Is your school celebrating Exceptional Children’s Week?

Our school has spent the week celebrating Exceptional Children’s Week.

As far as I can tell the week seems to be less about the children and more about the teachers who work with their special needs every day. At our school the teachers include among others those who work with the visually impaired, autistic, learning disabilities, speech, occupational therapists and also the gifted. (I know I’m forgetting some!)

Our school basically treats it like teacher appreciation week but for these specialized teachers.  They had personalized coffee mugs and Starbucks on Monday, little flower bouquets on Tuesday, a very nice luncheon on Wednesday, today is handwritten notes from all the students, and then Friday is candy bar bouquets.

I don’t think these teachers are generally thanked during the regular teacher’s appreciation week in May so it’s nice for their efforts to be recognized.

Has your school been celebrating these teachers or these children this week? Does your school do a good job supporting the kids who have special needs in your community? Does your school do a good job supporting the teachers working with these children?

(I’m still sick guys but I will try to post again later today. I have a special item on reduced spa prices around Atlanta I want to share but I’ve got to write it up!)

174 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

March 4th, 2010
9:11 am

This is news to me but I am all for showing appreciation to every staff member at the children’s school.

Take a peak at my post and the link I put on yesterday’s topic. I popped it on their this morning, before Theresa put up this new topic. An interesting article I saw and read, last night: TWO SIMPLE WAYS TO BE A HAPPIER PARENT. Neat stuff!

Julia

March 4th, 2010
9:19 am

with the name of the thread it should be directed at the children not the teachers… I do know one thing.. They do not make enough money to put up with what they do.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
9:21 am

MJG does it involve duct tape and prozac :)…

Wayne

March 4th, 2010
9:24 am

We’re having issues at our local school where the special needs kids get a ton of services, but the gifted ones (I have one of each) have nothing. We’re trying to decide what to do with our gifted child. He’s extremely bored and the teacher just isn’t quite getting it.

Becky

March 4th, 2010
9:32 am

They aren’t doing anything like this at our school..I do try to show the teachers that I appreciate them thru the year..I have lunch with my two at least once a week and I make a point to go in and ask the teachers if there is anything that they need for the class..They usually say no and not wanting to be pushy, not sure what to take in for them when they say this..MJG, maybe you could point me in the right direction? Both teachers are very young if that makes a difference as to what to give..

Julia..Why do you say that? Don’t teachers teach because they love their job..My late BIL taught special needs children and he loved his job no matter that the pay wasn’t that great..

Julia

March 4th, 2010
9:37 am

Becky they are way underpaid!! these guys are angels from heaven and I could not do their job to save my life…

Becky

March 4th, 2010
9:45 am

What is a “normal” salary for teachers?

Julia

March 4th, 2010
9:48 am

motherjanegoose

March 4th, 2010
9:51 am

Becky…even bringing in a box of tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes would be helpful. Just tell them you were out shopping and thought that if you used these items, they might be needing them too.
Young teachers may not know how to ask or be nervous to do so. A box of tea bags would be super for this time of the year as teachers talk all day long and it helps to drink tea. I do!
It does not have to be extravagant at all. Good luck!

motherjanegoose

March 4th, 2010
9:53 am

Becky,,,salaries vary by degree, experience and location.

A similar question would be:

What is a normal price for a 4 bedroom 3 bath house?

Depends on if you are talking about South Ga or Buckhead!!!!

cld

March 4th, 2010
9:56 am

Becky, I was unable to quickly locate the full matrix this morning. However, this page shows minimum starting salaries for Georgia teachers. Most – if not all – counties subsidize these salaries. I think the “adder” in Gwinnett is about $4,000-5,000 on top of the state pay.

I know I will be ripped a new one for this, but I don’t really think teachers are as underpaid as everyone says. I make the same amount of money as teachers in my county with comparable degrees and years experience . . . but I receive far less time off. Sure, I don’t deal with kids all day. But I do deal with their parents!

cld

March 4th, 2010
9:56 am

Julia

March 4th, 2010
9:58 am

Not only should they be paid more, I’d also support tax incentives to encourage more quality people to become teachers. I’d support the same sort of system for police and fire fighters. By “tax-incentive” I mean giving the individual a break on taxes for working in certain fields.

Becky

March 4th, 2010
10:18 am

Thanks MJG..Never thought about tea bags..I thought the pay depended on education, again just wasn’t sure of how and what..

Julia..Maybe I’m reading your post wrong, but why the snarkyness? Like cld, I don’t think that teachers are underpaid..They know going into this job that they may not ever make mega bucks, so once you are there, why start whining about being underpaid? Like cld, that’s just my opinion and I’m sure that others won’t agree..

