Saturday, March 19, 2011

How 'bout we thank teachers rather than bashing them?

 I have been quietly watching what's been going on in Wisconsin with the teachers' unions and have not been able to put in words my seething rage at how much the news media (FOX NEWS) has taken every opportunity possible to bash teachers, calling us greedy and lazy and undeserving of any sort of financial benefit for the job that we do.  My favorite (NOT!) soundbite was from someone (I don't even remember who he was I was so blinded with rage) who said that teachers only work part-time because we're done at 2:30.

I have never wanted to throw the remote at my TV as I did at that moment.  

So let me enlighten you Fox News and all you other teacher-haters.  Let me show you just how "part-time" my job is:
These are all the bags I brought home from work with me this weekend.  That's right.  I have four bags worth of work to do on my "weekends off." The brown bag in the back is full of 40 journals that I have to read through and grade.  The two Pearson bags flanking the navy bag are full of books that I will be using to plan my lessons for next week.  The navy bag in the middle is my school bag for the class I'm currently taking that I have to do my homework for - because teachers aren't allowed to just go to school, get a bachelor's degree and then sit on their rear-ends for the rest of their careers.  We actually have to continue our education for the rest of our working lives or the state will take our teaching certificates away. 

I admit that four bags is an excessive amount, even for me.  But I will tell you that on any given day, I am most often bringing two of those bags home on weeknights AND weekends.

My day does not end at 2:30 people.  No, if anything, I get home and it's only just begun.

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Ever Insulted the Teaching Profession
I am someone who tailors each child's learning experience to accommodate their needs.
I am not a glorified babysitter.

I am constantly planning lessons, grading papers, taking classes, meeting with parents, adjusting curriculum for special needs students and doing professional development in order to keep my certificate current.
I am not sitting on my behind during evenings, weekends, holidays, and summers eating bon bons. 

I am frequently buying supplies and books for my classroom to make sure my students have what they need to succeed.
I am not hoarding that "cushy" salary on cars, jewelry, and a second home in the Hamptons. 

I am only asking that you treat me with the respect, dignity, and compensation I deserve for having to go above and beyond to make sure my students succeed.
I am not a professional athlete or television actor asking for $10 million a season.

I am one in a room full of twenty to thirty (or more!) children and am expected to meet the needs of each one of those unique individuals. 
I am not an omnipresent being, able to see everything and be everywhere at once (yet people expect me to be).

I am at my job by 7:00 and I leave my job by 3:30.
I am not done with my day when I get home.  I still have papers to grade, lessons to plan, and emails to answer.

I am working a life-consuming career, dedicated to giving the best for her students.
I am not working a part-time job.

I am so sorry if it offends you that my only time off all year is the three months during the summer.
I am not sorry for basking in that time off given the inhuman amount of work I do from September to June.

Yet with all that I am, and all that I'm not, you still seem to think that my job is a breeze.
Reducing it down to mere soundbites and fodder for pundits. 
Saying that teachers are greedy.
That our job is easy.
That we don't deserve all the lavish benefits we are given.

If a teacher's job is treated with such disgust and abhorrence
Just how are our children ever going to benefit from being in school at all?
How are we going to lure worthwhile individuals to the field
If all the media and politicians do is tear us down treat us like the lowest caste of society?

If teaching is such an easy job, let me ask you this:
Why do half of all new teachers leave within the first five years?
It's sure not because we're overwhelmed with all the money we're raking in. 


  1. Can I be the first to say Thank you for all your hard word? I am a firm believer that our money and "adoration" is wasted on the "celebrities" of this world.

    My kids come home saying how cool their teacher is and what they learned. Rarely do they say how awesome such and such an actor is.

    You are a hard worker and I know you are touching hearts.

    Screw the state government. They will get theirs. I know it's harsh, but one day they will realize they need teachers and doctors and firemen more than politicians. hmmmm. the next revolution may be teachers leading this country instead of the other way around.

    I am going to link to this.

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  2. Thank you for the kind words Bonnie. I am actually not a public school employee so the whole issue with unions does not affect me directly, but the bashing of my vocation - and I do consider it a vocation - just completely breaks my heart.

  3. I want to be a teacher more than anything...I applaud what you do over and over and over!!! Blessings!

  4. Great blog! I don't know about you, but my summer isn't totally "off" either. I'll do course work, plan and update classes, and in general get ready for the next school year. The only difference is that I don't have the students and daily teaching to do.

    I feel very disheartened when people who haven't been in a classroom since they were in school make comments about how easy teaching is.