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When I got my degree in Theater Education, I did it for one reason: the fat stacks of Benjamins.
I am shocked– SHOCKED!– to hear people advocating for higher salaries for American educators. Financial success and teachers go together like polar bears and ice: they desperately need it, and it’s not like they’re running out.
Education is one of the most overpaid professions one can pursue, provided that one can see past the limitations of what we define as “wealth” and “currency.” In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s look at the reasons why.
The Time Off
While other professions clamor for just a few weeks of vacation time, teachers get the entire summer off.
Most poor fools have to gamble by choosing their own vacation blocks, but teachers get their time chosen for them in the most beautiful, hottest, most energy-bill-draining months of the year.
For three months, teachers can do whatever they want: prepare their curriculum for the next year, work a second job, or go to their own versions of summer camp, called “professional development institutes” and “seminars.”
And they get paid for it! Maybe! But even if they are on a nine-month contract, they can ask for the nine months of pay to be spread out over the full year, and since nine goes into 12 one and one-third times, that means they are making 133% more… Thanks, math standards!
They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but as a teacher, your total tyrannical powers over your classroom can yield as many saturated snacks as you see fit, thanks to a little word called “confiscation.”
- Somebody eating a bag of Fritos during study hall? Boom; they’re yours.
- Did a student leave an unfinished sandwich in their cubby? Bon appétit.
- The winning science fair project was a solar system made out of candy? Nobody will miss Pluto.
Enjoy these pilfered plates during your 30-minute duty free lunch break that many school districts are still fighting for.
How dare the public say that educators are in dire straits when they are getting paid money for nothing less than absolute power in their classrooms?
You can build whatever curriculum you want, provided that it meets with district/state/national standards, conforms to rigorous testing criteria, and whatever merits that current governmental institutions are trying to promote.
You can use whatever teaching style you prefer, as long it cannot possibly be interpreted as too lenient, too strict, too personal, too apathetic, too arduous, too easy, too out-of-the-box, or too by-the-book.
And you can decorate the room with any materials you want, but make sure these materials don’t reflect your personal beliefs (political, spiritual, etc.), romantic relationships (especially if they are homosexual), or obscene humor. (Who needs cutting satire when you can have Garfield denouncing Mondays?)
The surest sign of your absolute autonomy is that, if anything should ever go wrong with your class or one of your students, all blame will be laid directly at your feet.
If you’re a Wall Street banker, you might be eating lobster for breakfast and gold for dessert, but Leonardo DiCaprio just made you guys look really mean and stupid. Meanwhile, if you’re a kind-hearted school teacher, odds are Bradley Cooper is going to fall in love with you in his new romantic comedy.
The title of “teacher” is so deified in this country that they are always first on the list of underappreciated careers. There are companies that would pay millions upon millions (that they could easily afford) for that kind of PR.
For the last 20 years, teachers have been mentioned, if not directly pandered to, in every State of the Union Address. This puts them at the same status as the Middle East and homelessness.
In the end, teachers directly shape the future. There is no amount of monetary gain that could match the joy of teaching a child a lesson that they will remember just long enough to parrot back on a standardized test.
Even better, you can fully impact a student’s life! All you have to do is spend countless hours on and off the clock, provide materials and criteria that your district does not, and be ready to start over completely anew every year.
Remember, money will never equal a child’s laughter. So just skip the lessons and let your students watch cartoons. You get paid the same either way.
C.J. Tuor appears in the improvised drinking thriller “Hitch*Cocktails” at the Annoyance Theater.