobs are actually going down.
( http://www.nea.org/home/14052.htm ) In other words, a teacher in the 1950’s could buy way more stuff than a teacher can in 2011.  Cost of living has gone up at a greater rate than teacher salaries.  Did anyone bitch and moan about those elitist rich teachers in the 1950’s?

Throw in the idea that it is much harder to become a teacher these days and also much more expensive since we have to continue taking graduate level courses for the rest of our lives.  Also, teachers don’t get paid as much as other jobs that require a bachelor’s degree either.  So pretty much, no matter how you slice it, it is hard to ethically purport that the reason teachers become teachers is for the money.  Most teachers I know work during the summer to make ends meet, too.  Of course, that’s probably just to help pay their groundskeepers, nannies, and pool boys right?

Myth:  People become teachers because they aren’t qualified to do anything else.

Fact:  Teaching is basically a five year degree.  Unless you think that nothing of value happens at any point in those five years, then I think we can safely assume that most people that become teachers have a reasonable knowledge base and are not totally brain dead.  At the very least, they can be taught.  That means most of them could very easily have learned a different trade if they had chosen to.  I chose to become a teacher mostly because I had no idea that pubic waxing would become a career option in the future.  Thanks for dropping  the ball on that one for me Mr. Career Counselor guy.

Myth:  Public sector workers get paid more than private sector workers.

Fact:  It depends on the study.  Most of the reputable studies I have seen say that private sector workers still earn more.  The study that Karl Rove’s silly little boatful of dumbasses keeps spreading was actually comparing public sector workers with jobs that required bachelor’s degrees, to what the guy makes that asks you if you “want fries with that.”  It’s all made up.

Of course that doesn’t stop Fox News from continuing to use the bullshit numbers given to them by Rove, but we pretty much already knew that most people working for Fox News have the equivalent moral compass of a compulsively lying, serial baby rapist.

Myth:  U.S. kids are way stupider than kids from other countries and it’s all the teachers’ faults.

Fact:  I will try to be brief.  In a lot of those other countries kids get tracked into vocational schools at an earlier age.  When only the kids that show an aptitude for school are taking your test, that skews the numbers quite a bit.

Also, parents in other countries give a shit about education and put more emphasis on the importance of education.  Sure a lot of  U.S. parents care too, but not like in other countries where teachers are much more respected in the culture.  So what do you think has happened to the American school system?  Did all the teachers get lazy?  Maybe they all became teachers in order to create stupider kids?   Unless you believe that teachers were better when they only had to go to college for two years to get a degree instead of the current five, then it is safe to assume the main issue in declining test scores is not that all teachers suck at what they do.

We could look at a myriad of issues to explain poor scores, but the idea that test scores are declining because of poor teaching just doesn’t hold water.

So apparently, teachers don’t generally stink.  They aren’t rich.  They chose teaching for their profession despite the money and not because of the money.  Again I ask, what are people so pissed off at us for?