Every once in a while, listeners reach out and pass on information we think is worth sharing, here is a letter we received from an anonymous teacher with a lot to say that we felt you should see.
You struck a nerve today with your comments about teachers being paid to work so few hours. You are both right and wrong about this issue. This is coming from a conservative kindergarten teacher. I work for the Bellingham School District. Background: Our school district has been pushing socialist ideas for many years; this is not new for us. Under the guise of “One Schoolhouse” we have been told that to meet students needs we must….. Well apparently we must feed every child under the age of 18 for breakfast, lunch and dinner regardless of their income. I don’t even want to know the cost of that. We must pay salary and benefits to all district employees regardless of whether they are working or not. (Bus drivers, instructional assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians). Mind you we are not able to meet the needs of many of our special needs students, are in desperate need of a phonics program, but are told that there is no money for that. If you disagree with any of the programs or decisions made then we are told that we are against equity. I am pretty sure that our administrators are told to use that word a certain number of times in each meeting. I say that because it is often used out of context. We have not had a book study or a deep dive into anything academic in years. We are focused on books about white privilege etc. Last year I had to buy my own phonics and concept based learning books while our principal said she would use school funds to buy us any book we wanted to read about white privilege.
Back to topic. If you were to look at what we are doing for online education it would look like we work a couple of hours a day. If we were just focused on teaching our students, that is really what it would be. That is not to be so… First, I wish I could just do a quick story and 5 minute video in that much time. But when one teaches at an effective level we are interacting with students. I still have not figured out how to teach kindergartners without interacting and my video’s take many takes to fit the time limit we are given. We are being asked to use technology that is so new to us that it is mind boggling. The instructions for taking attendance for online learning was 6 pages long. We are being asked to meet with families in zoom for an hour a week per family. That is 20 hours a week for me. That would be okay, but we also have to schedule those meetings around the families schedule, do the zoom invites, remind the families, prepare for the meeting and my favorite, record everything we talked about in several different locations. I have meetings as late as 6:30 pm for several of my working families. Now we have to assess the kids including the child’s social skills, make learning plans with goals that we need to support the families in meeting, allow access to those goals so families can change them at any time and oh yeah, report that in several locations. We also have to monitor parent and students comments about the lessons shown online and provide feedback. I am seriously working around 11 hours a day. I forgot to mention the staff development we have to attend to talk about equity, and how we can meet the needs of our students who are not part of white privilege and how we should explain to our white students that they are guilty for being white. (Do it gently is the best advice). Our superintendent just did a new hire of an administrator with a doctorate degree (meaning big bucks) to help better understand and deal with, yes, equity, diversity et.
P.S. I know that there are instructional assistants who, instead of working with students, are babysitting one on one with district employees children. So sorry, so long, I hope you were able to skim and get the general idea. I will give you my name, but if you use any of this information on air, I would ask you not to use my name. I still need to keep my job. P.S. The Black Lives Matter signs have been up in our high schools for years.