I’m not even sure how to start, address or progress with this.
I am a union member. My father was a union member before him. I am assuming my grandfather was as well, since he worked for the USPS. I believe in the power of many. I believe that unions are the ants in “Bug’s Life” and that those trying to break us are Hopper and his gang. I am tired of being told I’m what’s wrong with America.
As a teacher I have no control over which students walk into my classroom, who their parents are, how long I have to teach, the curriculum, or the amount of money I will receive to supply my class. I have no control over my colleagues, my ability to collaborate, or even the level of support I will receive. I will be expected, however, to take a child one or more years into education with whatever I find in my room. If I fail, I will be hung by a cross of my own making (although I won’t be allowed to pimp it) to show everyone how awful I am at my job. Should I fail at it, I will be punished. For this, I make around $65,000 per contract year. After 11 years and extra education.
The mean, vindictive part of me wants to take EVERYTHING I bought out of my classroom. Unfortunately, this would leave a room with purple, blue and yellow walls, no curtains or window coverings, no borders or posters, no student art, no pencil sharpeners, DVD/VCR, TV, flowers, cleaning supplies, classroom library, dictionaries, paper, spiral notebooks, colored pencils, markers, white boards, white board markers, high lighters, erasers, binders, sentence strips, tie-dyed t-shirts, holiday arts supplies, string art supplies, or Cricut stuff.
This school year alone, I have spent easily $1000 in school, books, and art supplies. Taed has spent $300-$400 in buying the best graphic novels to make my low readers, readers. He also spent $250 in tablets from Fry’s to make sure that my students have access to AR since we won’t have computers.
I am extending my work day from 2:30-3:30 so kids can get onto Lexia and DreamBox after school to improve their reading and math scores and fill the gaps. Even if paid $35 an hour, that would be $100 a week. Over the course of a month, that’s $400. I’m not getting it. It’s considered that I’m volunteering. The school “has no money” and the union would say just don’t do it.
I feel like I’m in some weird-ass version of “Alice’s Restaurant”. You want to know if I’m good enough to be a teacher, to come to school, deal with 27 lives, make lesson plans, deal with day to day issues, assess growth, have parent meeting after parent meeting to fill gaps, support the school culture, spend my own money to enrich my students’ lives and expand their schema, all while being told I’m what’s wrong with society? Is that it? And you want to remove the one protection I have while doing so?
The more I look at it, maybe I’m not cut out to be part of your “army”. Maybe, just maybe, I should let you win. Reap what you sow. Then I look at the face of my students, and I know, I know, I will NEVER let you win. Their lives depend on it.
You think my union is protecting me? Then give me back my money. You pay for those items to educate the students? No? Then back the fuck off and let me do my job. Stop using me, or my union, as your talking point.