The Money Mustache Community

Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: FIT_Goat on May 17, 2017, 02:24:22 PM

Title: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on May 17, 2017, 02:24:22 PM
Today, the HR Director for the county I work in has proudly announced a new program for employees of the school.  They can get loans ranging from $500 to $5,000 through a company the school board has partnered with.

Their loans are available only to employees who are eligible for benefits who have worked here for more than a year, aka full time employees.  And, the loan payments are deducted directly from your pay.

"What is the cost of this fantastic service?" you ask?  It's 23.99% with a $25 fee to initiate the loan.  Why is the interest rate higher than almost all of my credit cards?  This loan is fairly secure, considering that the payments are coming out before the person gets paid.  You pay them back over 12-48 payroll deductions (which is 6-29 months based on our pay schedule).

I almost replied something snarky to the head of HR.  This sort of exploitative loan doesn't help teachers.  It makes things worse for them.  It also seems like these sort of emails always come right before the summer time.   They are aimed at those teachers who don't put away money for their summer, since we don't get paid all year.  I don't want to know how many fall prey to them.  I do know many teachers who don't save anything for the summers and plan [hope?] to be able to get part-time work to make ends meet until school restarts.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 17, 2017, 02:40:55 PM
Since it's a "partnership," I wonder what the school board's cut of the interest is...
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on May 17, 2017, 02:45:54 PM
School teachers don't get paid nine-over-twelve?

At my employer nine-over-twelve (you get paid 3/4th of your monthly wage each month including over the summer when you're theoretically not "on the job") in mandatory, which means they're holding on to a bunch of my money long after I've theoretically earned it. But the justification is always that folks won't budget and they don't want people running out of money over the summer.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Just Joe on May 17, 2017, 02:47:43 PM
Good grief! Maybe help your fellow teachers visit the local credit union and open accounts/loans there? The school board / superintendent ought to be ashamed of themselves.

As educators they ought to represent the best of local society - the educated people, the thinkers, the reasoned people.

Now they aren't any better than a high interest check cashing place.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: slugline on May 17, 2017, 03:00:13 PM
Applications from math teachers will be delivered discreetly in plain brown wrappers. . . .
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on May 17, 2017, 04:09:35 PM
School teachers don't get paid nine-over-twelve?

We have a choice. It can be 22 times (really 21 and the last pay is double) or 24 times (really 21 and the last pay is quadruple).  I have been on 22 for ages, back when it was 22 or 26 and they would save four paychecks and just give them to you right before summer starts. I prefer to save my own money. I am actually irritated that they give me a double pay at the end, because they held some of my money back to make that payment.

Anyway, many teachers elect to take 22 and don't save for summer. Or they have expensive travel plans they haven't saved for. Can't save people from themselves.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Missy B on May 17, 2017, 06:38:50 PM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.
I'm in Canada, where teachers are both very well compensated and fairly well insulated from the realities of the private labour market. Perhaps the all the goodies - excellent benefits, defined benefits pension, exceptional time off - has jaded them somewhat to the need to be aware of finances. Perhaps its something else.

I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: SEAKSR on May 17, 2017, 07:24:07 PM
The whole thing makes me wonder what kind of kickback shenanigans must be going on. With an employer like that, and a school no less, it's no wonder so many folks think the MMM community is crazy.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: westtoeast on May 18, 2017, 05:07:57 AM
Off. This is bad. I see stuff like this pop into my mailbox at work sometimes and it always upsets me. I posted on some wall of shame last year about a holiday catalog that all us teachers were given where you sign up for TWO-year payment plans to purchase the latest toy and electronic trends as gifts. So basically you are still paying off gifts from Christmas 2016 when Christmas 2017 rolls around... yikes. I honestly don't understand how it is allowed for these companies to stick fliers in our mailboxes (but sometimes the offers even come through the union).

I'm also in a school where you cannot elect to receive payments over the summer. Even before I was MMM I at least had the sense to save for summer. I frontload my savings-- basically, I use all my disposable income during the first few months of school to set up my summer fund. Then for the rest of the year, I can contribute that income to my actual savings. This strategy just makes me feel better.

Yes, I have also noticed that financial literacy isn't always strong with teachers. However, I wonder how many folks in other professions would also struggle with 2.5 unpaid months every year!
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on May 19, 2017, 04:34:49 PM
School teachers don't get paid nine-over-twelve?
It would be ten-over-twelve ... and my county (or maybe it's state?) doesn't allow it.  However, our credit union -- which we all use since it's so much better than the bank -- offers a similar program.  You opt to have X amount of every paycheck diverted into a "summer spending account"; some people even opt to have "extra" put into the summer account, saying that they need more in the summer for vacations, etc.  And that summer savings account costs nothing; it's just a re-shuffling of the money that's yours. 

Yes, I have also noticed that financial literacy isn't always strong with teachers. However, I wonder how many folks in other professions would also struggle with 2.5 unpaid months every year!
In my fairly lengthy experience, it's feast or famine with teachers.  That is, their financial literary is either feast or famine.  A whole lot are very good with money:  I know a bunch of teachers who live in nice houses, have no debt, and have good side-jobs and solid plans for retirement.  On the other hand, I know a bunch who are the exact opposite.  I walked a math teacher though his pension options the other day and had to explain twice why he and his wife (also a teacher) should choose the survivor benefit rather than the maximum benefit ... in their situation, it's absolutely the right choice.  Honestly, it's about 50-50. 

My husband and I've done very well for ourselves ... in part because our pay/benefits are opposites:  He earns a strong paycheck but has little stability and poor retirement options.  I have a low paycheck but strong job stability and summers off (which was a big money /effort saver when the kids were smaller).  Ironically, a BUNCH of people I know are Engineer-Teacher combinations, and those people tend to be financially savvy. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Rural on May 20, 2017, 01:43:28 AM
My husband was always forced to make an interest-free loan to his employers of 2/12 of his salary each year, which they paid out over the following summer when he was off contract. Frankly, teachers are treated so much like regular, non-contract employees that I don't see how the lack of timely pay for services rendered is legal under the federal labor laws, but it did mean that a bunch of the irresponsible people he worked with could keep a roof over their heads in the summer.

It's not an option in the university system - work a 10-month contract, you get paid ten months. But even that's complicated; we do have health insurance over the summer, with premiums taken out in the spring to cover it, if we are returning in the fall.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on May 20, 2017, 06:06:19 AM
I think teaching is a very high stress job and that leads to a lot of problems with overspending and additional expenses they don't expect due to a desire for self-care. High stress environments activate the "fight or flight" response and they end up thinking in the moment instead of planning for the future. It would really help if all school districts did 12 month wages instead of 10 month as default, but a lot of schools don't even offer that option to teachers.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on May 20, 2017, 06:40:59 AM
I think teaching is a very high stress job and that leads to a lot of problems with overspending and additional expenses they don't expect due to a desire for self-care. High stress environments activate the "fight or flight" response and they end up thinking in the moment instead of planning for the future. It would really help if all school districts did 12 month wages instead of 10 month as default, but a lot of schools don't even offer that option to teachers.
Thanks, WTC.  I have met so many people who think they can waltz in and teach a College specialty course.  They last one semester, we never see them again.

When I started teaching we had our annual pay divided in 26, even though our contracts were for 10 months.  Back in the days of no-computer banking, we got 5 cheques at the end of the year, and then we didn't see a paycheque again until after we had been back for 2-3 weeks.  My Ex used to look at all the money in the bank and want to spend it.  I could see that it had to last us and was not "extra".  Two bright people with pretty much the same education - but totally different takes on lump sum payments.  The union arranged for low-interest loans at a local Caisse populaire, just like they did when we were on strikes and some people were short.  Once direct deposit came along we got our pay all summer, problem solved.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: paddedhat on May 20, 2017, 08:13:53 AM

In my fairly lengthy experience, it's feast or famine with teachers.  That is, their financial literary is either feast or famine.  A whole lot are very good with money:  I know a bunch of teachers who live in nice houses, have no debt, and have good side-jobs and solid plans for retirement.  On the other hand, I know a bunch who are the exact opposite.  I walked a math teacher though his pension options the other day and had to explain twice why he and his wife (also a teacher) should choose the survivor benefit rather than the maximum benefit ... in their situation, it's absolutely the right choice.  Honestly, it's about 50-50. 

[/quote]

My wife did a full 30 with a public school system and left at 55 Y.O.  Due to a lot of good decisions made over the years, we are quite comfortable.  You are spot on with the overall view of the situation however. For every older teacher we know who is really doing well, we know another who can't retire, or is retiring with a ton of debt, and a much lower pension, due to dumb decisions. The pension situation sure is interesting. When it came to pension choices, she had a fairly complex individual situation,  requiring a lot careful decisions. As a result we attended several group "exit" sessions where retiring teachers were preparing to submit their final paperwork. We were kind of stunned at how many teachers did their worksheet calculations and then stared at the bottom line in horror. They literally had zero clue as to what their post retirement check looked like. Some had a reality gap of thousands of dollars a month.  The other issue that really hurts many is that our state has a constitutionally mandated obligation to pay out the pensions, and a politically motivated mandate to NEVER, EVER approve a COLA adjustment. So, those that are lucky enough to live 30+ years as a pensioner, without additional investment income,  can really end up with a pretty meager existence as their pension gets consumed by inflation.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Mezzie on May 20, 2017, 08:28:49 AM
We get paid ten quadriweekly checks, so we have to save enough for three of those to get through summer. I separate my money myself, but one of our credit unions will do it automatically like someone above said.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on May 20, 2017, 11:47:25 AM
Any participants in this shit show should be required to take next year's pay over twelve months / 26 paycheques.

I'm concerned that the school is effectively incentivised to discourage teachers from budgeting or offering to spread pay over the year as they'd miss out on the schools cut of the massive interest.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: facepalm on May 20, 2017, 01:47:04 PM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.

They are about average. The book "The Millionaire Next Door" suggests that you will find a higher number of teachers in millionaire households than you should expect. But I suspect that the majority of those millionaires are also married. Being married to the same spouse helps quite a bit.

From what I have seen in my district, most of the teachers that have been teaching over ten years and also happen to be married are doing ok. But the ones that can't control spending are not. These are the people that have to have two trucks, a boat, four dogs, and multiple vacations. A recipe for financial servitude, no matter what your profession. That was me for a number of years.

Those that have taught less than five have it the worst--fresh out of school, low on the salary schedule, student loan debt, and just starting to have kids or planning to. A trifecta of impoverishment.

Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on May 20, 2017, 02:14:11 PM
I am sure the school district is getting some sort of kickback for promoting this.  I swear, it makes me angry how poor financial decisions are promoted by the school.  The 403b options are equally terrible, and I wonder if they are getting some benefit from selecting those specific providers and plans.

I know many teachers who don't have a plan to ever retire; they can't ever retire.  They are going to work until they are unable to.  A lot of teachers don't save.

There's a great friend of mine, who has been carrying $15k+ in credit card debt for 7+ years now, just paying the minimum or sometimes more before it gets back to the max.  I've offered to help her budget to get rid of it, and she says she wants me to look at her budget, but it never happens.  There's always an excuse why she can't pay it off right now.  She's not even the worst of the teachers I know.  So many tell me that they always "intend" to pay off their credit cards every month, but usually they can't.  When I ask why they don't just pull from savings and then refill the savings next month, they confess that they have no savings.  When I see those things that say the average American has less than $1,000 in savings, I believe it.  It might even be worse among my teacher friends.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on May 20, 2017, 02:56:21 PM
I am sure the school district is getting some sort of kickback for promoting this.  I swear, it makes me angry how poor financial decisions are promoted by the school.  The 403b options are equally terrible, and I wonder if they are getting some benefit from selecting those specific providers and plans.

I know many teachers who don't have a plan to ever retire; they can't ever retire.  They are going to work until they are unable to.  A lot of teachers don't save.

There's a great friend of mine, who has been carrying $15k+ in credit card debt for 7+ years now, just paying the minimum or sometimes more before it gets back to the max.  I've offered to help her budget to get rid of it, and she says she wants me to look at her budget, but it never happens.  There's always an excuse why she can't pay it off right now.  She's not even the worst of the teachers I know.  So many tell me that they always "intend" to pay off their credit cards every month, but usually they can't.  When I ask why they don't just pull from savings and then refill the savings next month, they confess that they have no savings.  When I see those things that say the average American has less than $1,000 in savings, I believe it.  It might even be worse among my teacher friends.

Most Americans across the board don't know how to handle their own money because a great many people make a lot of money by keeping them ignorant. If Americans became financially literate, it would be a disaster for these people, so we have Wall Street bankers writing the high school financial literacy classes that do exist and advertisers constantly bombard people with lies to keep them spending money they don't have. May as well have Coca-Cola in charge of weight loss classes.