Julia

March 4th, 2010
10:23 am

Teacher

March 4th, 2010
10:29 am

Teachers are underpaid. We are not allowed to teach. We are now just underpaid babysitters for all your very unruly children. The school systems now are a joke. These cookie cutter test do nothing but stress every one out.

RJ

March 4th, 2010
10:38 am

The school in which I teach, nor my children’s school are recognizing this week. This is also Music in Our Schools Month. That won’t be celebrated either. I think it’s great that your school is getting involved and showing teachers appreciation.

@cld, your salary depends on where you work. The school system in which I work pays well for the metro area (but that’s not saying much), but I teach the kids that many teachers won’t. The time I get off is unpaid. There is no such thing as a paid vacation for teachers. Yesterday I got home around 6, however I got to work at 7:15. I haven’t been able to get home earlier than 6 this week. This summer I will be taking classes to earn the needed PLU’s to renew my license in 2011. None of the classes are free. So far I’ve registered for 2 classes at a cost of $450 and $395 plus the cost of materials. I chose classes that are relevant to my area, so I guess I could’ve chosen a cheaper class, but it wouldn’t have benefited my students nearly as much. My husband is a truck driver that earns more than I do. My brother’s weekly salary is almost double mine (he’s a long distance driver). I know very few people that earn what I do and put in the number of hours that I work. In the past I’ve worked two jobs, this will be the first year that I won’t be doing so due to the economy.

Here is an idea of how well paid we are. If I remain a teacher, I can earn $73,000 by my 26th year of teaching! Most of my friends and neighbors make more than that now. Outside of parenting, this is the toughest job I’ve ever had. I have no complaints about the pay because it’s the career I chose. However, it’s not an easy job, it’s not a high paying job and it’s not a well respected one. Regardless of the pay, I will continue to go to work and give the kids I teach my absolute best. But believe me, it ain’t for the money or the unpaid time off.

Not the preferred Nomenclature

March 4th, 2010
10:45 am

I don’t think they are recognizing this at my son’s school. He hasn’t mentioned it anyway.

My wife is a teacher. She has a masters and has been teaching for 2 years. I am not normally aware of he paycheck as she has her own accounts and she never complains, however, when I did our taxes the other day, I was surprised at what she makes. Last year she made around $35K plus benefits. I was expecting it to be around $45K plus benefits.

Eitherway, the benefits package is huge. As a self employed person, I know first hand what that is worth and I think many teachers don’t realize how good it is. A pension? Are you kidding? In this day and age, that is wonderful!

I also have a relative who teaches special needs children and she told me that she is paid more to do that. She also has a masters.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
10:47 am

That is my point.. I make 35 K with out a masters… that is just insane.. 35k in todays economy is nothing…

JATL

March 4th, 2010
10:48 am

They definitely need at least one “special” week! Special Ed teachers not only deal with a variety of special needs (and even if, hopefully if, they love it -it’s difficult), but they get the joy of IEPs! Every special ed teacher is assigned a case load. This is in addition to all of the planning, grading, and lesson plans they usually have to turn in on a weekly basis. IEPs are a phenomenal mountain of paperwork showing that the child’s disability has been tested, addressed, met over, reassessed regularly, given modified instruction, etc. IEPs also require regular meetings with parents, other teachers and people like OTs if they’re a part of the child’s educational process. We should all be thankful for Special Ed teachers because they do all of this (including all of the extra stuff required) for $30,000-$60,000 (sometimes a little more after YEARS of service) a year depending on experience, advanced degrees and school district.

RJ

March 4th, 2010
10:51 am

@Becky the reality is that what you learn in school is nothing like the real world of teaching. The fact is, when you see the amount of work you’re expected to do and the miracles that you’re expected to make happen, you realize that you’re not being well compensated for time you put in. I’ve had to do Saturday workshops and not receive one dime for being there. Frankly I didn’t really consider the salary when I went into teaching. I chose to work with kids and teach what I love. My first 6 months felt like I’d hit the lottery. I’d been making $6.00 an hour with the temp service during the summer, so $28,000 a year was great! Reality set in rather quickly after that. I soon realized that I wasn’t making all that much. When I talked to friends and they were earning $60k right out of college, I was in disbelief. Now they make six figures, and I admit that I’m still in disbelief lol! I enjoy teaching, most teachers do, but to say that we’re not underpaid when you have no idea of what our day is like is ludicrous. Nobody is whining, but the truth is that the job expectations/requirements are not equal to the wage earned.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
10:55 am

**pulls up chair with a bag of chips**

JATL

March 4th, 2010
10:56 am

@cld -I’m not trying to “rip” you, but all of that “time off” teachers get is actually pretty full of work! When I taught, a friend of mine had just joined a law firm out of law school. We usually had the same amount of work to do at nights and on weekends! Those summers off are often loaded with staff development courses that you MUST take unless you’re in grad school (which takes up enough time on its own). You’re also asked to sponsor extracurricular activities, and unless you have seniority and have “paid your dues” so to speak, you really have to sponsor some if you teach on the middle and high school level. This eats into nights, weekends and holidays. So, teachers do receive a fair amount of vacation time, but not nearly so much as people think. They are often working during a great deal of that time.

