Categories: Op-Ed

If you love learning, you’ll love teaching in San Francisco

Every day is different. No two students are alike. People become teachers to make a difference in children’s lives, because a well-educated child has more opportunities in life and contributes to the betterment of our entire community. But there’s more than a strong sense of purpose to attract teachers to work in San Francisco’s public schools.

If you love learning, you’ll love teaching.

PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

We aim to foster learning communities at each school and across schools where teachers have time to collaborate and plan together.

New teachers get personalized, professional guidance from experienced peers. Even teachers who have been on the job for a long time can get structured, individualized help from their colleagues. And at those schools whose students need the most support, we have deployed expert teachers who provide mentoring to teachers in English, math and science instruction.

REST AND RELAXATION TIME

Teachers have breaks built into their schedules, allowing much-needed time away from their demanding jobs. This includes Thanksgiving recess, winter and spring breaks, and a couple months over the summer. A an Francisco Unified School District teacher’s work-year consists of 184 work days.

COMPETITIVE BENEFITS

Every full-time teacher has health, dental and retirement benefits. And unlike many other school districts, SFUSD teachers are offered employee-only health benefits at little or no cost.

We have also recently offered an increase in our employer contribution to dependent health care coverage starting with the next open enrollment period.

COMPENSATION

Over the past three years, the SFUSD has increased teacher salaries by about 15 percent. Teachers can also earn more money when they teach summer or night school, work at hard to staff schools and teach in hard to fill subject areas like Special Education. Additionally, certain certifications and professional development offer teachers opportunities to receive additional pay.

When compared to other districts in big cities across the country, beginning teacher compensation in the SFUSD is in the top 10 percent nationally, according to analysis done by the National Council on Teacher Quality. However, the Bay Area is an expensive place to live, and our teachers still don’t earn enough.

That’s why we are proposing a significant salary increase again — 10 percent of a teacher’s annual salary over the next three years — even though our district’s revenue streams are are slowing and our mandatory expenses are growing. Also, since planning and learning time is scarce within the current work calendar, this proposal includes adding two professional development days for teachers, which means teachers would go from 184 to 186 paid work days per year.

We’re working on several fronts to make the SFUSD a place where the best teachers want to work. If you’re a teacher or know a teacher, consider learning more about what we have to offer and check out job openings at www.sfusdjobs.org.

Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

Myong Leigh
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