Tuesday, February 12, 2008


OK, so exactly WHAT was the purpose behind this teacher absences report?

Here's what I got:

1) You get what you pay for.
2) You get more than you pay for if you tap into and exploit "professional pride".
3) Teachers are allowed sick days.
4) Teachers maximize their allowed sick days by hanging on until Friday.
5) You had to be told that an absent teacher affects student performance.
6) Low scoring (C & D) schools have higher teacher absenteeism - but didn't take into account the stress and burnout factor associated with any student population.
7) No mention of Hillsborough County's sneaky teach-an-extra-period trick.
8) The ONLY interviews that made the tape were veteran teachers. No interviews of the rookie teacher who is probably using up their sick time because they are reeling from the experience and are not returning to teaching next year.
9) No mention of contributing environmental factors like a room full of sick kids who want to exempt exams, marginal air quality, unreasonable time and workload demands, and the general malaise that sets in once you realize nobody in positions to change what is happening really gives a sh!t enough to do it.
10) If this were a student report it would get a county-curved "D" from any of the high school English teachers I know.

Oh, by the way:

Hillsborough's union represents 14,815 teachers* and 853 substitutes were called.

That gives Hillsborough a
94.3% attendance rate or a 5.7% absence rate on the WORST day.

Pure FCAT math - no curve.
I'm sure my trusty readers will correct any math mess ups..

(*last numbers published in the local papers)

Conclusion: A shallow attempt at something. Reflective of a medium in distress. They don't read blogs.


Anonymous said...

Your link is not working: http://www2.tbo.com/static/wfla/tbocom-special-reports-wfla-teacher-absences/

What was the purpose of this report? Was it to make educators look like lazy people who are unprofessional and play hooky??? I can't believe how little respect the public has for its educator, who spend five days a week with their children. We get sick... we are mothers with children of our own... we have emergencies... we are people too...

All the points you made were well put and right on. I have taken two professional days to do other tasks around school, such as English paperwork and yearbook business. They called a sub, but of course on paper an onlooker, perhaps from TBO, would assume I am playing hooky!!!! It is insulting. MANY of those absences are from coaches and sponsors who are away on school business... They didn't report that.

I would like a report on all other professionals absences pronto.

Suzie Creamcheese said...

Thanks for the tip on the link. It should work now.

I don't know what the purpose of this report was. Apparently the editor had the same problem.


Anonymous said...

I'm working on letters to Trib and TV. You made great points--here are a couple more to consider--all professionals are given sick days when they are hired--most, by the twenty year mark have earned far more then 10 days! I've accumulated a few days over the years and will use my 10 days--and then some, most likely. Also--we are NOT paid for all our "vacation" time--like Christmas Break, Spring Break, Summer Break and other incidental "holidays. Many teachers work a 2nd job in retail or the restaurant business during these times, as well as nights and weekends to support a family! I question whether this was a slow time for news, whether poor or no research was done, or this segment was done simply to inflame.....

Anonymous said...

8 took a cheap shot.

You see more and more consultant-driven, tabloid-level, prepackaged presentations designed to do nothing more than grab your attention.

The station is hurting for talent. Check the Sunday Trib classifieds. Channel 8 has been a regular in many categories.

Teaching seems to be going the way of radio and TV programming. Radio has succeeded in marginalizing the personality in favor of a lowest common denominator with taped song intros that are dropped in by computer and satellite. TV is following suit.

If you can reduce your dependence on labor you can more easily reduce your costs.

Anonymous said...

Although I have not seen the segment here's a look at sick/personal days. In most professions it is use'm or lose'm. If the county gave that option they know exactly the mess they would have with no subs. One of the few perks of this gig if you plan to retire as an educator is cashing out your unused time at your final rate of pay. If you know your not going to last 30 years take the days you are entitled to. I believe fire and police have similar cash out policies as do school administrators (although those groups may be capped, whereas teachers are not). Give us teachers the use or lose option and ROSSAC inhabitants will have no choice but to leave the inverted pyramid and enter the front lines due to the lack of subs.

virgin cynic said...

Police can retire in 20 years. I think the same go for fire and rescue. Teachers must do 30 years before full retirement benefits kick in.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow...I agree what a cheap shot on behalf of Channel 8. As a teacher, I cannot tell you how many illnesses I have contracted from my students themselves...but that is what I get for working in a poor school where the students don't go to the DR. I also have been stung by insects in my classroom (I am allergic) and had to miss work. What I didn't see in this "report" was the fact that teaching has been consistently rated among the 'dirtiest' jobs as far germ exposure...right up there with nurses. BUT I guess we should just go ahead and come in sick. And how is it our fault if the students don't listen to the subs? Maybe the parents should teach their children respect for adults.