Ten common myths about teaching

8. Teachers are well-compensated for what they do.

“We all do not make $100,000 a year, and we are not retiring with $100,000 pensions; many of us work second and sometimes third jobs to help raise families.” —Patricia Swiatek

“People do not realize that many hours of preparation are required, not only to do our jobs but also to do them well. In fact, those hours take place [on] weekdays, weekends, and even during vacations. If you added up all of those hours, including our actual hours of teaching, many teachers are probably earning minimum wage or even less.” —Alene Model

“Teachers are not paid for the summer while they are off. Teachers are paid one amount for the number of days they work. Some have their pay checks [10] months a year, and others choose to have the amount divided by 12 so they are paid year long. It is not being paid for taking time off!” —Anonymous

“That college professors are well compensated and supported. The adjunct, or part-time/non-tenure-track, faculty population had grown from 3 percent of the teaching faculty nationwide in 1975 to 75 percent now—and to as much as 85 percent at community colleges. These faculty members, who number close to one million, are regularly denied access to basic, professional working conditions, including access to offices where they can meet with students, equipment with which to do their work, paid office hours, professional development, unemployment compensation, a living wage (most make under $20,000 per year for full-time work), benefits, and access to due process, like fair hiring and evaluation processes and protection against administrative retaliation. All of these conditions are essential to providing college students with a rigorous, high-quality education but are regularly denied to [adjunct faculty] while administrative costs and tuition at colleges have skyrocketed (see The Delta Cost Project). Most college students make more at their part-time jobs than their professors do working full-time hours. Burnout among college faculty is high.” —Maria Maisto, president, New Faculty Majority and executive director, The New Faculty Majority Foundation

9. Teachers aren’t as good as they used to be.

“One highly misconceived idea is that today’s teachers are not as dedicated to their work as teachers in other eras. I’ve watched teachers for five decades. We still have young teachers eager to work and who will give their all. My great worry is that because of the cutbacks in state and federal budgets, many of these teachers don’t have the opportunity to even begin their careers. In order to support themselves, they are moving on to any job they can find. Many will leave teaching altogether. The teachers in our charter school still show excitement each day and work long hours dealing with a difficult population to reach.” —Craig Frederickson

Meris Stansbury

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