I was getting getting tired of multitasking, so I decided to take a walk to “change it up” a bit and refresh myself. As I was walking I encountered a couple about my age walking toward me and we both smiled and exchanged a few pleasantries. Then He brought up the subject of our “high” taxes in Huntington.
I said, “But here in Huntington, where we live, we actually have a lot of amenities to show for it, compared with other towns on Long Island.”
He responded “It’s because of the police and the teachers; they’re all overpaid and we’re paying outrageous taxes because of it.”
Foolish me for taking the bait. I tried patiently to explain that the problem is not that teachers are overpaid because of everything we must do to qualify to become teachers, and then how hard it is to spend five days a week in a classroom dealing with so many stressors on a daily basis.
She said, “Well, I’m a nurse and my sister-in-law, a retired teacher, brings home a pension that’s a lot bigger than mine. She even admits she is getting too much in pension and benefits.”
I silently wondered where she lived so I could go and strangle her sister-in law. What teacher in his/her right mind would admit to that? Now I was really engaged.
I said that the thirty-year pensioners were slowly being phased out. I suggested that instead of bashing teachers, we should work toward getting better conditions for everyone who works for decades and has little to show for it. I said, “I’m sorry to hear that; nurses do work hard and deserve better.”
She became thoughtful, but He kept right on teacher bashing.
At this point I should have known better and just said, “Have a nice day” and walked away. But I kept trying to explain his “wrong thinking.” I talked about how we teachers finance our educations and minimally must have a Master’s degree to teach. I even threw in that most of the teachers I know have two master’s degrees and some have three!
He said, They only want the extra degrees so they can get paid more.” And I said, “What is wrong with that? Shouldn’t teachers, who spend so much time with our children, be as well educated as possible and paid well for their expertise?”
He said, “Go home and count your money.” I looked at his wife who shook her head and said “He doesn’t mean it; it’s all in fun.” Not really.
Not the kind of fun I hoped to have on my walk. I’ll bet he’s voting for Trump!