Last week presented me with a rather gratifying job opportunity at one of the nearby schools, teaching science and history to fifth and sixth graders.
This week finds me en route to a meeting with the school principal to discuss salary and my curriculum for the upcoming year, a prospect which — having drifted jobless in academia for the last four years — fills me with some apprehension. In the world of research, most scientists are lucky to get paid at all; even highly trained post-docs struggle with making rent and resort to scrounging the offices for free doughnuts.
As a middle school educator, how much should I ask for? Do I even have a say? What’s fair? Luckily my family has offered a few helpful stratagems to ease me through the process:
- Pat – “Ask for anything less than fifty-thou and your getting fleeced.”
- Dasad – “PBS hires puppets to teach kids to read. How hard can it be to teach lil’ Ricky the difference between igneous rock and his aunt’s prize beagle? They could hand out Cheez-It’s and you’d still be overpaid.”
- Sean – “100K and a new company car. Otherwise you won’t earn any respect with the kids.”
- Mom – “Beggars can’t be choosers, hon. Whatever you earn the government is just going to steal anyway. Damn dirty crooks . . . “
- Shannon — “So schools are like a dating paradise, man. All those young teachers around. Be like River Phoenix in Sneakers, turn down any and all money until you can score some phone numbers. If you’re a good boy, maybe earn some gold stars too, eh? Right? Look at this eye . . . right here; I’m winking.”