John Kasich, Republican candidate for President recently suggested that we abolish teachers’ lounges.“If I were, not president, if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us’.”
For starters this sounds like the quote of a fool rather than a king, but in either event, he is wrong. Teachers’ lounges long ago stopped being places where teachers congregate since most teachers don’t even have time to go to the bathroom any more! With new supervision and evaluation plans, PPT’s, assessments, PLC meetings, grade level meetings and the need to prepare differentiated instruction most teachers skip their lunches.
When I go into the teachers room it is usually just to pick up my mail or make copies of something. The room is usually deserted because teachers don’t get enough time in the day that is dedicated for preparation or the mounds of paperwork now required to do the job all in the name of “accountability”.
Now if John Kasich ever actually stepped foot into a public school and heard some of the discussions happening in teachers’ rooms (we can no longer call them “lounges” because no one lounges around) it is usually in relation to anything, anything at all that is not connected to teaching. We spend enough time listening to supposed “experts” telling us how, what, where and even when to teach, that the last thing we want to be talking about when we have a spare moment is teaching. Most discussions have to do with family, sports, activities outside of school and what to watch on Netflixx. The teachers room is not a hotbed of union organizing or griping.
I am sure that if a teacher began using the teachers’ lounge as a soapbox, the majority of teachers would just go into their rooms and only come out at the end of the day. We hear enough whining and complaining about education from Republicans who have no knowledge about the job or the complexity of the issue to listen to one of our own tell us what we already know.
The real issue that John Kasich and his counterparts in the Republican party have is that teachers unions are one of the last bastions of organized labor in America. They have a deep seeded hatred for teachers since they never actually get endorsed by any as Raw Story pointed out this week. Republicans hate that they can’t pay teachers minimum wage, work them all day, get them to work all night from home and get rid of those teachers who question the wisdom of their actions. Teachers have collective bargaining rights and binding arbitration in many states. Which means even though politicians would like to give as little money as possible to education and more to subsidize businesses they have to spend at least enough money to maintain a decent wage and benefits for teachers.