Catching up

I’ve been grading furiously, still plowing through newly accumulated piles. Who knew that all this work wouldn’t get done if I took the weekend off?

Wait a minute…how did I end up in a job that has me working nights and weekends all the time for a lower middle class salary? There are times I wonder about that. Maybe it has something to do with being so unaware that I willingly allow work to pile up, and just accept it as normal.


  1. Nullifidian says

    Jumpin’ Jesus on a stick, I feel guilty now for writing comments that you have to waste time reading, like you don’t have enough to do, eh.

    I’d feel guilty about posting this, except it’s in the spirit of your post.

    Anyway, you can take solace in knowing that you’re doing a valuable job, not just as a professional educator, but fighting for justice. Life ain’t fair!

  2. pipefighter says

    Quit your whining, you should be grateful for the scraps they give you. Go on grovel, maybe some more will trickle down…

  3. rhebel says

    As a secondary ed science teacher and union president, I have been asking myself the same questions since 2011 (Act 10 in WI).

  4. says

    NCES __Digest of Education Statistics__ table 316.50 reports the average associate professor’s salary at public doctoral 4-year institutions in Minnesota at $92,060 and average associate professor’s salary at public masters 4-year institutions at $71,137.
    Here’s Wikipedia “Personal Income in the US”: …
    “Among different demographics (gender, marital status, ethnicity) for those over the age of 18, median personal income ranged from $3,317 for an unemployed, married Asian American female[5] to $55,935 for a full-time, year-round employed Asian American male.[6] According to the US Census, men tended to have higher income than women while Asians and Whites earned more than African Americans and Hispanics.”
    $71,137 for a 32-week work year with six hours of face-time with students works out to $370 per hour, unless I pushed the wrong button on the calculator. That’s not a “lower middle class” salary.
    A University of Hawaii Professor of Public Policy called university employment “the next best thing to inherited wealth”.

  5. Christopher Stephens says

    Hi Malcolm,

    I’m sure you’re aware that PZ’s University is not a doctoral institution, and that the salaries for UMM are below average compared to its peer institutions. A quick on line search revealed that the average salary for an Associate Prof at UMM is somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000, so it is not that different from the average of $55,000 that you mention. And we don’t know whether that average is inflated by salaries of some departments that make significantly more.

  6. says

    1. UMM not doctoral: That’s why I gave two salary figures and used the lower one in the hourly calculation.
    2. $55,000 was the top of the range by race and sex, so far above “lower middle class”.
    3. Bottom-end University salaries are English and Victim Studies professors. Top-end are Professors of Medicine and Engineering. Pretty much determined by opportunity cost (how much you earn outside academia) An Engineering PhD gets a job at Raytheon. A Professor of Surgery gets a job in a hospital at $400,000. An English PhD or Victim Studies PhD serves coffee at Starbucks.

  7. Rich Woods says

    @Malcolm Kirkpatrick #4:

    $71,137 for a 32-week work year with six hours of face-time with students works out to $370 per hour, unless I pushed the wrong button on the calculator. That’s not a “lower middle class” salary.

    I think you need to go back to school. Can you tell me why?

  8. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    When I was in second grade, I was stunned the first time I saw a teacher outside their classroom.
    I thought they lived there.

  9. deepwater says

    As a state employee, PZ’s salary is on public record.

    He got $64,110 in 2014 and he has bumped around within 2K of this since 2010.

    Given his lack of need for transport, the low cost of living in rural Mn and the low price of his house (bought 2003 for 165K) I’d say he is very comfortable indeed.

  10. deepwater says

    Hired in August 2000, one would hope – 16 years later – that he had his work practices well and truly sorted out.

  11. magistramarla says

    What many people, including our current troll, simply refuse to see is that educators don’t have the sort of job that only requires putting in the time during the work-week and nothing else. I taught high school Latin, and besides those six hours of face-time with students each day, I spent many hours tutoring, mentoring two clubs, writing and handing in weekly lesson plans (required), grading, talking to parents, and attending many meetings. After I got home and fed my family, I settled in with my laptop to grade some more and prepare for the next day, when I would do it all again.
    They also don’t understand that much of that “vacation time” enjoyed by the students is filled with professional development days and often required further education for the educators.
    We work hard because we are thrilled when we see our students “get it” and feel honored to have some small part in shaping the next generation. If not for my severe health problems, I would still be doing it.
    I know that PZ works hard to educate his students and to better himself as a person and as an educator. He pretends to be a curmudgeon, but I can see the pride that he takes in his work. People who criticize educators with that lame story of having a cushy job with short hours and long vacations have been fed that line by the right-wing media until they believe and repeat it.
    I would challenge them to try teaching for a semester, but that wouldn’t be fair to the students!

  12. deepwater says

    You can be both relatively financially well off as well as a hard worker. I suspect though, much of PZ’s ‘out of office’ hours would correlate to the commute a city dweller endures.

    But is this really what constitutes “trolling” these days?

  13. methuseus says

    Also, apparently malcolm hasn’t been here long. PZ works throughout the summer in the lab. I think he may teach classes, too? Or is it just student mentoring? Either way it’s still year-round work. He’s making more than the median, so I’d say he’s solid middle class than lower middle class, but I won’t really quibble with him on that. Besides, I’ve heard people who make well over 100k state they’re middle class, so yes, PZ would be lower middle in that instance especially.

  14. deepwater says

    “Personal income is an individual’s total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. The US Census Bureau reported a median personal income of $30,240 for all workers over age 15 with income, and a mean personal income of $44,510 based on the Current Population Survey for 2015. Inflation-adjusted (“real”) per-capita disposable personal income rose steadily in the U.S. from 1945 to 2008, but has since remained generally level”


    Upper middle class.