Sunday, January 13, 2013

Doing It For the Children

"But you are supposed to be doing it for the children."

This is a common excuse/argument every time teachers attempt to stand up for, or improve their rights and/or contract.

Just to clarify the truth, I don't teach for the children.  I teach because I like children, love their enthusiasm, the difficulties they present, their joy in learning, their mistakes, educating them, the smiles on their faces when you do something that the media doesn't think you do, be it buying them lunch, or contributing to their breakfast programs, donating clothing, or coaching a team.

I teach because I am good at it.  Have been told that I am.

But I don't teach for the children.

After all, they are not my kids.

How many plumbers would give a discount "because they are doing it for the toilets?"  How many doctors won't bill a patient and/or OHIP "because they are doing it for their patients?"  How many TTC drivers allow members to get away without paying "because they are doing it for their riders?"

I don't teach for the children.

I work, just like every other person, in order to support my family, or myself.  To give me a quality of life that will allow me (hopefully) on my death bed, to look back and say:  "you really enjoyed that life."

But for some reason, the media and/or the public like to put the moral imperative on teachers, while not following it themselves.  Take a look back on my article on Volunteerism.    Remember, MOST members of society do not volunteer.

But teachers are expected to.

Because they are "doing it for the children."

They are also expected to sit back and not "whine" over BILL 115, which imposes a contract on them.


Because they are "doing it for the children."

Sorry, but it is not our responsibility to give back (unless everyone else does as well) in order to support the reckless spending habits ($189 to install a pencil sharpener), poor leadership (hiring Chris Spence), and ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN.

We have invested 15 years (5 Years University and 10 Years Teaching) to earn the benefits that we have.

If you are jealous, then you should have become a teacher.  

If you are not happy in your job, that is your fault.

If you had a bad teacher, then you know how I felt when I had a bad plumber or contractor.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Extended Absence

Hello again!

The reason this blogger went so long without posting is that he felt he had rebutted all of the anti-teacher arguments.  He is an expert in math, and research, and conclusively proved that teachers do earn an excellent living, and should.

I also had presented all of the information that I could wherein I had expertise, or access to such facts.

However, the real reason I stopped writing is because I also realized that people have their opinions and maintain them, even when presented with the truth.  If you take a look at some of the comments, people latched onto 1 point, and used it as their rallying cry.  And in doing so, they totally overlooked all of the other facts.  Like the O.J. Simpson jury.

Sure, the gloves didn't fit, but his car, DNA, fingerprints, hair, gloves, blood,  shoes, and cap all were in some way connected to the scene and both victims.

But he couldn't have been the killer because those gloves didn't fit....

It is because people latch onto their personal opinions, and refuse to give them up, that our civilization went so long believing the Earth was flat, or that minorities were inferior, or that women couldn't lead.

People don't make decisions based on facts, they base them on personal experiences.

My uncle once told me that all teachers are terrible.  When I asked why, he said that his son had a terrible time with a teacher in grade 8.

Personal opinion.

And so our struggle as teachers continue.  Bill 115 exists.  The public still is mislead by news agencies,  and we are disrespected.

I really don't have anything else to say.

Perhaps you do?

Comment, give me some arguments or ideas, and then perhaps, if time allows, I will investigate them for you.

If not, I end by saying that, contrary to your opinion, I am not a teacher.  At least not anymore.

Monday, October 15, 2012


A prime example of someone who wasted the money instead of spending it correctly.  You can't expect your employees to "give back" when they can see a larger portion being wasted away on ridiculous programs like "all day kindergarten" among others.

Spend wisely.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Financial Post Math

So I had one of my viewers write to me and ask to look over, and give my "thoughts" on the following article:

You should all take a look at it, then read over some of my past posts.  If this isn't a prime example of the mountain of misinformation and/or lies that teachers have to deal with on a regular basis, I don't know what is.

Making this a bit more serious is that it is from an organization that is supposed to be the leading edge of financial information for our country.  Given that this magazine gives information on financial investments, RRSP's etc. one would hope (and others assume) that it had reporters that actually researched mathematical trends and/or facts instead of writing opinion pieces.

Lets take a look at some of the "facts" presented in this argument:

1. "Excessive Teacher Wages are a boondoogle we can't ignore"

As one of my previous blogs showed, each tax paying citizen of Ontario contributes $2111 to the Education system, of which 47.4% goes to teachers.  This amount is exactly the same as the cost of education in the United States and the United Kingdom.  The percentage given to Ontario teachers is virtually the same as 9 years ago and matches what other provinces spend on their teachers.

