I recently read the Daily Herald's analysis of teachers' salaries and was outraged about one thing: gym teachers raking in money. I fully understand that gym teachers are the most likely candidates to receive large stipends for coaching teams, so it makes sense that they occupy a large chunk of the highest paid teachers.
Many of those stipends are well earned, too -- I think back to my own recent high school experience where the football coaches dedicated huge amounts of time both in and out of season to help the kids. But ignoring the stipends and pension severances, and many of these gym teachers are making more in base pay than math, science, or English teachers.
Gym teachers are not bad or lazy people, but their job is simply not as specialized the subjects of other teachers. I put the analogy like this. Could I, a 2011 high school graduate, teach a regular gym class? On 90 percent of the days, yes. Could I teach my AP Calculus? Not in my dreams.
Besides that, gym teachers do minimal grading work compared to their core subject colleagues. 100 percent of my gym tests during high school were machine-graded (I exclude health). Just about every other subject I took included essay tests or projects that required teachers to spend hours grading.
I am not trying to demonize gym teachers. However, I think these statistics emphasize the need to rethink pay packages to teachers. Maybe gym teachers should not have the same starting base pay as other subjects or perhaps Illinois' mandate of four years of gym should be lifted.
Part of school is about learning to keep the body in shape, but the great majority is about the other more important subjects. Shouldn't teachers' compensation reflect that?