My thoughts today will anger some, I know. We are working without a contract and negotiations are ongoing and now in "crisis" mode. The union has decided teachers should work to rule, standing outside in the snow and cold until 7:50, walk in together, then all leave together at precisely 3:10, adhering strictly to the contract. IF you have more work to do, it is OK to come back later, or so I was told.
I get to school each morning at approximately 7 a.m. I like to be here before everyone else gets here. There is no line at the copier, there are no kids wanting to chat, there are no teachers wandering gossiping, and I can get my self ready for the day.
After school, the halls are filled with running kids, gossiping teachers, people.... and I cannot get anything done.
I also have things to do outside of school in the afternoons. I go work out somedays (not nearly enough!). I go to the credit union, post office, drug store, etc... Those are things I cannot do before school.
The union feels we are sending a message to the adminstration and school board by doing this. What message are we sending? They think we will gain public support for our plight.
I think they are wrong on both counts!! Administration and the board do not care what hours we work as long as we get our job done. The public in our small town with few paying jobs views us as whiners.
I understand that I would not have all the benefits I have without the union having worked on my behalf. I get that. However, I also GET that we are losing kids, we are losing state funding, and we cost more and more each year in our health care premiums. I think we are unreasonable when we think we can have what we always did, get a regular raise and never give up anything.
I appreciate my job. I appreciate my paycheck. I appreciate my benefits. However, I did not become a teacher thinking I was going to make gadzoockles of money. I expected to work long hours, for less than adequate compensation. I am not a martyr. I think teachers should make 10 times what they make. I think pro athletes and entertainers get paid 10 times what they should.
However, me standing outside in the cold until 7:50 will change nothing, except make me less competent in my classroom. If I COULD work from 7:50 to 3:10 and accomplish all I need to accomplish, I would be thrilled! Please..... someone tell me how!! My coming in later will only lead to my being more stressed, less prepared, and will certainly not lessen my workload.
I am here for the kids.... I love my job.... I love my kids... and I will NOT stand out in the cold and look foolish to parents and community members to prove a point I do not believe in.