Canadian Money Forum banner

1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,508 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've always wondered this. Why are teachers so frugal. It's more than a coincidence, they must share a personality trait or something.

Where I work, (a building that hosts large conferences for all types of professions, business, etc), teachers are the only group of adults that will sit on a carpet in a circle and share one large pizza, because the food service or restaurants are expensive.

Or ordering from the kids menu and splitting the meal, between each other..

I read the millionaire next door and they also found that teachers are exceptionally frugal and good savers. What gives? Any teachers here?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,061 Posts
I think it may have to do with the facts that 1) teachers are generally underpaid, and thus learn how to make do with less in their personal lives, and 2) teachers frequently have small budgets to work with in their jobs, and thus again learn how to make do with less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
I agree

I waitressed all through high school and university.After I had taught for 2 years I decided to get a "real" job as a waitress again and leave my job behind when my shift was over . But I missed the fact that teaching was a calling and not just a job so I went back for 30 more years. Still teaching. I too agree that teachers can be stingy. I always tip well because I know how others need to make a living. In my job we need to keep track of any papers we use for our classroom. Two years ago I had to sign out for a box of paper clips. No joke. Due to budget cutbacks some teachers pay 300- 400 out of pocket for classroom supplies that make our classrooms more enjoyable. I have to account for all my marks, not only to my administrator but to my students and parents. My job is very public since everyone in my classroom can discuss what goes on there with their parents, other students etc. and they do. Very high public position to the community. But it is also very isolating because we rarely get to work with our peers and trouble shoot a problem at source. We need to get information on our breaks, after school, before class and always in a rush because of the bell. Lunch hours are spent supervising, assisting students, coaching etc. I know many teachers who can't wait to retire so they can go to the bathroom when they want or get a 1/2 hour to sit and have uninterrupted lunch. I cannot ask my colleague a question "right now" because I need to teach and cannot leave my class or do not want to interrupt their class. So when we get a chance to meet at a convention quite often that is the only time we can connect to get information about "everything" and not be scrutinized for any and every comment we make. Pizza on the floor in a community is not just about cost. I am not complaining about my profession. I still love it after 30 plus years. Just trying to give a reason why we do some of the things we do. That does not forgive us for not noticing that tipping is standard practice and other workers depend on it. PS If you have ever read the book Up the Down Staircase it describes exactly what I am talking about. There is a reason why over 50 % leave teaching in the first 5 years. Terrible statistic of all the professions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,516 Posts
You guys must know different teachers than I do. Before I got married I dated a teacher and hung around with many of them. I also currently know a few teachers (including my sister-in-law). I definitely don't consider them to be a frugal bunch. And they don't really have to be, considering the pensions they will get.

I would also question the underpaid part -- not saying they don't deserve it, just saying I don't consider them poorly paid. Most teachers I know earn eighty to ninety something per year. Considering they get the entire summer off, plus a couple of weeks at Christmas, another week at March break, several professional development days and a benefit package that is probably worth another $10,000 - $20,000, I would say they are fairly compensated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,061 Posts
Most teachers I know earn eighty to ninety something per year.
Wow, maybe teachers in Canada are a lot better compensated than in the States. When I lived in Vermont and Massachusetts I worked with and was friends with dozens of teachers, and I don't think any of them (including some who'd been teachers for 30 years) pulled in more than $40K. And none of them really had their summers off, as they were busy preparing for the next year's classes and had lots of paperwork, reports, schedules, training, etc. to complete; at best they took off the last half of July and first half of August. During the school year, most of them worked 12-hour days and typically worked weekends correcting papers, and when the students had vacation weeks the teachers were frequently at school for meetings or training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
1) teachers are generally underpaid
Effective September 2009, typical elementary and high school principals in Toronto will make between $106k and $115$ per year. This also comes attached with an excellent pension and benefits package (by industrial standards), and "nearly-impossible-to-fire" job stability. Regular teachers can earn up to $91k (depending largely on years of service), and receive similar benefits. Teachers are typically required to work 192-194 days per year (reference). It's worth noting that the typical school day ranges between 330 to 345 minutes across Canada, which translates into <= 6 hours of instructional time per day, with most classes sizes consisting of 20 or fewer students.

For comparison, a tenured associate professor of electrical engineering with a PhD (which generally requires 10-12 years of university education) and 10 years of professorial or industrial experience at a Canadian university will generally make in the neighbourhood of $110k, with 2-3 weeks' of vacation, and requirements to "publish or perish" -- that is, if you can't achieve tenure within a few years of being hired, you're fired. Work days are generally assumed to be 8 hours per day (though, in reality, often much more, since research never really "stops", particularly for untenured profs), and it's not uncommon to have classes of 100 or more students. (I have personally seen classes upwards of 300 students.) Note that co-op universities, like Waterloo, teach courses all year long.

So I wouldn't really say that elementary or secondary teachers are "underpaid" -- I think that they have a very nice compensation package for the amount of education/experience which they possess, and for the amount of time that they're performing their work.


K.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
I am reluctant to drag out an anecdote to prove a point, but until recently I was on the board of directors of my kids' daycare, which is located in a public school in Toronto.