It's pretty much a guarantee that the school districts know what they are doing ripping off the teachers. Everyone wants their percentage.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: gimp on May 20, 2017, 05:53:16 PM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.

In most of the US, teaching is a fairly low-paid job. One would rarely earn anywhere near as much teaching material as they would practicing it. This attracts ... well, not exactly the most competent people. Some teachers are awesome and are purposefully taking a pay cut; but for probably the majority it's the best they can do.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Secretly Saving on May 20, 2017, 06:31:00 PM
School teachers don't get paid nine-over-twelve?
It would be ten-over-twelve ... and my county (or maybe it's state?) doesn't allow it.  However, our credit union -- which we all use since it's so much better than the bank -- offers a similar program.  You opt to have X amount of every paycheck diverted into a "summer spending account"; some people even opt to have "extra" put into the summer account, saying that they need more in the summer for vacations, etc.  And that summer savings account costs nothing; it's just a re-shuffling of the money that's yours. 

Yes, I have also noticed that financial literacy isn't always strong with teachers. However, I wonder how many folks in other professions would also struggle with 2.5 unpaid months every year!
In my fairly lengthy experience, it's feast or famine with teachers.  That is, their financial literary is either feast or famine.  A whole lot are very good with money:  I know a bunch of teachers who live in nice houses, have no debt, and have good side-jobs and solid plans for retirement.  On the other hand, I know a bunch who are the exact opposite.  I walked a math teacher though his pension options the other day and had to explain twice why he and his wife (also a teacher) should choose the survivor benefit rather than the maximum benefit ... in their situation, it's absolutely the right choice.  Honestly, it's about 50-50. 

My husband and I've done very well for ourselves ... in part because our pay/benefits are opposites:  He earns a strong paycheck but has little stability and poor retirement options.  I have a low paycheck but strong job stability and summers off (which was a big money /effort saver when the kids were smaller). Ironically, a BUNCH of people I know are Engineer-Teacher combinations, and those people tend to be financially savvy.

We're teacher and engineer.  I've found this statement to be true as well.  It generally seems to be a good combination for stability/financial security and level headed decision making.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Travis on May 20, 2017, 08:10:17 PM


Now they aren't any better than a high interest check cashing place.

That's where my mind went immediately.  If they need a loan to get through the summer and it is garnished over the next year, then they'll need another loan (possibly bigger) the following summer. Wash, rinse, rack up interest and fees.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on May 20, 2017, 09:37:24 PM
One would rarely earn anywhere near as much teaching material as they would practicing it. This attracts ... well, not exactly the most competent people. Some teachers are awesome and are purposefully taking a pay cut; but for probably the majority it's the best they can do.

I think it's an unfortunate by-product of America's anti-intellectual culture that the stereotype exists that teachers are people who cannot do and who are forced to teach because of their own incompetence. Almost every teacher I've ever met is an expert in their field of study and could easily make a lot of money either doing it or doing something really easy like being a stock broker or app developer. They choose to be teachers because they want to help people and make the world a better place.

Maybe that makes them stupid, but I suppose that's up to each person's opinion of the value of public service.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Just Joe on May 21, 2017, 09:08:23 AM
I am sure the school district is getting some sort of kickback for promoting this.  I swear, it makes me angry how poor financial decisions are promoted by the school.  The 403b options are equally terrible, and I wonder if they are getting some benefit from selecting those specific providers and plans.

I know many teachers who don't have a plan to ever retire; they can't ever retire.  They are going to work until they are unable to.  A lot of teachers don't save.

There's a great friend of mine, who has been carrying $15k+ in credit card debt for 7+ years now, just paying the minimum or sometimes more before it gets back to the max.  I've offered to help her budget to get rid of it, and she says she wants me to look at her budget, but it never happens.  There's always an excuse why she can't pay it off right now.  She's not even the worst of the teachers I know.  So many tell me that they always "intend" to pay off their credit cards every month, but usually they can't.  When I ask why they don't just pull from savings and then refill the savings next month, they confess that they have no savings.  When I see those things that say the average American has less than $1,000 in savings, I believe it.  It might even be worse among my teacher friends.

Most Americans across the board don't know how to handle their own money because a great many people make a lot of money by keeping them ignorant. If Americans became financially literate, it would be a disaster for these people, so we have Wall Street bankers writing the high school financial literacy classes that do exist and advertisers constantly bombard people with lies to keep them spending money they don't have. May as well have Coca-Cola in charge of weight loss classes.

It's pretty much a guarantee that the school districts know what they are doing ripping off the teachers. Everyone wants their percentage.

You nailed it. Seems like our society collectively ought to be getting more wise each year but a good number of people I've met over the years seem to prefer to be ignorant and reject educated people.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: paddedhat on May 21, 2017, 12:47:35 PM

In most of the US, teaching is a fairly low-paid job. One would rarely earn anywhere near as much teaching material as they would practicing it. This attracts ... well, not exactly the most competent people. Some teachers are awesome and are purposefully taking a pay cut; but for probably the majority it's the best they can do.

Absolutely ridiculous. Have spent a lifetime married to a teacher, and knowing many, many more, your bias is without merit.  Given recent, much stricter requirements for academic performance, and  "bar exam" level testing to get state certification, the caliber of educators has only gotten better.  Your, "best they can do" horseshit is no better than all the other baseless scorn heaped on the profession. Funny part is,  most who believe and repeat trash like this would be nowhere without the teachers that got them this far in life.

As for low pay it's simple,  you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.  My wife specialized in placement testing.  She evaluated every new and transfer student before they were placed in the classroom. It's amazing to compare teacher salaries and performance. It was nothing to have a relocating parent present a kid who was a star back home, top of their class, award winning, even. It was common to test these kids and find that they are at least a year behind.  At this point my wife would mention it at home, and I would try to guess which backward, right to work, low paying state the kid came from. Typically, FL, GA, or similar. If the kid came from a religious school from the same area, they could often be years behind, and need a lot of individual attention to catch up with their peers.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on May 21, 2017, 01:34:03 PM

In most of the US, teaching is a fairly low-paid job. One would rarely earn anywhere near as much teaching material as they would practicing it. This attracts ... well, not exactly the most competent people. Some teachers are awesome and are purposefully taking a pay cut; but for probably the majority it's the best they can do.

Absolutely ridiculous. Have spent a lifetime married to a teacher, and knowing many, many more, your bias is without merit.  Given recent, much stricter requirements for academic performance, and  "bar exam" level testing to get state certification, the caliber of educators has only gotten better.  Your, "best they can do" horseshit is no better than all the other baseless scorn heaped on the profession. Funny part is,  most who believe and repeat trash like this would be nowhere without the teachers that got them this far in life.

As for low pay it's simple,  you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.  My wife specialized in placement testing.  She evaluated every new and transfer student before they were placed in the classroom. It's amazing to compare teacher salaries and performance. It was nothing to have a relocating parent present a kid who was a star back home, top of their class, award winning, even. It was common to test these kids and find that they are at least a year behind.  At this point my wife would mention it at home, and I would try to guess which backward, right to work, low paying state the kid came from. Typically, FL, GA, or similar. If the kid came from a religious school from the same area, they could often be years behind, and need a lot of individual attention to catch up with their peers.

Paddedhat, aren't the two paragraphs of your comment somewhat contradictory? If the students coming out of states school are a year or more behind, and you think the reason for that is because the states don't pay teachers enough, so they get bad teachers, doesn't that imply that you think there are a lot of teachers employed in the USA who aren't particularly good at their jobs?

I've known some great teachers. I've also known some terrible teachers. My own personal observation is that that older the population of teachers you look at the wider the distribution, because the okay teachers burn out and go do something else. The folks who teach for decades are either both gifted and not motivated by money, or aren't qualified to find any other job that would pay anywhere near as much. I was fortunate enough to learn from some of the former. And lucky to have had enough family support to get me through the years where I was trapped in classrooms with some of the latter.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on May 21, 2017, 05:19:23 PM
For every older teacher we know who is really doing well, we know another who can't retire, or is retiring with a ton of debt, and a much lower pension, due to dumb decisions.
Yeah, I'll give a couple examples: 

- About two years ago one of my co-workers retired (nice house, sent her kids to private colleges, lots of vacations, new cars constantly ... yeah, lots of debt) ... and after she attended a retirement seminar, she came back horrified, saying that our pension is less than our current paychecks!  Um, yeah, I did know that.  How'd I know?  Well, the pension formula is public knowledge; it's in the benefits book they gave us all, and it's easy to find on the internet.  I attended that retirement seminar when I was not yet 30, so yeah, I did know -- to the penny -- how much my anticipated pension will be. 

- I was talking with a math teacher -- don't miss that detail, a math teacher -- who has a couple years to go, and he was asking if I understood the concept of choosing one of the four pension options.  I did, and we started running numbers.  He was inclined to go with the maximum pension number because he and his wife have NO other retirement savings, and they'll need the money ... and I had to show him twice that he and his teacher wife should BOTH go with the 100% survivorship option.  Finally he saw that they needed to give up about $250/month so that the spouse who dies second won't have his or her main income sliced in half. 

- I sometimes read an online teacher board, and I completely failed to help people there understand that, yes, with the Pension + Social Security option, you CAN have the state pay your Social Security until you turn 62 ... but that option means you're accepting a lower pension for the rest of your life.  They kept saying, "But my friend took it a decade ago, and her check didn't change when she turned 62."  Yeah, yeah, but ... oh, I just gave up.  Examples didn't help. 

On the other hand, a full 50% of my teacher friends live like I do:  On considerably less than they earn, paying off modest houses, driving modest cars, living frugal lives.  Those of us who've made these choices are heading for comfortable retirements. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on May 21, 2017, 05:27:20 PM
I know many teachers who don't have a plan to ever retire; they can't ever retire.  They are going to work until they are unable to.  A lot of teachers don't save.
Since teachers tend to have pensions, this doesn't make sense. 

Assume you're not saving and you're not trying to retire early:
You put in your 30 years, and you start collecting your pension (which pays you about half your working salary and basic-basic health insurance).  Take the pension and work somewhere else part time (or seasonally).  You're now making roughly the same amount of money, but you're only working half as many hours.  You do that until you turn 62 and begin collecting Social Security. 

If you've been paying off a modest house for years so that your housing costs are very low, it wouldn't be hard at all to live on this ... with no real retirement savings at all.  Yes, you're assuming that the pension will remain stable ... but in the face of "I'll never retire at all", this isn't a bad plan.

Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on May 21, 2017, 06:16:05 PM
Quote
Since teachers tend to have pensions, this doesn't make sense. 

Assume you're not saving and you're not trying to retire early: You put in your 30 years, and you start collecting your pension (which pays you about half your working salary and basic-basic health insurance).  Take the pension and work somewhere else part time (or seasonally).  You're now making roughly the same amount of money, but you're only working half as many hours.  You do that until you turn 62 and begin collecting Social Security. 

If you've been paying off a modest house for years so that your housing costs are very low, it wouldn't be hard at all to live on this ... with no real retirement savings at all.  Yes, you're assuming that the pension will remain stable ... but in the face of "I'll never retire at all", this isn't a bad plan.

Yes, 30 years would get you 48% of your average salary from the last 5 years you worked.  Teachers who are near that age now would still have a COLA factored in, also.  Thanks to fun changes, every year I work reduces the COLA percentage because they have removed it for everyone who started a few years ago.  I am not aware of any provisions for health care in our pension system, aside from a maximum of $150/mo to help you pay for your own after you have started getting the pension.

Now, someone who is living at > 100% of their income can't afford to retire on 48% of their current pay.

Their mortgage is probably less than 10 years old, because they did a cash-out refinance a few years ago and took the largest mortgage they could get approved for.  It's not going anywhere soon and it's for a large percentage of their income.  I know a teacher who should be 5 years away from retiring.  She had a foreclosure  6 or 7 years ago.  She's looking to buy a house now.  She's trying to get the maximum amount they will approve her for, even working 3 clubs and summer school, to boost her "apparent" pay to boost that number.  She has no intention of working those things when she gets the house.

Getting a job, in your 50s, that is part time and pays enough to make up the missing salary isn't easy.  Many of them are older women who have little real skills.  Oddly enough, those who do have skills that could get them a decent part time job are also able to retire on 48% of their income.

This describes a lot of teachers I know.  Teachers who intend to teach until they are 65+ because they don't have any other options.  Teachers who have debts that might never be paid back.  I know a teacher who takes a couple college credits every year to keep their student loans in deferment, forever, and has high six-figures of them.  They will rack up more debt in order to keep doing that and pushing the loans off even more.

