Teachers and Salaries

We just found out the results of the contract negotiations for the next three-year period. I'm happy.

People always talk about how teachers are rarely paid what they're worth. Heck, I agree. I teach chemistry at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, NE. However, I think the majority of the population is not paid what they are worth. When people don't have to work multiple jobs to pay rent and feed their kids and when people don't have to pay extraordinary premiums to get healthcare, then we'll talk about "worth".

I want to take a different angle on this discussion. I'm not going to dish out dirt on my previous place of employment because I really liked the people I worked with. They were a very caring and extremely hard-working group of community college instructors. Whenever I hear some idiot talk about how college teachers are overpaid because, for instance, they "get" summers off, I want to verbally smack some sense into that person. Shadow a typical college instructor for a week if you really want to know whether they work hard. Otherwise, keep your yap shut and stay outta' my face.

Anyway, we had to leave my previous job because we were losing money each year. The economy didn't help and things like skyrocketing healthcare premiums, raising deductables on the plans, and more combined with the "raises" I was getting meant that we were taking home less money each year. Sure, we'd get a little something but it wasn't always enough to offset the extra money we were paying out much less enough to be a "raise". It was hard watching the college build new buildings and buy more equipment and then turn around and state that they couldn't offer better salary increases. What many people don't understand is that a salary increase should be looked at as an investment in a very important resource for the college- the instructors! I don't believe the argument that the money for buildings and equipment comes from a different source than faculty and staff salaries. While I realize that it often does come from different sources, I want the people in-charge to work just as hard on my behalf as they do raising the funds for a new building.

But the place I worked for didn't look at it that way. We were thought by some people as being overpaid. I was fortunate to get an offer from Southeast Community College around Thanksgiving of 2003 and then I picked my family up and moved to a new state right after Christmas to start the new job in the beginning of January.


For all the pain this sudden move caused (moving away from people I worked with whom I really liked and admired, moving to a new state, taking my daughter out of a preschool she really liked, and all while my wife was pregnant), we're glad we did it.

I look at the results from the contract negotiations for the next three years and while I'm not going to get rich, I get the strong opinion that the people in charge actually view the instructors as an important resource which requires some investment of time and money.

In other words, I'm happy.

Posted: Thu - May 6, 2004 at 03:39 PM