Tuesday, December 9, 2014

interview with a vampire

A school district near me has teachers who are seriously threatening a strike over class size and pay. I have been a teacher and am all about class size reduction (16 per class. Believe me. Its the perfect number, and test scores proving otherwise are bunk, but that is another topic). I do think teaching is often an under-respected profession. But. A big but. (Yes this is not proper English, carry on.) When at least in my own dostrict, children ard using the same textbooks I used in middle school and the district is in violation, with double the ed code/ by law caseload of special ed preschool students, I can say this - schools need the money. Schools need "fixing". More money with the same practices, less money with the same practices, more money for teachers, it won't work until we hit reboot on the entire system.

Wait where was I going here?

Ah yes, interview with the vampire. This district near me is hiring substitutes to cross the line; at first, people with a BA degree and hopefully CBEST, the pre-req to suhstitute teach. Then, honestly, whoever, or just smooshing two hundred kids into the auditorium with one substitute and a movie. They are begging parents to send their kids to school because they cannot afford to lose ADA (attendance funding) even though the kids will be under-taught and under-supervised. Perhaps the subs they hire after the initial bit will no longer have CBEST or experience. They are offering $295 per day in a desperate attempt to hire enough teachers for 21,000 students. This is a district with 80% free or reduced lunch, 60% minority, in a highly gang ridden area, students who do not need a shoddy education or to be babysat by random unqualified people.

The district, as stated, is offering $295 per day for subs willing to cross the picket line. This is the same approxomate pay for a "real" salaried and tenured (and striking) teacher! Usually, subs earn between $90-$125. They cannot pull from the pull of district subs due to conflict of interest.

So. I am making mortal enemies and have an interview to be an on-call, lime crossing sub. My mother, a former teacher, says this is the nail in the coffin to my teaching career. Perhaps it is, and perhaps this is why I cannot seem to keep a job long enough to be tenured. I do not give a **** about politics, political correctedness, etc when the sake of children is at hand. Sure, teachers deserve good pay, smaller class sizes are a godsend (ever taught a class of 38 at risk high schoolers? 36 fifth graders including wards of the state? That alone will make you want smaller class sizes). But it doesnt negate the fact that 21,000 children, mostly "at risk", at the bottom of the social ladder, children who witness violence and hunger daily, need a caring memtor and an education to give them the hope and tools to empower themselves for a better life and better world. When all they have to look forward to is a safe classroom and smiling teacher, how do you think they feel when they are abandoned by their only sense of normalcy, structure, support?

That is why I am willing to cross the line. So many times, I speak up for the children and always suffer the consequences. But i refuse to die someday, knowing I gabe in to my morals and towed the line to appease someone while leaving children in the dust.

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