14 September 2012

Teachers Deserve So Much More

On Monday morning, Chicago teachers went on strike—the first in 25 years. The Chicago Teachers Union and the administration failed to come to an agreement after 10 months of negotiations regarding a new contract regarding class sizes, health benefits, and teacher evaluations. According to Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, “The strike comes only after long and intense negotiations failed to lead to an agreement that would give CTU members the tools they need to help all their students succeed.” According to teachers, the terrible conditions of the public schools—overcrowded and overheated classrooms and insufficient supplies—makes it difficult for students to work.

Some claim that teachers are being greedy because they don’t get paid enough, but I think that the pressure to “teach to the test” is overwhelming. Despite numerous studies showing that standardized testing isn’t working nor is it the only effective method of teaching, teachers are always to blame for students not showing improvement on paper.

Today, Senator Jim DeMint tried to be funny by comparing the teachers on strike to thugs. Click here for the CNN article. He said, “On my way over, I was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets. And then I realized that was a story about the Chicago teachers strike.” Ha, ha, jackass.

I am currently in grad school to get my teaching credentials, but for the past 4 years, I have worked in the education field. I’ve worked at a daycare for 4 years, volunteered at an elementary for a year, worked as an after school tutoring program for a year, and I’ve been substituting for a year now. Though I was always criticized for wanting to be a teacher because they don’t get paid a lot, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. It’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it.

Teachers go to school for four or more years to perfect their craft and receive their credentials; all the while, racking up debt with loans and grants. They practically raise 180+ children each year with limited supplies. When those children grow up to be millionaire athletes and inventors, do they get a cut? Hell no. Do they even get a “thank you, Mrs. Johnson”? Sometimes.

In my opinion, teachers should be getting paid BANK. Why? Because they have to do so much for so little. With NCLB, teachers are forced to teach according to the standardized tests, and will be evaluated based on the student’s scores. With so little resources, teachers either have to come out of pocket for their lesson plans, teach strictly by the book, which we all know isn’t the best. For visual learners, movies and hands-on projects are the best examples for certain subjects. Without VCRs/DVD players/overhead projectors, teachers have to purchase one on their own, bring one from home (which runs the risk of being damaged), or go without. With budget cuts, what do you think will happen?

Calling teachers “thugs” or “greedy” is preposterous. Wouldn’t you want to get paid for the work that you do? What if someone told you that all of the hard work you were doing wasn’t worth diddly shit?


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