In the comment thread on the Matt Damon video, Rugles writes: "Do teachers in Seattle really work long hours for crappy pay?"
Well, I can only speak for myself. I will let others decide if my pay is crappy:
As for my hours, let me break down a day. I was getting to Rainier Beach about 6:30. I would use that 90 minutes before school to get my day fully organized, get some grading done, and help out any students who would come by before school. I would then teach from 8 till 2:30. I would stay till 5:00 or so, planning for the next few days, helping students, and being on various school committees. So Monday to Friday, 6:30 till 5:00 is 10.5 hours a day. Yes, I get 30 minutes for lunch, but I have students in my room, so while I do eat, I am still working. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, I would hit the library to do research on teaching math, try to write interesting lessons, grade papers (grading never goes away), and plan for the next week. The weekend work is 6 hours on average. So (5 * 10.5) + 6 = 58.5 hours per week. Let me say that I love my job and I am not complaining, whining, or grousing in any manner. I am sharing my reality as a teacher.
Now that it summer, I just finished teaching summer school in Shoreline (it was pretty fun, actually. I taught an Algebra 1 Jump class to middle schoolers). At this moment, I am in the library, going through my materials for the upcoming year (I have transferred to Ingraham and I want to be prepared), making sure that I will be teaching the state standards to the students in the fall and generally working on being the best teacher I can be. I have spent 4 hours on both Monday and today on this. I can see this lasting until we go back.
Ingraham has various events planned for later this month (orientation and bridge programs) that I will most likely attend. I won't get paid for going, but I go anyway, so I can meet the students and the parents and help them ease their transition to high school.
As for the upcoming school year, I plan on getting to Ingraham at 6:30. The good part is I live 5 blocks away and if the light at 130th and Aurora is green, I get there in 2 minutes. I will gain 30 minutes of sleep every day. I plan on staying till 5:00. The good part is my gym will be 1 minute away, so I can get a workout in before going home. I am looking forward to that.
In my experience (6 years), the great majority of the teachers work very hard, are well prepared and very professional. Could most teachers make more money using their skills somewhere else? Probably, but they don't because they want to leave the world a better place and make a difference and impact other peoples lives.