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Old 01-17-2002, 07:34 PM   #1
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Teachers on Strike

In my city, Edmonton, Can., the teachers here are going on strike Feb 4. They are taking action right after exams are done.

The reason they want to strike is two reasons: 1) They want more money 2) Better learing conditions and lower class size.

Both are things that need to be improved anywhere in the western world. These teachers are starting at 26,000CDN a year. What a joke!

These are people that went to school for as little as 4 yrs and up to 8. And 26k is all we offer. They do this job because they love it and without them where would our society be. They are our lives for 12-13 yrs.

I could go out tommorrow and get a job in a warehouse and make 20k/yr. Many say they are being selfish and not thinking about the children. In my opinion that is what they are looking for either directly or indirectly. The higher the teachers get paid the better quality teacher we can recruit.

Some say that they are Professionals, and that they dont have the right to strike. I say that if they are professional then we should pay them like professionals. These people should get paid 40k starting IMO.

The teachers here are asking for a 17% increase. That is high but i think they deserve every bit of it. The teachers in my Province are the second lowest paid in the richest province in Canada. Bullshit.

What are your thoughts on teachers striking?

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Old 01-17-2002, 07:50 PM   #2
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As much as I hate striking, and I think some occupations such as train conductors (or others involved in the public sector of transport) or footballers (in the UK we had a threat of the Footballer's Union striking, how ridiculous)shouldn't be allowed to strike, I do think these teachers have room to talk and take action. Sometimes the only way to get what you want and deserve it to take industrial action, and, as much as I disapprove of it, I am not in their shoes and I know how hard teaching is as a profession, therefore who am I to judge?

It is true, footballers, rail conductors, bus-drivers and MOST occupations don't deserve the luxury of industrial action, however, this is not the case here; I think the teachers are justified.

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Old 01-18-2002, 12:01 AM   #3
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many people do not understand how much work teaching is and if they did, they would not make fun of teachers and they would not want to be teachers. i think they are right to strike, but that has to be a last resort.
as teachers we know we are not doing it for the money, and if they strike, then the kids suffer the most with replacements who often are not qualified. it is touchy, but the bottom line is teachers deserve more money and respect than they get. after all, they are shaping the future of our countries.
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Old 01-18-2002, 12:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by edgerulz:
many people do not understand how much work teaching is and if they did
i couldn't agree with this statement anymore.
i was oblivious to the work ethic of the average teacher until i met my girlfriends mother who gets up @ 5am so she can drive across ottawa to be at school for 7am to run the breakfast program. i think she has an hour break all day, leaves school around 4:30pm, back across ottawa to make dinner for her other daughter, has a nap, gets up at 8pm and does marking till 11pm upon which she goes back to sleep to do it all again. it's nuts.
she can't be makin' more than 55 grand, which is above average for canada but not above average for someone with a masters.

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Old 01-18-2002, 12:47 AM   #5
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The question, I believe, is why are teachers paid so little in the first place?

The common observation is that Michael Jordan (or Tom Hanks or whoever) is far less important to society than any given teacher, and yet the teachers are paid so little and the celebrities are paid so much.

In terms of economics, the reply is this: there are tens of thousands of teachers, and only one Michael Jordan, only one Tom Hanks.

More specifically, this is an employer's job market.

By that I mean that there are very few positions to fill, and a huge number of applicants to fill them. The employers can offer lower salaries and still find people that will accept those salaries in order to work.

Why are there so many teachers and so few jobs? Well, let's break this two-part question down.

I believe there are so many teachers because it is (relatively) easy to get a teaching degree. Certainly, it requires you to go to college, but look at the other vocations that require college degrees: engineering, medicine, law, science. From my experience, watching myself, friends and dormmates go through school, education appears to be one of the easier majors.

This is not a criticism of those who become teachers: many education majors I've known are quite smart and are very nice individuals. But it *does* seem to require less time spent than, say, electrical engineering.

There are those who go to college (either through doing reasonably well in high school or through the pocketbooks of their parents) but want to spend a minimal amount of effort "hitting the books". Education is a relatively easier major to go through, and it is (justifiably) a very respectable major. Thus, universities produce a large number of education majors each year.

There are so few teaching jobs from year to year for a variety of reasons. As an example, school systems try to assign teachers to as many students as is reasonably possible, but changing the ratio would only be a temporary solution; cutting the ratio in half would mean twice as many teaching jobs, but I still think we'd have an eventual shortage of jobs.