The only reason Ontario teachers get a slightly larger percentage of the pie is due to the cost of living in Toronto.  Is the writer saying that we are overspending and should pay Ontario teachers less than in other provinces, even though our cost of living is more?

2. "Teachers are paid $78 per hour." "This makes their effective hourly rate exceed $100 per hour"

First of all, where is this evidence coming from? The author says it is based on information from the  Elementary Teachers Federation website.  But the website doesn't list the hourly wage of a teacher. Where are the mathematical calculations that prove this to be true?

Statistics Canada says that Ontario educators (which include Principals, Vice Principals and Content Coordinators) make an average of $77,000 per year.

$77,000 divided by 192 days is $401 per day.  

Since my earlier blog proved that teachers work at a minimum of 8 hours per day, that works out to $50 per hour.

Sure, there may be some teachers making slightly more than that ($91,000 divided by 192 divided by 8 = $59) but this is nowhere near the $78 per hour that the author is claiming.

3. Relative to these earnings, this position requires modest education, limited qualifications, there is relatively weak competition to obtain entrance.

This argument is almost laughable and in direct contradiction to his "hourly rate' argument.  

A teacher at the top of the grid, making "$78" dollars an hour, has been teaching for 10 years, has a 4 year University Degree, a 1 year Education Degree, and, at least 2 more "Educational Specialists" to get them there.  An Educational Specialist is achieved by doing an Additional Qualification (University Level) course in your major.  However, if you didn't do a double major, you need to take 3 more Additional Qualification courses to achieve your second Educational Specialist.

So in essence, a teacher at the top of the grid has almost 6 FULL years of University study and 10 years of teaching experience.

How exactly is this a "modest education?" 

According to a 2006 Ontario census 26% of Ontario citizens have a University degree. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to find population data on the number of Ontario citizens that have at least 6 years of University education.  However, it would be safe to assume that this number would be less than the 26%.  In fact, FAR less.

So how can this writer be arguing that teachers have a "modest" level of Education,  
when very few members of the population actually have this level of education?

The answer is he didn't do the research on the amount of education a teacher has, and instead based in on opinion.  Moreover, he assumed that the "basic" amount of education needed by a teacher would place them at the top of the pay grid.  This is 100% incorrect.

Now for the "weak competition" argument.

Am I to believe (according to the author) that teachers make $78 to $100 per hour, have a "gold-plated" benefits package, get summers off, have limited education, and work only 6 hours a day, yet there is "weak competition" for the job?

Is that really an argument that is to be believed?  That people would rather work more, get paid less, have worse benefits, more competition for the job, and way more than the required amount of education  than be a teacher?

Really? How can this be?

And if it is, doesn't that say something about being a teacher?  

Perhaps it says that being a teacher isn't what their "facts" would have you believe?  

4.  "And, in terms of the necessity to perform additional work, preparation time is already negotiated into teachers’ collective agreements as part of their required minimum work day."

Once again, as my earlier blogs showed, teacher "preparation" time,  is simply "break time" that ensures that labour laws are being followed.  We get the exact same amount of "break" time as any other employee who works an 8 hour day.  Therefore, you cannot say that this time is to be put towards our "additional work" time.  That would be like telling the factory worker that his lunch time is to be spent stacking boxes.

By Ontario Law, "break time" is to be spent doing exactly that.

5. The point is that teachers, like other civil servants, are not required to work longer than the amounts negotiated for them by their unions.

Actually, teachers need to work more than the time "negotiated" for them by their unions in order to meet the demands of the job.  For example, as my earlier blog stated, teachers are asked to perform diagnostic tests like CASI, DRA, and/or complete I.E.P's, that take hours to do.  Yet, these are not part of the negotiated work day. 

Neither is report card writing, staff meetings, marking, lesson planning, parent-teacher conferences etc.

In fact, these such things add nearly 300 extra hours of work for a teacher outside of the "negotiated time."

By the way, the completion of report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and I.E.P's is mandated by the Education Act.  So teachers HAVE to do these tasks.  

This article is so full of blatant lies, misinformation and/or a lack of research that I am immediately ceasing my subscription to it. 

I have already called the Financial Post and informed them of my reasons for not wanting to read their paper.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I am a teacher.  It has to do with the fact that their "facts" are lies.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Busy Times

So things have been quite hectic at work, causing a bit of a delay in the writing of my next blog.  I was also waiting for some more news, or anti-teacher arguments to combat with real facts.

Today I got my ammunition in the form of an ETT email blast.  Among other things, it asked members to come up with their most creative signs and hold them up  in front of local Liberal MPP's places of business.


Making signs?

Is this really how we want to convince the 52% of individuals who do not support us in our latest struggle to side with us?

Through signs?

