Teachers Have It Easy? Just Ask One.

Image via iStock Photo/Nancy Louie

What DOES a teacher do when they’re teaching school?

As a “retired” public elementary school teacher with a Masters Degree* in Elementary Education, I’m here to expand your brains.

With this year’s attempts at teacher pay budget-cutting in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey and Florida, many untruths about teachers have been spread.  There are some fartknockers out in the media spewing drivel to the masses about what public-sector teachers are being paid and how much time they have off from work.

It’s downright laughable if it wasn’t what was actually being said and believed by the viewers of these mouth-breathers.

One such mouth-breather I happened to see was from a clip on The Daily Show. Check in at about 1:20 to see the best of the anti-teacher drivel  (not Jon Stewart … some of those other guys) that was being spewed.


To paraphrase…

Teachers are off of work at 2:30.

Teachers get 3 months of vacation.

When you count in all of their benefits, teachers make over $70,000 a year.

The students show up, sit in their seats, and teachers collect their paychecks.

Now, I present to you the truth, as told by Pangie (me), a “retired” public school teacher and friend to current working teachers.

“Teachers are off of work at 2:30.”

Excuse me while I laugh my fat ass off at that comment.


I’ll use the example of the elementary school at which I worked: Students were at school from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm every day (Wednesdays until 2:00). Teachers are required to be in their classrooms or working at school at 8:00 am and are allowed, by union contract, to leave after 3:30 pm every day of the work week. During the school day, teachers are scheduled for 22 minutes for lunch, and have a 50 minute planning period.

Now, just imagine the amount of papers to grade, detailed lessons to plan, papers to copy, bulletin boards to decorate, learning centers to prepare, documents to complete, books to read, spreadsheets to enter, department and school-wide meetings in which to participate, statistical information to compile, parent-teacher meetings to hold, and in-service classes to attend.

These cannot physically be done in that one 50-minute per day planning period, and 30-minute** span before and after school that’s provided for the teachers. (**I’m being generous with the 30-minute spans before and after children are in the classroom, because in my case, our principal required us to keep our classrooms open and available for students to enter, thus making teachers responsible for the students.)

I’ve not ever met one teacher, good, bad, or ugly, who can complete all of their required work in that 50-minute planning period and 30-minute span before and after school.


I encourage you to visit an elementary school parking lot to see just what teachers are carrying in and out of the school. The bags of papers and project to assess. The rolling carts they pull behind them as they walk to their cars in the afternoon.

Yes, teachers are “allowed” to leave at 3:30 as agreed to by the union contracts and school board. But they aren’t leaving school grounds without their work. Their extra work happens late at night when their own children have gone to bed and on the weekends when their kids are playing. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled before or after school time. Mandatory in-service training happens on Saturdays and evenings. PTO/PTA meetings are scheduled at night.

All of these things are “off the clock” for the teacher. She is on HER time, committing time to her students.

I challenge you to find a teacher who leaves at 2:30 every day to go out shopping. Please. Find her for me, and you’ll win 144 internets.

Next in my series, I’ll discuss the LMFAO aspect of teachers getting 3 months of vacation time a year. Stay tuned!

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*I get to mention that I earned a Masters Degree any chance I can without sounding douchey because I’m still paying for it.

  • High five! And I’m still paying for my masters degree too.

  • Not to mention how long it took me to pay off my law school debt! 🙁

  • Pingback: World’s Best Teacher Doesn’t Need It On An Apron And Other Teacher Gift Ideas | A Whole Lot of Nothing()

  • Preach on, sister. I taught high school English for 4 years — can’t tell you how many pounds of papers I lugged back and forth every day for grading work from 150+ students every day. Not to mention all the after-school time I spent advising the newspaper (for no extra pay) and coaching cheerleading (for pennies an hour). While it’s true that people don’t got into teaching “for the money,” that’s no excuse for not paying a professional salary.

  • superfan2010

    Please, try to take the standards a teacher has to live up to and apply it in the commercial market. It would never happen. Guaranteed employment, guaranteed retirement and summers, holidays and weekends off don’t happen at any job in the private sector. Ever. Sorry, but you don’t have it that bad and you’re not that important.

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