I think the more invasive reason is tenure, the guarantee that teachers who've had their job for a certain length of time (typically two or three years) cannot be easily fired. As my mom put it, you'd have to kill or rape a student to get fired - an exaggeration, but it makes the point.

Tenure clearly hurts students in that teachers can (and often do) slack off, because they're not going to get fired over it. But I think it also hurts teachers themselves; if teachers can't be fired as needed, there simply become fewer job openings. Again, employers can hire for less because there are so many applicants pursuing so few positions.

My solution, then, would be to produce fewer teachers (perhaps by allowing teachers to form their own "bar association" and limit the annual number of people who pass their exam) AND to lessen the power of tenure.

Insofar as teachers' unions generally push for greater tenure, I suspect that a strike will exacerbate the problem.

Oh, and everyone should be aware that my mom is a retired teacher. I am neither talking out of my ass nor talking from some deep-rooted dislike of the profession.
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Old 01-18-2002, 05:46 AM   #6
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I have nothing but the utmost respect for teachers. I think that to most of them it's a calling, and not a result of them seeing it as an easy education. The fact that they make so little money doing one of the most important jobs imaginable (and that goes for almost any country in the world) is scandalous. Most of them care deeply for the children and wouldn't go on strike unless they really felt they had to.

If they manage to push the teacher's salary up to a decent level, I believe that more people would choose teaching who now decide not to because they can't make ends meet as a teacher.
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Old 01-18-2002, 12:57 PM   #7
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not only do teachers teach, they are also:

carers
psychologists
cleaners
analysts
police
disaster managers
loss assessers
accountants

and almost every other profession

My mother was a teacher and i know how much they work. They deserve to be recognised - and I agree that most teachers don't like to strike, usually only when they are pushed to the outer limit.

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Old 01-21-2002, 09:19 PM   #8
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Firstly I'd like to say that when I saw the subject of this thread, I expected the typical response, which is to bash. So, thankyou to all those people who do understand teaching is NOT as easy profession.

But alas, there are some points THIS teacher would like to address.
Bubba, did you study Education at University? Did you put in the extra year on top of most general Bachelor degrees? Actually I studied Education for 5 years, so that is more again.
Please don't be so typically patronising to say that Education is the easy degree. We don't just study how to teach kids how to finger paint and count to 10.
I did as much work as any of my friends in other courses as uni, probably more than many. I don't know about the Education Degrees in the United States but in Australia, it is not "easy".
Then again Australian teachers are some of the most sought after in the world, and we actually have a teacher shortage here.

Sure doing an Education degree isn't Medicine but please don't do exactly what you said people do, in not giving teachers respect by belittling the degree. You go and study Child Psychology and tell me just how easy it is.
Yes, we actually know about "hard" stuff like that.

I have gone on strike once in my career. It is not done willy nilly and without any thought. It comes to strike action after months of negotiation with unions, teachers and the government. You must attend meeting after meeting, to discuss the terms of the negotiation. You must have a majority vote by all staff to decide to strike and parents and children are given ample warning. I have found that with every strike that occurs, most parents are supportive.

The decision to strike, as someone else said, is done for the betterment of your children's learning. Many people say teachers are lazy because they get holidays. Schools WOULD NOT function if teachers did not get a break from face to face teaching throughout the year.
They just wouldn't work. By the end of the term, children are tired, over worked and burnt out. This causes them to be unmotivated and to have not much will to learn.
The very same things happens to teachers. Burnt out from being over worked by school administration and governments whom have no idea what the job entails. Being in a classroom every day, where you can't even leave to go to the toilet,(imagine that? you people can get up from your desk to go to the bathroom or go get a coffee whenever. We can't move)with classes packed to the brim, 30 people for whom you are responsible for, and in this day and age, many of whom have major emotional, learning and societal problems.

Teaching the children is one thing, having them actually learn is another, but then you have to be able to manage their behaviour at the same time. It is NOT EASY.
Teachers get burnt out.
It never ends, you cant knock off at 3 like so many people seem to think. Ive never met a teacher who leaves school at 3pm. Most are there till atleast 4.30/5 and then they take their work home with them.
It never ends.

I won't tell you what actually goes into one day as a teacher because this would end up being an essay, but zoomer listed about a quarter of our job.


Bubba, the only reason people accept low salaries in teaching is becuase they love being teachers. NO ONE is in this job for the money or because there are not many positions. They do it because they love it and they get satisfaction out of seeing children grow and develop.
I myself get a lot of satisfaction out of it and I adore kids. I think I'm a good teacher.
However, because it IS such a hard job, and one that is so poorly paid for the amount of work one puts in, I'm thinking seriously of giving it up.
I could go and work in retail and earn almost the same as what I do now and have 1/3 of the stress.

