Stereotyping the Teaching Profession

As chairman of a local school board, I was amazed when a constituent was alarmed that our teachers were getting full-time benefits, but were only working “nine months a year.”  Anyone who thinks teaching isn’t a full time job has clearly never lived with an educator.

Yet we do like to promote those stereotypes, don’t we?  Ol’ Eduflack was a little taken aback today by a post on his Facebook feed.  On FB, I follow a number of education-based groups to monitor their social media activities.  I do the same on Twitter.
But on FB today, there was a post from ABCTE, or the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.  For those in the know, ABCTE is one of the leaders in alternative certification efforts, having spent more than a decade now helping states build alternative streams of teacher candidates.  It was a darling of the George W. Bush Administration, which provided it significant dollars to get off the ground and partner with states across the nation.
At any rate, today’s ABCTE post was about the “rewards” of teaching.  With no citation, ABCTE notes, through feedback from its alumni network, it was able to narrow down the top five rewards for being a public school teacher in the United States.  They are:
  1. Make a difference
  2. Job satisfaction
  3. Salaries and benefits
  4. Schedule
  5. Summers off
Really?  After all we know and all we have seen over the last decade, particularly in recent years as teachers have been under attack from all corners, these are the top rewards for being a teacher?  As benefits have been reduced and salaries have been frozen in so many communities, that’s number 3?  As so many teachers are reported to be frustrated by all of the hours being put in on evenings and weekends and holidays that no one sees, schedule is number four? And as far too many educators seek summer jobs just so they can pay their bills in a profession where salary still doesn’t match impact or importance, summers off is number five?
While this may be the view of ABCTE alums, it doesn’t seem to align with the story we’ve been hearing from the media in recent years.  The tale of teachers resigning because of significant job dissatisfaction, of reductions in force and rollbacks of benefits, of lack of control of one’s schedule, both in the classroom and outside of the school day.
Then again, maybe all those educators are off at the beach, enjoying their summers and looking longingly at their pension statements and their expected paycheck bumps for the coming school year.

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