Thursday, August 6, 2020

Teachers, school and COVID, a guest post

This isn't a full guest post. These are the thoughts a teacher friend shared about the rapid changes in school plans, how teachers are trying to adapt with little time and training, and, well, just read what she has to say.

Teachers need support, a thread

Had a virtual staff meeting today that was literally 2 hours of, "That's something you'll have to figure out." A thread for people blaming teachers in any way, shape or form right now:

1. We (teachers in my district) are not being given any extra time to "figure that out." Indeed, the ONE extra paid day the district had previously offered us to "figure that out" was taken away from us with the release of the latest "plan."

2. At my first corporate job, I needed to learn a new skill to level up. I was paid my regular salary for 2 full weeks, while I attended a training to learn this skill.The 2 week training was paid for by the Corp. When I returned with certificate in hand, I was given a raise.

3. For comparison, teachers must take unpaid time to attend trainings (usually over the summer), and pay for the training (plus extra if we want it to count toward a future raise) and raises only come after 20 credit hours have been earned (paid for) by the teacher.

4. Yes, teachers "get summers off." We are NOT paid for that time. While we still get paychecks, it is because our salary for the other months is divided by 12 instead of 9 so that we get paid every month & don't starve/lose our housing over the summer.

5. We are literally only paid for the hours our contract requires us to spend in the building, with students. All that work we do in the evenings, unpaid. Weekends, unpaid. Over "breaks," unpaid. And any training we do is not only unpaid, we have to actively pay for it.

6. Teaching is the only job I know of where they are not required to pay you for the hours you are in training. It is also the only job I know of in my state that is exempt from the new law requiring that overtime be paid to salaried employees making under $35,000 a year...

7. Teachers WANT to do the job. We WANT to teach, we WANT to be w/ our students. We are NOT being supported to do so. If you're mad, take it up with: your fellow taxpayers, school board, your superintendent. Ask how they are supporting teachers, so we can support students/you.

We have failed

Back to my commentary.

We're all adjusting right now. Schools and school districts have been put in an untenable position with no clear, good choices. They are being pressured by government and some parents to re-open in person because they serve as free childcare for so many people. They feel compelled to open because they  often offer the only reliable meals some students get.

They are being asked to do so many things beyond educating students because we as a society have failed to support the most vulnerable among us. We have failed to adequately fund education. We have failed to support families. We have failed to provide quality healthcare to everyone. We have failed at so much.

One thing we can do, one thing we can not fail at, is respecting and supporting teachers.