Last year, we wanted to expand the daycare and we needed to meet with the principal. With one thing and another, we ended up scheduling one meeting at the end of June.

We were told in no uncertain terms that the principal would be completely unavailable in July and August - not answering e-mails or phone calls and completely unreachable, even for a signature on a document she'd previously approved. "This is a 10-month job, not a year-round job," was the party line. :eek:

(Editing to add: not that I'm proving a point, or that I *have* proved any point. I'm just trying to say that I know an anecdote has only limited power.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,061 Posts
In contrast, I lived for a few years with a schoolteacher in Vermont, who not only paid for many of her classroom supplies out of her own pocket, but who was pretty much always on the job when school was in session (nights and weekends included) and then after school was closed spent about three weeks in meetings, training sessions, and completing paperwork before she could take any time off. She would take a few weeks off in July and early August but was always back in the saddle by mid-August preparing for the beginning of classes. She earned $35K, although in Vermont that's not a bad salary.

I guess the system allows for people who want to treat teaching as a 10-month job, but I don't think most good teachers see it that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,054 Posts
Both my mom and my sister were/are teachers. I don't really see them as being very frugal it's just that they make very good money. Like in any profession there are those that are more committed then others. We are all familiar with the scenario where there are people who get ready to leave work at 4:30 and hit the door at 4:59 and there are people who leave when their work is done.

Their pension plan is also exceptional as well as their sick benefits.

It seems to me that in the case of my mom and sister the hardest part of the job is the politics that goes on behind the scenes. That and the policy of transferring teachers around every few years. Not such a big deal here in Toronto District school board where it means a longer commute but up North the school board goes from North Bay to Timmins it means either ending up with extra houses or buying/selling one every few years.

Another thing I find a bit weird about their work is that if they choose to do university courses they get paid extra. For instance both my mom and sister have Master's degrees which they did through correspondence which increased their pay. I'm not sure what the point is in paying them more, my mom taught French in a school of 300 kids pretty much the entire time. Most other jobs just don't do this certainly none I've ever had.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Teachers are typically required to work 192-194 days per year (reference).
Does that include marking and lesson planning on weekends? What about extra-curricular involvement, band, sports etc?


It's worth noting that the typical school day ranges between 330 to 345 minutes across Canada, which translates into <= 6 hours of instructional time per day,
Plus lunchtime and recess supervision. At my son's school there is supervision starting 30 min before school starts too. Band, sports, parent-teacher meetings.....

with most classes sizes consisting of 20 or fewer students.
Most? That link indicates K-3. And I wish class sizes were that small where I live. The only classes that are <20 are usually Kindergarten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,732 Posts
I'd mind less if they did full-year teaching. Of course, if we were to introduce that, they'd probably want a 25% raise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Does that include marking and lesson planning on weekends? What about extra-curricular involvement, band, sports etc?
Nope, it doesn't include those things. I was speaking specifically to the legal requirements of the job. Note, further, that teachers are not required to partake in extracurricular activities and are not required to supervise band or sports. (In fact, one of my teacher friends refuses to do these things, and works a pretty straightforward 8am to 3:20pm day.)



K.

p.s. I don't have anything against teachers -- my mom taught grade 7-8 for 32 years, my dad taught for 15 years (until he died of cancer), and my grandmother taught for 40 years. That said, I find myself looking at what an average teacher and principal make, and then contrast these with what an average university prof makes, and find myself wondering why there isn't more of a discrepancy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,936 Posts
We were told in no uncertain terms that the principal would be completely unavailable in July and August - not answering e-mails or phone calls and completely unreachable, even for a signature on a document she'd previously approved. "This is a 10-month job, not a year-round job," was the party line. :eek:
Not that this debate is on topic, but I personally don't have a problem with what the principal stated above. They're right. If they're not being paid for it, they cannot be expected to do any work related to it. Just because a person CAN monitor various work-related communications mediums does not mean that they SHOULD. When they're away it means that they're away. Unreachable. If businesses and colleagues want people to be reached then those groups need to provide on-call pay or pay the worker for being available 24/7. The contract of the principal in question does not provide for this type of pay.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
419 Posts
In my experience most teachers are not frugal, they spend as fast as they earn.

In my experience also most teachers put in an average work day. Show up an hour before the kids, stay for an hour or so afterwards. Every school has at least one teacher who practically lives at the school, and a few that race the kids to the parking lot to go home.

Yes most of them have the "I am not getting paid in the summer so I dont care" attitude, but hey, would you work if you were not getting paid?

I feel teachers are reasonably compensated, BUT when you factor in they only work just under 9 mos in the year, they are grossly overpaid.

That being said, I hold the same opinion of teachers as I do government DB pension:

If you think teachers are better off, then quit your job, get a degree and start teaching.

Bottom line is I am happy where I am at, so I really couldn't care less what happens to other people.

Look out for number one because nobody else really will look out for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
It takes a special kind of person to be a good teacher. It really is a labour of love. A really good teacher is priceless and can make a huge difference in your child's success and happiness at school. That being said, there isn't enough money in the world to convince me to spend 6 hours per day 5 days per week with 20-30 elementary school-aged children and I applaud those that do and do it well.
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top