Friday, April 22, 2016


We got an interesting email at school today.

At my school we teach 5 periods and have 1 prep period per day.  Next year we're anticipating 200 more students than this year, so today we received an email asking us to consider giving up our prep period and teaching 6 periods.  It was the offered pay that was interesting.

First off, it was listed as a "stipend" instead of pay.  If I understand the intricacies well enough, retirement "contributions" on that money go into a different retirement account; stipends, like those of coaches and department heads and the like, do not count towards "highest year earned" for retirement pay calculations. 

Second, the pay was graduated depending on how many years you've taught.  For someone as seasoned as I, the offered stipend was $26,000.

That's right, $26,000.

Yes, that's much more than 20% of my current pay.  It's well more than 1/3 of my pay.  It's enticing.

It makes sense for the district to offer this money.  Paying that much is still cheaper than hiring a new teacher, what with retirement contributions and health insurance and all.  $26,000 is a nice middle ground--good money for the teacher who takes it, yet still a bargain for the district.

But next year is the last year of my master's program.  And at the end of that program, instead of a thesis, I have a comprehensive exam to take--an exam that covers the material I'll have learned over the 5 years I've been taking those classes.  I won't have time to do extra work at school--which means all grading and administrivia would have to be done after school--and also take master's classes and study for that test.

But $26,000.  I actually considered it, however briefly.


Pseudotsuga said...

That looks like a rational, math-based decision. Well done, math teacher, to put your wallet where your class material is!

Anonymous said...

In my district, we get what's known as our tenthly rate for taking the extra class. That works out to roughly $11000-12000/ year or about 12% extra in pay

Darren said...

That would be close to 20% for me--not worth it. But $26K is tempting.

educationrealist said...

I was just catching up on your blog and saw this. I wrote recently on the different ways of paying teachers for working more.

Anonymous said...

What are you getting a masters in? I know you've been working on getting it for quite some time now! Congrats! Are you going to stay a high school teacher after you get it?

Darren said...

It's a Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics through the University of Idaho's Engineering Outreach program. When I'm done I'll have taken 6 math classes (so far, discrete optimization has been my favorite), 2 math history classes, and 2 education classes.

Since it's not actually a master's in math, the chances that I'd get a job at a university are essentially zero. I'm hoping that I could, perhaps, teach part-time at a community college some day.