Not the preferred Nomenclature

March 4th, 2010
11:01 am

I have noticed that teachers complain a lot. Don’t get me wrong, their complaints may be completely valid, but I know a lot of teachers, and the vast majority of them are always moaning about being underpaid, under appreciated, and seem to really dislike the job.

If my wife ever starts coming home and complaining about work, I don’t know what I will do.

“That is my point.. I make 35 K with out a masters… that is just insane.. 35k in todays economy is nothing…”

While I was surprised at this figure, her entire compensation package includes medical, dental, life, long term care, a 401K, and a pension. The value of that package is about $20K a year at her young age. (meaning what it would cost for us to buy these individually) The value of that same package to a 65 year old teacher would be twice that.

For the kind of full medical coverage of a family of 4 that a teacher is provided, it would cost a 45 year old couple around $8000 a year alone.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 4th, 2010
11:03 am

not the preferred — i don’t know what county you’re in but I know multiple teachers with masters who make at least $10,000 more than that if not more — I think that is very low for any teacher much less one with master’s degree — I am assuming that’s not metro atlanta — my examples are in metro atlanta

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:04 am

the benefits I got were awesome…. again I do not have my masters

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:10 am

I hope she gets her “pension” plan .. Again nothing is set in stone and that is just another area…. You can not depend on. Sort of like the Christmas / summer bonuses. Not to be such a bitter person but people are not staying in jobs now long enough to get a pension…

Not the preferred Nomenclature

March 4th, 2010
11:11 am

Theresa, thats in Dekalb County. I don’t know. Maybe she is getting a raw deal. Or maybe she is stocking away tons of money in her 401K. All I know is that I was surprised when looking at her W2. Its possible I suppose that she gets more and I don’t know about it.

The way finances work in my house is this. When I get money, I transfer everything except for what I need to eat, drive, and play with to her. She pays all the bills. I don’t know anything of the day to day operations.

Not the preferred Nomenclature

March 4th, 2010
11:14 am

Julia, there was a wonderfully written article in Time a couple months back abotu how the 401K has been a complete failure as a replacement to the Pension plan in America.

Fewer and fewer companies offer benefits of any kind. If nothing changes, more employers will drop their health plans too.

I work for myself. I have no pension. I set up my own retirment plan. Before my wife went to work as a teacher, I paid for our health insurance.

I am not saying that people don’t deserve benefit packages. I am just saying that people should take into consideration the value of those packages when considering their pay.

If someone says, “Oh, I only make 45,000 a year”, but their package is worth $30K, then they should say, “I make 75,000 a year”

Becky

March 4th, 2010
11:21 am

@RJ..Thanks for the info..I was just trying to understand..

Spacey

March 4th, 2010
11:21 am

$35,000 seems a bit low, but also seems normal to me for someone starting out from college.
And yes, with most jobs, adding a Masters is going to increase your salary.
Add in special training, computer classes, etc and your salary will go up.
I’m not a teacher, but in my other experience, starting around $34,000 with ALL those benefits with the opportunity to increase your salary with training and experience seems pretty normal.
That being said, you could not pay me enough EVER to be a teacher. I really respect what you guys do and put up with every day.
Do teachers still get discount points when buying a home?

Tiger needs me on his PR team

March 4th, 2010
11:31 am

I would disagree with the blanket statement “$35K in today’s economy is nothing”.

cld

March 4th, 2010
11:32 am

I realize that teachers work on their time “off” but many corporate employees do, too. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I get on Saturday and Sunday, and 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, from co-workers who are in the midst of projects. If I continue my current career path, in 20 years I still won’t be making $73K. I could change departments, get advanced degrees, etc – but I see those career moves as comparable to teachers who become grade level chairs, administrators, etc.

It also rubs me the wrong way when teachers complain about their low pay AND all their unpaid time. Since the summers and other weeks off are unpaid – I’ll give you that – that means a $35K salary (which, by the way, is the approx. starting salary in Gwinnett for a certified teacher w/ bachelor’s degree) earned over a period of 36 weeks, is almost $1,000 a week. It just happens to be pro-rated to 52 weeks, so teachers don’t have summers without paychecks. I’m sorry, but $1,000 a week for first year on the job isn’t too bad. Someone referenced $60K starting salaries – those must be lawyers or other graduate-school-level specialty professions (or maybe IT in its hayday a number of years ago).

