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Teachers' Jobs Aren't Easier Than Others'

October 27, 1985

I am a sixth-grade teacher (and I don't think it matters whether I teach in a private or public school because I know there are others such as me). Mr. Lowell says teachers' hours per day are fewer than most in private employment. I beg to differ. I deal with students for 6 1/2 hours per day, but in addition to that I usually am working after school correcting papers.

In addition, I am usually spending 10 to 15 hours over weekends doing the same. In essence, I work seven days per week. During holidays, whether a one-day holiday or two-week holiday, usually 50% of the time is spent working. This may seem unique, but it isn't. I know all the other teachers at my school have similar work habits. Sure, there are teachers who don't go past the 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. job, but many do. Teachers spend a minimum of five years of college education just to get their teaching credential. Many, in addition, have their master's degrees. Compare the salaries of people with this kind of education in private businesses with teachers--and assume that many teachers are indeed doing their darndest to provide a good education--and you'll find teachers very much underpaid. Considering it is the teacher who helps create the doctors, scientists, the engineers and the others who help our world to continue, the educator receives very little appreciation.

I have been wanting to do this every time some ungrateful person says or implies that teachers are not underpaid or that teaching isn't really a tough job. I wonder if these people have ever thought of that one teacher who may have given them the knowledge and confidence to do whatever it is that has made them successful. There's always a teacher who "makes a difference."

LINDA S. LUKAS

Studio City

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