Math is stupid

On paper I think I had a good day. I got a bunch of stuff done, including voting and getting some episodes recorded and heading over to NewDistrict to get some paperwork done and pick up my teacher devices. The only problem is when I signed the contract I found out I wasn’t getting a pay raise by moving over. In fact, I’m getting a cut. Why? Because I forgot an elementary fact about being a teacher– which is that we don’t get paid during the summer, or rather, we don’t earn money during the summer. Which means that salary gets prorated when you jump mid-year, because the time you’re earning money is less but you still have those same number of earning-free summer pay periods to cover. I’m pissed, because I should have remembered this. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because the amounts we’re dealing with are manageable, but planning on a number going up and then discovering it’s going to go down is fuckery, and I don’t like fuckery.

And since I’ve started this post I’ve discovered that I don’t remember simple, complex and compound sentences nearly as well as I thought I did, meaning that I wasn’t able to really help my son with his homework properly, and now I’m just shitty about everything.


In which it looks like I screwed up

You may recall that I turned down an opportunity to teach summer school in June. Now, despite everything I’m about to say, the reason I turned that position down remains true: that by the time they got around to offering me the job, we had signed our son up for a bunch of summer camps and I’d signed up for National Board Certification, meaning that I now need to cram four years of high school mathematics into a summer.

That said:

There are twenty days of summer school, six hours long each, and I was originally under the impression that my hourly rate was around $32.(*) That would mean that I’d have made $32 x 20 x 6 = $3840 before taxes. Which isn’t nothing by any stretch of the imagination, mind you, but it wasn’t quite enough to get me to back out of stuff that I’d already committed to or screw up my kid’s summer.

Then I found out my actual hourly rate is $41. I’m not sure how I fucked up that calculation, but that means my actual pay would have been $41 x 20 x 6 = $4,920 before taxes, and at that point– I discovered this after I turned the job down– losing out on that money starts to hurt a bit.

Well, they’re having serious trouble finding teachers– because I’m not the only person who took the two-month gap between applying for jobs and finding out whether they’d been accepted as a reason to find other summer plans– and the union and the district just signed off on increasing the summer pay to seventy fucking dollars an hour. Which is over twice the original rate I had calculated and would have meant a whopping $8400 before taxes, enough money to kill my last remaining credit card bill and put a substantial dent in the amount of money I owe on my car.

And … well, now I’m pissed. I mean, I’ll get over it, and I’m still not screwing over my son, but … shit.

Anybody want to hand me a big pile of money for no particular reason?

(Also, shit, how much Covid money must my district be sitting on right now, that they can even contemplate this level of pay? Holy shit.)

(* And before anybody jumps on my case for being a math teacher and not being able to calculate my own hourly pay: it’s not as simple as dividing my salary by 52 and then however many hours of pay I get in a week– first of all, it’s the actual number of weeks we’re paid for teaching in a year, a number I don’t know off the top of my head, and secondly, at least until recently anything that was paid on an “hourly” basis was actually paid at the scale of the lowest-paid teachers, not actually on my individual hourly pay, so the “hourly” for all the teachers in the district was the same. They’ve apparently changed the formula at some point and I didn’t notice.)

How to be bad with money

Quick note, just because it entertains me: due to a combination of 1) some bonus money from the state connected to last year’s teacher evaluations and 2) an actual raise arriving with retroactive pay back to the beginning of this school year, tomorrow’s check is going to be almost a grand higher than usual. I knew this was coming eventually, but I just found out yesterday that it was going to be this week– and both coming on the same check was a pleasant surprise.

Now, remember that I just bought a TV and a Playstation 5, along with a couple of games, with the clear knowledge that this money was coming and that was how I’d pay for it. I also recently ordered a new desk chair, which wasn’t cheap either.

So this money is spent. Again, I knew it was coming, so this isn’t an issue of me just tossing funds out there and hoping, but the bonus money is spent.

And naturally, my first though this morning upon seeing how much the extra funds were going to be was Ooh, I should go splurge on something!


Possibly more later; I always like to record it when I notice I’m dumb.

