- Posted September 28, 2012 by
It was the touchdown heard around the world. You know what I’m talking about. Sunday night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in which the final hail mary pass was caught by a Green Bay Packers receiver, who was himself cradled in the arms of the Seahawk’s receiver, and the stand-in officials awarded the points to Seattle for the win. Oh the outrage! Oh the humanity! Our favorite pass time was ruined and the country was in shambles because the zebras on the field made an, admittedly, horrible call.
But four days later, the heavens opened as the news came on and we learned that a deal had been reached. Thank you sweet baby Jesus, the real referees would be back on the field by Thursday night. Watching my morning CNN show while getting ready I know they referenced it at least five times in the thirty or so minutes it took for me to prepare for a day at work teaching.
Yes, teaching. You know the same profession for which many of my colleagues walked the picket lines in Chicago just two weeks ago. Yes, there was a public outcry and outrage over their negotiations. But then, nobody was screaming at the TV to give them what they want so they would come back. Heck, I was one of the ones yelling “Why do they need more money when they get paid and average of $78,000 a year?” As a teacher in NC I will never see $78,000 without going into administration. I was just about to start licking the stamps for applications postmarked for Chicago when they reached an agreement. Shucks!
But you know, $78,000 is a funny number. As I said before that is what the average teacher gets paid in Chicago. That means there are some who get paid more than that, and some who get paid less. It is also the same amount that a first-year NFL referee gets paid. Yes. First year. $78,000. The average referee salary in 2011 was $149,000--yet again, some earning more, some less. But thanks to the gods of the NFL they will see an increase in that average salary, making them garner a well-earned average of $205,000 by 2019.
I get that people love their football and have an inherent distrust in education. But perhaps our lack of faith in the education system today is a result of the current employment of “replacement teachers” we have on staff in some situations. Yes, we do have some great teachers out there. But there are still a good number of educators that just go to school to earn the measly paycheck that’s offered. And there’s a whole host of college students right now, who would be excellent teachers, that are choosing not to go into education because their abilities can earn them much more money somewhere else. I can’t blame them. There are many times I wish I would have made the same decision.
So, instead of having these innovative, progressive thinking, engaging leaders in front of our students we are left to settle with educators who will, like the replacement refs, come to work, do the bare minimum to get the job done, and then go home at the end of the day with no remorse for the poor job they did teaching your children. They are our replacement teachers--the ones we settle for when we can’t get the real thing or refuse to pay what for what the real things are worth.
Let’s face it: We are slowly climbing our way down the ladder of educational success in the world because we continue to cut from education budgets. We continue to tell our teachers that their worth in our society is not important, especially when we get our panties all in a wad because our beloved grid-iron is rocked by half-witted officials.
You see, every time someone gets excited that these “real refs” made a deal, every time someone posts a facebook status exclaiming in celebration that they are back, it’s a slap in the face to the people who take care of your children’s future every day. In my world, you might as well say to me, “I’m so ecstatic they increased their pay to a salary you’ll never receive for doing a three hour job, three times a week for one season!” Believe me, it wouldn’t hurt any worse.
Meredith is a resident of Clinton, NC. She grew up in the public school system in North Carolina and graduated Cum Laude from Furman University in 2007. She currently teaches high schoolers at Harrells Christian Academy and coaches cheerleading on the side.