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Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers
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Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  307 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Since its initial publication and multiple reprints in hardcover in 2005, Teachers Have It Easy has attracted the attention of teachers nationwide, appearing on the New York Times extended bestseller list, iSPAN, and NPR's Marketplace, in addition to receiving strong reviews nationwide. Now available for the first time in paperback, this groundbreaking book examines how ba...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by New Press (first published 2005)
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Carmen
This is not an uplifting read, nor do I think it is meant for teachers or wanna-be teachers to read. I imagine the ideal audience for this book would be school administrators, business executives, parents, tax-payers, and anybody who has ever gone to school. So basically, everybody should read this book, except for people who are actually employed as a teacher because this will probably make them want to quit and become a real estate agent. What is repeated throughout is how badly teachers are c...more
Scott Rhee
Most, if not all, teachers have heard it all before: "You only got into teaching because you get to have three months in the summer off." or "You're getting a full-time salary for a part-time job." or "You're overpaid."

That such ridiculous statements are still being made by ignorant people (most notably politicians and journalists) is a testament to the vitriolic and politically-motivated anti-teacher and anti-public education hysteria that seems to be rampant today. That these vicious and untr...more
Marina Mularz
Listen, world.
Everybody knows I only love one thing more than teachers and that's even more teachers. And teachers that believe in their work and talk about their work with my third favorite thing, Dave Eggers. But I hate to say, Dave is eerily one-sided in this call for public ed reform.

The entire text is structured on the premise of better pay = more of the best and brightest = best education system = America is number one in public ed, alas. WHICH is great, as most people believe in the samp...more
April
Just got this yesterday and am MEGA-EXCITED to read it!!

After reading:

It's not that the ideas given in the book are impractical or fantastical, but more that the book itself was published in 2005, when it was easier--or at least, people were more willing--to fund programs that would pay teachers, well, almost as much as they were worth.

There are a lot of good points that the book brings up about how public schools are losing its better teachers because of the lack of pay, and about how hard it i...more
Sarah
I fully admit I skimmed this book more than I actually read it word for word. It was filled with a lot of personal stories from various teachers about how much we don't get paid. The best part of this book is where the author compares the day to day goings of a teacher compared to a man who sells drugs to hospitals and the daily rate at which they get paid.

The saddest part about this book, however, is that the only people who are probably reading it are those people who are in education. I think...more
Susan
Sep 12, 2007 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, policy makers
I would love all my teacher friends to read this and discuss it with me. It's not a book you read for the pleasure of reading--the structure is too choppy for that--but I think it's an important book. While we've all seen charts and graphs showing what teachers' salaries are, the first part of this book was umpteen first-person anecdotes from teachers about what the couldn't afford to do, how many hours they had to work, how they had to leave teaching for financial reasons. It's depressing, sobe...more
Ariana
I read this right after my very idealist graduate work in teaching. I walked away with a MAT focusing on Elem. Ed. towards a job at a huge TX school district.
Honestly not the best choice to read right before embarking on my teaching career, but eye opening nonetheless.
Dianne
What teachers read, when they want to feel sorry for themselves.
Anna
Feb 03, 2009 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents. Because teachers already know how abused they are, and they need some freakin' help.
I'm a parent of a first-grader, not a teacher. So why did I read this book? Because I'm just beginning to weave my way through the educational system as a parent, and I wanted a better idea of the teacher's perspective from a second-hand source as well as my child's teachers.

This book provides a fact-driven, comprehensive, persuasive argument as to why this paradigm must change, and school districts that are working to create a paradigm shift.

And every person who reviewed this book and recomme...more
Aaron Marvel
I can't even call this book surprising or shocking, b/c sadly I know enough teachers and their struggles plus enough about the current landscape of the education system in my own state to deduce that the American education system is a mess and that teachers in general are under appreciated and underpaid. While I totally support the root themes and ideas in this book, I was hoping it would be a little more entertaining than it was. But, perhaps it wasn't meant to be. I will say that it did give a...more
Greg
I applaud the effort and intention of this book. I understand the authors' perspective on the issue but wish they would have been a little more transparent in delivering it. I appreciate getting to read the direct perspectives and experiences of the practitioners so that readers could come to their own conclusions but assume that these quotes were also carefully selected. Though I didn't need persuading, I'm not certain this book will really change the minds of those on the other side of the iss...more
Guy
The book makes a compelling case for higher teacher pay. It reinforces this message with research and stories of and from teachers about what their lives are really like, and what their earning prospects are.

Teachers get a lot of the blame for what's wrong with our educational system. But there's a disconnect between the importance of teachers that we acknowledge and how we incentivize the best and brightest to go into teaching. That is, there are clear disincentives for people to go into teach...more
Sue
This book was of course mostly preaching to the choir, but it did bring into focus some issues that have only swirled around in my mind, i.e. if teachers are professionals why must they clock in/out [it's not like I actually only work those hours, after all], and the big one that I get a lot - if teaching is such a great thing and teachers are so wonderful, why does one get the third degree or made to feel like they've chosen a lesser job when one says they went to a competitive college and beca...more
Lily
Jul 09, 2007 Lily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: broke teachers
Though the title says it all, I still managed to be surprised when the entire book talked about teacher salaries. Eggers and co-authors interview teachers from all over the country who discuss their perspectives on teacher salaries and career retention-- the stories are often heart-breaking and repetitive-- if you're a teacher, it's nothing you haven't heard before.

