Author Topic: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?  (Read 3211 times)

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Iris

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2013, 07:21:21 PM »
Thanks guys, that was really interesting. Glad to know there's options - I would hate to budget for <3 months with no pay! Alkira, virtual school sounds really interesting, I'd love to know more.

Now may I ask another question? Here in Australia they are having very real problems attracting enough teachers of maths and the hard sciences (especially physics). Mostly due to the lower pay (it's not dreadful pay, but they can do a lot better in the private sector) and also the fact that there has been a loss of respect for teachers so it no longer has the status as a career that it once did. Is a similar thing happening in the US?
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dawbs

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2013, 10:07:13 PM »
question # 2 is a 'trick question' here too...because there are no easy questions in something as charged as education :)

There is a 'teacher shortage'--especially for those deemed 'highly qualified' (which is an official designation) in STEM (science, tech, engineering math).  At the same time, finding a job in education is INCREDIBLY difficult because those shortages are mostly apparent in poor very very urban and very very rural schools (wealthier suburban schools don't really have that same shortage).
The lack of respect could be argued, but the pay issue is clearly a problem here too.

Lynnv

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 12:42:09 AM »
Thanks guys, that was really interesting. Glad to know there's options - I would hate to budget for <3 months with no pay! Alkira, virtual school sounds really interesting, I'd love to know more.

Now may I ask another question? Here in Australia they are having very real problems attracting enough teachers of maths and the hard sciences (especially physics). Mostly due to the lower pay (it's not dreadful pay, but they can do a lot better in the private sector) and also the fact that there has been a loss of respect for teachers so it no longer has the status as a career that it once did. Is a similar thing happening in the US?

Yes.  And no.  I hate to give the same answer twice, but there it is.

In some areas, there is truly a teacher shortage in certain disciplines.  It is harder to attract math and physics teachers whose undergraduate (and sometimes graduate) degrees are in math, chemistry and/or physics.  Biology is easier (a lot of folks who don't make it through med school and vet school come out with biology undergraduate degrees and go on to teach instead).  It is easier to find people whose undergraduate/graduate degrees are in the more generic science education or math education.  But those more generic undergraduate degrees tend to leave teachers who are not prepared to teach higher level classes, though exceptions certainly happen.   

As Dawbs noted it is also much more difficult for schools in difficult areas (poverty-stricken, rural, etc) to get those highly qualified teachers.  DH's school had a physics/physical science opening this year and they had 3 applicants who were all qualified for the position (DH was one of the faculty members of the hiring committee).  His is technically an urban school, but it is a wealthier city-so the school is moderately well funded and the teacher pay is on par with other suburban schools in the area.

Teacher pay is certainly a part of the difficulty in attracting folks to teach in those areas.  And a lack of respect for the job and the people who do it is certainly another factor-too many people who think that "Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach." 

DH actually makes a decent amount.  But he has 15+ years of experience, and is maxed out on education credits (he has a master's + 60 credit hours after that) without getting a doctorate.  A starting teacher without a graduate degree makes less than I made when I started my current job 15 years ago.
Lynn

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z_squared82

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 09:27:57 AM »
Thanks guys, that was really interesting. Glad to know there's options - I would hate to budget for <3 months with no pay! Alkira, virtual school sounds really interesting, I'd love to know more.

Now may I ask another question? Here in Australia they are having very real problems attracting enough teachers of maths and the hard sciences (especially physics). Mostly due to the lower pay (it's not dreadful pay, but they can do a lot better in the private sector) and also the fact that there has been a loss of respect for teachers so it no longer has the status as a career that it once did. Is a similar thing happening in the US?

From the teachers I hang out with, I wouldn't say there is a teacher shortage (especially in my area where the unionized public school system was laying people off [virtually unheard of]), but I would say it's much easier for someone who wants to teach  math and science to find a job. There are fewer people who want to teach those and those programs are not getting budget cuts (unlike, say art or physical education). It took my friend A four years to find a job teaching English. My cousin's husband who is an art teacher keeps getting bounced around b/c of budget cuts. But my friend B had a teaching job before she graduated because she was certified to teach math.

Lynn2000

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2013, 10:34:05 AM »
It does vary a lot by school district. Someone correct me if I say this wrong, but generally in the US, public schools are funded by property taxes from the area right around them. So if you have a wealthy suburb with lots of McMansions, that's a lot of money going to the public school. If you have a working class small town or low-income urban neighborhood, that's NOT a lot of money going to the public school. It seems like things are done differently in other countries, according to some people I've talked to. But I think knowing this idea is key to understanding why schools can vary so much in quality from one part of the country to the other, even in places that are very close to each other.

