Thursday, March 24, 2011

Have you thanked the educators of our children today?

With support for teachers among our elected leaders and talking heads at such an all-time low, it was refreshing to see a letter in Columbia's Free Times this week from Joanne Hafter of Columbia.

I have watched and waited to see letters defending our very underpaid teachers. I have seen nary a one.

Teachers do not work nine months out of the year. They work at least 10 and a half.

They report a minimum of two weeks prior to school opening and they stay up to one week after school closes. In those precious six or seven weeks they are not at school, many take continuing or graduate education courses that they pay for themselves.

They also teach summer school, enrichment classes, subject-related camps and engage in other school-related activities. Some are paid a small stipend for this while others are not.

Just as they do during the school year, teachers contribute supplies, research and learning tools, lunch and activity money, and many other materials during the summer.

Teachers should not be expected to supply pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, hand sanitizer, Band Aids, soap, chalk, erasable markers, crayons, markers and incentives for students. That’s what parents are responsible for.

If parents have time to watch TV, they have time to check homework. If parents have enough money for a six pack and chips, they have enough money for paper and pencils.

Teachers should not be penalized for lack of progress of students whose parents can’t take enough time to make sure their children are dressed appropriately, arrive on time and have the necessary supplies. Teachers and other school employees should not have to continue to deal with students who threaten them. Unruly and violent students should and must be removed from the classroom and/or school system. No other profession would allow these situations to exist. Why should public school teachers and other employees have to work in these conditions?

Most of our public school teachers, administrators and other classroom workers have advanced degrees. In the private sector, they would be making twice or three times what schoolteachers make. Why are they not paid for their knowledge and experience?

Teachers work well into the night and during weekends, holidays and vacations on lesson plans, grading, reports to superiors and the state, student files and all other related responsibilities. It’s about time they received a decent salary, supply reimbursement and respect from students, parents and the rest of the public. Teachers are responsible for our children, their education and their safety while in school. They are not just babysitters.

Joanne Hafter

Makes me want to ask, Have you thanked your child's teacher lately?

And while we're at it, have you thanked the cafeteria workers who serve our children their lunch every day? The bus drivers who get our children safely to school and back home every day? The custodial and janitorial staff who keep out children's learning environments clean and safe every day? Our teaching assistants who provide extra eyes and ears to our teachers, and extra care and instruction to our children in their classrooms? The school's clerical and business staff who are the real operators and backbones of our schools? Our school nurses, who are far too rare in South Carolina's public schools? Our school counselors -- every one of which has a catalog of horror stories to tell about the unfortunate baggage that too many children bring with them to school every day -- who take this awareness home with them every night?

If you haven't, then do this today: Forward this link to your friends and neighbors. Print this post, sign your name largely at the bottom, and send the copy with your child to his or her teacher.

Or, if you're a teacher yourself, print it and post it in your workroom(s) where your colleagues and co-workers can see it. Or make copies and distribute them in your colleagues' mailboxes. It's such a small gesture, but at a time when no gestures at all are being offered, small ones count.

And join me in saying, THANK YOU.

Thank you. And thank you, and thank you, and thank you, and thank you, and thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment