As a retired teacher, how could I make this statement? Do I not remember how my salary barely paid bills? In real time: how am I making it on my retirement? Why am I unable to fathom today’s educator dilemma?
After 46 years of teaching, I understand all of the dilemmas teachers face! That’s why I wrote “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!” But striking is against my better judgement. Here is why:
- Parents have to scramble to find child care.
- Many parents will find it necessary to leave their children unattended during the school day.
- Children need a regiment to afford better retention of learning. Staying home for days, often unsupervised, postpones if not cancels the child’s ability to retain previously learned concepts.
- The community does not see the plight of teachers when they strike. They only see the empty school house, void of instruction and safety for their child.
- The potential loss of pay or postponement of salary may place the educator behind the proverbial eight ball even farther.
Is there an antidote for the teachers in this nation who work daily under poor conditions, low pay and constant verbal attacks? Yes! WORK THE RULE. Back in the ’80’s, I worked in a school district where the education association was extremely proactive in garnering salaries. At one point, the association and school board were at impasse. The proposal to WORK THE RULE was executed with great results. Here is a portion from my book regarding this concept:
When to Work the Rule: Commitment to teaching for a substandard salary took its toll. The teacher representatives decided all teachers should “work the rule.” Teachers reported to their jobs 30 minutes before their classes began. The school day was filled with teaching and assessment. Everything, including grading papers, took place within the school day. When the children went home at the end of the day, so did the teachers! No homework assigned. Extracurricular activities postponed. The community needed to understand how much time their teachers worked outside the school day. After almost two weeks, the board felt pressured by the parents to end this stalemate and find a salary compromise.
Working the rule became a powerful tool when negotiating. The majority of the staff, in order for the shortened day to produce an impact on the administration and parents, must agree to participate. This approach challenged those of us who gladly gave extra time and energy to our jobs. Perhaps “work the rule” would better facilitate the impending teacher strikes. Keeping students in a routine and providing working parents a safe place for their children is paramount. Strikes punish the student and the parent more than anyone. Teachers, administrators and school boards cannot afford to lose the support of their community.
Purchase “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!” TODAY from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I hope one day this book will serve as required curriculum for university education programs.