Anyway, to address the question--to me it seems like there are both not enough, and too many, teachers. Some schools need more teachers--too many kids in one classroom, people pressed into teaching extra classes they're not really qualified for, vacancies that have gone on forever. But there's also a lot of newly-graduated people who want to be teachers who can't get hired. Partly it's because the vacancies are often in places where people don't really want to teach (low-income, low-pay, low-motivation areas) and partly it's because, even though a school needs more teachers, they can't actually afford to hire them.

This is all IME, of course. I have a lot of teachers in my family and among my friends. STEM teachers are more highly sought after and given whatever perks the school can afford. For example, in one school district near me, public school teachers are required to live within the district (which is a Top 10 US city--large and expensive). Except that a friend of mine is allowed to live outside the district in a cheaper neighborhood, because he teaches science at a high school. They couldn't afford to pay him more, but they gave him what they could as an incentive to work there. A lot of teachers I know are moving more towards private schools or other specialty schools with guaranteed funding because they pay better and often have more stable environments with less focus on achieving one set of results, like standardized test scores. :(
~Lynn2000

alkira6

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2013, 10:40:54 AM »
Thanks guys, that was really interesting. Glad to know there's options - I would hate to budget for <3 months with no pay! Alkira, virtual school sounds really interesting, I'd love to know more.

Now may I ask another question? Here in Australia they are having very real problems attracting enough teachers of maths and the hard sciences (especially physics). Mostly due to the lower pay (it's not dreadful pay, but they can do a lot better in the private sector) and also the fact that there has been a loss of respect for teachers so it no longer has the status as a career that it once did. Is a similar thing happening in the US?

Virtual school is really just online school. I get paid for 10 hours per week with a separate stipend for Saturdays if I want to do face to face tutoring.  I set "office hours" for when I am available online to Skype with students if they have questions/problems and I post 2-15 minute videos of me teaching key concepts that go along with lessons. Apart from due dates, it is a self paced class for high school students to take that opens up room on their schedule for more traditional classes. I have a 24 hour turn around time on grading assignments and returning emails.  I actually tend to finish a lot earlier than that.  I taught these classes for 4 years and took a 2 year break and now I'm going back his year.  If they had the option of doing this full time I would do it.

As far as attracting teachers - I began teaching working in a low income area and had absolutely no problem getting a job.  After I decided that the stress was too much, getting a job in a better area was extremely difficult.  It took me three years and moving from high school to middle school to make the switch. Coming into the district and trying to get a job in a nicer school is not going to happen here. Those jobs are fiercely competed for.  After spending years in schools with bullet holes in the chalkboard, gang activity, fights, and so on I am hanging on to my nice safe job with everything that I have.  I will definitely miss my kids, but the stress finally got to be too much.

z_squared82

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2013, 11:07:50 AM »
It does vary a lot by school district. Someone correct me if I say this wrong, but generally in the US, public schools are funded by property taxes from the area right around them. So if you have a wealthy suburb with lots of McMansions, that's a lot of money going to the public school. If you have a working class small town or low-income urban neighborhood, that's NOT a lot of money going to the public school. It seems like things are done differently in other countries, according to some people I've talked to. But I think knowing this idea is key to understanding why schools can vary so much in quality from one part of the country to the other, even in places that are very close to each other.


It really depends on the area. I'm in Cincinnati, and that's mostly accurate here, although I can think of probably a dozen different school districts in the metropolitan area and Cincinnati Public itself has a wide range of economic demographics. But across the river in Kentucky, they found that funding education through property taxes to be unconstitutional (according to their state constitution). I have no idea how they pay for their schools.

Lynn2000

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2013, 11:46:11 AM »
It does vary a lot by school district. Someone correct me if I say this wrong, but generally in the US, public schools are funded by property taxes from the area right around them. So if you have a wealthy suburb with lots of McMansions, that's a lot of money going to the public school. If you have a working class small town or low-income urban neighborhood, that's NOT a lot of money going to the public school. It seems like things are done differently in other countries, according to some people I've talked to. But I think knowing this idea is key to understanding why schools can vary so much in quality from one part of the country to the other, even in places that are very close to each other.


It really depends on the area. I'm in Cincinnati, and that's mostly accurate here, although I can think of probably a dozen different school districts in the metropolitan area and Cincinnati Public itself has a wide range of economic demographics. But across the river in Kentucky, they found that funding education through property taxes to be unconstitutional (according to their state constitution). I have no idea how they pay for their schools.

Good to know, and that actually agrees with my larger point--there's a lot of variation from area to area. I don't know if it's like that in other countries or not. It just kind of boggled my mind when I realized that, because I would've designed a system where schools received money from a central source that was somehow equivalent... the same amount per student or something. Although of course, any system has its flaws.  :P
~Lynn2000

Redneck Gravy

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2013, 11:55:37 AM »
I am in Texas

The most common pay method around here is monthly with 12 paychecks.  Starting August 31st and running through July 31st is considered a "school year"  So an equal check the end of each month.

