We just finished contract negotiations at 1:30 am on Monday morning. The contract still needs to be ratified by both parties but the whole experience got me thinking more about the profession in general and the public’s perception about the job.
The number 5 thing I saw this week talks about the unreal expectations we have for teachers everywhere.Thanks to The Gates Foundation, Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee and other “education reformers” we are trying to do way too much with too little time. We are losing sight of what the job should be in the first place: teaching! If we need data managers then let’s hire some and let teachers teach.
Every profession owes a thank you to a teacher or two somewhere.This country has free public education and every one of us can name a few teachers who made a huge difference in our lives. How often do we thank them? I went back to my schools several years ago to see my favorite elementary school teacher, my favorite middle school teacher and my favorite high school teacher ( my high school teacher had since retired and I had to find him, his phone number and his home: every teachers worse nightmare). I just wanted to thank them and talk to them about what I was doing now. I wanted to ask how their lives were going and let them know I had turned out okay because of them. I hope everyone makes the time to do this just once in their lives the joy and satisfaction on these teachers faces was priceless.
The fact is most teachers would rather stay in their classrooms and teach. We often don’t get the opportunity to do so because of other needs of the district, colleagues, meetings etc as I talked about last week.I have been working the last few weeks with my kindergarten students on being partners and being helpful when you are. This meme captures it all.
when I let my students pick their own partners. I usually alternate between me picking their partners and them picking their own so we can talk about how it went and what we can do differently. I have seen over time that they begin to work better and better together if we give them the opportunity to do so.
Someone asked me recently how I had accumulated so many sick days ( we are capped at 190, but I have earned many more than that). We get 15 new ones every year but I don’t know of many teachers who ever use them all. In my first 18 years of teaching, I had perfect attendance. It’s funny how some jobs make it nearly impossible to be sick. This meme will explain it to those of you who have never taught a classroom.
The number 1 thing I saw this week after those many hours and days of negotiations summed up my thoughts about the whole process. We don’t care too much about a word or two here or there in the contract. We don’t mind a day or two here for this or that out of the classroom. We get that state and federal laws are outside the control of the local board of education We are okay with many things, but we don’t understand why the message from the movie Jerry Maguire isn’t fully understood: “Show me the money!!!!”