I am so done reading letters that criticize teachers. I am not a teacher, but I know many people who are, including my niece, who is a well-respected elementary school teacher elsewhere in Washington.
She has her master’s in education, and I can tell you she most certainly works more than nine months a year. She spends a good deal of time every summer doing continuing education and preparing her classroom and lessons for the next school year. She also works more than eight hours a day most days during the school year. She takes work home almost every night in order to give her best to her students and because, even with planning days built into their work schedule, there isn’t enough time in the school day to get all the lessons planned and papers graded, as well as trying to figure out what to do with any problem students so they can be successful.
Further, this is her recertification year, so she has had to spend countless hours away from her family, on her own time and at considerable personal expense, outside of school hours and unpaid, to complete an intensive recertification program, and she’ll have to recertify again in five years, also on her own time. I have to ask, how many other jobs require that? And how many people take work home on a consistent basis? Knowing the teachers I know, I would venture to say there are more out there like her than those who are not.
If one counts up all the hours teachers spend outside the classroom doing things so Washington’s children can get a good education, besides being undervalued, they are underpaid. School is not a baby-sitting service. If people choose to have children they should also plan for contingencies that might interrupt their schedule. And yet they complain when teachers take a day to call attention to the need for education funding in our state saying it isn’t about kids, but it’s really because it is inconvenient. Such complaints are most certainly not about kids, they are about the people who are complaining.