Teachers put their hours in

March 08, 2012


I am writing in response to Mr. Flen's letter to the editor published on Feb. 24. My daughter is an elementary school teacher and I know that she and her colleagues do not work 70 percent of the time! That may be what they are paid for, but that is not what they work.

If you drive by any Harford County public school, you will see cars there well before the school day begins and also after the day ends. Teachers spend several hours before and after school preparing their lessons. They also take work home and often do it after they put their children to bed.

I know my daughter often has her school work spread out on the bathroom floor, so that she can get some of it done, while her child is taking a bath. Teachers also take their work home on the weekends or even have the custodians let them in their classrooms on Saturdays, while recreation sports are in session. Teachers receive no compensation for any of this extra time they put in educating our youth. Why is this necessary? There is just not enough time during the school day for them to prepare for engaging lessons. They may get paid for 70 percent of the year, but they do not put in 70 percent of the hours most are required to work. All of their extra hours exceed this!

Even better yet, imagine being sick or having a sick child and still having to write substitute plans and prepare materials for a day that you are taking off, all of which, can take several hours. What about all the hours they put in to better their education by taking graduate courses? Yes, they get some compensation for the cost of the classes, but they are not compensated for time away from their families.

So, are you next going to write to the NFL and tell them that Ray Lewis doesn't deserve the millions that he makes each year, because he is not on the field 100 percent of the time? That is what is wrong with American education: we always push for higher test scores and for teachers to do more, but we are not willing to pay for it. Maryland teachers have scored number one in the nation for four years running, don't you think it's time we show them some sort of respect and thanks for a job well done? The well is not obviously dry when the county executive finds millions in surplus at the end of the year that could have been used to fund the teachers' contracted steps. The teachers I know would love a raise, but do not expect it. They simply want the increments (steps) that their contract states for the years of service they have put in. So, before we disrespect our teachers any further in the newspaper, why don't we spend a day in their shoes before we pass judgment.

Betty Stahm


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