Surely the leaders who say these things don't really want to know what teachers are willing to sacrifice. I guess they are unaware of the sacrifices teachers make. Let me enlighten them on some things teachers in his state and every other state ALREADY sacrifice every single day.
Teachers make financial sacrifices. Teachers in every state are severely underpaid. Additionally, teachers in my state have not had a pay raise in 5 years. We also rank 48th in the nation in teacher pay. But I guess that sacrifice isn’t big enough for them.
So I'll continue. Teachers also make financial sacrifices when we use our own money to purchase supplies and materials for our classrooms. What company allows their employees to use their own money for job-related purposes? Teachers do this all time, and no one blinks an eye.
We sacrifice our time. We do not work 7:30-2:30 as many suggest. We come to school early and stay late to prepare lesson plans, respond to parent emails, grade papers, gather materials, prepare for IEP meetings, sit in on IEP meetings, have staff meetings, meet with our grade level for common planning, and many, many other things that I’m sure state senators would not understand. Additionally, many of us work second jobs to make paying the bills a little easier.
We make sacrifices for our families when we do not receive a pay check during the summer months. Sure, we only work in our classrooms ten months of the year, but we work enough hours in those months to make up for the two months we “have off.” Plus, many teachers use the summer to read research and get new ideas for their classrooms.
We sacrifice our free time by working on the weekends to prepare for the week. My Sunday evenings are devoted to responding to parent emails, creating our class newsletter, writing or reviewing lesson plans, and gathering materials for the week’s lessons. Sunday nights are used to prepare for Monday.
We sacrifice our health because we come to school when we’re sick. This may sound dramatic, but unlike many professions, we do not have the luxury of “calling in sick.” When we are sick, we must find our own substitute, write lesson plans, and make sure our classroom is prepared for someone else to be in charge for a day. By the way, writing lesson plans is not a quick or easy task.
I know there are many other sacrifices teachers make and that I have not listed them all. But my point is this: The idea that teachers should somehow be punished because their state has tremendous debt is absolutely insulting. I’d invite those senators to spend a day in my school. Maybe then they would offer some productive solutions.