Thursday, December 2, 2010

When is enough, enough?

So today I read that the Gov. is calling for teachers to work for free as a good faith effort and to "do our part". He is volunteering to take a 5% pay cut and work 4 days for free over the next few months. That is all fine and dandy, he makes $93,000 a year. All said and done his sacrifice is like $5000. Helpful, yes and appreciated of course but Mr. Kulongowski I'd like to point out a few things to you.

1. I already am on a salary freeze, I have been at this rate for 2 school years.
2. I have 3 additional cut (non paid) school days this year.
3. My contract hours are from 8am to 4pm on school days.

I have never worked my contract hours. Could I get my job done in those hours? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. Not to the standards I have for myself to give my students the best eduction they deserve. My workday usually starts at 7:45 and ends around 5:30. I then go workout for an hour and go home and grade papers for another hour. Weekends always involved at least 1/2 day spent on work. Those are all "unpaid" hours. I'd bet they range from 10-20 unpaid hours on average a week.

Then there are the supplies. The pencils, folders, paper and notebooks. The art supplies and technology. Who pays for all that? I do because our budgets have been so cut that if we want it, we buy it. I am eternally grateful for two mothers (Mine and Sean's) who support my classroom with amazing supplies and reading material. I have put on a swimsuit racking up laps in the pool or tied on running shoes along side my students to earn money during fundraisers so we can go on a field trip or buy special art paper. This is not what I envisioned when I signed on. This is not how a civilized society prioritizes it's children.

Additionally, I am required to maintain my teaching license by continuing my education. For me, that means earning a master's degree. That's 45 credits at about $350 per credit. I pay for that, and for that do I get a better job? No I don't. I get to keep the job I already have.

Do I complain about this and quit? No, I do it because I love my job. I love my job in spite of the climate and constant comments from the public. I love my job in spite of the parents who sure like to tell me how to do my job, but won't do theirs. I love my job in spite of the burnouts I"m surrounded by and the increase in negativity brought on by tired and stressed co-workers. No, I don't throw in the towel but rather I keep my head up and I keep going. I do it for the kids, and I do it for how the kids give me hope, even on the bad days. Each new day is an opportunity for greatness and I live for those days. We celebrate small victories while we wait for the big ones.

But I will not stand idly by as our Governor claims we need to "do our part". We have been doing our part sir. I'm glad you are finally stepping up to do yours. But it is with deepest sincerity that I say to you, Mr. Governor, I am doing my part, I will continue to do my part, but enough is enough. Please do not ask me to take any more away from my family than this job already has. Find another way.

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