Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sorry, but I had to write this.

This makes me have the sads. Every year of teaching my husband and I both happily buy supplies for our classroom. About two weeks ago, my husband was told they would receive no money for art (he gets $100 once a year to order only from approved suppliers). Keep in mind he teaches the whole school of about 600 kids. I just don't know how you can teach art with nothing. When he entered his room, there was not even paper. PAPER. He also is not allowed any reams of copy paper since he is not a regular classroom teacher but teaches specials. I understand when we are grocery shopping and he puts paper plates, coffee filters or printer paper in the cart for school. We have spent as much as $5,000 out of pocket on a year on supplies. No joke. We also pay taxes (love it when people say they pay you because of taxes) and while we personally choose to homeschool we pay our local large public school that husband works for about $1,000 yearly in property tax. I try not to visualize us handing our paycheck back lol. I get upset about teacher pay but we knew going in we would not make much but we had no idea how little it would still be about twenty years later. I never realized how much overtime I would put into it. You literally work weekends and yes, summer. During summer you are planning, setting up your room for next year after having to take it down for floor waxing, and attending professional development you are required to go to. I remember staying at school until midnight my first few years of teaching. Even if I left the building at a decent time, I still brought a bag of work home. It never ends. I am not complaining because I felt good like I was investing in the future of our country. I am a dreamer, I guess.
I am very sad about the state of education in our state. I know there may be an announcement about a raise soon. I had to stop reading comments about it because...well, people tend to forget police, firefighters, teachers--we are human, too. We have feelings. We are not robots.
It is also disparaging to me that I went to college all four years and took the education courses to become a teacher but it does not matter...anyone can teach now. I personally don't see it as fair because not only does it make those of us who ran the whole marathon feel worthless, I really cannot see how it can benefit students to have a "teacher" who has never taken child development or psychology or any curriculum courses.
I am often asked when I run into "old" students if I have any advice for them because they want to go into teaching and be like me. Yes, this really has happened. I want to say "don't do it," or "run!" but I remember during my student teaching I called my second grade teacher to ask her if she had any advice for a beginner teacher. She tried very hard to talk me out of it but I was headstrong and thought I was going to change the world. I think I needed to experience it all myself. I have no regrets about the eleven years I have had so far in education and no regrets about the six on/off years at home. I'm still a dreamer. I still want to make a difference. I still believe I can. I still have the passion for education! I still believe a good teacher, a good principal, a good school can CHANGE a child's life. It only takes one person to believe in you to CHANGE your life.
I am living proof. If that second grade teacher had not "caught" me and changed my life I have no idea where I would be. She taught me to read. She made me LOVE reading and writing. I knew my first grade teacher did not like me. I knew she saw me as a loser because I spoke Spanish (which I got detention for) and I did not know how to read. She would happily call that Eagles reading group to her table and then my group-The Crows- would be last. :( I remember that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when she called us. I was about to be in trouble because I could not read as fluently as she wanted me to. I tested low in everything and she made me feel like I was an embarrassment as a human being. The next school year, my second grade teacher was a blessing. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to show other kids they were worth something. She made me feel like I was smart for the first time in my life.
So keep this in mind next time you are grumpy about something a teacher or principal did. Please keep this in mind next time you are angry at your child's teacher or school. Because honestly, most of us would take a bullet for your kid.

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