This evening I'm busy being all lovey and wifely so I give you a guest post in the form of a letter to the editor of a local Ohio newspaper written by my good friend Frenchie (gorgeous wife of my also very good friend Nature Boy). It's a response to nasty comments made and letters written during a teachers contract dispute, by parents and residents in the community where she teaches. Take it away Frenchie:
More or less, we were having a contract dispute over salary. We were in month #7 working off the old contract when I wrote this. We were holding out for more money for 2 reasons: a) we'd taken shitty salary increases in the two previous contract negotiations in 2005 and 2003; b) the school board had given the principals a really high salary increase in 2005 after giving us shitty ones (we got 2% the first year and 1% the second year, and they gave the principals 4% on top of all the other perks they already get that we don't).
We saw their crappy proposal as an issue of respect more than being about the money. Sadly enough, in the end they didn't budge and we ended up accepting their proposal, but I think it was just because they wore us down to the point where most of us didn't have any fight left in us.
I am a teacher.
I smile at your children when I see them everyday.
I listen to your children when they need to unload.
I listen to your children when they are brimming with excitement to tell me about their weekend.
I grade papers on the couch in the evenings while my four-year old works puzzles on the living room floor.
I loan your children lunch money when they forget theirs at home.
I supply endless Kleenex for runny noses.
I schedule make-up tests and extra help sessions before school and after school, and sometimes during my only lunch break.
I ask your children to exceed their own expectations.
I spend hours planning engaging lessons that keep heads from falling asleep on desktops.
I write my own tests and quizzes even though our textbook company sends us pre-written ones, because I feel theirs are substandard.
I have a homework completion raffle every week and I buy the prizes.
I buy my own materials if there’s not enough money left in the budget for them.
I call you at home if your child’s grades are slipping.
When the conversation sidetracks into what a wonderful child your teenager used to be, I listen and smile and don’t interrupt, even though it has nothing to do with the reason I’m calling.
I thank you for doing your best as a parent, because I know that we both want the best for your child.
None of this is in my contract.
My paycheck would remain the same if I did not do these things.
The majority of teachers I work with have a list this long or longer.
We love this community and we care about your children.
Please reciprocate by encouraging the Board of Education to end the standoff.
We’re not looking to get rich. We just want to feel appreciated.