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  • Get Off of My Cloud

    December 31st, 2010 by Mike Bryant
    ladder in the sky

    photo via Flickr by megan_hippie

    I was sick and tired, fed up with this

    And decided to take a drive downtown

    It was so very quiet and peaceful

    There was nobody, not a soul around

    I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream

    In the morning the parking tickets were just like

    A flag stuck on my window screen

    (M. Jagger/K. Richards)

    Having an entire week off can be dangerous.  You find that you have time to catch-up on the news (depressing), articles you’ve neglected (there are quite a few Supermen/women in our schools, no need to wait for them) and seek out answers to lingering questions (more depressing).  I loved teaching. I love teaching.  I’m sad that I may never teach again, no matter how much I yell for the obstacles to,”Get Off My Cloud!”

    I was recently reminded how much I enjoyed teaching when I got the chance to do a 30 minute lesson with 5th graders in Hawaii.  It was a great experience.  Travel being crazy I didn’t have time to investigate what it would look like if I went back teaching, I just filed it away as something to look into sometime.  Sometime was this week.  The local district here, North Shore 112, has a position open for a Middle School Science Teacher.  Curious, I looked into the job.  Looked awesome.  Working with 7th and 8th grades. It’s a whopping 2 miles from my house.  I know the district staff.  It gave me hope that I’d be able to teach again some day.  Then I had to go and look at the salary schedule.  Even if they counted my years with Discovery, I could never afford to go back to the classroom.  At least not in the foreseeable future.

    People will say that you don’t go into teaching to make money and that’s partly true.  I’m sure my educator friends would agree that if the pay checks stopped, they’d have to seek work elsewhere.  Just a fact of life that you have to pay the bills.  If  I took the teaching position here I’d actually get to see my family, no travel, and I’d be doing something I love.  Unfortunately my home would go into foreclosure and I’d probably have to declare bankruptcy. I would take a pay cut to go back, because it isn’t all about the money, but I can’t handle a 50% cut. I’d bet almost no one with kids and mortgage could.  I really wish more than a formula was used to calculate teacher salaries.  My experience over the last 6 years is just that, x = 6.  Degrees = y.

    Congratulations Mr. Bryant, we can offer you z salary. We know it’s a 50% pay cut, but you’ll get back to the level you are at now in about 20 years.  See it right here on the pay scale. Yes, we know the worst teacher in the district, the one who gave up on teaching 5 years ago is making more than the best teacher in the district, but we have this scale.  Isn’t it cool.  It means I don’t have to negotiate salaries like every single other sector in the world.    Sorry, that angered me when I was teaching.

    Until the system drastically changes I and I’d guess many others wishing to return to the teaching profession, are locked out.  Financially unable to make the switch.  So, with a new year ahead of us I pray and hope the future holds the answers to these problems and that those of us reaching for our dreams, grab them in 2011.

    One Response to “Get Off of My Cloud”

    1. Patti Duncan Says:

      Right there with you Mike… I mean RIGHT THERE.. Had the SAME exact experience this week…
      One of the things that angered me the MOST was the fact that the “teachers” with the most years in were NOT (for the most part) the best teachers in the building and yet…
      MOST days I was the last one out of the building. The one working until the wee hours of the morning to make up new and exciting lessons. The one staying in through lunch to tutor kids. The one who stayed for HOURS to set up labs and activities that others used but never helped set up. And yet, I was the least paid in the department. I volunteer on several committees in which I am the “youngest” member. The conversation always turns to “Where are the NEW, YOUNG teachers and why are they not volunteering?” I’ll give you two words…. “Second Job”.