Recently, conversation in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook turned to teaching contracts—the good, the bad, and the ugly. What things do teachers love about their contracts? What do they hate? (Hint: Being punished for things that are not their fault.) Read on to learn more about the best and worst parts of teacher employment contracts—and bookmark this list for the next time your contract negotiation comes up.
Teachers Share the Best Things About Their Contracts
“We cannot be asked to cover a class during our planning time.”
This should be true for ALL teachers. Read more about why here.
“I can ask that a student be removed permanently from my classroom if I am worried for the safety of myself or students.”
“And legally, they must be removed. (It needs to be backed up with documentation and referrals and parent phone calls and whatnot, of course.)”
“We get a $3,000 in lieu payment if we don’t use the district-offered health insurance.”
“The district saves more for not paying our insurance, but at least it is something.”
“I like our sick bank.”
“You voluntarily give up one sick day a year. Then, if someone needs more sick days for something major, they can apply to use sick bank and still get paid.”
“We get 10 teacher discretion days per year.”
“You can take them whenever you want and as many as you want. They are used for sick days as well and accrue the same way.”
“Paras got a raise and incentives to become teachers.”
Yes! We love to hear it. With a historic teacher shortage, we should be doing everything we can to welcome new people into the field.
“If we volunteer to cover during prep, we are paid.”
“Also our master/mentor teacher program. Our weekly PD is genuinely great, and we have a ton of support.”
“I could take up to a full year maternity leave.”
“It was without pay, but I could still come back to my same position.”
And … What Teachers Say Are the Worst Things About Teacher Contracts
“If we have a late start due to unsafe road conditions, it only applies to students.”
“Originally we had to be there at contract time. They eventually gave us an hour to get there, but that is still expecting us to go out when road conditions are not safe. Angers me just thinking about it.”
“Other duties as assigned.”
“Read: endless new tasks with no decrease in prior demands.”
“We have unreasonable 3-year contracts for new teachers.”
“They make it impossible to quit or finish out the time if you happen to end up in a toxic school and have to suffer through it.”
“Our class size limits don’t mean squat.”
Ugh. Large class sizes can be so challenging. And if something’s in the contract, we need to know it’s real.
“We’re dinged 5% of annual salary if we don’t finish out our contact year.”
The last thing we need to be doing is punishing teachers for leaving.
“Contract? What contract?”
Touché. Several of our commenters pointed out that not everyone is lucky enough to have an employment contract and guaranteed protections. Maybe those flaws aren’t looking so bad after all. …