Teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area-how do you make it?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by linswin23, May 8, 2018.

  1. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    May 14, 2018

    It's beyond being able to eat and afford rent on a teacher salary -- it's so bad in the SF area that teachers just can't afford to live in the city any more, meaning new teachers are having to commute long distances, which either means longer days and the burnout that comes with it, or not being able to stay for after-school activities, sports, etc. The community loses out when teachers can't afford to live in the communities they serve.

    Of course, the people working in tech needn't be bothered by this, since they can afford to send their kids to $$$ private schools. We are perpetuating a huge gulf in this area between the haves and have nots, and I am concerned about what that will mean for our community in the future.
     
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  2. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    May 14, 2018

    I can relate to your sentiment, having worked at both ends of the spectrum. At the extreme high end, I recall there was just one teacher who lived in the school community - this most senior teacher starting teaching when the school was first built many years ago - he paid just a fraction ($25,000) of what the house is valued at today ($1 million +). Even as the principal, I could empathize how the other paid help (landscape gardeners, nannies, cooks, caregivers) must have felt entering the exclusive neighborhood to work in the morning and returning to their affordable abodes in outlying cities in the evening.

    Most parents seek to provide the best for their children to the extent possible. Just because those with the financial means (through hard work and determination) have more options does not mean that they should not have the right to choose among those expanded options. Fortunately, many Americans have far more options than those with extremely limited finances - education options being just one example.

    A slight correction: The common stereotype that wealthy parents tend to send their children to private schools may not necessarily be accurate, especially in today's economy. Public schools in affluent communities are usually not too shabby. The public school that I worked at was referred to as a "public private school" - it was part of a 2-school district that boasted a one million dollar endowment - and it's high reputation was used by realtors to attract potential home buyers. Many parents chose to send their children to this school over a costly private school for a quality education.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    May 14, 2018

    How much do you pay a month?! Good lord...
     
  4. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 14, 2018

    Agreed. I never want to live in the desert again.
     
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  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    May 15, 2018

    I agree that we should have the right to make choices -- but I also have the right to be concerned about what is happening to our public schools when families aren't supporting their local public schools. I am anecdotally referring to specific people I know living here in the Bay who work in tech and who do not send their kids to the local publics because either they're actually a mess, or the perception is that they are -- specifically in cities like San Francisco and San Jose. I currently work at a Title One school that is also a Gold Ribbon School because of our community support -- but I am concerned about the trend towards wealthy families sending their kids to privates and charters. It's already started to impact our enrollment and thus our ADA, and the tidal wave of gentrification is just starting to hit here (about an hour north of SF).
     
  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    May 15, 2018

    I actually agree with a lot of what you said. I think it is important to support public schools by and large. If I had children, I would still send them to an expensive private school because they are generally safer, they often have better amenities, and they often have excellent and superior academic opportunities. That is not to say that there aren’t awesome public schools out there because there are a ton, but I would still not send my hypothetical child to said schools because of all the behavioral and criminal problems.

    Take my school, for instance. We always have the latest technology and curriculums available and teachers have the option to use whatever they feel like. We are not forced to use certain ones by a school district. Also, we can ask for just about anything and are provided with it at practically a moment’s notice. Not to mention, our students are some of the highest scorers in the entire state of California on state tests, their average AP score is now a 4.3/5, their average SAT score is now a 1,500/1600, and they continually get accepted into Ivy Leagues like Cornell, UPenn, Stanford, and other top tier schools like UC Berkeley, UCLA, MIT, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, plus else. We’ve even had students get internships at major companies like Google, Facebook, Pixar, and Dreamworks after graduating because they do so many summer programs, state and national competitions, and relevant service projects in their intended subject areas.

    To further demonstrate, we recently had one parent — who works at a major engineering firm — come to the school and he said that the computer science students were doing programming projects like the one he did in his Masters program. He was shocked to say the least. That’s the kind of things public schools should be doing more of — giving students the best tools at their disposal to set them up for success. Not unlike the public school many blocks down the road from ours where a 50% in an AP class constitutes a C, they have the crappiest textbooks I’ve ever seen, and students retake every exam and STILL fail. How do you fail when you have the answers from the previous test and the retake is the exact SAME? It makes no sense. Plus, I’ve heard of teachers from said school that rarely teach. With clarification, a student I tutor — who is a student there — talked about how the whole class loudly exclaimed, “Mr. ****** is actually teaching today!” And said teacher responded, “That’s right, so listen carefully.” To say that got me pissed off would be an understatement. How can a TEACHER not teach? It’s kind of in the name.

    In my classroom, I use technology to great effect and teach WELL beyond the state standards. For example, I habitually embed inorganic/organic chemistry, p-chem, biochemistry, computer science, genetics, statistics, and calculus-based physics problems in ALL of my problem sets and I routinely have my students do a lot of investigative tasks. I do this because, 1) I have an extensive background in science in addition to math, and 2) because I feel like it is my duty to prepare my students for a job in the private industry should they decide to go that route.

    The best part is that I still get emails from past students who thank me for making my classes so difficult because their college classes are a breeze compared to mine. I’ve even had some professors from UC schools contact me and say my students are among the best they’ve ever had in their entire careers. I kid you not, they said that they can’t trust the “knowledge” that students from public schools get like they used to because 1) they can’t do basic arithmetic, 2) they can’t articulate themselves or critically think, 3) they can’t write a decent paper to save their lives, and 4) they have an inability to work on their own and read instructions.

