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Teaching is a plum job, so why not join the ranks?

August 26, 2007|By RUSSELL WILLIAMS

For many years, any time a pay raise was proposed or given to teachers, there has been an outcry from those who believe that teaching is a very easy job and that teachers are overpaid. Now teachers are again getting a pay raise and again I listen to and read arguments that teaching is such an easy job that no pay raise should be given.

The salary complainers argue that teachers get the summers off and have lots of days off during the rest of the year. Such people also argue that teachers only have to work seven hours a day. Such people seem to refuse to believe that teachers must work nights, weekends and often take courses during the summer.

I am not sure, but I suspect that many of these people who are outraged by pay raises for teachers are people who believe that no one whose salary is paid by tax monies should be paid a higher salary than the person doing the complaining is paid.

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I finally decided that the best way to deal with these people who believe that teachers are overpaid and underworked is not to try to convince them that teaching is a difficult job and that it is difficult to find enough highly qualified competent teachers to fill all of the existing jobs. I have decided another approach is more appropriate.

To those who firmly believe that teachers are overpaid and underworked I respond, "Quit complaining! If teaching is a gravy train job, join the gravy train!"

If the salary complainers have at least a high school diploma, they can be encouraged to further their education, get their master's degrees and apply for these teaching jobs that they believe to be easy and well-paid. Salary complainers can quit their jobs, apply for scholarships, borrow from banks, ask their parents and relatives to mortgage their houses, convince their spouses to take on second jobs and find other ways to finance their five years of education.

With luck, at the end of five years of hard work, they will have a master's degree and be able to get a job that pays more than $43,000 a year.

Once they are earning such a huge amount of money they can easily support their families and at the same time pay back the $80,000 to $150,000 that they now owe because, for the last five years they have been going to college and not working. During the summer months, when they're not taking required workshops, the salary complainers who are now teachers can find part-time jobs.

Of those who complain that teachers are overpaid and underworked, some will say that such a plan is too difficult. Some of the salary complainers will say that they do not wish to wind up owing such large amounts of money. Some of the salary complainers will say that they do not want to spend five years of their lives passing college courses, some of which will be difficult courses taught by difficult teachers.

To those salary complainers who say that they do not wish to go through the effort required to become a teacher my response is, "Then quit complaining that those are willing to do what is necessary to become a teacher make more money than you do."

Russell Williams is a former member of the Washington County School Board.

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