Today I was alerted to the fact that on Cleveland.com our community has its own page. The Brecksville page is actually pretty cool and boasts the happenings and goings on in Brecksville.
The Brecksville Forum." In this Forum, there are many postings from members of the community about our school district, school levy, and teachers.
The following is my response to all of the banter (even though I was asked to keep it short, factual, and calm).
"After reading much of this banter back and forth about school levies and teacher salaries, I'm sad. I'm a teacher, and I can't believe this is the conversation that is being had about our school district.
First, of all the people that I've heard against the school levy and in favor of cutting teacher salaries, do you know how many of those people have observed in our building? Zero. How many have observed in my classroom? None.
Do you know what school is like now?
It's surely not the same as when I was in gradeschool just 20 short years ago. How long has it been since you attended 3rd grade? I can assure you, it's different.
But you wouldn't know. Because you don't visit. You don't observe. You don't even speak to the teachers whom you denegrate on a regular basis in open forums such as these.
You make claims that we "only work 6 hours a day." We can be compared to "babysitters" and "day care workers." We do the job of "janitorial staff" and should get paid closer to "$15 an hour" than the salary that we make.
I can assure you, my B.A., M.A. and continuing education credits can support the fact that I am more than a babysitter. And if I made $15 and hour for the actual hours I worked, I might even make more than my actual salary.
6 hours a day? I'm laughing.
I teach kids with special needs. I need to know about each and every one of their needs, their allergies, their physical needs, their cognitive capabilities, their home lives, their social skills, their fine motor and gross motor capabilities, their speech and language abilities, and their interests and disinterests. I also need to know their behaviors, triggers, and motivators. I plan each day for 8 little bodies, 4 of whom are nonverbal. Two have augmentative assistive communication devices. Two are still eating pureed foods and are not toilet trained yet. All 8 of my students know how to use computers, can spell and are well on the road to becoming readers. 2 of my students also come from bi-lingual homes.
Every single one of my students is included in the school day. Though, I wouldn't expect our adversaries to know the difference between mainstreaming and inclusion.
Every single student gets math, reading, speaking, spelling, writing, math, fine motor, gross motor, speech and language, science, social studies, and social skills standards built into his/her day. That's 12 subjects for 8 different students.
We also work on feeding, manners, toileting, hand washing, and other functional skills AND whatever else the parents ask for.
We write individualized education plans (IEPs) and complete multi-factored evaluations (MFEs). We write Evaulation Team Reports (ETRs) and collaborate as Response to Intervention (RtI) teams.
I maintain two blogs, one for parents, and one professional, and a twitter account JUST to stay on top of the special education world and on top of my "game" professionally. I train myself on assistive technologies and spend the summer doing my own professional development, often working 6-7 hours daily on this time we supposedly all have "off" to be vacationing and sunning.
In the meantime, I also manage 6 special education aides in our building. I also lead our special education team of professionals. I also lead our school philanthropy team.
I make schedules, maintain technology, clean desks, wipe little behinds, plan snack time, integrate technology like SMARTboards, computers, e-portfolios, assistive tech. devices, give hugs, teach reading, teach 21st Century Skills like problem solving and critical thinking, count coins, celebrate birthdays, create learning materials, collaborate with other professionals (i.e. teachers and therapists), plan in occupational therapy, physical therapy, music therapy, and therapeutic horseback riding for my students, AND communicate with parents, community members, and home program coordinators.
And believe me. I am NOT complaining. I LOVE this job. I couldn't LOVE it more. I love these kids, I love their hugs, I love feeling their successes and celebrating with their parents.
And you measure our district's success by our National Merit Finalists?
But my students will never be National Merit Finalists.
And my worth can never be determined by how many honor students there are at the high school.
Maybe, just maybe, the next time you think about undervaluing a teacher, you'll think about a teacher who spends 14 hours in the building or at home, for the good of his/her students. You'll think about a teacher that wants nothing more than to see her students walk independently, read independently, speak OUT LOUD. You'll think about a teacher who is doing the best he can...
You'll think about a teacher who is not complaining about her salary.
So maybe you shouldn't be either."