    It’s ridiculous what kids today don’t know. How do they not know basic things about the world in which they live when the information is readily available at their fingertips?

    Long rant aside, that simply does not happen at my school and that’s why more and more parents are withdrawing their kids from the school down the street and enrolling them in my private school.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  7. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    May 16, 2018

    Thanks for your informative response. I've always believed that many teachers are aware of the glaring dichotomy between public and private schools, but choose not to recognize the distinct advantages of the latter.
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    May 16, 2018

    Precisely. I wish more people would be vocal about the differences.
     
  9. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    May 16, 2018

    Why?
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    May 16, 2018

    Read a few posts above for the answer.
     
  11. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    May 16, 2018

    See around here, the kids I get who transfer to my top-ranked public school from a local private school usually can't pass muster. It's clear that they paid for their grades in private school in many cases, and then when they actually have to earn them here, it's clear they didn't get their money's worth in terms of actual learning, and they often have to repeat courses or drop levels in our district. Perhaps in less affluent areas private is the way to go, but I would say 3 out of 9 public districts in my county outperform the private schools at every turn. The next 3 are probably on par. The last 3 under-perform.
     
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  12. Been There

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    May 16, 2018

    Many of us have formed our own opinions, based on personal experience (and sometimes limited knowledge). As we all know, the wide range of quality among schools - both private and public - from one district to another can be quite significant. Even if they are accurate, your observations and speculations about the schools in your county are limited to one specific region and as such cannot be used to extrapolate to other areas. I find it interesting that your numbers are so precise - how did you arrive at them?

    I've noticed that smart parents, regardless of their financial means, shop around for the best schools for their kids - they're not particularly concerned about the political or social ramifications of their decision. (Many private schools have scholarships and/or offer financial assistance for students who qualify.)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    May 16, 2018

    40% of the students at my private high school receive financial assistance — not in the form of vouchers, but in tuition deductions. This means instead of paying, say, 100% of the total cost for their student(s) to attend, parents would pay 40-60%, which depends on their income. My school is very generous with financial aid.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  14. Been There

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    May 17, 2018

    Thanks for this bit of information. I'm sure many of us were unaware of what goes on inside private schools. While one school may not necessarily be representative of them all, you do provide a rare glimpse that I find quite interesting! I suspect there are many myths and stereotypes on both sides. Things are not always what they appear to be!
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    May 17, 2018

    This thread has me worried. Utah is getting so expensive. We're lucky we bought our house a few years' back... it's doubled in value. If we sold it, I'm not sure what we'd be able to buy, though. We're not San Francisco yet, but who knows what the future will bring?
     
  16. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    May 17, 2018

    I actually don't have any significant respect for private schools as a whole. Oh, I think they're many fine ones, as @futuremathsprof demonstrated. But I also find many simply slap a label on their school without putting in the the effort to make that school significantly better.
     
  17. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 17, 2018

    I'm sorry to hear you don't have respect for private schools as a whole. As with anything, most are doing the job, and the minority that don't do their jobs correctly get all of the exposure.

    I'm in the private school culture now. Many people from my sector perceive that public school has it easy because they have unions and unlimited cash. They lament if they were only in public school they would have this or that. I have definitely heard people say that they feel private school is pay to play, or grades for sale. We definitely have school parents who feel (and express) that they are not paying good money for little Jimmy to get a C or a D. We absolutely remind them that grades are earned for things that are learned. It's disheartening to hear that there are places where money or prestige secure success for a student. (We often hear stories about teachers being pressured to give grades to athletes that are not commensurate with their actual achievement so the local public/private school can win the state championship.) Not because someone who is our colleague has perceived that we don't deserve their respect, but because we are raising a generation (in both sectors, frankly) where it doesn't matter what you learn or achieve as long as your parents can pressure whomever using whatever method to pave the way to their desired grade--unearned. Entitlement is not limited to private or public school, to student or parent, it is rampant throughout this society.

    I don't perceive that any one sector deserves/does not deserve respect. I know that there are some schools in both sectors that consistently do things well, and other schools where they cut corners.

    Personally, I feel that as long as we take swipes at one another based upon where we teach, we can never learn from one another. On this board alone, I read of teachers who seem excellent working at crummy schools (based upon what they say about their school). I want to learn what all of my colleagues are doing to combat the many similar problems we all share. I have always found benefits from the posts of all my colleagues here. You always share good ideas, and I appreciate it.
     
  18. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    May 17, 2018

    Oh, I do have respect for private schools. I shall go back and edit that. I just don't have significantly more respect for them than I have for any other schooling system.

    I've seen too many situations where people went for private school because it was private school and were disappointed. They didn't do their research.
     
  19. Ms. I

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    May 18, 2018

    $1700/mo now for the next 12 mos & it will just keep going up w/ no end in sight. Oh & I don't even live anywhere near the beach! :eek::mad::confused:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  20. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 18, 2018

    Well, I can agree with that for sure. I consider all of us working the same way, just on a different campus. Not every school can be for everybody, which is why we have so many schools. I know people have found disappointment in private, in charter and in public schools for different reasons. I think that each one deserves respect too, and none above the other. :) Thanks for clarifying.
     

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