Thursday, October 18, 2007

ExSqueeze Me? Is That My Arse Draggin'?

The Trib carried a front page story on the effects of the additional period and schedule change. The cyber-side contains comments from readers. Its quite an array of opinions. I still can't believe some folks think we get paid for our summer vacation. It's as though high school never ends: there is always that percentage of people who are always "behind" and sometimes my patience with them wears thin. For the record: Hillsborough teachers get paid for 201 days of work. We are effectively laid off and must plan for it.

I have a friend who regularly uses this inflation calculator to see how he's doing. Try it but be warned that it may be the "straw".

Anyone who has read The Wall and followed the links to other blogs KNOWS that everything mentioned in the story was expected. Anyone who watched or attended the board meetings knows that everything in the story was expected. In fact these results were spelled out in a thorough and professional manner by high caliber teachers.

Anyone who watched or attended the board meetings knew that everything mentioned in the story was also ignored.

I have been so totally exhausted trying to keep up that The Wall has suffered. I'm also running full throttle and urinated. It is April in October and I see no relief.

I'm ready to do something.

I am including a comment from the cyber-article by a first year teacher (cheerfulstorm) that mirrors what was said by a veteran teacher at one of the board meetings.

As a first year teacher, I have to say, I'm dragging. Not only because of the 6 classes (I don't know any different), but because I don't have a classroom, I often don't have the materials I need, the few kids who are more than disrespectful, the parents who think that I should spend an hour more time a day with their one kid out of my 160, and the six classes of papers I have to grade.

So say I have one essay a week for my six minutes a piece, I spend approx 15 hours grading only 1 assignment. Plus it takes about 2 hours a week to plan, and I lose my planning period to running around the school signing papers or answering the 50 emails in my inbox from parents and administrators or even to the kid who needs some extra help or make up an assignment.

Yes, we work 40 hours a week - 7am to 3 pm - with a paid lunch because most of us have to perform a 15 minute duty for the school during that time. So that's 18-20 hours of MY OWN TIME not spent in front of the kids every week. Not to mention, when the kids have the day off, the teachers are generally working. I'll be attending a mandatory professional development day on Friday while the kids are sleeping in.

In addition, I'm working toward my own Masters' degree to be able to teach my students even better. So...60 hours a week, and a salary that tops out at $65K if you've been teaching for 30 years.

Gotta say, I'm moving to a state with a stronger union once I finish my degree, because no one but teachers can really look out for teachers. Everyone else takes a crap on them, looks like. And people wonder why 50% of new teachers don't make it past year 3. Good thing I like the kids and want them to succeed, or I'd be joining them.

-from eloguentmind

MYTH 1: Teachers only work 300 minutes a day.

Most work a 12 month yr. in 10 months.
My average weekday:
5:30- wake
6:45- work
7:15- Pay Day/School Begins
10:23-12:03- planning/conference/meetings/grading/duty/lunch
3:00- School Day Ends tutoring/grading/meetings/phone calls/emails/paperwork/test make up/letters of recommendation/trainings (Pay Day Ends)
4:45- Leave
6:00-9:00- Grade essays, projects, homework, data entry, emails, planning, website
I work a 13-14 hour day. I work ¾ of my Sunday. That’s about 70 hrs. a week. I’m not the only one. 38 wks x 70 hrs = 2660 hrs, whereas in the “real world” 52 wks x 50 hrs is 2600 hrs, and vacation time is often paid. We may work as much as, if not more than, the “real worlders”.

MYTH 2: Teachers don’t want to work, but they want to get raises.

I work harder than many people. I am also the yearbook advisor and tutor two week nights, on the weekends, and all summer in order to make up for the salary. Our “8% raise” was not a raise. Some teachers only received a 6% increase or less. Our day was increased by 20 min., 2 holidays were removed from the schedule, and one must factor in about 2 % for inflation. Doing the math, one learns that the “raise” is actually JUST compensation for the extended days.

MYTH 3: Teachers only work when they are with students.

In the “real world” most people sit behind a desk the majority of their day. They call this work. Do they not? If so, then please tell me what it is called when a teacher does the same thing? I’m a high school English Honors teacher. I have 150 students. When I assign a small paper, of 500 words on Civil Rights and Martin Luther King’s influences on our social consciousness, it takes me about 10 min. to grade, assess, and comment on each paper. 10 min. x 150 papers is 1500 min. My paid planning time is only 50 min. It takes me 30 planning periods, or 6 weeks of school, to properly grade one high school English assignment. I have at least 150 papers of various length and content to grade a day.

I would have NO PROBLEM working the way I do if the community, school officials, parents, and students treated my craft/profession with dignity and respect. An earlier writer said that teachers are raising the students because many parents are not, and they are exactly right. I have been pushed, hit, cursed at, threatened, etc. But, I stay because I LOVE the craft of what I do. I hold onto the hope that America will open its eyes and see that we need to make a change in our cultural values. We are the wealthiest nation, yet our public school system ranks 20th in the world. I can’t give up on what I was called to do just yet. Give us less students with more support and respect, and I promise you, you will have a happy teacher, which results in happy students! Our children deserve it.

"What we're seeing is what we expected," said David Steele, the district's general director for secondary education.

Let's see how that comment plays when the FCAT scores come in. Copy and paste it somewhere. I'm thinking a T shirt design.

Later. My arse is draggin'.


