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Twins prospect Alex Meyer is a $63 a day substitute teacher

Dec 26, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

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Most ballplayers used to have offseason jobs. They had to, because unless you were a star, baseball salaries did not make ends meet. That’s not the case today, of course. Especially if you were a high draft pick who got a $2 million signing bonus. But don’t tell that to Twins pitching prospect Alex Meyer, who spends his offseason substitute teaching for $63 a day.

That story can be read at the Indianapolis Star. In it we learn that he started doing it because he was “bored and had nothing to do,” so his mom — who works for the school system — suggested he do it. And whaddaya know, he likes it and plans on continuing to do it, even as he finds himself heading toward the major leagues.

(thanks to Jeremy E. for the heads up)

  1. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    I had a history temp teacher who was a sports agent many years ago. He had several fairly high profile clients. He was hands down one of the cooler teachers I ever had. He was very laid back, and obviously didn’t need to teach for the money, but did so for the enjoyment he got out of shaping young minds. I learned more from him than I did most of the teachers I had. I don’t think he lasted longer than one semester before he was moved around to another opening (He was more of a long term temp than a full time teacher). It’s really great when you have someone who’s making so much money, yet still down to earth and willing to get their hands dirty and help in one of the professions where quite simply it’s needed the most.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Dude, that totally hurts my heart.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        ‘Tis the season for sappiness and heart warming stories!

      • historiophiliac - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Then don’t make me cry!

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Ken Burns Baseball, now airing on MLB Network.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Good for him! One of the big problems with retaining the best and brightest in our school systems is that they can usually find much better paying jobs elsewhere. He won’t have that issue. And the fact that he won’t have to depend on his teaching salary to make ends meet means that when the school administrators – who in my very long and varied experience in education have relentlessly proven themselves the near-dregs of the academic universe – try to impose some idiotic rule or find some excuse to give a kid a hard time for no good reason, he can go with his sense of dedication and push back without fear of their reprisals.

    • esracerx46 - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Good for him, very cool. Where I’m from starting salaries for teachers are upper 30s-low 40s. (My mom does the payroll for a school district) After 4 years teachers are tenured, and they practically have to touch a kid or come to school drunk to get fired. Most teachers that have been there for 25-30 years, are making around 100k if not more, plus benefits, for working less than 9 months a year. Oh, and their last 3 years before they retire, their salaries get bumped up quite a bit, since they get 75% of their last 3 years salary when they retire. I might be a little biased in how I feel about teachers, since I had maybe 1 or 2 good ones in high school. My mom had a story where 1 teacher who had been there for 30 years, could hardly walk, that nobody liked. The school district wanted to fire her, but without cause, she would file a grievance. What they did was have a fire drill, since she could hardly walk, if she cant safely get the kids out then they have cause. She was able to get the kids out, but fell on the sidewalk, so she collected 2 years of compensation, then retired collecting 75% of 115k a year. I never had that teacher, but have heard plenty of stories where she didn’t care, and would yell, and berate the students.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        So basically what your saying is all the teachers where your mom works are good for nothings who only work hard for 4 years in order to get tenure then coast their way into retirement. Did I get that right?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        Typo : that should’ve been a “you’re.”

      • milkandcheese1000 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Try doing that job and tell me it’s as cushy as you imply. After working your ass off all school day, you then have to grade papers AND prepare lessons for the next day. I did it, but only for a short time because it was so brutal. Yes, it is too hard to get rid of bad teachers, as it is too hard to get rid of many bad workers in many professions, and that stinks. But that doesn’t at all make most teachers bad. And you think they get paid a lot? I can think of an awful lot of professions that someone with the capability and education level to be a teacher could have chosen that pay a lot more.

      • Bryz - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        In order to collect that much money in a year, that teacher would have needed to have received a master’s degree, meaning that the teacher has probably accepted more debt than your average college graduate in order to receive a higher education and more pay. Even if your mother does a school district’s payroll, a lot of those salaries sound inflated even for a 50-some year old teacher (though if starting salaries are high-30s to low-40s where you’re from, clearly your teachers are enjoying a much better entry-level salary that our teachers are in Minnesota).

