Thursday, February 24, 2011

a working rant

This afternoon, after school, I was checking out some news headlines online, and came across a piece - I'm sure you saw it, too - about Providence, RI sending notice to all teachers in their district that they may be laid off at the end of the school year. Of course they are not planning on laying off ALL of their teachers, but some will be, and since they haven't decided who, they gave everyone notice. A big boost to job morale, there. The worst part? I think that lay-offs will be happening in many school districts across the country. There are other things that concern me about school district finances, but if I talk about them now, I'll get off track. More off track?

Anyway, I read through the article, and then scrolled through a very few of the comments. The author of one of them wrote that teachers should just do more without more pay. Really? Hmmm.

Another bit of news I read was about the current American distribution of wealth. The reality, VS the perception. The gap is wide, although it didn't surprise me, really. I've been aware of the difference in earning power between my parents, and me for a while now. Here in NM, my Master's Degree is worth a little over 40k per year as a public school teacher. 40K per year is - according to the chart in that article - barely over the poverty level. I put in full time hours every week, during the school day. I plan lessons, and prepare materials. This year, I've bought all the paper I've used for handouts. I've had to, to make sure I had paper. I buy the ink for the printer in my classroom. Many of my students expect me to provide basic school supplies for them. How do you expect me to do any work if you won't give me a pencil or paper? seems to be their attitude. I stay after school, sometimes more than two hours, when our activity bus runs to take the students home. I call parents with good news and bad news. I grade papers in the evenings and on the weekends. I take materials home over the summer to be ready for the new school year. I care about these young people and their futures. What more should I be expected to do?

I understand and agree that there are problems with our educational system. Our governmental mandates are not helping to fix the problems. Demands for higher test scores and threats to teachers and schools who do not meet them do not make a better system. Budgets which raise teacher to student ratios, and causes classes to not be offered or supported financially don't help either. Will getting rid of teachers help the problems that the educational system faces? The teaching profession - at least in the public school system - seems to be fast becoming an untenable one. After all the trained professionals are gone, who will teach these students? Who will take our place? Who will teach your children? (I know I can teach mine).


Victoria said...

The problem isn't with the teachers, it’s the administration that needs to do more with less so that there is more money for the teachers and students. I have a few ideas: cut the pay on the upper people and spread the wealth down to those who actually make a difference and interact day after day with the parents, students, facility and staff. Stop paying worthless people to do nothing and give that money to those who make a difference. How about cutting programs that have nothing to do with education, like the sports program. Keep P.E. and health because this is important but get rid of the others like the football and basketball programs. Put money into the civics, arts and music and above all account for the money they are actually using instead of letting the admin embezzle. If people really want to have a brighter future, stop the no child left behind and teaching to a test standard and allow those who can excel do so do not hold them back with others in the class who are disruptive because they are held to a low standard. Yes, teach the students their rights, but also teach them the responsibilities which come with having those rights.

Dina said...

Mellisa said (and I copied from facebook with her permission): No kidding! I feel the same way. When I was student teaching my mentor teacher had to buy a student's snacks b/c his family wouldn't/couldn't afford it and/or the school wouldn't do it and if he didn't get a snack he "might" have a seizure.... To add insult to injury he "decided" not eat all of it so it was somewhat of a waste. Sothis is what I have to do if I am in this situation? Of course I have to I can't let that happened. The pencil thing is such a reality sometimes I think children are spoiled with stuff that they really don't need to survive. Parents are not saying no to buying things that are beyond there means b/c they might be judged. I think they need to put their money and time into their kids future and present situation. There is something really twisted to me that parents would rather buy their children an X-box or other "toy" instead of taking care of their children's health.I remember my mother having to buy my school supplies, it was a parent obligation back when I was growing up, and it was "my responsibility" to make sure I had all my books and supplies with me when I went to school. That doesn't happen very often these days. School was a great privilege back then, it doesn't seem to be the case now.