I find the engineer/teacher thing amusing.  I left engineering to go into education.  How I ended up in elementary (and for a while ESE) is a long story and involved maximizing my loan forgiveness to reduce my loans balances.  So, I am both in one person.  And, I am definitely better off and more knowledgeable than many I work with.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on May 22, 2017, 08:09:33 AM
Financial issues aside, I find it hilarious that all of my teacher relatives / friends who complain about being underappreciated / underpaid from August -> April have been peppering their Facebook feeds about how they CAN'T WAIT for the school year to end because they're stressed out and need their two-plus month vacation, complete with memes of margaritas and beach scenes. 

Financially, I have seen it both ways.  I have a BIL/SIL teacher combo who did the right things financially and both retired mid-50s very comfortably.  Another BIL teacher is a financial train wreck and is planning on working indefinitely (until his mother passes and he gets enough of an inheritance to pay off his debts).  Another SIL is still teaching because she likes working, BIL is already retired with a state pension and they're financially fine.  Sibling teacher is doing OK, but I just showed them how to open an online savings account to improve on the 0.1% interest they were getting at a brick-and-mortar bank.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: talltexan on May 22, 2017, 01:07:24 PM
I had a teacher friend at church tell me that he's so glad his son is already saving $400/month.

His son is 31, and unmarried.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on May 22, 2017, 02:52:12 PM
I know many teachers who don't have a plan to ever retire; they can't ever retire.  They are going to work until they are unable to.  A lot of teachers don't save.
Since teachers tend to have pensions, this doesn't make sense. 

Assume you're not saving and you're not trying to retire early:
You put in your 30 years, and you start collecting your pension (which pays you about half your working salary and basic-basic health insurance).  Take the pension and work somewhere else part time (or seasonally).  You're now making roughly the same amount of money, but you're only working half as many hours.  You do that until you turn 62 and begin collecting Social Security. 

If you've been paying off a modest house for years so that your housing costs are very low, it wouldn't be hard at all to live on this ... with no real retirement savings at all.  Yes, you're assuming that the pension will remain stable ... but in the face of "I'll never retire at all", this isn't a bad plan.

Well, if you read the news, it seems pretty obvious that teacher pension plans are not long for this world, so teachers should probably not plan on ever getting one if they are just starting out in the profession. In the state where I live, the teacher pension plan is so underfunded that we'd need to increase every resident's taxes by thousands and thousands of dollars per year to pay for it. Instead, what will probably happen is that the pension will be converted to a 403b administered by companies owned by state politicians' friends, the funds offered will be practically worthless, and the fees will be so high that teachers will get ripped off for hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time retirement comes around.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MgoSam on May 22, 2017, 03:04:11 PM
Speaking of teachers, has anyone here read "Millionaire Teacher" by Andrew Hallam? If so, is it worth checking out if you've read a few Personal Finance books like "The Millionaire Next Door?"
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on May 22, 2017, 03:13:04 PM

Paddedhat, aren't the two paragraphs of your comment somewhat contradictory? If the students coming out of states school are a year or more behind, and you think the reason for that is because the states don't pay teachers enough, so they get bad teachers, doesn't that imply that you think there are a lot of teachers employed in the USA who aren't particularly good at their jobs?

I think he was talking about a difference in educational standards in some specific underperforming states. The states in question are in parts of the country where the pig-ignorant anti-education culture has reached critical mass. Where there's a sizable drug underclass, where the generational poverty is so pervasive that most kids are on some form of social assistance, or where it's socially acceptable for people to reach the age of majority and claim adult privileges without functioning like adults, most families don't have enough functional adults to go around. That means the kids don't get support in school and are often not even required to attend. It also means there's not much of a tax base to support schools and very little political will to improve them.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: gimp on May 22, 2017, 06:31:28 PM
Ah yes, the indignant teachers.

I've been to school before. The majority of my teachers were not terribly intelligent people. They weren't idiots, but rarely did they astound me with their ability to do anything other than corral a room full of kids (which, admittedly, is a specialized and difficult skillset.) I went to a "good" public school in a "good" state.

I went to another school with teachers who were world-class. It was an exception, not the rule.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: SK Joyous on May 26, 2017, 04:43:01 PM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.
I'm in Canada, where teachers are both very well compensated and fairly well insulated from the realities of the private labour market. Perhaps the all the goodies - excellent benefits, defined benefits pension, exceptional time off - has jaded them somewhat to the need to be aware of finances. Perhaps its something else.

I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.

I'm in Canada too, and both of my parents are teachers. I assume you're talking about modern teachers, or teachers somewhere else, because here our teachers (in the province) didn't get health/dental insurance until I was grown up and moved out, and defined pension plans went the way of the dodo back around 1980. The 'exceptional time off' is, of course, unpaid, and only recently have there been programs that will pay out over the 12 months - teachers had to do it themselves before that.  I do agree, however, that they seem to be generally below the bell curve on financial literacy, but I don't think their benefits are the reason. I think possibly it's because so many of them are idealists (I've observed that teaching attracts a particular kind of person - just generally, not every single one of them).
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: SK Joyous on May 26, 2017, 04:50:27 PM
Ah yes, the indignant teachers.

I've been to school before. The majority of my teachers were not terribly intelligent people. They weren't idiots, but rarely did they astound me with their ability to do anything other than corral a room full of kids (which, admittedly, is a specialized and difficult skillset.) I went to a "good" public school in a "good" state.

I went to another school with teachers who were world-class. It was an exception, not the rule.

Well, I feel sorry for your limited, anecdotal experience with teachers. I had many brilliant teachers (as have my children) that promoted critical thinking, analytical thinking, and awareness of current events. But you know, go on about the 'corralling', I'm sure that attitude certainly brings out the best in the teachers you encounter.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: destination13 on May 27, 2017, 06:50:35 AM
Those that have taught less than five have it the worst--fresh out of school, low on the salary schedule, student loan debt, and just starting to have kids or planning to. A trifecta of impoverishment.

Yeah, I did 5 years of this hamster wheel bullshit and got out.

Gotta love annual raises that are half the rate of inflation.  Get paid a shit salary, and make less every year!

Not sure what I was thinking.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: destination13 on May 27, 2017, 06:51:52 AM
Well, I feel sorry for your limited, anecdotal experience with teachers. I had many brilliant teachers (as have my children) that promoted critical thinking, analytical thinking, and awareness of current events. But you know, go on about the 'corralling', I'm sure that attitude certainly brings out the best in the teachers you encounter.

And your experience isn't limited and anecdotal?
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on May 27, 2017, 06:58:44 AM
Those that have taught less than five have it the worst--fresh out of school, low on the salary schedule, student loan debt, and just starting to have kids or planning to. A trifecta of impoverishment.

Yeah, I did 5 years of this hamster wheel bullshit and got out.

Gotta love annual raises that are half the rate of inflation.  Get paid a shit salary, and make less every year!

Not sure what I was thinking.

Teaching tends to attract idealists. Many of them realize that teaching isn't really like the way it's portrayed in the movies and then they move on to more lucrative occupations. It's unfortunate, but we simply don't value education in the USA. Why bother gaining knowledge and learning new skills when everybody is going to be a professional athlete or movie star or they are going to win big in the state lottery?
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on May 27, 2017, 12:25:48 PM
Quote
Since teachers tend to have pensions, this doesn't make sense. 

Assume you're not saving and you're not trying to retire early: You put in your 30 years, and you start collecting your pension (which pays you about half your working salary and basic-basic health insurance).  Take the pension and work somewhere else part time (or seasonally).  You're now making roughly the same amount of money, but you're only working half as many hours.  You do that until you turn 62 and begin collecting Social Security. 

If you've been paying off a modest house for years so that your housing costs are very low, it wouldn't be hard at all to live on this ... with no real retirement savings at all.  Yes, you're assuming that the pension will remain stable ... but in the face of "I'll never retire at all", this isn't a bad plan.

Yes, 30 years would get you 48% of your average salary from the last 5 years you worked.  Teachers who are near that age now would still have a COLA factored in, also.  Thanks to fun changes, every year I work reduces the COLA percentage because they have removed it for everyone who started a few years ago.  I am not aware of any provisions for health care in our pension system, aside from a maximum of $150/mo to help you pay for your own after you have started getting the pension.

Now, someone who is living at > 100% of their income can't afford to retire on 48% of their current pay.

Their mortgage is probably less than 10 years old, because they did a cash-out refinance a few years ago and took the largest mortgage they could get approved for.  It's not going anywhere soon and it's for a large percentage of their income.  I know a teacher who should be 5 years away from retiring.  She had a foreclosure  6 or 7 years ago.  She's looking to buy a house now.  She's trying to get the maximum amount they will approve her for, even working 3 clubs and summer school, to boost her "apparent" pay to boost that number.  She has no intention of working those things when she gets the house.

Getting a job, in your 50s, that is part time and pays enough to make up the missing salary isn't easy.  Many of them are older women who have little real skills.  Oddly enough, those who do have skills that could get them a decent part time job are also able to retire on 48% of their income.

This describes a lot of teachers I know.  Teachers who intend to teach until they are 65+ because they don't have any other options.  Teachers who have debts that might never be paid back.  I know a teacher who takes a couple college credits every year to keep their student loans in deferment, forever, and has high six-figures of them.  They will rack up more debt in order to keep doing that and pushing the loans off even more.

I find the engineer/teacher thing amusing.  I left engineering to go into education.  How I ended up in elementary (and for a while ESE) is a long story and involved maximizing my loan forgiveness to reduce my loans balances.  So, I am both in one person.  And, I am definitely better off and more knowledgeable than many I work with.
No, I still maintain that a teacher who's saved nothing ... but who has put in 30 years for a pension can make it ... along with a part time or seasonal job.  Think through the math:

- A teacher with 30 years experience in my state would receive a pension of about 2,000/month (depending upon options chosen) ... this is about half that person's gross salary at retirement.
- A teacher in my state who retires with 30 years experience would receive basic medical insurance at no cost
- Right away he or she is saving the 6.2% that was going into Social Security and the 8% that was paying into the teacher's pension fund ... and with less income coming in, he or she will pay less in taxes.
- This hypothetical person will cut down on professional clothing, gas and other work-related costs, so that's a bit more money that wouldn't need replacing. 
- At the same time, the person will have more time available, so he or she can cook from scratch and do things around the house that previously might've been outsourced. 
- As for the house being re-mortgaged, could be ... but teachers (and I'm no exception) lean towards conservative investments, and I think most would see the benefit in simply paying off the house.

The point:  All this means that less salary needs replacing.  I do think it's reasonable that this person could work somewhere three days a week and replace the "missing salary" and have the the same buying power. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on May 28, 2017, 10:05:43 AM
OK, but all those things are the things these teacher chose not to do up to this point.  They would consider it unreasonable and still work as a teacher.  Heck, if they are going to need a job, why not keep the one they currently have.  Sadly, they can slack pretty hard and avoid being terminated, for years, with a little correctly focused effort.  I don't believe my state has insurance for their situation, but it's great that yours does.

Could it be done?  Yes.  Will it be done?  I know several teachers with 25+ years in who have openly verbalized that they can't afford to retire and will keep working as long as they physically can.  It's not hypothetical with them.  They spend 100% or more of their annual salary and are unwilling to change their habits.  I know one teacher who has worked at my school since I attended it when I was 7, 29 years ago.  And she wasn't a new teacher at the time.  She tells me all the time that she will have to die in the classroom or win the lotto.

In theory, you might be correct.  In practice, as I experience at my school, I don't see it as often as you would expect.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on May 28, 2017, 07:45:31 PM
OK, but all those things are the things these teacher chose not to do up to this point.  They would consider it unreasonable and still work as a teacher.  Heck, if they are going to need a job, why not keep the one they currently have. 
Because if this hypothetical teacher begins to draw a full pension, she'll be able to work three days a week instead of five days a week.  And likely at a job that doesn't require grading papers and planning lessons at home every evening. 

I know a number of people who are living this choice, so I know it works.  Of course you and I don't think it's an optimal situation, but it's quite possible for a teacher with a full-years pension to chop work hours in half.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: lemonde on May 28, 2017, 10:31:43 PM

In most of the US, teaching is a fairly low-paid job. One would rarely earn anywhere near as much teaching material as they would practicing it. This attracts ... well, not exactly the most competent people. Some teachers are awesome and are purposefully taking a pay cut; but for probably the majority it's the best they can do.

Absolutely ridiculous. Have spent a lifetime married to a teacher, and knowing many, many more, your bias is without merit.  Given recent, much stricter requirements for academic performance, and  "bar exam" level testing to get state certification, the caliber of educators has only gotten better.  Your, "best they can do" horseshit is no better than all the other baseless scorn heaped on the profession. Funny part is,  most who believe and repeat trash like this would be nowhere without the teachers that got them this far in life.

Well said.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: infogoon on May 30, 2017, 09:20:06 AM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: destination13 on May 30, 2017, 09:24:05 AM
I've been to school before. The majority of my teachers were not terribly intelligent people. They weren't idiots, but rarely did they astound me with their ability to do anything other than corral a room full of kids (which, admittedly, is a specialized and difficult skillset.) I went to a "good" public school in a "good" state.