Anonymous said...


It's time for us to talk to the Board again. The next meeting is November 6th.

Best quote of the year? "What we're seeing is what we expected," said David Steele, the district's general director for secondary education.

Really? guys designed a program knowing that it would chase veteran teachers away? You designed a program that forces teachers to no longer assign writing assignments? You designed a program that makes teachers spot check work instead of reading the work in-depth?

Oh, and you neglected to talk to teachers to figure out what the consequences would be?

Memo to Candy Olson: It's time to call for a vote on this issue. Let's see where you and the others on the Board think about this issue.

Four Board members are up for re-election. Throw them out.

Anonymous said...

ditto--will see you there!

twinkobie said...

I have been reading a summary of a biography of Albert Shanker.

Shanker began his career by getting the NYC teachers to strike when striking was a violation of the law. So many strunk that the board had to deal with the teachers and allow them to bargain collectively.

That was a great victory for teachers and for organized laber.

Shanker hammered the need of teachers to be heard in the running the schools and teachers' need to claim their dignity. The board and Ms. Elia with CTA's slimey cooperation have deprived teachers of these rights to be heard and to have the dignity to which their vital role in education entitles them.

Teachers should not let this trilogy of board-elia-CTA run over them without fighting back with the help of a committed union.

Teachers have been too worn out attending to the pressures of the extra class period Elia dumped on them to continue to protest their mistreatment to the board. That leaves the board back in Elia's hands. No voice strong enough to oppose her has yet emerged on the board, and it may be that the one or two who try to oppose her will back down because they can't take the pressure of the displeasure of other members who are contented to be potted plants.

Under-the-radar Faliera's invitation to Griffin to quit if she didn't become a potted plant is evidence of this pressure; so is Lamb's complaining that the board couldn't be a team if one member of the team didn't cooperate.

But teachers shouldn['t hitch their hopes to a board member's arising to fight their battles. Politicians are not fighters as a rule. It's better for teachers to rely on themselves and fight their own battles and have a loyal union to fight along with them and cover their backs when they are too tired or too despondent to do battle.

Now is the time teachers need a vigilant union. Why won't teachers dump CTA and bring in the Teamsters or AFT (Shanker's union? Is it apathy or habit--being used to mistreatment? Isn't there someone with a union-organzing personality to take on this job? When I was union president at HCC,the administration was trying to bust the union. A few of us arose to fight back. We had a big upsurge in union membership because of just one fiery speech I gave.

Among you there is a person who can move the teachers out of the faithless CTA parasites' influence and into a vigilant union whose officers will do battle for teachers when they are too busy with school work or too tired to fight for themselves.

Find that person and set him or her to the task of getting a new union to work for teachers, not the administraiton.

lee drury de cesre

Anonymous said...

The Tampa Tribune reporter was at the October CTA Building Rep meeting held last week. The High School Reps were asked by CTA to come an hour early to discuss the situation and brainstorm a strategy.

Honestly, I am greatly disappointed at how long CTA appears to be taking on this issue. However, I am glad to see that they finally are.

virgin cynic said...

"Honestly, I am greatly disappointed at how long CTA appears to be taking on this issue. However, I am glad to see that they finally are."

They have done NOTHING.
They will accomplish NOTHING.

And worst of all, it's second-hand smoke (and mirrors).

Save your money.

Anonymous said...

Suzie... can you please post this as a main topic so all can see? I received this email and think all teachers should come out and show their support!

Dear Fred Burns supporters,

I would like to invite you to the Burns for the Board Tailgate Party & Fundraiser at USF's homecoming game against Cincinnati on Sat. Nov. 3rd. Bring family and friends to support Fred Burns and the USF Bulls! Food, Fun, and Fred Burns will be provided! We will be meeting prior to the game in Lot 3 (the North side of the Raymond James stadium; you'll need to enter through Lot 1. Please see attached map for exact locations). You will need to order your USF game tickets asap since they are going fast. Game time is still TBA. An update will be sent to you providing the tailgate time.

Contributions can be made by check or cash at the tailgate party. All contribution amounts are welcomed.

Please RSVP to Shannon Peck @ with the approximate number of people who will be in your party by October 31st. Please feel free to forward this email to all interested parties and post on available blogs.

Looking forward to partying with you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including my post to the Tampa Tribune dispelling the "MYTHS". I am trying to get my own blog going. Drop by...

Sisyphus - The Rock that Keeps on Rolling... said...

I was glad to see that many of the teachers interviewed were not from the schools that had been vocal in the past. I agree we need to keep the pressure up. Things are TERRIBLE at my school, especially for ESE students and services. I need to work through the proper channels before I stand before the board.

There are 4 school board seats up for the election... IN AUGUST! We should be taking an active role.

Anonymous said...

CTA asked school reps to come an hour earlier to probably make it look like those teachers are the one complaining and spilling the beans about how awlful the extra time is. That way CTA can stay friends with ROSSAC administrators, "The teachers came and spoke to the press! What could we do?"

Anonymous said...

The longer this crap drags on the angrier the troops will get. Its bad enough when our principals do things to prevent us from speaking up. They're just following the boards lead.

Let them portray us as malcontents and they are in for a firestorm!

Right now I'm having to defuse my parents who want to know why (insert grade, help, return phone call, etc. references). I'm ready to forget all return phone calls and concentrate on paperwork.

It sucks. I'm pissed.