Depending on whose reading this post, I may ruffle some feathers, but I don’t care. I guess Donald Trump has emboldened me to say what I think, no holds barred, and no apologizes. So, here goes.
Day before Yesterday a story surfaced that Ohio Governor and Republican candidate for President, John Kasich wants to abolish teachers’ lounges. His reasoning is that teachers won’t have a place to go and talk about their problems.
Well, I totally disagree with Governor Kasich, I think teachers’ lounges should be expanded and open 24/7, so they can gripe till their heart’s content. That way, I don’t have to listen to them. I know several public school teachers and I have never heard one of them say that they liked their job. All they do is gripe about how hard they have to work, how they’re underpaid, etc.
In my career, there have been times when I was underpaid. I’ve always had to work hard and throughout a good portion of my career to date, it was normal to work Monday through Saturday and a half-day on Sunday. Of course, now that I’m a small business owner, there’s no such thing as being off. When I’m not eating, sleeping, or doing necessary personal stuff such as grocery shopping and getting my nails and hair done, I’m working. I might have expressed some occasional frustration at having to work so much, but I know I didn’t continually complain like most school teachers do about having to work hard. If I was with one or more school teachers, there was no way anyone but them could complain because they monopolized the conversation with their gripes. No one else could get a work in edgewise.
One time, I was having lunch with a group of people. This was shortly after a new school year had begun. Someone asked the teacher at the table how school was. We then had to hear a litany of how hard she was having to work and how budget cuts had affected the classroom and she was having to use her own money to buy supplies. H-E-L-L-O! I was in a job for about ten years where I had to spend from $500 to $1,000 of my own money yearly for supplies, reference materials, and continuing education. I traveled extensively during this period, and because the company was so cheap, I often times didn’t turn in certain expenses. I almost never turned in tips. If I decided to go to a nice restaurant for a nice dinner, I wouldn’t turn in the full amount. I never quite had enough, though, to deduct on my tax return.
They gripe about being underpaid. Well, it’s not exactly breaking news that school teachers’ salaries are not generous. You knew that when you went into the profession. They grip about being underfunded. Well, I have news for them. A lot of budgets out there, not just education budgets are skimpy. They gripe about having to spend their own money in the classroom. Well, so do I. See my above comments.
Years ago, when I was very underpaid, I told a teacher that I did make a little more money than she did, but it was just that, a little more. And it was. I worked an average of 55 to 60 hours a week, received ten vacation days and seven holidays.
Furthermore, after five or so years, most teachers have what is called “tenure.” In other words, they can’t be let go from their job except for certain types of mis-conduct and then it’s a big thing. In the private sector, one can be let go at the drop of a hat and the company, in most states, is not required to give you a reason. I will clarify by saying that firing someone and not giving them a reason why they were fired is rare. A company doing this on a regular basis is sure to get a reputation and will not attract the best and the brightest people.
A school teacher friend and I were driving back from the beach one Sunday afternoon in the summer and this school teacher friend said to me, “Nancy, you have a perfect job, don’t you?” I let it all out in about a thirty minute diatribe. This poor teacher was cowering and said, “I had no idea, because you never talk about work.”
“That’s right,” I said. “I keep my professional and private lives separate. When I’m away from the job, I really don’t want to be reminded of it. I want to forget about my problems at work. I have no desire to gripe about my job to friends.” After this, she was careful about griping about her job, especially in front of me. But, you could tell that she wanted to.
I had one school teacher friend tell me that she would like to have a job where she didn’t have to take work home. This was in the early nineties, before logging in and working from home because common place. I promptly told her that while I can’t bring company documents home and work on them, it was rare for me to leave work at quitting time. And most weekends, unless I had something else to do, I was in the office working.
One teacher friend of mine replied “well it must be nice” when I took a day, a day of vacation in September after she had just started back to school after summer break. I was very busy that year and was doing a lot of very stressful business travel. I also purchased my house that year and was studying hard to get a professional certification. Up until that September day of vacation, I had only taken two days of vacation and that was to deal with purchasing the house and moving. So that one measly day of vacation was the first I had taken all year where I actually relaxed and did some stuff for me. This particular teacher had just returned to work after having two months off and she makes a smart-ass comment about me taking a day of vacation. Sheesh.
Yeah, I’ve unloaded on school teachers. And while I do acknowledge that they face difficulties in their professions, the rest of us do also. No school teacher I’ve known has ever asked me how my day was, how my week was, or how my job was going. However, they insist on monopolizing every conversation with their griping. Then they wonder why folks don’t like them.
It looks as though Governor Kasich’s comments may be soon forgotten about. Of course, the teachers’ unions won’t forget about them. Like I said, I don’t agree with Governor Kasich. I think they ought to be expanded where hopefully the teachers will stay in them and gripe till they can’t gripe any more, if that’s possible.