The skill of "corralling kids" is a prerequistie to being a good teacher.

However, few teachers have the ability to do this effectively.

Doesn't matter how good your information is if no one hears it.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on May 30, 2017, 12:12:54 PM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.

+1000
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: StockBeard on May 30, 2017, 02:28:27 PM
I would vocally complain if such a predatory loan was introduced in my company by an person with authority. People will get scammed into this
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: talltexan on May 31, 2017, 08:43:06 AM
My wife's employer is a large, publicly traded company. They recently announced a re-adjustment in pay, which resulted--effectively--in them delaying one week's worth of pay.

Her last of three March pay checks (she's paid every second Friday) was 1/2 of the normal amount. The company offered employees a program in which they could receive an interest free loan that would be paid back over the subsequent four pay periods, but we opted for the mustachian route and just bit the bullet.

Of course, I mis-calculated our account balance and racked up about $18 in fees anyway, but at least we're not paying back a loan to her employer.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: eddiejoe on June 08, 2017, 03:48:56 PM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.

+1000

Whenever I see a teacher's sob story on Facebook in March, I always want to comment on it in mid July asking them if they would be willing to trade and come be glued to my desk all summer.
(I'd probably want to trade back in the fall, but there are a lot of long sighs staring out my office window from May to September)    
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on June 08, 2017, 06:47:54 PM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.

+1000

Whenever I see a teacher's sob story on Facebook in March, I always want to comment on it in mid July asking them if they would be willing to trade and come be glued to my desk all summer.
(I'd probably want to trade back in the fall, but there are a lot of long sighs staring out my office window from May to September)

When I think about teachers, I commend them because I personally would rather not spend my entire day being insulted (and/or assaulted depending on the neighborhood) by hundreds of children everyday and then be insulted by administrators and parents for the afternoons and evenings. All for the same pay as a McDonald's manager. But what do I know. Maybe that's your idea of an easy and luxurious job.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on June 08, 2017, 09:06:14 PM
I taught for a few years in a university. Same situation - we had a contract that started at the beginning of the school year (Feb in NZ) and ended in Nov. No pay over the NZ summer (Xmas time). We did have free access to a really interesting series of lectures on finance from an actuary and a personal finance expert. Out of a staff of over 1000, there were generally 15 or 20 people in the lectures every week. It was really eye opening stuff - both the lecture and the distinct lack of interest.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: eddiejoe on June 08, 2017, 09:41:25 PM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.

+1000

Whenever I see a teacher's sob story on Facebook in March, I always want to comment on it in mid July asking them if they would be willing to trade and come be glued to my desk all summer.
(I'd probably want to trade back in the fall, but there are a lot of long sighs staring out my office window from May to September)

When I think about teachers, I commend them because I personally would rather not spend my entire day being insulted (and/or assaulted depending on the neighborhood) by hundreds of children everyday and then be insulted by administrators and parents for the afternoons and evenings. All for the same pay as a McDonald's manager. But what do I know. Maybe that's your idea of an easy and luxurious job.

I'm sorry this joke personal offended you. I thought it was a funny point to make  but debated putting it up because showing any sort of negative opinion on teachers is like swan diving onto the third rail. The eseesence was "as much as teachers complain, and I agree with the grievances,  there is  a clear peark to the job (summers off)"

I also think no job is "easy and luxurious". You mentioned a McDonald's manager. When I was in high school I was a cashier at Burger King. The restaurant's GM had one of the most stressful jobs I've ever seen. She would work 70 hours on a good week, had to deal with a super flaky workforce, and was constantly being harassed by upper management to meet numbers. She had been with the company for 10 years and I think she was making a little under $50k. She never got the Summer off.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on June 09, 2017, 07:27:14 AM
None of the teachers I know are panicking -- most of them are in full Gloating Mode now that summer vacation is coming up. It's sort of a nice change of pace from Martyrdom Mode the other nine months of the year.

+1000

Whenever I see a teacher's sob story on Facebook in March, I always want to comment on it in mid July asking them if they would be willing to trade and come be glued to my desk all summer.
(I'd probably want to trade back in the fall, but there are a lot of long sighs staring out my office window from May to September)

When I think about teachers, I commend them because I personally would rather not spend my entire day being insulted (and/or assaulted depending on the neighborhood) by hundreds of children everyday and then be insulted by administrators and parents for the afternoons and evenings. All for the same pay as a McDonald's manager. But what do I know. Maybe that's your idea of an easy and luxurious job.

Nobody claimed that being a teacher is easy or luxurious.  You CHOOSE not to be a teacher because of the associated crap you have to put up with.  I know I don't have the patience to do it either, and I'm glad a lot of folks do.  I respect their efforts to teach my children and their dedication to their craft.  But those people CHOOSE to be teachers, knowing full well what the job entails, pay, etc.  It is hypocritical when teachers complain about low wages (their annual pay in my area is above the median household income in their districts and they have super-cheap health care, for the most part) and long hours for 9 months out of the year touting how dedicated they are to the children, how they have to do continuing education, their bosses couldn't do their jobs but mandate how they do it, etc., then post a series of "Parents, they're your problem now!" memes on Facebook as they have their post-state-testing last month of the school year countdown to their three month vacation.  Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Plugra on June 09, 2017, 07:47:53 AM
Teachers are definitely a target for financial abuse.  There have been some great news articles lately about how teachers are scammed on their 403(b) retirement plans -- often the only choices in the plan are ghastly, incomprehensible, high fee, variable annuities. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/your-money/401ks-and-similar-plans/when-teachers-face-the-task-of-fixing-their-retirement-accounts.html

I'm a member of the teacher's union and I get lots of junk mail with financial offers and whatnot.  The union is a large pool of people with steady jobs and retirement savings, so I guess they are sitting ducks.

Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MgoSam on June 09, 2017, 08:48:00 AM
Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid.

Clearly they can since they already are.

Listen I can't really argue that teachers are underpaid as they work 9 months of the year and have access to some really nice benefits depending on their state/district (good friend is having her student loans paid next year by her district), but they work their butts off. Most of the teachers I know probably work more hours per week than I do during their 9 months of work and that doesn't include their continuing education or degree requirements. If it means having to Unfollow them on FB because you are sick of their martyr posts then so be it.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on June 09, 2017, 08:57:15 AM
Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid.

Clearly they can since they already are.

Touché.  Lol.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on June 09, 2017, 09:07:06 AM
Teachers are definitely a target for financial abuse.  There have been some great news articles lately about how teachers are scammed on their 403(b) retirement plans -- often the only choices in the plan are ghastly, incomprehensible, high fee, variable annuities. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/your-money/401ks-and-similar-plans/when-teachers-face-the-task-of-fixing-their-retirement-accounts.html

I'm a member of the teacher's union and I get lots of junk mail with financial offers and whatnot.  The union is a large pool of people with steady jobs and retirement savings, so I guess they are sitting ducks.

I think I have posted on here, a few times, about the horrible 403b options that we have through my school.  Many of the companies won't even answer any questions directly and will only send a representative (aka salesperson) to discuss their plans with you.  Those plans where I was able to find specifics often had costs of over 2% per year.  I currently have two different accounts.  One of which I am still waiting to hit the right number of years since the last deposit so that I can remove things without being charged a fee.  And, the second one is an annuity that is complete garbage.

As of the upcoming year, I am not putting another penny in the 403b plans, unless one of the representatives shows me a plan that is beneficial.  I have taken that money and moved it to max out my HSA account, as I switched to the high deductible plan through my school.  I maxed out my IRA (traditional but I might consider the Roth in the future--I am in the range where it is a coinflip decision) and will max it out again next year.  Three percent of my pay goes towards the pension, which isn't an option.
 I do feel like that is something that isn't going away.  After that, the rest is going into post-tax investing right now.  My tax bracket is low enough that I should be at a 0% rate for dividends.

When I run the specific numbers, for the plans I have or know about, I find the difference is negligible.  There is some potential advantage that I gain because I might switch careers in a few years, but I think both accounts have surrender fees that would negate those.  I could set up a third horrible account, with high annual fees but not surrender fees, but then it would cost me more if I don't end up changing career paths.  At this moment, I think it's best to just stay out of any financial deals my school offers.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: talltexan on June 09, 2017, 09:52:23 AM
It seemed as though a lot of the teachers I knew (I was in the industry for ten years) found part-time work in the summer. Sometimes it was service stuff (coffee shops), or sometimes education-related (grading standardized exams or teaching test prep).
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Plugra on June 09, 2017, 10:31:09 AM
Quote
I think I have posted on here, a few times, about the horrible 403b options that we have through my school.  Many of the companies won't even answer any questions directly and will only send a representative (aka salesperson) to discuss their plans with you.  Those plans where I was able to find specifics often had costs of over 2% per year.

Why do think the 403(b) options are so terrible?  Is it because nobody thinks to make a fuss, or because someone in the administration is being taken out for steak and lobster by the sales reps?

I teach at a university and we have decent 403(b) options (although fees have still been an issue). But if I were teaching in K-12 and was being forced into these annuities I would complain loudly and publicly to the school board, the op-ed page, etc.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Debonair on June 10, 2017, 07:00:05 AM
I wish I got my summers off.

I told a friend of mine that teaches in the USA this. She thought I was crazy. There is also no retirement plan so I am also jealous she has (well has access to) 403b.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Cyanne on June 10, 2017, 12:40:40 PM
Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid.

Clearly they can since they already are.

Listen I can't really argue that teachers are underpaid as they work 9 months of the year and have access to some really nice benefits depending on their state/district (good friend is having her student loans paid next year by her district), but they work their butts off. Most of the teachers I know probably work more hours per week than I do during their 9 months of work and that doesn't include their continuing education or degree requirements. If it means having to Unfollow them on FB because you are sick of their martyr posts then so be it.

Students go to school nine months a year but teachers work additional days above those days that students attend. Teachers work several days to a week past student release and start a week or two before students return in the fall. I work ten months a year.

 The same is true for the hours in the day. Students at the school I teach at attend classes from 8:30-3:05 with a 30 minute lunch. My contract specifies that I be in the building working at 7:30 and stay until 3:30.

I can only speak to my personal numbers but I have yet to see a teacher in my state work only nine months per year and six hour days.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 11, 2017, 02:57:28 PM
Nobody claimed that being a teacher is easy or luxurious.  You CHOOSE not to be a teacher because of the associated crap you have to put up with.  I know I don't have the patience to do it either, and I'm glad a lot of folks do.  I respect their efforts to teach my children and their dedication to their craft.  But those people CHOOSE to be teachers, knowing full well what the job entails, pay, etc.  It is hypocritical when teachers complain about low wages (their annual pay in my area is above the median household income in their districts and they have super-cheap health care, for the most part) and long hours for 9 months out of the year touting how dedicated they are to the children, how they have to do continuing education, their bosses couldn't do their jobs but mandate how they do it, etc., then post a series of "Parents, they're your problem now!" memes on Facebook as they have their post-state-testing last month of the school year countdown to their three month vacation.  Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid.
What you're saying represents what most people think about the job of teaching, but I'd like to make a few corrections: 

- When I started teaching, teachers went in with full knowledge that they were making a trade-off:  We promised to accept a low paycheck with little room for advancement, but we'd have good benefits (for low cost to us) and a secure retirement ... and it was a good "mom job" in terms of life-work balance.  As years have gone by, that has changed:  The paycheck is still lower than those of other professionals with similar educational /performance requirements, but the benefits have lagged (and now are far from low cost), and the pension is not as secure as it once was.  The job has increased exponentially in the last decade; larger class sizes, more requirements from the state, more difficult students.  Yet the public seems to think we're still operating under the old system under which I entered. 

- Similarly, the public doesn't know what's going on with teacher salaries ... except for the people who are paying close attention to what the media says.  Here's an example:  About two years ago in my state, after a six-year salary freeze, the media announced that teachers were receiving an average salary increase of 7% all in one fell swoop.  7% is pretty good ... but the reality is that the state gave new teachers something like a 15% raise (because new teachers are leaving in droves), and teachers at the top of the salary scale (I'm not there, but I'm sympathetic) received literally nothing ... while insurance almost doubled in cost in a single year, meaning that the most experienced teachers not only received nothing after that six-year salary freeze but also saw a pay decrease, while the public said, "Why are you complaining?  Didn't you just get a 7% raise?"  And when we say, "The most experienced teachers are making fewer dollars than they were a decade ago", we are told that we're whiney.

- We are 10-month employees.  We are not paid for an 8-week summer break. 

- I don't claim that my immediate superiors couldn't do my job; after all, all the principals and assistant principals were once classroom teachers, and even if they're out of practice, they know the score.  However, I'm not sure about the legislators who make the laws -- though they make laws that affect our children's lives and futures, many of them have not been in a classroom since they themselves were students.  No, it's not that they lack the ability ... it's that they don't pay enough attention to actually know what's going on in schools to know what needs to be done.  In all the years I've been teaching, no legislator has ever returned one of my letters, visited my school, or asked a single question.