        Also, you can blame the teachers’ unions for making it impossible to fire a teacher. They focused more on job security than fair pay in the past, meaning that many teachers are unfairly paid for their work in exchange for having a secure career. Yes, I agree that this is a problem, but the solution is difficult. There are flaws with merit-based pay (dishonest teachers will hand out more As than what their students deserved), firing ineffective teachers (must have documentation of inadequacy before one is fired), and many other potential answers to this issue.

        Teachers only work 9 months a year? They have summers off? You seem to ignore that some teachers work summer school. Many others have workshops or seminars they need to attend during the summer months. Besides, summer vacation is an anachronism that really should have been eliminated a long time ago, as students no longer need time out of the year to tend to their farms.

        Even if they work only three-quarters of the year in your eyes, you are ignoring the extra work that goes in before and after school, which is technically unpaid work. At my school, I am not required to show up an hour early and leave an hour late every day, but I do so anyway because I have work that needs to be done, whether it’s my own to prepare for class, or because I have a student(s) that needs extra help.

        I’m sorry we’re a burden to your society, but you need to realize that we are professionals that went to school specifically for this career. Not anyone can do our job, and I must commend Alex Meyer on being a substitute teacher, work that I certainly would not do as it’s much different than being a full-time teacher.


        A high school math teacher

      • tcclark - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        I think you’re trying to make out that the teacher is the bad person here, but I’m having a hard time following. Tenure or not, you can’t fire someone because they are disabled or you just don’t like them as you’ve described. It’s also pretty f’ed up that the school would purposely create a situation where they put children and a disabled old woman in harms way just so they could fire the disabled old woman.

        As for teaching salaries, teachers are grossly underpaid for their profession. What they do and the things they have to deal with go beyond what normal professions have to deal with. If you’re telling me you’re from area where they’re making close to what they deserve than good for them. I haven’t heard of 100k a year salaries for teachers outside of Connecticut or inner city NYC, so I’m assuming you’re from one of these areas. If that’s the case, the teachers are definitely making what they deserve. The cost of living in those parts of Connecticut are ridiculous, and don’t even get me started on inner city NYC. The cost of living is outrageous, plus the conditions and students they have to work with are often quite terrible. They deserve that kind of money

      • Reflex - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        What school district? I ask because in my state (Washington) the teacher salaries and schedule for increases is public record and I have not found any K-12 salary range that goes up to $100k. So far as I could tell, at the very top assuming maximum seniority a teacher here could possibly make $75k/year, and starting wages were around $35k for a full time teacher. $35k is nowhere near living wage for people in my state, in fact its only about 50% above the state minimum wage. And while $75k is a reasonable income in my state, its not wealthy, merely middle class, and to reach that level a teacher would not only need years of experience, but also a number of advanced certifications and continuing degree education, and at least a Masters. Those things are not cheap.

        In my field (tech) surpassing $75k is virtually automatic with a single bachelors degree. Many of the software engineers I work with start right off with a six figure income, directly out of college. It amazes me how they earn more in their first year than every single teacher in their entire life ever earned in any single year. Plus they get stock and a signing bonus.

        But oh yes, teachers are so overpaid and entitled.

      • itsbenfeldman - Dec 26, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        Also – this implies that it is normal to just teach for a few years and then get tenure. I got a teaching credential in 2009 in Sonoma County, CA. The districts paid pretty well for full time starting positions – 40,000 in Napa, 50,000 in SF…but no one gets full time jobs out of a credential program. You have two options. Work online for 40,000, with no pay raises, no union to protect you, and no hope for advancement. Or start at a 40 percent job.

        40 percent jobs mean you teach two classes instead of 5, but you still have the same # of preps. Normally these pay 18,000-24,000 a year, and are often far from where you live. After doing a year or three at 40 percent, some people get bumped to 60, some to 80, and then some to full time jobs (not always). In most districts, you get fired every year, and then re-hired if you are lucky, until you get tenure.