I think the lower-than-corporate-average salaries of teachers are offset by great benefits (I remember a few years ago discussing prescription coverage with a very close teacher friend; she was shocked that her BC pills had gone from $5 to $10 a month – meanwhile I was paying $30+ per month – and don’t even get me started on maternity coverage and retirement) and by better job security. Yes, teachers get displaced in tough times. But I see that as being transferred – very few are laid off. Compare that to corporate America, where most companies have laid off 15-20% (much higher in some industries) in the last two years. Yes, you might be moved; yes, there are some layoffs; but not nearly as many in comparison. It’s all part of the trade.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:33 am

You do have a point but like you just said that the 401K have tanked and benefits are drying up as well. With that being said…. I would not even try to count on a pension plan when I do retire. Companies are going bankrupt and pension plans are toast… they are doing every thing they can do to get out of them and not pay them. Hell I barely make enough to live now I cant worry about tomorrow when I may not even be here….

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:34 am

Tiger, 10 – 15 years ago a husband could make 35 k a year and the wife could stay at home… Today both need to make 35k to just make it

RJ

March 4th, 2010
11:35 am

@Not the preferred Nomenclature, if you’ve been reading the latest articles and blogs, you’ve seen what unrealistic expectations have been placed upon teachers. You probably have more teachers complaining today than ever before. Our hands are tied. We are forced to teach scripted lessons, and when they fail, it’s all our fault. Creativity is becoming a thing of the past. We WANT to make a difference, but nobody will listen to what we think is right for kids. It’s all our fault if our students fail the CRCT even though many of them come to school hungry, dirty and 2 grades behind. We have little control over what goes on in our classes. I spend most of my day teaching outside of my content area. Why? Because we are desperate to make AYP. So I’ve become a math and reading teacher although my degrees are in music.

BTW, my husband’s job has excellent benefits. I have a family member that works for Delta and his benefits are incredible. Not to mention he makes nearly double, yes nearly double my salary with no degree.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:37 am

Tiger, this would be pretty much in Atlanta…

RJ

March 4th, 2010
11:37 am

@cld, a grade level chair makes an extra $1000 a year. Please!

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:38 am

RJ – thank you thank you thank you thank you… bows down I am not worthy…

This is exactly my point

cld

March 4th, 2010
11:39 am

How many companies still OFFER pensions?

@RJ, Delta’s also gone bankrupt . . .

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:40 am

My best friend is a high school drop out making 45k in Customer Service…

cld

March 4th, 2010
11:40 am

I stand corrected on the grade level chair pay boost. But now I’m wondering how my friend’s salary is so high . . . I assumed that was a big factor, but apparently it’s not.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:41 am

I wont ever get started on Dont Even Leave The Airport

cld

March 4th, 2010
11:41 am

Julia, can you tell me where? Because I have bachelors degree and five years’ experience in my current job, and I’m not making 45K!

KMM

March 4th, 2010
11:41 am

I understand why teachers say they don’t get paid vacation – they are paid based on the number of days they work but then get an equal pay check each month. The summer months are like holidays off and they get a couple sick days each year. But how is that different than any salaried person in private or gov’t work? All salaried employees get the same pay check each month no matter how much they work, and no matter if there are holidays in that month or not. Same thing. So for whatever the teacher salary is – $35k, $48k, etc, they get summer, winter and spring holidays and a few sick/vacation days each year. It’s a salary.

cld

March 4th, 2010
11:42 am

*have a bachelors

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Im sorry I just have to say this :).. Pension plans now rank up there with the rest of the “fairy tales” :)

Not the preferred Nomenclature

March 4th, 2010
11:44 am

Well, I don’t know. I wish you guys made more money too.

But I’d like to point out that in my county they are cutting important programs like magnet and montesouri. They are furloughing teachers and bus drivers, and all other staff. They are looking at huge budget deficits.

All of this was caused because of the real estate collapse, which in part was caused by some local county decisions, but mostly effected everyone.

Now, what is truly disturbing is the number of residents complaining that their property taxes are too high. “My property is worth $120,000 but they are appraising me at $140,000!”

Good! I wrote to the county commissioner and asked him to RAISE my taxes. We need the money and folks want to pay less.

“Teachers are underpaid!” followed by, “My taxes are too high”

Pick a side and stop trying to have both.

That written, they could cut trash service to once a week and that would help.

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:44 am

up 400 near the outlet malls

Julia

March 4th, 2010
11:46 am

trash does not need to be cut to once a week that just just nasty blech!