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Critics Claim Teaching is a Part-Time Job at Full Pay Wages

Critics Claim Teaching is a Part-Time Job at Full Pay Wages

"To call teaching a “part-time job” and to say that we get planning days every other week just shows a lack of knowledge on your part."


Someone made a comment about my article 9 Reasons To Quit Teaching (And 10 Reasons To Stick) that got under my skin.

You should also add “part time job at full pay wages”. That’s a huge benefit, how about you take one year off from teaching and work in the real world, where you would make less money, only receive one week paid vacation, you wouldn’t be given ‘planning days’ every other week, and you would have to work on most holidays.

I think if teachers were forced to do this, they would run back to teaching and thank God they have the opportunity to teach.

This obviously got other readers going! Someone responded:

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “You sir, are an idiot.”

I worked in the “real world” for 4 years before I entered teaching, and so I know the ins and outs of both careers. To call teaching a “part-time job” and to say that we get planning days every other week just shows a lack of knowledge on your part.

Sure, there are pros and cons to both career paths, but in my experience, I find that teaching is a MUCH more time-consuming, stressful, physically draining job than my old corporate job. Aside from the summer vacation, I got most of the same holidays off that I do now, I got a relaxed, 1 hour+ lunch every day, and I wasn’t on my feet, in the spotlight, being watched all the time, every day.

For all the people who think teaching is just an 8 to 3 job, with 3 months paid vacation, I would invite YOU to try truly teaching for a year. And then to rip off your eloquent ending, you would run back to your job in the “real world” and thank God that you didn’t have to be a teacher.

Hallelujah — holy crap. Where’s the Tylenol?

Wow. I want to address some of his ideas here.

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I think you miss the point when you say that teachers have the opportunity to teach. Pretty much everyone has the opportunity to teach. Just as some people sacrifice years of their life to have the opportunity to litigate or operate, teachers sacrifice time to have the opportunity to teach.

Full pay wages?

There are trade-offs, of course. I make far less money than a surgeon does, or an advertising exec, or whatever. But I also get the advantage, as you point out, of having a bit of down time that many other career paths don’t have. Am I complaining about the money? Not at all. I get paid just fine.

Part time job?

Unfortunately, the “part time job” doesn’t really hold true. Lets do some math, shall we?

The math

Most teachers in Texas work 187 contract days. I will assume that someone with a “full time job” works 5 days a week 50 weeks a year. That’s something like 250 8-hour days or 2,000 hours.

As a band director, I am on a 202-day contract. I normally work from 7am to 5pm on normal school days. I also work somewhere around 12 Saturdays throughout the year with football games, marching contests, region meetings, solo & ensemble contests, all region auditions, band trips (babysitting 100+kids at an amusement park is not a vacation), and whatever else. These are not contract days. The Saturday gigs tend to be longer and AVERAGE out to around 12 hours each.

Poll: Have you felt the pressure to cheat on standarized tests?

Poll: Have you felt the pressure to cheat on standarized tests?

We also have concerts, Friday football games, band booster club meetings, PTA meetings, Open House, etc. Those average more than 4 hours of my time 15 times a year.

10 hours X 202 days = 2020 hours
12 hours X 12 days = 144 hours
4 hours X 15 days = 60 hours
TOTAL = 2,224 hours

So the band director math works out. Now let’s look at classroom teachers. Keep in mind I’m not an expert, but I’ll go based on observations.

Many classroom teachers don’t come early to let kids practice or stay after school doing sectionals or anything like that. So we’ll say they are there from 7:30 to 4:00. They do grade homework, make tests, and write lesson plans. That constitutes somewhere around 3 hours a day somewhere around 150 days a year. They also have the PTA, Open House, etc. commitments somewhere around 8 times a year.

8.5 hours X 187 days = 1,589.5 hours
3 hours X 150 days = 450
4 hours X 8 days = 32 hours
TOTAL = 2,071.5 hours

So at the very minimum, teaching is comparable to any 40-hour per week job in the number of hours worked, it just happens to be crammed into 9 and a half months rather than the luxurious 12 month schedule that most employers utilize.
And for those of us who are teachers. Enjoy spring break. And the summer vacation. And 3 day weekends. And all the other perks. Speaking of 3 day weekends, these numbers assumed that all of the “full time job” people out there don’t get any holidays or days off other than two weeks vacation a year.

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