Our pay scale has gone up locally for starting teachers (around $42,000) but the increases for experience are minimal so after 20 years you are still earning only around $48,000 which I find horrific for putting up with some little stinkers (including my own).  Plus the benefits have decreased (higher insurance premiums for less coverage for one thing).   

Also the "three month holiday" is actually around 9 weeks in my area.  They have end of school inservice week and prior to school starting inservice week.  And everyone I know that teaches has to go to another week to some type of class or another during the mid summer.

Oh Joy

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2013, 01:23:31 PM »
It does vary a lot by school district. Someone correct me if I say this wrong, but generally in the US, public schools are funded by property taxes from the area right around them. So if you have a wealthy suburb with lots of McMansions, that's a lot of money going to the public school. If you have a working class small town or low-income urban neighborhood, that's NOT a lot of money going to the public school. It seems like things are done differently in other countries, according to some people I've talked to. But I think knowing this idea is key to understanding why schools can vary so much in quality from one part of the country to the other, even in places that are very close to each other.
...

Actually, I was just reading some figures on this a week or two ago (too lazy to recall where).  In the Minneapolis area here, I believe the spending per student is actually quite a bit lower in the more upscale suburbs compared to the lower-income urban areas.  There are more factors to this than I could list, but my understanding is that many factors stem from families with fewer resouces (money as well as time/knowledge/mobility/etc.) needing to rely more strongly on the schools for behavioral/special needs/nutrition/other resources for their students.   

And school funding is a complicated issue, as money comes from many different pockets from the local level through national. Even just the piece of district property taxes isn't as simple as 'bigger houses=more money.'  For example, each city may allocate at a different percentage, each city has a different proportion of taxpayers to students and varying nonresidential properties, and there are also special tax levies voted on by district residents.  Just to show the overall complexity of public school funding, there's a 124-page easy reference guide for our Minnesota state legislators to understand the system so they can make informed votes... www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/mnschfin.pdf

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Library Dragon

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2013, 02:21:42 PM »
There are as many permutations of funding as there are school districts.  In my city there is dedicated property tax, 50% of all alcohol sales tax (which just became legal about 5 years ago), and 50% of a an additional 1 cent sales tax levied last year.  So, while our property taxes are much lower*, the amount raised for school funding is not dramatically lower. 

*--Our yearly property tax rate is 1/4 what we paid in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Leafy

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2013, 01:07:08 AM »
If nobody minds, could I just add another school related question? How many days are students actually at school in the year? Here we have four terms of ten weeks. Sometimes the placement of Easter means that one term will be 11 weeks and the next 9, but they average out to 10 weeks. Take out a few days for public holidays and staff development days and students would be at school approximately 190-195 days a year.

Does it vary by state in the US or is it pretty standard?

Library Dragon

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2013, 01:22:20 AM »
It varies by state. Here in Alabama it's 180 days.

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Sharnita

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2013, 09:24:47 AM »
It is generally shifting to "time" instead of days in the US. That way schools don't schedule a bunch of days that let out early and shortchange kids.

So scholls are told they need a school year of X number of hours and they start from there. It does add up to roughly 180 days, although they could have shorter days with a longer year or longer day with 4 days a week. They can also go over the minimum time requirement.

Slartibartfast

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Re: US - Do teachers get paid in Summer holidays?
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2013, 09:43:56 AM »
Schools also vary widely in when they start and end the year, even within the same county.  Schools often are out for some (usually not all) holidays:

Labor Day (September)
Columbus Day (October)
Fall break (usually 2-3 days halfway through the semester)
Occasionally teacher conferences or in-service days, which when I was growing up always mysteriously fell on the first day of hunting season
Thanksgiving (usually two days - this is pretty universal)
Christmas break, which goes from sometime before Christmas until after New Year's
Martin Luther King Day (January) - this varies by region too
Presidents Day (February - not as common)
Spring Break (usually a week sometime in March-April)
Good Friday / Easter Monday (varies by region)
Memorial Day (end of May)

Some states have laws preventing schools from starting before Labor Day, some districts get off for every single federal holiday, some places have their own holidays entirely (Massachusetts, I'm looking at you!), and some have ethnic holidays from other regions if there's a high population of that ethnicity locally.  Also a variable amount of snow days or "weather days" - days the school is planned to be closed but if snow causes school to cancel on a regular day, students will have to make it up then.  (I was confused at "weather days" when I moved down south - what weather could they possibly have besides snow?  Then I saw what hurricanes can do, even when we're 6-7 hours from the coast.)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 09:46:53 AM by Slartibartfast »