If you get depressed mid-way through the book, chug through the sad stories until you get to the end. Eggers presents some case stu...more
Micki
Remember when I wanted to be a teacher? After reading this book... yeah, I can't remember either. My eyes were opened to the bigger problems teachers have, the problems that make disliking a coworker or unruly students seem trivial in comparison. It's great if I read this book and am inspired to try and do something about it, but let's be honest: there needs to be an army of people who have read this and feel the same way, a nation. It almost feels as if since I started reading, I've seen so muc...more
Elizabeth Severance
I agree with others that this book was not meant for teachers, it is meant for policymakers/ decision makers. Right before I read the chapter on moonlighting I had decided that I needed to get a second job to help with some unexpected expenses. As I read the chapter on how little teachers make once you think about raising a family or trying to buy a house, I felt a little disheartened. I couldn't agree more and I sometimes worry what I will do once I want to have children and have to provide for...more
Mike
The first two-thirds of this book were fairly straight forward--setting out to show all of the ways that teachers are underpaid compared to other careers that require a similar level of commitment and training. The last third of this book--showing how this could be done--was very ambitious. I found their arguments to be a little hit or miss, that can be forgiven when trying to tackle such a difficult topic.

But what I couldn't figure out is: who is this book for? It seems like it was "for everyo...more
Marilyn
This book made me hopping spitting mad. Unfortunately I read it on AMTRAK and could find no one on whom to vent!! The book bogged down a little in the intricate descriptions of the Denver school district's attempt to construct Pay For Performance, but I was revived by Helena's attempt to describe doing the same thing MINUS tying teacher's salaries to test performances which is just plain idiotic. Of particular interest was the blow by blow account of a San Francisco teacher's shuffle out of publ...more
Heather Walsh
I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while. Unfortunately, I couldn't event finish it. It wasn't what I was expecting. As a teacher myself, it was nothing new. I know that teachers are not paid nearly as much as they should be, but I sort of felt like the book was beating a dead horse. It was actually discouraging, so I stopped just over half-way.

I think it would be a good read for politicians. I find it frustrating that the people who make decisions about what is best for edu...more
Amanda
Well, it's taken me years and years to read this book, but since I'm in the film that's based on it, I figured I should do so. :) And it was worth it. I actually began to really miss teaching, and teachers, and kids as I read the many vignettes about teachers and how hard they work, which is a bit ironic, since I was burned out before. sigh. Anyway, a very good read with honest questions, answers, and facts about the profession and its many difficult realities. Well written and not dry at all. I...more
Nancy
My sister & I got in a heated argument. She works in pharmacology field. I'm a retired teacher. I loved teaching. My sister believes teachers are paid too much for how little they work. I read this book to make me feel like I'm not alone.
Erin
Feb 23, 2008 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: education
I first saw this book when I was alphabetizing the Education section while working at Borders. It caught my attention because the title pissed me off (the subtitle wasn't on the spine). Once I picked it up, well, I had to read it. I think it is a must-read for every American. The state of education in our country is dismal, and can only be improved by improving teacher quality. This book gives you an inside view into what it's really like to be a teacher in this country....and does a great job o...more
Gina
I think people that ARENT TEACHERS should read this. so true!
Audrey
It will be hard for me not to jump on my soapbox here, because this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. After all, I spent 6 years as a teacher, and this topic was my life for those 6 years. That said, I'd like to hand a copy of this book to everyone I know. It's well-written, informative, and truly makes a strong case for the need to pay teachers what they are worth. The best thing is that Eggers & Co. does so without coming across as heavy-handed or illogical in their arguements.
Emily
In general I thought that the book was interesting. However, for any educator, I think that it was just re-stating of the obvious. This is most definitely a book for policy-makers, perhaps administrators, a the general public who do not truly understand the nature of education. However, it does offer interesting programs that work to attract and retain educators and some interesting life stories. Not the best book I have ever read, but, definitely worth my time.
Merry
This was a spot-on depiction of the everyday life of a teacher (at least from what I remember). The book highlights the many struggles, both financial and personal, teachers deal with that causes many of them to leave the profession unwillingly and too soon. The section that offered solutions to these problems was what I struggled with the most just because I feel like there are no hard or fast answers. Definitely a thought-provoking, worthwhile read.
Sue
After reading this book, I'm even more thankful that my husband did not continue teaching. We would have never have been able to do financially the things (buying a paying off a house, two cars, having no debt) at this point in our lives if he had stayed teaching. I became even more depressed about my career and the teaching profession after reading the book, but it is an important book to read.
Claudia
Apr 16, 2008 Claudia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who knows a teacher
Dave Eggers and friends are fierce advocates for teachers in this book and search for innovative reform programs that really work. My favorite quote: "Few other professionals see thirty or more clients at once, all with different needs, some of whom may be determined to work counter to your goals." I laughed out loud. I wish policymakers would read this. I've threatened to buy copies for my legislators.
Graham
Not sure what to say about this. I gave up because it was depressing, and I'm already firmly convinced that teachers need more pay. I have a hard time thinking about this book, because I think anyone who would willingly sit down and read a book like this is the proverbial choir.

It has a good structure and the parts between interviews are exceedingly well-written.
Katie
Here I am on my high horse again, but everyone should have to read this book to realize what it's really like to be a teacher and be vastly underpaid and under-respected for your work. It poses interesting but controversial ideas about bringing up the salaries of teachers (merit pay). This book made me very mad, but I've found that being mad helps my work so that's OK.
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Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers

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