Editor, The News:
Re: Teachers deserve every penny (Letters, Aug. 26).
V. Stickelmann makes some interesting but misleading points while saying teachers deserve every penny.
Just how much do teachers get paid?
I did some research on the BCTF’s own website and found out that the starting wage for a teacher is approximately $40,000 per year and can reach as high as $83,000 per year. This varies from district to district.
That is a far cry from the atrocious wages that the BCTF would have us believe teachers are paid. In fact, it’s pretty darn good, especially if you factor in all their vacation time and benefits, but more on those later.
Firstly, Stickelmann says teachers have to pay for many of their teaching tools and supplies out of their own pocket.
Are we to believe that teachers are the only people that have to pay for their own tools and supplies?
Many people have to buy their own tools and equipment for their jobs. However, teachers get reimbursed for their expenses.
We are then regaled with tails of teachers putting in extra hours to grade papers, complete lesson plans, working at home, and volunteer as coaches. As Stickelmann says, it is not just a 9-3 job. So let us take a closer look at a teacher’s day.
Teachers work a six-hour day and only five of those hours are for instruction. Yes, it is true that many teachers stay late to help students or grade paper. If they stay an extra 2.5 hours a day they would then reach the typical eight-hour day of most workers (with a half hour lunch).
The way teachers talk about having to take work home with them, you would think that they were the only people that had to do such a thing.
The reality is, many people take work home with them. This is not exclusive to teachers, and most people who do, have already put in eight or more hours at work, not the six hours of our poor teachers.
What about extra-curricular activities? Many teachers voluntarily coach sports teams and volunteer to help with clubs. Again, this is not exclusive to teachers. Many non-teachers volunteer to help as well, and again these people have put in an eight-hour day or have to take time off work (without pay) to volunteer.
Then Stickelmann tells us that teachers do not get two months paid vacation in the summer, as teachers only get paid for 10 months. This is partly true because some districts can spread their salary over 12 months. Whichever payment schedule any particular teacher is on, they still have eight weeks of vacation every summer, and an additional two weeks in December and one to two weeks in spring.
This two-month vacation argument can be looked at in two ways.
One: teachers are paid an annual salary and they get that time off, therefore its vacation. Essentially they are given a percentage of their vacation pay with each pay cheque.
Two: if we say it is not vacation, then we must prorate their salary over a 10-month period. That means that the wage range is effectively $48,000 to $99,600 per year.
Most would agree that that is pretty good salary, and even better if you factor in their hours of work.
Stickelmann argues that Pro D days are not days off, but used for professional development. Teachers go to seminars and upgrade their skills.
Stickelmann compares this to lawyers and accountants that have professional development requirements. This is true for many professions. The difference is that teachers get a paid day to do their upgrades while most of us have to upgrade on our own time and on our own dime.
Teachers make an excellent wage and have amazing benefits, extended medical, dental, and pension to name a few.
So you will have to forgive me if I do not cry a river for our poor, underpaid teachers.