Thursday, May 10, 2012

This is the face of teachers you layoff

Tonight I spoke to our school board. This is what I said, from the heart.

Thank you for allowing me to speak, and for the wonderful opportunities you have given me in Cambrian. I wanted to speak to you tonight about something that has been heavy on my mind. With furlough days and already increased class sizes, already hardworking, dedicated teachers are being asked to work harder for less money. I come from industry and I understand the business needs. But I also understand human needs. We need respect. We continue to work on furlough days, And weekends, and evenings, doing what is right for our students. And we continue to be disrespected by a society that requires yet devalues what we do. But still we do the right thing.

My colleagues are worried about making ends meet and still, we do the right thing. I am lucky that I do not have to teach for a paycheck. Yet, I do have to teach ... not for a paycheck, but for my heart. It is part of who I am. I am here to put a face on the cycle I like to call the annual pink slip dance. Let me explain... People start asking "how are you" with that sympathetic smile right around January when we start hearing about the latest budget problems. In March we get our preliminary notice and then in May, ...right around teacher appreciation week, we get our final notice. Then maybe in August, we'll get a callback. For six months we do not know if we'll have a position next year. I know it like the steps of a dance because every year in the six years I have been in education, this is the routine I go through, and I am not alone.

Yet through it all, we remain professional and continue to engage and educate our students. We spend our own money to be sure our student needs are met. We grade papers at home in the evening just to keep up give our students timely feedback. We meet with parents after school and We participate in various committees. We do our best, just as we expect our students to. We continue to do the right thing. And wait. For half a calendar year, we wait.

Yet, not all of my colleagues are as fortunate as me. Some of us cannot afford to wait it out. They need to know that they will be placed next year, so in addition to remaining engaged and professional while at school, after hours they are out looking for a new job. This is the face of who you are asking to put life on hold while you sort out what you already know, you WILL need teachers to fill our spots, to teach our children.

There has got to be a better way. Consider please, how you can do the right thing for our kids, for your teachers and for our community.

Thank you for listening.

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