        So, if all goes well. You paid 8,000 (at the lowest) a year for 2 years to get credentialed, while working for free in a public school and working part time in what little free time you have. You then spend 2 years making a minimum wage salary, while still working 50 hours a week (yes! for only 9 months a year! the rest of the year you DON’T GET PAID because you are fired in May and re-hired in August – WHAT A DEAL).

        Also, maybe it’s not that bad of an idea to have a union that keeps teachers from getting fired WITHOUT CAUSE!

      • floridabaseball27 - Dec 27, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        When I got my master’s degree I got a $0 raise.

        Retired teachers flock to Florida the day they turn 55. Not too many non-government employees retire that early.

        Public sector unions present a major conflict of interest. Total disaster for the taxpayer.

  3. strictlythedanks - Dec 26, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    This is the life of a , go getter

    • bigmeechy74 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      that sucks

  4. nymets4ever - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Nats traded him for Denard Span who had a miserable season, when they could’ve traded a much lesser prospect for Ben Revere who was on fire for most of the yr before getting hurt. I’m a Mets fan so I don’t really care, but how is that not a win for RAJ?

    • milkandcheese1000 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      What are you talking about? Span had his typical above average season when all was said and done. Plus defense, decent base running, and he was more valuable on a per-plate basis than Revere was this year (or any year, since Revere is generally awful). Huh, facts…

      • bigmeechy74 - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        defense is so overrated

  5. DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    When I was in High School (early 80’s), I had Earl Christy as a substitute English Teacher. He took the opening Kickoff of Super Bowl III for the Jets. It actually was very cool – got to see his ring and everything

    • historiophiliac - Dec 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      How much English did you learn?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        Learn or retain?

      • historiophiliac - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:00 PM


      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        Little. On both

      • historiophiliac - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        That’s why I hate coaches teaching history. 😦

  6. sdelmonte - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    And over on PFT, we are told that Jon Kitna will donate his salary as a one-week backup with the Cowboys to the high school where he teaches.

  7. rickrude0477 - Dec 27, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Remind me never to be a teacher in the United States because it looks like some teachers are barely scraping by…..$63 dollars a day? Thats an insult to the teacher profession.

    • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      It’s a bigger insult to the students. This is an unusual situation, but otherwise, what kind of effort do you think these kids get out of their subs for pittances like that?

    • genericcommenter - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      He’s not a teacher. That’s for a non-degreed substitute, most likely in a state with very low barriers for that job. It’s something unemployed or semi-employed seasonal workers, students, and SAHM/Ds do for the most part. It’s a day rate for a temp job. Real teachers start around $150-200/day, if you go by working days.

  8. genericcommenter - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    My wife was a sub 7-8 years ago. In our state, or at least our school district, it paid more but also required a college degree to apply, and then after fingerprints and background you got put into a pool and then the school district had to recommend you and add you to their list. It was pretty competitive.

    My experience, though it’s limited to only 3 states (wife here, best friend in my home state, and other friend in a 3rd state), is that Sub pay and qualifications vary widely. In some states you have to be almost as qualified as a real teacher, get paid in the low 3 figures per day and some subs do have licenses. In other states, any warm body can pretty much show up and get paid a low daily rate. In some school districts you have to have a college degree, and others pay a slight bonus if you have one.

    My best friend in my home state went back to school a little “later” in life and has been subbing while going to school. He has 4 part-time jobs and that is one of them. The way he described his application process to me it was a cattle call and the hiring process was about as competitive as interviewing for a job with RGIS.

    I have another friend who lost his job when his dad bankrupted their family business. He and his wife both worked there and neither had any other job experience or degrees. They both signed up to be subs, were easily accepted and apparently could work 5 days a week if they wanted. But the pay was low and tiered based on education.

    When I was in high school all the subs were SAHM parents of classmates and I was told that the Substitute Lunch Lady slots were more competitive and lucrative.

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