I'm glad at least we are "nice" individuals.
I'll shut up now.
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Old 01-21-2002, 11:08 PM   #9
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I am dismayed at the notion that an education degree is an easy degree to obtain. That's BS, sorry. Granted it is not EE or ME but the time spent out side of the college class doing work is comparable. To get into the college of ED at my college is beyond difficult. Furthermore, the amount of hours that must be put into clinicals and classroom studies is outragous. Moreover, many other major are able to secure paid internships either during the semester or over the summer. No student teacher gets paid a cent. Also while I student teach, I have class to attend as well.
In addition, the time I spend outside of class preparing lesson plans and activities and such is far and away more than any of my friends that majored in business or other high paid degrees. Do you know how difficult it is to create lesson plans to keep students interested or even awake? My lord, I thank god that I don't teach young kids.
As for there being too many teachers out there and not enough jobs, that is also false. In the next 10 years the Baby Boom generation will be retiring and the need for teacher will be great. In fact, in IL the need is already great. I am lucky enough to be close to Chicago so my starting salary will be about 36,000 a year. Not too bad for me.
I appologize for the unorganized quality of this post but I am on a rant. I tend to be much more articulate but the idea that being a teacher is an easy profession really pisses me off.
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Old 01-22-2002, 12:04 AM   #10
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Ladies, gentlemen, there is absolutely no need for jumping down my throat on this issue.

I did not say education was an easy profession, or even an easy major in any absolute sense. Again, my mom is a retired teacher; I know full well it's not an easy career and that people don't teach "for the money. I simply said that it's a relatively easier major, thus attracting those who want an easier time getting through school.

What's the alternative to my proposition? That all the majors are equally difficult? We all know that's impossible; just as some classes are easier than others, some curricula must necessarily be easier.

Well then, is education more difficult? Let's see.

Certainly, I can't speak about the level of difficulty in Australia, but I can speak with some confidence about the relative difficulty of the majors at my alma mater, Auburn University in the southeastern United States.

The requirements of the computer science undergraduate program has been loosened since I went through the curriculum (to my dismay, physics has been dropped; it's still required for software engineering, our sister program), but I went through a full year of calculus, a full year of physics, and two quarters of chemistry - and that's to simply reach the actual computer science courses, which included networking, databases, algorithms, circuits, and operating systems.

Electrical engineering? A year and a half of calculus, a year of physics, a half-year of chemistry.

Physics? A year of general physics, a year and a half of calculus, and individual classes devoted to quantum physics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics.

Pre-vet leading to vet school? A year each of biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry.

Education? Well, those I know who were not obviously academically minded became elementary education majors. They have to take "a core biology sequence", courses that are simplified compared to the biology courses that pre-vet majors take. They also take one semester of "Foundations of Physics", another introductory course, and no calculus whatsoever.

Since zooropamanda asked, they also don't have to take a fifth year.

Granted, the education major can actually be more difficult than the elementary education undergraduate program given above; one can major in secondary education, requiring you to know the field of interest (math, science, etc.), or one can get a master's degree.

But, again, you are not required to take any difficult math or science courses.

Again, no hard biology, no hard physics, and no calculus.

The time spent on projects may be comparable; I don't know, honestly. But my observations have told me that education majors have a bit more free time than engineering majors.

Even assuming that the amount of time spent is equivalent, the core classes are easier, and the major classes are easier - Child Psychology included, because the majors I mention have program-specific courses (thermodynamics, algorithms, etc.) that are at least as hard.

Yes, education is harder than most business courses. Honestly, between the easier curricula and the generally higher pay for business graduates, I can see why that could attract even more students than education.

But there is no way that education is as difficult as programs in medicine, math, and engineering.

I'm sorry if you're offended by the publicizing of this unpopular theory, but I do think it's true - and I think anyone who honestly looks at the curricula will reach the same conclusion.
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Old 01-22-2002, 01:19 AM   #11
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Im with Bubba on this one I think.

1. Teachers work damn hard, the average person does not understand how hard a career it is.

First off, to compare job descriptions is ridiculous. And secondly, -hard- so? Most jobs have very difficult aspects, or are overall very challenging and demanding. If you are dedicated to your work that is. The wworkforce and individual workplaces are not designed to be easy money. It doesn't matter what sector you are in. To say that teachers work hard is moot. They do, like anyone.

