My Dad was a teacher, and he worked like a dog. Of course, back in the day, he got a salary that was only slightly above poverty level, so his hard work wasn’t really the teaching itself. Instead, it was all the private lessons he gave on the side. He put in as many hours teaching private lessons as he did teaching in a classroom.
Daddy’s classroom year was about 10 months (he taught summer school too), six hours each weekday, plus about two hours of homework a night. In addition, though, all year-long, 11 to 12 months a year, he taught private lessons that provided desperately needed money for ordinary life expenses. During the school year, these added another 30 or so to his work week, and then he’d teach private lessons a straight 40 hours a week during winter break and when there was no summer school.
If you’re wondering who was taking all these summer and winter break private lessons, it was Japanese families who hired Daddy. In the Bay Area, the Japanese companies would rotate executives through their American offices. These families wanted their Japanese born children to optimize their American educational experience for the 1-4 years they’d spend in this country. Daddy was fortunate enough to hook into this network, garnering hours and hours of work from diligent, respectful students who applied the Asian ethos to their after school and holiday studies.
I don’t think teachers nowadays are forced to work quite as hard as my Dad did. And even if they are, are they really the hardest working people in America? Per the National Journal Twitter feed, Obama says they are:
I think Obama’s statement (which I’ve indicated with an arrow) might come as a surprise to a few other Americans. Examples of surprised Americans are, first and foremost, our military serving in Afghanistan and Iraq (and at home too); road crews laboring in the summer sun (or the winter cold); police offers in Oakland, South Central L.A. and Detroit; truckers; farmers; lawyers who, bless their greedy little hearts, routinely put in 80 hours per week; etc. Feel free to add your own jobs ideas to the list of hard-working Americans.
Yes, many teachers work very, very hard, and many have challenging jobs. But Obama’s pandering statement that they’re “working harder than just about anyone these days” made me throw up just a little, in my mouth.