I get it.  Joe the Carpenter, who is trying to feed his family of 4, who doesn't receive 20 sick days a year, or "13 weeks of vacation," who doesn't work a "9 to 3" job, and who doesn't want his "thousands" of tax dollars wasted on teachers who make more than "$97,000" a year, is suddenly going to say:

"Hey, I love your sign.  You know what, you have officially convinced me to join your side against      Bill 115!"

Is this really what is going to happen?

Are people going to be convinced?


The media is going to film these creative sign makers and use it as just another example of "whining" teachers.  Teachers who have enough time to make signs, but complain that they are overworked.

If this isn't the most ridiculous waste of time and/or attempt at educating the public I don't know what is.  Other than perhaps those ETFO commercials that have been airing recently...

When is this collection of individuals going to get it together?

You win by educating. You win with facts.  You win with convincing arguments.

You don't win by holding up signs.

Wake up!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anti-Teacher Argument #6: It's Our Tax Dollars

Whenever another round of teacher contract negotiations come up, it is inevitable that the taxpaying citizens of Ontario become alarmed.  It is, after all, their money that pays the salaries of teachers.

Here are just a few comments that I have taken from some of the media message boards over the last few weeks:

"We pay you people to sit at home all summer and do nothing"
"I pay your salary!"
"You should make minimum wage because you are on my wallet."
"You people are lazy and whiners.  Tax payers can't afford to pay you."

But the most intriguing quote was naturally from Toronto Sun reporter Michael Coren:

"gave our money to teachers to prevent those same teachers from going on strike and thus giving grief and hardship to the very people — parents — who pay their wages in the first place."

Each of these comments got my mathematical mind to thinking.  Yes, Ontario taxpayers have the right to complain about where their money is going, but do they even know how much of it ends up in the pocket of teachers?

Are teachers salaries so high that the end result is "grief" and "hardship?" for Ontario citizens?

Lets take a look at the math.

Education Budget:  19 billion
Percentage Spent on Teacher Salaries (prior blogs)  47.3%
Citizens of Ontario: 12, 851, 821
% of Citizens of Ontario in the workforce (70%)

So the money that every working taxpayer contributes yearly to teachers salaries (including teachers) is (19 billion x .473) divided by (12,851,821 x 0.7) which equals about $1000 a year.

The amount they contribute overall to education would be 19 billion divided by (12,851,821 x 0.7) = $2,111.

That means that the average working taxpayer (including teachers) of Ontario contributes $2,111 towards our educational system, of which $1000 goes to teachers.

As stand alone numbers, these really have no meaning.

But if we look into daycare costs in Ontario, we discover that the typical rates are anywhere from $400- $900 PER MONTH or around $4800 - $10800 per year.

With the introduction of FREE All Day Kindergarten, the amount of Ontario citizens who will require daycare will decrease in number.

This should free up more money to be contributed to the system.  After all, a significant portion of the population will now be saving upwards of $5000 a year.

Some will even save $8000 per year.

More interestingly however, is the actual cost of education per student in Ontario in comparison to the United States and the United Kingdom

According to the government there were 2,061,390 students enrolled in public school in Ontario in 2010.

The educational budget from that year was around 17 billion dollars.

Thus, the cost per student was $8246.

According to the Heritage Foundation of America, the cost of a 12 year education for the typical American child is $100,000 or about $8333 per year.

The Telegraph Newspaper says the cost for public school in the U.K was $9000 (pounds).

Thus, despite what our taxpayers and media might be proclaiming, Ontario is spending an equivalent amount per pupil as other nations.

So teacher salaries are not a unique burden on the taxpayer.

In fact, the cost of education on the Ontario taxpayer is EXACTLY what it should be.

Monday, September 24, 2012

To Summarize So Far

1) Teachers do not work 9 to 3.  Based on only 6 additional tasks they work at minimum 9 to 5.

2) Teachers "prep time" replaces "break time" instead of adding to it.

3) Teachers do not need to perform extracurriculars as less than 25% of the population volunteers themselves.

4) Teachers do not get vacation pay but receive "sick day" pay instead.

5) Teacher salaries are not eating up the educational budget.  They are the same percentage of the pie as
they were in the Mike Harris era.

6) The media is misleading the public with anti-teacher rhetoric that is factually incorrect

7) Teachers are not allowed to discuss the waste in education as a means to prevent salary freezes and/or reductions

8) Teachers can be suspended without being told of the offense and/or providing an explanation

9) Few educated professionals suffered as a result of the recession, but teachers are expected to give
    back because of it.

10) Teachers have never once raised the notion of a salary increase, but rather, simply want the basic human right to be able to collectively bargain.