And I have to point out an inconsistency in your arguments: 

- You say teachers whine all year long, then laugh, "They're your problem now, parents!"  Literally millions of people work as teachers.  You can't assume that these are all the same people. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 11, 2017, 02:59:40 PM
It seemed as though a lot of the teachers I knew (I was in the industry for ten years) found part-time work in the summer. Sometimes it was service stuff (coffee shops), or sometimes education-related (grading standardized exams or teaching test prep).
Yes, most of the teachers I know have summer jobs.  In fact, a number of businesses actively recruit for service-type jobs because teachers are more reliable employees than high school or college students.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on June 11, 2017, 08:17:37 PM
American college students seem to now be aware of the fact that teaching is a really poor choice of employment in the 21st century because the percentage of college students studying education has dropped from 10% to 4% over the past decade. I guess that's just what happens when teachers get their pay cut and benefits slashed every year, while their responsibilities increase exponentially, PLUS they get the joy of being blamed by politicians and parents when kids decide not to bother doing their work. Yeah, not a very appetizing job, when you can just learn to code, design an app whose only feature is being able to send the word "Yo" to other people, and pocket a cool $1.2 million.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: StacheyStache on June 12, 2017, 05:17:30 AM
Sorry, but I've gotta agree with the above comments about teachers and the 9 month martyrdom/3 months of gloating thing.  I have quite a few teacher friends (IRL and on facebook) and around this time of year I start thinking about a career change.  I also have a high stress/high abuse job (from adult clients not students, most with mental health issues, it's unusual for a day to go by where I'm not cursed at), my education cost at least twice what theirs did, I also have high continuing education and license fee requirements, I make slightly more than the average teacher makes in my area and I work 12 months of the year with lots of unpaid overtime.  I got a text the other day from one person in my Friday night game night crew giving a heads up that she and her husband (both teachers) won't be able to attend game night for the foreseeable future because they're off traveling for four weeks.  My job gives two weeks vacation on top of all the above crap and the market is so bad there's literally nothing else available at my experience level (I look every day).  So yeah, it's hard to feel sorry teachers.

Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: westtoeast on June 12, 2017, 05:38:21 AM
I also want to mention how different teaching is across the country, since this thread is debating whether teachers get a good deal or not. Starting salaries can vary by 25 grand between a southern state and a northern state. In my state teachers are required to earn Masters degrees and are paid well. We also get nice raises each year. My coworkers are highly qualified. Many of them don't work in the summer. These facts are not true for many teachers across the country, where compensation is so low one must find a summer position.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: StarBright on June 12, 2017, 06:13:20 AM
American college students seem to now be aware of the fact that teaching is a really poor choice of employment in the 21st century because the percentage of college students studying education has dropped from 10% to 4% over the past decade. I guess that's just what happens when teachers get their pay cut and benefits slashed every year, while their responsibilities increase exponentially, PLUS they get the joy of being blamed by politicians and parents when kids decide not to bother doing their work. Yeah, not a very appetizing job, when you can just learn to code, design an app whose only feature is being able to send the word "Yo" to other people, and pocket a cool $1.2 million.


^for real yo! ( :) )  I had long planned to go into teaching as my second career.

The low starting salaries (my admin makes more than a teacher in their first five years), relatively high benefit costs, pension fund that is "in trouble" every year,  and increased admin duties of teachers are problematic. My biggest concern is because teaching is not covered by social security in my state and I'd have to be really careful that the windfall elimination provision wouldn't wipe out the 20 years of social security i earned in corporate america. The combined items have basically taken teaching off the table as an option for me.

I've run the numbers a few times and I think I would actually be better off financially if I work in my current industry 5 years longer than I planned and then just volunteer at schools instead.

We basically disincentivize teaching as a career.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on June 12, 2017, 07:29:19 AM
Nobody claimed that being a teacher is easy or luxurious.  You CHOOSE not to be a teacher because of the associated crap you have to put up with.  I know I don't have the patience to do it either, and I'm glad a lot of folks do.  I respect their efforts to teach my children and their dedication to their craft.  But those people CHOOSE to be teachers, knowing full well what the job entails, pay, etc.  It is hypocritical when teachers complain about low wages (their annual pay in my area is above the median household income in their districts and they have super-cheap health care, for the most part) and long hours for 9 months out of the year touting how dedicated they are to the children, how they have to do continuing education, their bosses couldn't do their jobs but mandate how they do it, etc., then post a series of "Parents, they're your problem now!" memes on Facebook as they have their post-state-testing last month of the school year countdown to their three month vacation.  Teachers can't have it both ways, playing the martyr during the school year then flaunting the main counter (it's a 9 month job) that the general public has when they claim they are underpaid.
What you're saying represents what most people think about the job of teaching, but I'd like to make a few corrections: 

- When I started teaching, teachers went in with full knowledge that they were making a trade-off:  We promised to accept a low paycheck with little room for advancement, but we'd have good benefits (for low cost to us) and a secure retirement ... and it was a good "mom job" in terms of life-work balance.  As years have gone by, that has changed:  The paycheck is still lower than those of other professionals with similar educational /performance requirements, but the benefits have lagged (and now are far from low cost), and the pension is not as secure as it once was.  The job has increased exponentially in the last decade; larger class sizes, more requirements from the state, more difficult students.  Yet the public seems to think we're still operating under the old system under which I entered. 

I can only base my judgement on what my sibling & in-laws (5 teachers spread across the state; 3 in special ed) tell me, and I'm in Ohio, so things may vary elsewhere.  I know my sibling's heath insurance has gone from fully-paid to having to contribute a whopping $72/month over the past decade.  Their base salary (has a Master's, per state requirement) has been pretty much growing by a grand a year, but is still ~$70K.  Assuming only 8 weeks off at the summer that's a 1760 hour work year, so they make ~$40/hr., which would be $83,200 at a 2080 hour job.  Ohio's median household income (2015) is $51,075, so I still think it's a pretty good deal.  I will agree that the state has lumped on more requirements / expectations and the job has changed over time.  Seeing what my sibling has to deal with, I wouldn't do that job for less than $100K.

Quote
- Similarly, the public doesn't know what's going on with teacher salaries ... except for the people who are paying close attention to what the media says.  Here's an example:  About two years ago in my state, after a six-year salary freeze, the media announced that teachers were receiving an average salary increase of 7% all in one fell swoop.  7% is pretty good ... but the reality is that the state gave new teachers something like a 15% raise (because new teachers are leaving in droves), and teachers at the top of the salary scale (I'm not there, but I'm sympathetic) received literally nothing ... while insurance almost doubled in cost in a single year, meaning that the most experienced teachers not only received nothing after that six-year salary freeze but also saw a pay decrease, while the public said, "Why are you complaining?  Didn't you just get a 7% raise?"  And when we say, "The most experienced teachers are making fewer dollars than they were a decade ago", we are told that we're whiney.

I have seen that happen with my relatives.  The state keeps tweaking the retirement rules, so the deal that some older teachers signed up for has been materially changed.  I think that's BS.  And districts run into money problems, can't pass levies, etc., so salaries get frozen / teachers work without a contract until a levy gets passed.  Then the teachers get a one-time 5% raise or something and they get called greedy.

Quote
- We are 10-month employees.  We are not paid for an 8-week summer break. 

I addressed this above.  The 10 month paycheck is often still pretty good for anyone with a few years of experience.  I will agree that the first year teachers getting $25K or so should probably be making more, but as long as there are fresh graduates to take those slots, it won't change.

Quote
- I don't claim that my immediate superiors couldn't do my job; after all, all the principals and assistant principals were once classroom teachers, and even if they're out of practice, they know the score.  However, I'm not sure about the legislators who make the laws -- though they make laws that affect our children's lives and futures, many of them have not been in a classroom since they themselves were students.  No, it's not that they lack the ability ... it's that they don't pay enough attention to actually know what's going on in schools to know what needs to be done.  In all the years I've been teaching, no legislator has ever returned one of my letters, visited my school, or asked a single question.

Completely agree re: legislators.  The Ohio governor's budget has a provision where teachers are supposed to go intern at a "real" business to see how the "real world" operates as part of their license renewal.  It's a dumb idea overall, but even more idiotic if you think about how that would be completely irrelevant to teachers below 9th grade.

Quote
And I have to point out an inconsistency in your arguments: 

- You say teachers whine all year long, then laugh, "They're your problem now, parents!"  Literally millions of people work as teachers.  You can't assume that these are all the same people.

I don't see the inconsistency or get your point.  Are some of the "parents" in that meme teachers too, sure.  I am just relaying what some teachers I am FB friends with post.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on June 12, 2017, 07:41:40 AM
<snip>
 The same is true for the hours in the day. Students at the school I teach at attend classes from 8:30-3:05 with a 30 minute lunch. My contract specifies that I be in the building working at 7:30 and stay until 3:30.

So a contractually mandated 8 hour day.  My office hours are 8 - 5 with a 1 hour lunch, which is pretty typical.  I can use the restroom whenever I want, so I guess I have it a little better.

Quote
I don't generally complain about my salary except when comparing it to surrounding districts who pay more for the same position.
It stinks that once a teacher has a year or two of experience, neighboring districts won't hire you because you're "too expensive" and try to fill their openings with folks at the lower end of the pay scale.  So you're essentially locked into a district, and can't take advantage of job-hopping to leverage your true worth like those in the private sector.

Quote
I am not sure how the previous point about teacher pay being higher than the median household income is relavant.
Teachers make more, relatively, than the majority of the households in the districts where they teach (at least in Ohio).  It's not like the taxpayers are forcing them to live in poverty, they have a better paying job than most of them.

Quote
Is the median education level of the average household the same? Over 50% of my co-workers have masters degrees which according to census data is much higher than the average household in the area I work.
Ah, the old fallacy that a degree must equal more pay.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: talltexan on June 12, 2017, 08:30:58 AM
nobody123: this degree/pay fallacy you describe: perhaps "fallacy" isn't the right word for it.

It is true that there are specific cases of people without much formal education who are paid very highly. In some cases, the high pay compensates them for attributes that are independent of education, such as entrepreneurial skill or great beauty.

It is also very easy to produce examples of people who get a specific degree that doesn't translate very much into earnings, because the kind of degree is not in high demand or because the person who acquired the degree made other choices to reduce his/her income.

But the correlation between education/training and income over our population is strong and well-documented. It's completely reasonable to argue that your pay should be compared to other people at the same education level.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on June 12, 2017, 08:44:40 AM
But the correlation between education/training and income over our population is strong and well-documented. It's completely reasonable to argue that your pay should be compared to other people at the same education level.

I think the problem is defining what the same education level means. For example it would not be fair to compare the population of people with a PhD in Statistics to those with a PhD in Art History. You wouldn't compare the population of people with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering to the population of people with a B.S. in Linguistics.

Teachers get masters degrees in education. Comparing their earnings to people with masters in other subjects is going to be misleading. The problem is that the vast majority of people with a masters degree in education work in the school system (public or private), so it's really not an informative piece of information to argue schools are over or underpaying teachers based on the value of that degree.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on June 12, 2017, 09:24:02 AM
- I don't claim that my immediate superiors couldn't do my job; after all, all the principals and assistant principals were once classroom teachers, and even if they're out of practice, they know the score.  However, I'm not sure about the legislators who make the laws -- though they make laws that affect our children's lives and futures, many of them have not been in a classroom since they themselves were students.  No, it's not that they lack the ability ... it's that they don't pay enough attention to actually know what's going on in schools to know what needs to be done.  In all the years I've been teaching, no legislator has ever returned one of my letters, visited my school, or asked a single question.
This is SO true, and it gets worse the further you go up the government chain.  It bugs the heck out of me when I see or hear about regulations getting passed down from the federal or state legislatures that seem to ignore the realities of teaching in the classroom.  I have a relative that got her teaching certificate once all her kids were out of the house, and spent a few years teaching before getting fed up with it.  The state legislature kept passing regulations that literally made her job harder without accomplishing anything.

Of course, her local district did the same thing.  No money for classroom supplies, but they hired a bunch of "coaches" (read: 20-somethings with teaching degrees but no classroom experience) to observe and advise veteran teachers on what they were doing wrong.  Some of those veteran teachers (I presume with FU money) even refused to allow the coaches in the classroom, and the program died soon after :)

I saw a presentation once that illustrated how dramatically schooling (especially public schooling) has changed over the last 100 years, and how much more schools (and teachers) are expected to teach.  Once upon a time it was just the 3 R's.  Now it's social studies, music, art, sports, sex ed, home ec, shop class, economics, earth day, college prep, foreign languages, etc, etc.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on June 12, 2017, 11:41:07 AM
nobody123: this degree/pay fallacy you describe: perhaps "fallacy" isn't the right word for it.

