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Teachers' Jobs Aren't Easier Than Others'

October 27, 1985

So teachers work only 185 days a year. Doesn't Lowell realize that teachers get paid for only 185 days a year? Most teachers need second jobs or a second wage earner in the family in order to exist.

So their hours are fewer? I worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 15 years. I regularly was at my school from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.--not because those hours were required but because they were needed to accomplish the work. I also worked at home almost every evening and most weekends, and calculated that I worked between 48 and 55 hours weekly.

No, I did not pay into Social Security. I did pay into the State Teachers Retirement System. After 15 years, I now am receiving the munificent pension of $650 per month, from which my state and federal income taxes are deducted. I also must now pay for Medicare. I am unaware of any quarterly extras: I have no idea to what Mr. Lowell refers.

Teachers' jobs not as tough? Mr. Lowell should have visited my classroom in one of the better Los Angeles system schools. I never had a visitor who didn't come up to me and say, "I don't know how you do it!" Maybe they were referring to the fact that I regularly had several emotionally disturbed young people in my class.

Perhaps it was their comprehension of the fact that my students' reading levels in a fourth-grade class might range from pre-primer to sixth grade and that math levels also span several grade levels. Taking the responsibility for the bulk of a child's daytime hours is not an easy job. Mine was no harder than most, considerably easier than many. I doubt Mr. Lowell would last a week on the job!

SUSAN CODDINGTON

Pacific Palisades

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