2. They are degree qualified professionals, and are not paid accordingly.

Yes, they are degree qualified, and they do not earn as much as some professionals, such as engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists. I believe that alot of these professions however move more into the private sector for starters. Engineering and law more specifically. Unfortunately or fortunately, teaching has not become privatized (not relating to private schools). Teachers are not in a position to dictate what they earn. As bubba pointed out, they also do not do the same prerequisites as these professions. That is not to say that teachers are stupid, or less intelligent, or worth less for their work. In those professions, its detrimental to get the absolute best and brainiest, they study hard, work hard, in competitive and cutting edge fields. They are paid what they are because of this. Besides, like I said earlier, its a different ball game, and can't be compared anyway.

3. The job encompasses more than 'just teaching'.

This, you'd certainly hope is true. To me, the fundamental difference between teaching and some other 'degree qualified' career paths, is the variety of skills you need to do your job not only competantly, but well. So what does this really mean? If we break down the individual aspects of teaching, they are certainly high in the numbers, with regard to the number of tasks they need to do. Does this mean automatic higher pay? It probably should mean it in many cases. I believe many professions are underpaid, perhaps we find its teaching that gets the loudest voice on pay disputes as they are after all, issues involving our children. If we paid according to daily tasks, I think we'd find that stay at home mums would out earn pretty much anyone though. To sum up this point, I still don't understand why anyone would enter the field, then complain about the pay. All would-be teachers are aware of the pay situation, and after studying it for a while, would surely get an idea of what the job will entail. If it IS more money you are after, then why not seek another direction?

4. More Money=Better teachers.

Will this be the case? If a teacher finds an increase of 10,15,20% in their paypacket every week, will they do a little bit better? Will they try just that little bit harder to assist the learning of their students? It will attract more people to the field, it will make it sound a little bit more appealing. With an increase, you perhaps may find better teachers to choose from. But I sincerely fail to see how it can make someone a better teacher. I've always understood it to be a choice based on desire to teach, not rake in the dollars. As for the argument that it will attract the smarter, better, brainier people, perhaps it will. But you need not only a brain to be able to teach. I'm sure I'm not alone in my experience in seeing the smartest teachers ever, who still, could not teach for peanuts. Teaching is a gift not necessaarily related to the individual's intelligence.

I believe that funding is an issue, and pay to a degree. But these are just a few of the arguments I don't necessarily agree on. Some of the time, you have to wonder what the real motive is when the 'Its for the greater good of the children' comes into play. Its an argument that will always work, as everyone wants their kids to learn. If thats the case, surely funding would be the 1st place to start with.

"Come walk a mile in my shoes". It cuts both ways.
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Old 01-22-2002, 01:12 PM   #12
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I'd have to agree that comparing enginering and education is not practical however I have lived with ME and EE students at my university. I am just stating from my experience that I had much less free time than either girl. They both had fat paid interships over the summer while I sat in a summer school classroom observing and then had to got to work at night.

As for teachers asking for pay increases, well, I think it is a matter of respect. As stated by someone above, someone with no degree can easily earn as much as a new teacher. This is very disheartening and I have seen teachers treated poorly because they make such poor money. For example, getting a morgage or loan on a house. Since salary increases are not high it can be difficult for a bank to offer a teacher a loan or finance a morgage. I know this from first hand experience. It is embarrassing to say the lease. These people have gone to college, earned degrees and can not get financing to start a for a family. Thankfully, today there are more teacher credit unions out there to help out. It's just something to think about when you hear about teacher's asking for more money.
As a side note, out the top 10 students in my graduating class of almost 800, 4 chose to be teachers, including the valedictorian and salutatorian.
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Old 01-22-2002, 04:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
I will only state this. Inasmuch as business may have the ability to create cheap wages, labor should have the right to unionize, strike, and protest it in all sectors of society. That is why I love France...never afraid to be vocal. There is such a thing as checks and balances.
Melon
Having said that, Melon, I don't think EVERYONE should be allowed to strike.

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Old 01-22-2002, 08:11 PM   #14
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I know i started this thread and left it but i have had alot to do. And i really dont want to insert myself in now.

But i just wanted to say, i cant believe i agree with melon on something,..,.

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Old 01-22-2002, 08:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
I will only state this. Inasmuch as business may have the ability to create cheap wages, labor should have the right to unionize, strike, and protest it in all sectors of society. That is why I love France...never afraid to be vocal. There is such a thing as checks and balances.

Melon

You might not love it so much if you foundthat the train you had to make in order to get to the flight you paid for has been cancelled without notice because of a random strike.
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