It is true that there are specific cases of people without much formal education who are paid very highly. In some cases, the high pay compensates them for attributes that are independent of education, such as entrepreneurial skill or great beauty.

It is also very easy to produce examples of people who get a specific degree that doesn't translate very much into earnings, because the kind of degree is not in high demand or because the person who acquired the degree made other choices to reduce his/her income.

But the correlation between education/training and income over our population is strong and well-documented. It's completely reasonable to argue that your pay should be compared to other people at the same education level.

I'll concede that in the aggregate, more education leads to more opportunities and a better chance at higher wages.  My point is that on an individual basis, earning a degree in itself doesn't guarantee a pay increase.  If I went and got a PhD in something, my current employer couldn't care less and wouldn't pay me a penny more unless I changed roles into one that required the PhD.  It is all about what skills someone brings to the table that meet the needs of a potential employer and their ability to market themselves so the employer views them as a fit.  If I go get a masters in underwater screen door repair, do I somehow deserve a job making $70K/year because that's what other masters earners in my locality make?  Of course not.  If that were true, I bet a lot of Starbucks baristas would be doing something more lucrative.

Teachers in Ohio are required (or were, the rules keep changing) to get their masters within X years of their underdraduate graduation to keep their license, and are required to do a certain amount of continuting education as well.  A masters is table stakes for the job, and shouldn't be looked at as anything special because any qualified teacher has it (or will get it soon).  Most teacher contracts around here have lane changes for bachelor's to master's to doctorate, so there is some financial reward for jumping through the hoops.  One can argue the pay bump doesn't adequately compensate the teacher for the cost (time & money) of the degree, but if that's the case that's a collective bargaining issue.

In reality, how much value does that masters in education provide the general public when it is earned by the elementary school physical education teacher?  Have there been great leaps forward in kickball in the past 20 years that are instrumental to the nation's future?  Unfortunately, we're forced to do a one-size-fits-all compensation program, because there is no good way to judge a teacher's "value add" in a 9 month school year (at least not one everyone can agree on).
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: FIT_Goat on June 12, 2017, 01:09:41 PM
American college students seem to now be aware of the fact that teaching is a really poor choice of employment in the 21st century because the percentage of college students studying education has dropped from 10% to 4% over the past decade. I guess that's just what happens when teachers get their pay cut and benefits slashed every year, while their responsibilities increase exponentially, PLUS they get the joy of being blamed by politicians and parents when kids decide not to bother doing their work. Yeah, not a very appetizing job, when you can just learn to code, design an app whose only feature is being able to send the word "Yo" to other people, and pocket a cool $1.2 million.

We get interns at my school fairly often.  I don't get assigned any.  It's not specifically because of my attitude towards the job; I lack a course that is required to have an intern.  But, I still talk with them fairly often.  They all ask for my "one piece of advice that I wish I had known before I started teaching."  I swear, I think they must be prepped with questions to ask teachers.  Without fail, I tell them all the same thing.  "I got the one piece of advice that I should have listened to, before I started teaching.  I was told the same thing that I am about to tell you.  Don't become a teacher.  You won't listen to that for the same, or similar, reason(s) I didn't.  You believe you are different and will be the one to make a change.  You believe it's too late to get a different career.  You really love teaching kids.  But, my advice remains the same.  Don't become a teacher.  Do something else."

They don't listen.  By the time someone is interning, they are usually in their last year or two.  They have already committed to working, unpaid, for weeks and weeks (the senior internship requires taking completely over a classroom for a semester without pay).  Once someone is in that deep, they won't turn around.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 12, 2017, 06:28:28 PM
American college students seem to now be aware of the fact that teaching is a really poor choice of employment in the 21st century because the percentage of college students studying education has dropped from 10% to 4% over the past decade.
To add another wrinkle to this, a generation ago -- maybe a generation and a half ago -- teaching was one of the few professional jobs available to women.  Today that's different, and it's showing in the number of people entering teaching. 

I can only base my judgement on what my sibling & in-laws (5 teachers spread across the state; 3 in special ed) tell me, and I'm in Ohio, so things may vary elsewhere.  I know my sibling's heath insurance has gone from fully-paid to having to contribute a whopping $72/month over the past decade. 
Likewise, I can only judge based upon my own paycheck, but I'm paying just over 15% of my gross salary to health insurance (for myself, my husband and our youngest child);  it's not a top of the line policy either.

Teachers get masters degrees in education. Comparing their earnings to people with masters in other subjects is going to be misleading. The problem is that the vast majority of people with a masters degree in education work in the school system (public or private), so it's really not an informative piece of information to argue schools are over or underpaying teachers based on the value of that degree.
Eh, not quite true.  Elementary school teachers have degrees in education.  Middle and high school teachers have degrees in their subject matter (i.e., English, history, math, or a specific scientific disciipline). 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on June 12, 2017, 08:14:41 PM
Teachers get masters degrees in education. Comparing their earnings to people with masters in other subjects is going to be misleading. The problem is that the vast majority of people with a masters degree in education work in the school system (public or private), so it's really not an informative piece of information to argue schools are over or underpaying teachers based on the value of that degree.
Eh, not quite true.  Elementary school teachers have degrees in education.  Middle and high school teachers have degrees in their subject matter (i.e., English, history, math, or a specific scientific disciipline).

For the bachelors in order to get the original position yes. For the pay raises a lot of districts give out for getting a masters or PhD, are history/math/science teachers getting masters/PhD degrees in their disciplinary area or in education? (I believed these were practically always in education, but if I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so).
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Rural on June 12, 2017, 08:31:51 PM
Teachers get masters degrees in education. Comparing their earnings to people with masters in other subjects is going to be misleading. The problem is that the vast majority of people with a masters degree in education work in the school system (public or private), so it's really not an informative piece of information to argue schools are over or underpaying teachers based on the value of that degree.
Eh, not quite true.  Elementary school teachers have degrees in education.  Middle and high school teachers have degrees in their subject matter (i.e., English, history, math, or a specific scientific disciipline).

For the bachelors in order to get the original position yes. For the pay raises a lot of districts give out for getting a masters or PhD, are history/math/science teachers getting masters/PhD degrees in their disciplinary area or in education? (I believed these were practically always in education, but if I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so).


They're practically always in education in most states, as are the original bachelor's degrees, even for high school teachers. In fact, it was very, very difficult for my husband (and me, briefly) to get permission to teach high school with advanced degrees in the content areas.


Which does not mean teachers are overpaid. It is just plain hard to make it on 32K in a city. But more content knowledge as well as more pay wouldn't hurt anything. You know, as long as we're fixing American education and all. :)
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: eddiejoe on June 13, 2017, 07:13:04 AM
American college students seem to now be aware of the fact that teaching is a really poor choice of employment in the 21st century because the percentage of college students studying education has dropped from 10% to 4% over the past decade.
To add another wrinkle to this, a generation ago -- maybe a generation and a half ago -- teaching was one of the few professional jobs available to women.  Today that's different, and it's showing in the number of people entering teaching. 

This was the topic of a chapter in one of the Freakonomic books, I want to say it was Superfreakonomics. Their podcast also did an episode on education: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/is-americas-education-problem-really-just-a-teacher-problem-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/ (http://freakonomics.com/podcast/is-americas-education-problem-really-just-a-teacher-problem-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/)
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on June 13, 2017, 07:33:46 AM
They're practically always in education in most states, as are the original bachelor's degrees, even for high school teachers. In fact, it was very, very difficult for my husband (and me, briefly) to get permission to teach high school with advanced degrees in the content areas.

Which does not mean teachers are overpaid. It is just plain hard to make it on 32K in a city. But more content knowledge as well as more pay wouldn't hurt anything. You know, as long as we're fixing American education and all. :)

That is a good point, and it hits one confusing issue in these types of discussions right on the nose. There are actually two separate arguments: 1) current teachers are underpaid and we should pay the same people more, either as a matter of fairness, to grow the middle class, or because the quality of their teaching will increase if they are happier/less stressed about money 2) people with more subject matter expertise would give kids a different/better education, so we should pay those people more (and reduce the regulatory barriers to teaching with an advanced degree in the subject you'd be teaching) to get them to consider becoming teachers.

The problem is that the two arguments sound similar and are often confounded, but the two lead to very different sets of public policy changes.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Rural on June 13, 2017, 08:20:01 AM
They're practically always in education in most states, as are the original bachelor's degrees, even for high school teachers. In fact, it was very, very difficult for my husband (and me, briefly) to get permission to teach high school with advanced degrees in the content areas.

Which does not mean teachers are overpaid. It is just plain hard to make it on 32K in a city. But more content knowledge as well as more pay wouldn't hurt anything. You know, as long as we're fixing American education and all. :)

That is a good point, and it hits one confusing issue in these types of discussions right on the nose. There are actually two separate arguments: 1) current teachers are underpaid and we should pay the same people more, either as a matter of fairness, to grow the middle class, or because the quality of their teaching will increase if they are happier/less stressed about money 2) people with more subject matter expertise would give kids a different/better education, so we should pay those people more (and reduce the regulatory barriers to teaching with an advanced degree in the subject you'd be teaching) to get them to consider becoming teachers.

The problem is that the two arguments sound similar and are often confounded, but the two lead to very different sets of public policy changes.


You're right. But I think it's even more complicated in that I think the two separate arguments apply most clearly at the high school level. I think there's a strong argument that elementary school teachers should be trained mostly in child development. (For middle school, I'm pretty sure the training should be in lion taming or similar ;) )
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: rockstache on June 13, 2017, 08:51:59 AM
Sorry, but I've gotta agree with the above comments about teachers and the 9 month martyrdom/3 months of gloating thing.  I have quite a few teacher friends (IRL and on facebook) and around this time of year I start thinking about a career change.  I also have a high stress/high abuse job (from adult clients not students, most with mental health issues, it's unusual for a day to go by where I'm not cursed at), my education cost at least twice what theirs did, I also have high continuing education and license fee requirements, I make slightly more than the average teacher makes in my area and I work 12 months of the year with lots of unpaid overtime.  I got a text the other day from one person in my Friday night game night crew giving a heads up that she and her husband (both teachers) won't be able to attend game night for the foreseeable future because they're off traveling for four weeks.  My job gives two weeks vacation on top of all the above crap and the market is so bad there's literally nothing else available at my experience level (I look every day).  So yeah, it's hard to feel sorry teachers.

It sounds like you have a terrible job and need a new one. I am really sorry that you have to deal with that. Teaching might not be so bad compared to what you have, but that's because what you have is abusive, not because teaching is such a great gig.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 16, 2017, 08:42:44 PM
For the bachelors in order to get the original position yes. For the pay raises a lot of districts give out for getting a masters or PhD, are history/math/science teachers getting masters/PhD degrees in their disciplinary area or in education? (I believed these were practically always in education, but if I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so).
In high school, it's about 50-50 ... of the teachers who have a masters, half tend to earn that degree in their subject (English, math, science), and the other half go for degrees in Administration, Speech Pathology, Special Ed, or Library Science ... the obvious point being to stay in education but leave the classroom. 

Since my state does not pay for advanced degrees, no one really has a PhD.  Literally, I've only had one teacher co-worker who had a PhD.  I've known fewer than ten PhDs in Administration and other non-classroom positions. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: clarkfan1979 on June 24, 2017, 10:28:02 AM
For the bachelors in order to get the original position yes. For the pay raises a lot of districts give out for getting a masters or PhD, are history/math/science teachers getting masters/PhD degrees in their disciplinary area or in education? (I believed these were practically always in education, but if I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so).
In high school, it's about 50-50 ... of the teachers who have a masters, half tend to earn that degree in their subject (English, math, science), and the other half go for degrees in Administration, Speech Pathology, Special Ed, or Library Science ... the obvious point being to stay in education but leave the classroom. 

Since my state does not pay for advanced degrees, no one really has a PhD.  Literally, I've only had one teacher co-worker who had a PhD.  I've known fewer than ten PhDs in Administration and other non-classroom positions.

For advanced degrees in high school administration, the most popular degree is the Ed.D., not the Ph.D.

I am a full-time tenure track college instructor. My first school gave us the option to get paid over 9 months or 12 months. In my second job, we don't have a choice. We get paid over 12 months.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Acastus on June 24, 2017, 12:12:42 PM
Teachers here in NY state have the option to get paid over 9 months, or the full 12 months. If you don't have a summer gig, obviously take the full year schedule.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: maizefolk on June 24, 2017, 12:22:06 PM
For the bachelors in order to get the original position yes. For the pay raises a lot of districts give out for getting a masters or PhD, are history/math/science teachers getting masters/PhD degrees in their disciplinary area or in education? (I believed these were practically always in education, but if I'm wrong, feel free to tell me so).
In high school, it's about 50-50 ... of the teachers who have a masters, half tend to earn that degree in their subject (English, math, science), and the other half go for degrees in Administration, Speech Pathology, Special Ed, or Library Science ... the obvious point being to stay in education but leave the classroom. 