On teacher pay

10635710_10152586250603926_8540224056547831404_nI talk about teaching an awful lot on this site, right?  Enough that there are people who have admitted to me that they regularly skip past posts on the topic.  (Which, for the record, is fine.  I’m going to write about whatever the hell I want; you, in turn, have the right to ignore whatever the hell you want.)

One common subject connected to teaching that I have more or less completely ignored is teacher pay.  I can’t think of a single post that I’ve devoted to the topic, and I don’t even think it’s come up tangentially (other than “I don’t get paid enough for this shit” types of gripes) more than a couple of times.  There are several reasons for this, chief among which being the fact that virtually everyone feels like they’re not paid enough for what they do.  Do I think teachers are paid enough?  No, I don’t, particularly in Indiana.  Do I think it’s an especially winning issue to discuss a lot?  No, not so much.

Here’s the thing, though, and I know I talked about this during my job hunt this summer:  Indiana has effectively made it illegal (and that’s not hyperbole; it’s the literal truth) to pay me what I’m worth.  It is illegal to tie raises to seniority, meaning that they can’t pay me for my experience.  It is illegal to tie raises to education— ponder, for a moment, the amazing fact that teachers can’t make more money by getting advanced degrees— meaning that my not-one-but-two Master’s degrees are worth precisely bupkis to any school district that might be looking to hire me.

Now, I started teaching in my current district before all these laws kicked in, meaning that my current salary is grandfathered.  I made a comfortable salary last year, and received a frankly scandalous raise when I changed jobs this year– I am absolutely not complaining about my current pay, but it’s not going to last long.  I am not rich by any means, but if it weren’t for all these credit card debts hanging over my head from my twenties and my absurd level of student loan debt, I was making plenty of money to live well, if not extravagantly.  Those other things are my fault; they don’t make my salary less.

I got as far as talking salary with one district during my interview process.  They offered me twelve thousand dollars a year less than I was making last year– flatly impossible.  Upon further investigation, the pay cuts at other districts would have ranged from six to ten thousand dollars.

Under current Indiana law, no new teacher will ever make what I make again.  I know people who have been teaching for five years who still make starting teacher salary– around $32K.  Once they’re in their thirteenth year, which I’m currently in, they’ll still be making right around that same $32K, although they’ll probably have managed a couple of one-or-two-percent district-wide shame raises during that time.  But not anything meaningfully different once inflation comes into play.

I bring all this up for two reasons:  one, I spent $600 on some new suit jackets tonight, a number that may jump to $800 if a navy blue jacket in my size that I liked comes in in the next couple of days.  Those in the picture aren’t all new, but four of them are.  I had to do this to meet my new boss’s expectations on how the folks in his office dress.

(Not complaining.)

We went to Taco Bell for dinner.  Taco Bell is hiring.  They have a big sign– that I couldn’t get a picture of on account of I was driving– in their drive-thru, indicating that assistant managers can make up to $38,000 a year and building managers– they called it something else, but I don’t recall what– can make up to $50,000 a year.

Meaning that an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant can make $500 a month more than a starting licensed teacher– a job that, mind you, requires a college degree, which I doubt (correct me if I’m wrong) assistant managing a fast food restaurant does– and that a manager manager can make more than I did teaching last year, with two Master’s degrees and twelve years of teaching experience.  And that, furthermore, the teachers will never reach those salary levels, because it is effectively illegal to give us raises.(*)

And I’m not trying to denigrate fast food employees here– I’ve done that job, and I have tried to never treat a fast food employee with anything less than perfect respect since, and keep in mind that I have a second job where I work behind a register right now— but god damn it you should make more teaching than you do at fucking Taco Bell.  Fucking society depends on our asses.  This is bullshit.

(*) I’m going to amend my earlier statement, because thinking about it I know that I’ve talked about the politics of teacher pay before– but I still think I’ve refrained from generalized “WE DOAN MAKE ‘NUFF MONEY” types of posts.   It is not precisely illegal to give us raises– they can be tied to student test scores and evaluations and things like that, but the way the laws work it is trivially easy for districts to simply declare that they don’t have the money to pay us more– and the governor and the legislature are also trying to starve public schools of funds any way they can, so the districts are more often than not telling the truth.