The Give Back Game


This morning when I arrived at my job as the Director of Learning Centers for the college where I teach, the following directive was waiting in my inbox: “Join us for a celebration of service as We Give Back!” My first thought was, “Give what back? Did we borrow something?” I certainly don’t remember taking anything that doesn’t belong to me. Well, I did take a pencil home once. I suppose I could give that back. But I don’t see any reason to celebrate its return with a bunch of hoopla and publicity.

The point is, I’m tired about all this “let’s give back” rhetoric. If my college is really concerned about “giving,” how about “Let’s Give Teachers Enough!” Most of the teachers I know work second jobs and take on extra courses in order to supplement their meager incomes. We do all the teaching, and we get paid half what the administrators earn. If that. No wonder they feel guilty.

Moreover, we have our own service projects, thank you very much. I happily do things for my church, my family, and my friends. I consider teaching itself to be a community service project of sorts. But I don’t keep score. I’m not “giving back.” I do it because I want to. I don’t need to get involved in some do-good project at the school where I work, just so they can publicize it and make themselves look good. If they think they’ve taken too much from someone, they can give it back themselves.

Come to think of it, I use my own pens, pencils, and paper supplies at school so often that I don’t really need to feel guilty about taking that pilfered pencil home. In fact, I think I used it to grade papers. On my own unpaid time. Now who’s going to give that back?

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It's an open job market out there. Instead of complaining about how much the taxpayers of New York are forced to pay you, maybe you should see how much you can earn by honest means.


You missed the point of the article.


I think I received the point of the article.

You are paid by the taxpayers. You give some of that money "back" to your church, and charities you consider worthy. You even spend some of that money to perfom your job.

But do you see my point? This is just an assumption...but, being an educational professional, I have to assume you are paid by the taxpayers of the state of New York. If being such, your wage is forced from them, who have no choice to contribute to your favorite charity- education.

Do you see the irony?


being an educational professional, I have to assume you are paid by the taxpayers

Could you provide a little support for that assumption. The author teaches at a small "Private, nonsectarian, coeducational college."

Tax payers money is just about everywhere in education, but how much is involved in this situation?


"taxpayer money is just about everywhere in education".

Even in "small private, nonsectarian, coeducational college[s]".

Especially in small, private, nonsectarian colleges. Where do you think the students get the money to pay for the super-high costs for these schools? From mommy and daddy? Nope. From taxpayers.

I appreciate the authors' arguement. But the kettle says to the pot "and you call ME black?"

Rodney Choate

I think I saw Jo Ann's point. I too work for government, (evil me), and it's discouraging to see my superiors making so much money when they spend so much of their time mucking things up and fighting reform of the system. The vetting process to keep out freedom minded thinking is quite effective. Government functions are supposed to be relatively "cut-and-dried", compared to the private sector. Government has no competition and turns no profit. Salary structures in government "should" be flatter than they are. The higher end salaries in government are "hush" and "go-along" money paid to those who survive the vetting process and get the promotions. Smart crooks aren't cheap- and the "little" ones I'm around aren't even that smart.

For one example of the vetting process and the rewarding of the winners, I offer the situation in a typical police force. Many police officers on the beat support our right to bear arms, but try and find a police chief who does.

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