Since my state does not pay for advanced degrees, no one really has a PhD.  Literally, I've only had one teacher co-worker who had a PhD.  I've known fewer than ten PhDs in Administration and other non-classroom positions.

For advanced degrees in high school administration, the most popular degree is the Ed.D., not the Ph.D.

I am a full-time tenure track college instructor. My first school gave us the option to get paid over 9 months or 12 months. In my second job, we don't have a choice. We get paid over 12 months.

Thank you both for the follow up! I had only a vague recollection of some of the school districts I've interacted with having fixed pay bumps for having "a masters" or "a doctorate" which drove folks to get these (often very slowly taking only one or two courses a year) so it's good to hear from those with first hand knowledge.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: TomTX on June 24, 2017, 02:19:31 PM
I saw a presentation once that illustrated how dramatically schooling (especially public schooling) has changed over the last 100 years, and how much more schools (and teachers) are expected to teach.  Once upon a time it was just the 3 R's.  Now it's social studies, music, art, sports, sex ed, home ec, shop class, economics, earth day, college prep, foreign languages, etc, etc.

We had all that stuff in my high school 30 years ago (and "home ec" had 4+ semesters just on cooking, as did wood shop and auto shop, photography, art, etc)

My local high school is highly rated for Texas, but doesn't have an auto shop. Or wood shop. Or much in the way of home ec.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: aceyou on June 25, 2017, 07:40:49 AM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.
I'm in Canada, where teachers are both very well compensated and fairly well insulated from the realities of the private labour market. Perhaps the all the goodies - excellent benefits, defined benefits pension, exceptional time off - has jaded them somewhat to the need to be aware of finances. Perhaps its something else.  I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.

I wonder if this is really true (disclaimer, I'm a teacher so I have a bias).  The Millionaire Next Door book data found that teachers were "over accumulators of wealth" compared to the rest of society.  They tended to not feel the need for as expensive wardrobes or status cars as many other professions, also he found that they leaned conservative on the area of personal finance. 

In Michigan where I teach, you have to put 7-10% of every paycheck towards your retirement, so our forced savings alone is above the national savings rate.  And anyone who puts ANYTHING into a 403 or 457 is putting way more away than the national average.  Because teachers as a group don't switch jobs much, we tend to work in one spot, so most of us own a home, and any principal on that payment also goes right towards savings.  With all those things put together, I think it's pretty normal for a teacher in Michigan to have a savings rate around 15%, without doing anything to be hard core like we do here.  I bet that's pretty true for most other areas as well.  A savings rate like that is nothing special, but it's not enough to put teachers "below the bellcurve". 




Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 25, 2017, 09:09:44 AM
Teachers here in NY state have the option to get paid over 9 months, or the full 12 months. If you don't have a summer gig, obviously take the full year schedule.
Assuming they have their financial house in order, wouldn't it be better to have their pay frontloaded?
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 25, 2017, 09:58:21 AM
I saw a presentation once that illustrated how dramatically schooling (especially public schooling) has changed over the last 100 years, and how much more schools (and teachers) are expected to teach.  Once upon a time it was just the 3 R's.  Now it's social studies, music, art, sports, sex ed, home ec, shop class, economics, earth day, college prep, foreign languages, etc, etc.

We had all that stuff in my high school 30 years ago (and "home ec" had 4+ semesters just on cooking, as did wood shop and auto shop, photography, art, etc)

My local high school is highly rated for Texas, but doesn't have an auto shop. Or wood shop. Or much in the way of home ec.
I'd like to see that presentation; was it something online? 

Beyond classroom studies, don't miss everything else that schools provide (particularly for the poorer kids):  Transportation, Breakfast and lunch, medical care ranging from a visit to the school nurse to eye care and dental care (only for the poorest of the poor) and access to free clothing at back-to-school time. 

From the teacher's point of view, our job has changed significantly in the time I've been involved ... and it bears no resemblance to my grandmother's description of walking two miles to attend a one-room school house.  Today I easily do twice as much work as I did when I was new to the profession:  Larger classes make a big difference, a larger percentage of special ed students, and the implementation of technology in the classroom (and that means two things -- we're teaching the kids to use technology AND we're users of technology ourselves -- using technology in lessons, maintaining webpages, sharing grades with parents electronically). 

I wonder if this is really true (disclaimer, I'm a teacher so I have a bias).  The Millionaire Next Door book data found that teachers were "over accumulators of wealth" compared to the rest of society.  They tended to not feel the need for as expensive wardrobes or status cars as many other professions, also he found that they leaned conservative on the area of personal finance. 
I fit the above description.  My wardrobe is small, and I don't care.  I drive an economy car.  And we are "forced to save" in a couple ways that other professions aren't:  10% of my paycheck automatically goes into the pension fund every month.  I have 26 minutes for lunch and am not allowed to leave campus, so even if I wanted to go out and spend $10 on lunch every day, I couldn't. 

I think you're describing the teacher who stays long-term and really fits the profession (as opposed to the teachers who stay only a year or two).  I think we're about 50% of the teaching population. 

Assuming they have their financial house in order, wouldn't it be better to have their pay frontloaded?
Definitely, but that's easier for us older teachers, harder for the straight-out-of-college teachers who don't yet have a handle on managing their money.  It's also easier for teachers who are married to non-teachers (meaning that a paycheck of some type is still coming in during the summer). 



Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on June 26, 2017, 08:51:49 AM
I saw a presentation once that illustrated how dramatically schooling (especially public schooling) has changed over the last 100 years, and how much more schools (and teachers) are expected to teach.  Once upon a time it was just the 3 R's.  Now it's social studies, music, art, sports, sex ed, home ec, shop class, economics, earth day, college prep, foreign languages, etc, etc.

We had all that stuff in my high school 30 years ago (and "home ec" had 4+ semesters just on cooking, as did wood shop and auto shop, photography, art, etc)

My local high school is highly rated for Texas, but doesn't have an auto shop. Or wood shop. Or much in the way of home ec.
I'd like to see that presentation; was it something online? 
I asked my source, and he sent me a copy, which I've posted here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3HMmxWWzKQDSkFjTEl0ak54YzJOblNEOGpPQ3FPSTlPM0Fr/view?usp=sharing).  I'm not saying it's a great presentation, but the gist of it is spot-on.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Acastus on June 26, 2017, 02:51:48 PM
Teachers here in NY state have the option to get paid over 9 months, or the full 12 months. If you don't have a summer gig, obviously take the full year schedule.
Assuming they have their financial house in order, wouldn't it be better to have their pay frontloaded?
If people can be unemotional spenders, I think getting your pay upfront will work. Many people will not save for the summer, and it will better for them to spread out the payments. It is probably easier to budget constant income each month, rather than variable pay.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: talltexan on June 27, 2017, 09:08:45 AM
I saw a presentation once that illustrated how dramatically schooling (especially public schooling) has changed over the last 100 years, and how much more schools (and teachers) are expected to teach.  Once upon a time it was just the 3 R's.  Now it's social studies, music, art, sports, sex ed, home ec, shop class, economics, earth day, college prep, foreign languages, etc, etc.

We had all that stuff in my high school 30 years ago (and "home ec" had 4+ semesters just on cooking, as did wood shop and auto shop, photography, art, etc)

My local high school is highly rated for Texas, but doesn't have an auto shop. Or wood shop. Or much in the way of home ec.
I'd like to see that presentation; was it something online? 

Beyond classroom studies, don't miss everything else that schools provide (particularly for the poorer kids):  Transportation, Breakfast and lunch, medical care ranging from a visit to the school nurse to eye care and dental care (only for the poorest of the poor) and access to free clothing at back-to-school time. 

From the teacher's point of view, our job has changed significantly in the time I've been involved ... and it bears no resemblance to my grandmother's description of walking two miles to attend a one-room school house.  Today I easily do twice as much work as I did when I was new to the profession:  Larger classes make a big difference, a larger percentage of special ed students, and the implementation of technology in the classroom (and that means two things -- we're teaching the kids to use technology AND we're users of technology ourselves -- using technology in lessons, maintaining webpages, sharing grades with parents electronically). 

I wonder if this is really true (disclaimer, I'm a teacher so I have a bias).  The Millionaire Next Door book data found that teachers were "over accumulators of wealth" compared to the rest of society.  They tended to not feel the need for as expensive wardrobes or status cars as many other professions, also he found that they leaned conservative on the area of personal finance. 
I fit the above description.  My wardrobe is small, and I don't care.  I drive an economy car.  And we are "forced to save" in a couple ways that other professions aren't:  10% of my paycheck automatically goes into the pension fund every month.  I have 26 minutes for lunch and am not allowed to leave campus, so even if I wanted to go out and spend $10 on lunch every day, I couldn't. 

I think you're describing the teacher who stays long-term and really fits the profession (as opposed to the teachers who stay only a year or two).  I think we're about 50% of the teaching population. 

Assuming they have their financial house in order, wouldn't it be better to have their pay frontloaded?
Definitely, but that's easier for us older teachers, harder for the straight-out-of-college teachers who don't yet have a handle on managing their money.  It's also easier for teachers who are married to non-teachers (meaning that a paycheck of some type is still coming in during the summer).

I think marrying a teacher is really smart for most people. You have a spouse with a skillset that can be taken to anywhere in the country when you move for that amazing opportunity. It's like you're a stock, marrying a bond.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Saskatchewstachian on June 27, 2017, 10:12:34 AM

I think marrying a teacher is really smart for most people. You have a spouse with a skillset that can be taken to anywhere in the country when you move for that amazing opportunity. It's like you're a stock, marrying a bond.

Love that analogy and I think it applies to a few other professions as well. Nursing would be one. I am in a highly cyclical industry but DW is an RN employed by government health care. Mine is a high upside high risk (stock) career whereas her's is very much a reliable/secure career with predetermined upside (bond).
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 28, 2017, 09:18:57 AM
I'd like to see that presentation; was it something online?
I asked my source, and he sent me a copy, which I've posted here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3HMmxWWzKQDSkFjTEl0ak54YzJOblNEOGpPQ3FPSTlPM0Fr/view?usp=sharing).  I'm not saying it's a great presentation, but the gist of it is spot-on.
Thanks for sharing that!  You're right that it's spot-on ... and i could add more to the list of things the school system provides! 

I think marrying a teacher is really smart for most people. You have a spouse with a skillset that can be taken to anywhere in the country when you move for that amazing opportunity. It's like you're a stock, marrying a bond.
I have to disagree with you -- and it's one of those things that people outside of education don't realize is "a thing" -- I didn't realize it until I was actually in the job: Teachers are solidly tied to one state.  Or, we are tied to working in one state; living just across a state line could work perfectly well. 

We are state employees, and we are in the state employee pension system.  If we leave the state, our pension does not follow us.  A new state will pay a teacher for experience in another state (for example, the new state might start you at the 10th year pay scale step, but your pension in that new state starts all over again).  It is impossible to bring your pension with you to a new state, which is one of the reasons pension are double-edged swords.  Teaching is a low paying job with the promise of a modestly comfortable pension at the end of service ... and the way to "max out" this benefit is to work for the same state for 30 years ... no teacher wants five tiny pensions from five different states; it doesn't add up to nearly as much as one solid pension check from one state. 

Also, we are licensed by the state.  So if I leave my state and go to another, I must apply for licensure in that new state.  Most states are reciprocal and only expect money for the license ... but some states require that the teacher take classes before issuing the license. 

Another thing that makes it tough for a teacher to move:  The vast majority of teacher jobs are only available at back-to-school time.  A school's fiscal year runs July 1 - July 1 ... so most new teachers are hired between July 1 and the first day of school in August.  Miss that 6-week timeframe, and you're probably waiting a year for a job.  Oh, you can substitute teach, and you might be lucky enough to fill in for a maternity leave or finish the year for a teacher who's retiring or who became ill ... but the chances are good that if you're not employed on the first day of school, you probably won't find full-time employment that year. 

Teaching really is a unique job that doesn't compare to other occupations -- in some ways great, in other ways not so great.  And people outside the profession don't realize all these details.

I do like your analogy about stocks and bonds.  That's why my husband and I've been a solid financial team:  Our jobs have opposite "strengths" -- we balance each other out, and we're a stronger team because of it.  And, as a teacher, one of the biggest positives has been that I've been home in the summer with the kids /been home in the afternoon with the kids. 

Love that analogy and I think it applies to a few other professions as well. Nursing would be one. I am in a highly cyclical industry but DW is an RN employed by government health care. Mine is a high upside high risk (stock) career whereas her's is very much a reliable/secure career with predetermined upside (bond).
Yes, RNs are more "portable" in that their skillset is needed everywhere, and their job is in great demand everywhere. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: shanghaiMMM on June 28, 2017, 09:29:07 PM
Interesting and a little odd you're tied so much to one state.

The analogy definitely fits for teachers who work internationally. After Shanghai, I've had colleagues move to Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Vienna, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City... you get the picture. So if you are willing to leave the country, you can indeed be very flexible!
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on June 29, 2017, 09:40:21 AM
Interesting and a little odd you're tied so much to one state.

The analogy definitely fits for teachers who work internationally. After Shanghai, I've had colleagues move to Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Vienna, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City... you get the picture. So if you are willing to leave the country, you can indeed be very flexible!
Well, you can be very flexible IF you're willing to work a couple years and not contribute to your pension.  My salary + my pension is worth my effort ... but I wouldn't do this job for the salary alone.  Yeah, the jobs are out there -- no question about that. 

In my experience, the teachers who opt to teach internationally fall into a couple categories:  Young teachers who can't find jobs here in America ... young teachers who want to travel/experience another culture and see this as a way to do it ... teachers whose spouses have job opportunities in other countries. 

There's at least one organization that helps teachers find "exchange jobs"; our county uses Visiting International Faculty.  We've had some great visiting teachers.  They tend to stay here two years. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 29, 2017, 09:45:52 AM
Interesting and a little odd you're tied so much to one state.

The analogy definitely fits for teachers who work internationally. After Shanghai, I've had colleagues move to Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Vienna, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City... you get the picture. So if you are willing to leave the country, you can indeed be very flexible!
Well, you can be very flexible IF you're willing to work a couple years and not contribute to your pension.  My salary + my pension is worth my effort ... but I wouldn't do this job for the salary alone.  Yeah, the jobs are out there -- no question about that. 
Assuming you had started your career with all the financial knowledge you have today, do you think you could have secured a better retirement if you had been allowed to opt out of the pension and contribute the same amount of money in a tax-advantaged account instead?

Where do you think the tenure breakeven point lies, one way or the other?
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: teen persuasion on June 30, 2017, 12:01:39 PM
Teachers here in NY state have the option to get paid over 9 months, or the full 12 months. If you don't have a summer gig, obviously take the full year schedule.
Not all teachers in NY, though.  DH taught at an alternative school.  When he began teaching there they paid school staff 26x a year (there are other staff that does work year-round).  After a few years they changed their fiscal year to begin July 1, and with that change teachers were switched to 21 biweekly paychecks.  The first new paycheck wouldn't appear until 3 weeks after school began (2 weeks work + one week delay), and that gap threw many into a panic.  Eventually the employer cut an early paycheck for all, with the understanding that they were receiving their last check in advance.  By the end of the school year, most had forgotten, and were counting on one more paycheck.  Not pretty.

There was something demoralizing about the shift, they were treated more like hourly than salary, so it wasn't nice when the end of the school year arrived and you learned you'd already received 21 paychecks and couldn't expect one that actually included your last week worked.  Or that summer break was actually 11 weeks instead of 10 due to a weird confluence of early/late Labor days over two years, so your new pay schedule began a week later.  And the agency had a tiered health insurance pay scheme based on paycheck*26, not actual salary.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Missy B on June 30, 2017, 05:20:17 PM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.
I'm in Canada, where teachers are both very well compensated and fairly well insulated from the realities of the private labour market. Perhaps the all the goodies - excellent benefits, defined benefits pension, exceptional time off - has jaded them somewhat to the need to be aware of finances. Perhaps its something else.

I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.


I'm in Canada too, and both of my parents are teachers. I assume you're talking about modern teachers, or teachers somewhere else, because here our teachers (in the province) didn't get health/dental insurance until I was grown up and moved out, and defined pension plans went the way of the dodo back around 1980. The 'exceptional time off' is, of course, unpaid, and only recently have there been programs that will pay out over the 12 months - teachers had to do it themselves before that.  I do agree, however, that they seem to be generally below the bell curve on financial literacy, but I don't think their benefits are the reason. I think possibly it's because so many of them are idealists (I've observed that teaching attracts a particular kind of person - just generally, not every single one of them).

I'm talking about modern day BC teachers. I have several in my family. They have DB pensions and health benefits that, in private industry, you would have to be upper management in a very large company to expect to receive. If at all.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on July 01, 2017, 10:43:19 AM
As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy. I'm not sure why that should be; it's counter-intuitive, but I've heard more than enough stories by now to be certain of it.
I'm in Canada, where teachers are both very well compensated and fairly well insulated from the realities of the private labour market. Perhaps the all the goodies - excellent benefits, defined benefits pension, exceptional time off - has jaded them somewhat to the need to be aware of finances. Perhaps its something else.

I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.

Canada seems to be a pretty amazing place. From what I read from Canadian folks posting on this forum, you guys don't really seem to have to worry about much financially. Teachers in the USA are notoriously poorly compensated. That's why the stereotype is that people who go into teaching only do so because they can't get another (better) job.


I'm in Canada too, and both of my parents are teachers. I assume you're talking about modern teachers, or teachers somewhere else, because here our teachers (in the province) didn't get health/dental insurance until I was grown up and moved out, and defined pension plans went the way of the dodo back around 1980. The 'exceptional time off' is, of course, unpaid, and only recently have there been programs that will pay out over the 12 months - teachers had to do it themselves before that.  I do agree, however, that they seem to be generally below the bell curve on financial literacy, but I don't think their benefits are the reason. I think possibly it's because so many of them are idealists (I've observed that teaching attracts a particular kind of person - just generally, not every single one of them).

I'm talking about modern day BC teachers. I have several in my family. They have DB pensions and health benefits that, in private industry, you would have to be upper management in a very large company to expect to receive. If at all.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on July 04, 2017, 02:58:29 PM
Assuming you had started your career with all the financial knowledge you have today, do you think you could have secured a better retirement if you had been allowed to opt out of the pension and contribute the same amount of money in a tax-advantaged account instead?

Where do you think the tenure breakeven point lies, one way or the other?
Without knowing how many years I'll live, it's impossible to say, "Here.  This is the break-even point for my pension." 

However, to take a stab at answering your question, I think I personally am better off having the pension.  Why?  Because the women in my family tend to live between 95-100 years.  I have been blessed with very good health, and I take good care of myself.  My expectation is that I'll live past 100.  I anticipate living long enough that I will collect everything I put into the pension system ... and more.  If I were suddenly back in my 20s with the same salary /no pension program, I would have needed to invest more money each month to feel comfortable about my retirement ... and I have been investing in addition to my pension ... my intention has always been to retire with a full pension, additional savings, Social Security and a paid-for house; with those four items, I feel secure.   

On the other hand, I've known a couple teachers who've retired and lived only a couple years.  Clearly they lost the lottery (and it's possible I will do the same). 

To take the conversation in a different direction though, I think my pension has been a negative for my husband's career.  He twice opted to pass up good job opportunities because they were out of state, and we judged that it was better for the family to keep me here /working towards the full pension in our home state.  In all fairness, it's tougher for a two-career family because you have twice as many career decisions to make. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on July 04, 2017, 03:09:16 PM
I'm talking about modern day BC teachers. I have several in my family. They have DB pensions and health benefits that, in private industry, you would have to be upper management in a very large company to expect to receive. If at all.
Whereas I'm paying 15% of my gross salary for high-deductible health insurance /no eye care and dental for three people.  Clearly things aren't the same everywhere. 

As a group, teachers seem below the bellcurve with financial literacy...

I do know that here every teacher can elect to be paid their salary over the summer, so there is no need for cash-loan scams.
I'd say teachers are split in half; about half are expect money managers ... and the other half aren't. 

Our state determined about a decade ago that the concept of "cutting your salary pie into 12 pieces instead of 10" was wrong, and it's not available to us. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on July 05, 2017, 07:35:08 AM
<snip>
To take the conversation in a different direction though, I think my pension has been a negative for my husband's career.  He twice opted to pass up good job opportunities because they were out of state, and we judged that it was better for the family to keep me here /working towards the full pension in our home state.  In all fairness, it's tougher for a two-career family because you have twice as many career decisions to make.

That's an interesting statement.  Obviously you and your husband ran the calculations and figured that two smaller teacher pensions with increased personal retirement savings from his new job were not as good as one bigger pension, especially given your family longevity.  Logically you made the correct decision for your family, and I applaud the teamwork you two exhibited.  However, is there a bit of resentment from your husband that his career is being held back or whatnot because of the parameters of your (presumably) lower-paid job?  I've been in similar situations where my career progression has been stunted because of my lack of mobility due to family reasons, so I'm legitimately curious about your thought process.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on July 05, 2017, 04:44:31 PM
<snip>
To take the conversation in a different direction though, I think my pension has been a negative for my husband's career.  He twice opted to pass up good job opportunities because they were out of state, and we judged that it was better for the family to keep me here /working towards the full pension in our home state.  In all fairness, it's tougher for a two-career family because you have twice as many career decisions to make.

That's an interesting statement.  Obviously you and your husband ran the calculations and figured that two smaller teacher pensions with increased personal retirement savings from his new job were not as good as one bigger pension, especially given your family longevity.  Logically you made the correct decision for your family, and I applaud the teamwork you two exhibited.  However, is there a bit of resentment from your husband that his career is being held back or whatnot because of the parameters of your (presumably) lower-paid job?  I've been in similar situations where my career progression has been stunted because of my lack of mobility due to family reasons, so I'm legitimately curious about your thought process.
No, no resentment.  Both times we looked at the options available to us as a team, and we made the decisions together.  Each time we approached it without emotion, asking how a move vs. a stay would affect me ... would affect him ... would affect the kids.  We considered the implications of selling the house, of probable career opportunities, of leaving family behind. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: nobody123 on July 06, 2017, 09:22:44 AM
<snip>
To take the conversation in a different direction though, I think my pension has been a negative for my husband's career.  He twice opted to pass up good job opportunities because they were out of state, and we judged that it was better for the family to keep me here /working towards the full pension in our home state.  In all fairness, it's tougher for a two-career family because you have twice as many career decisions to make.

That's an interesting statement.  Obviously you and your husband ran the calculations and figured that two smaller teacher pensions with increased personal retirement savings from his new job were not as good as one bigger pension, especially given your family longevity.  Logically you made the correct decision for your family, and I applaud the teamwork you two exhibited.  However, is there a bit of resentment from your husband that his career is being held back or whatnot because of the parameters of your (presumably) lower-paid job?  I've been in similar situations where my career progression has been stunted because of my lack of mobility due to family reasons, so I'm legitimately curious about your thought process.
No, no resentment.  Both times we looked at the options available to us as a team, and we made the decisions together.  Each time we approached it without emotion, asking how a move vs. a stay would affect me ... would affect him ... would affect the kids.  We considered the implications of selling the house, of probable career opportunities, of leaving family behind.

It's great to see an example of thorough communication.  I struggle at times evaluating the non-financial things career-wise, especially when it is part of a "more" vs. "enough" comparision.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Acastus on July 06, 2017, 10:50:48 AM
At least in the great state of New York, teachers do pretty well. Starting salary with no experience is 54k and most teachers in my district make 70-80k. This is upstate, not near The City (there is only one). Pensions average 67k, so that equates to a 1.7 million 'stash, or a 1+ million annutiy.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/246255/ny-teacher-pensions-averaged-67500-last-year/
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: Paul der Krake on July 06, 2017, 01:11:58 PM
I can't imagine being tied to the same location. Everybody has a price of course, but about half of my adult life in the same job in the same US state would require a hell of a lot more than 67k/year.
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: MrsPete on July 10, 2017, 08:21:31 AM
At least in the great state of New York, teachers do pretty well. Starting salary with no experience is 54k and most teachers in my district make 70-80k. This is upstate, not near The City (there is only one). Pensions average 67k, so that equates to a 1.7 million 'stash, or a 1+ million annutiy.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/246255/ny-teacher-pensions-averaged-67500-last-year/
Yes, teachers in the NorthEast are highly paid.  They are also unionized and have low turn-over.  They are the exception, not the rule. 
Title: Re: Summer is Coming, Can You Hear the Teachers Panic?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on July 10, 2017, 10:55:49 AM
At least in the great state of New York, teachers do pretty well. Starting salary with no experience is 54k and most teachers in my district make 70-80k. This is upstate, not near The City (there is only one). Pensions average 67k, so that equates to a 1.7 million 'stash, or a 1+ million annutiy.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/246255/ny-teacher-pensions-averaged-67500-last-year/
Yes, teachers in the NorthEast are highly paid.  They are also unionized and have low turn-over.  They are the exception, not the rule.

Compare that to places like North Carolina or Oklahoma where you are better paid as a McDonald's manager than as a teacher. And they wonder why people don't want to do the job and why the generation graduating from high school is full of morons.