THANK YOU FOR DISMISSING ME!

I found this in my Facebook memories from two years ago:

God often uses money to confirm direction for our lives. Many times God uses a lack of provision to move us into new directions. It is a catalyst to encourage new ideas and strategies. Many times a loss of job becomes the greatest blessing to our lives because it provides the catalyst to do things we simply would never do without taking the step to get out of our comfort zone. -From Ephesians Four Ministry

April 25, 2017 my principal stood above me, shouted the words “Did you not hear me? You will not be the choir teacher here next year! If you do chose to return, you will be placed where you cannot be a part of any negative student interaction and where you will have nothing to do with collecting money.” Today, July 22, 2019, some 790 days later (but who’s counting), I now understand the above quote. Here are the gifts I received since my dismissal:

  • RESEARCH: Pay disparity and disrespect are the issues confronting today’s teachers. Teachers are leaving the profession in greater numbers than ever before.
  • REALITY: Harassment of older teachers with the intent to drive them out is the dark and dirty secret prevailing upon our nation.
  • REAL PURPOSE: I would never consider authoring a book were it not for the fact there is a national trend to rid our system of experienced teachers.
  • RELEVANCE: Some 19 months later, I saw the fruition to my writing in a published book “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!’
  • RESISTANCE: My new purpose is to expose this trend: experienced teachers are persecuted by parents and inept administrators. When these educators escape the fray, they are often times replaced by unskilled younger teachers while school districts tout “putting kids first’ on their websites.

It’s truly odd to speak a heart of gratitude to those who ended my career so abruptly. I now see clearly my path detoured in order for me to become a teacher advocate. I will dedicate the remainder of my life to that end.




$29.17

I am a retired teacher. Thankfully I run a private voice studio which supplements my meager pension. However, in the summer, my voice students take the time off for a warranted break. It’s been a while since a new student sought out my studio. Yesterday, a lovely young lady came for her introductory, no obligation lesson. I love my job! Teaching the joy of singing to aspiring young people is a rewarding vocation. Yesterday was not an exception. At the end of the lesson, she dutifully paid me her $30 via Square, hugged and assured me she would return.


Today, Square supplemented my income with $29.17. I was thrilled. No really, I was excited to see money credited to my account. It’s been over 30 days since my bank account saw a voice student entry on the right hand side.


Why do I write about this? Welcome to my stark reality and the reality of all retired teachers. Unless you have a well-to-do partner, your bank account balance feels fragile. Is this plight of the retired teacher futile? If legislators stop and realize the injustice teachers receive every month when they see their check stubs, something could be done. I do not have much faith in any legislation. But I do have faith in humanity.


What teachers need now are corporations, billionaires, professional athletes, musicians, business people, doctors and lawyers to step up and realize how their lives were influenced by teachers. Step up is defined as finding creative ways to take portions of huge salaries or gigantic earnings and siphon them to supplement teachers’ salaries and pensions. I can already hear your eyes rolling! But think about it: what if someone with financial power decided to set a precedence and insure teachers in his state that their dedication is not only appreciated but also financially supported. Is it unreasonable to believe an athlete earning seven and eight figures could take a portion each year and contribute to a state teachers’ retirement? All it takes is one person to start the ball rolling. One can dream.


Writing my book was never about profit. I simply wanted to share my experiences as a 46 year veteran teacher as well as provide viable solutions. Okay, a few dollars more in my bank account wouldn’t hurt! Please purchase my book “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!” from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Have yourself a summer read and affect change for our nation’s educators.

The Best and Worst Countries for Teacher Pay

A picturesque town along the Rhine River, July 2019.

In 1968 I was afforded a wonderful opportunity to study in Bremen, Germany, for a summer. Minoring in German in my university studies thus provided complete immersion into the German culture. Upon seeing my empty passport from the past 50 years, I sought to return to Europe a week ago. As a college student in 1968, touring castles and churches of the area was not a high priority. This time, determination to learn the histories of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland prioritized my travel.

As the guide explained about today’s German culture, I heard these words: German teachers earn as much as German cardiologists. Teachers’ pensions are held in high regard, with retiring teachers given honor by Germany’s chancellor. With significant pensions, teachers do not need to supplement their retirement. What a novel idea!

I spent many of my blogs sharing the issues facing teachers today. Educators, leaving their positions this year, stated money was not the primary reason for their departure. Reality therapy: some of the abuse, long hours and lack of support by parents and administrators could be lessened if the salary reflected the “battle pay” teachers deserve. The following is from Business Insider, researched by Shayanne Gal, Marissa Perino and Leanna Garfield (May 2019):

After 46 years of teaching, with both a Bachelor’s and 18 hours post my Master’s degree, my final teaching salary was only a few thousand dollars above an entry position (person holding only one degree). How could this transpire in a country which prides itself as a leader in education? Out of a 14 hour student day, a child spends half of it sitting in front of an educator. This student will attain self perception, learn about his world and gather information to accommodate him throughout his adult life. Are we to believe the national average of teacher pay at $60,000 insures our children are receiving the best education on a world stage? Teachers are leaving the profession in numbers greater than ever before. Are these top educators replaced by “cheaper versions”, less experienced teachers? Does the adage “you pay for what you get” apply to this conundrum? The clever school districts’ slogan of “putting kids first” needs to be re-evaluated. Our nation is failing today’s children by the very fact that low pay attracts less motivated and skilled educators. How much longer will this continue?

Enjoy a great summer read with answers to these questions. “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN TEACHERS AND SCHOOL PRINCIPALS

The following blog is from the “cutting room floor” of my book. Find out more and purchase RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD! available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Results of a study [(Leithwood et al. (2004), Marzano, Waters, and McNulty (2005), Portin et al. (2009), Louis and Leithwood et al. (2010), and Knapp et al. (2010)] stated that relationships between teachers and the school principal are extremely important in high-performing schools. The study showed principals identified three dominant factors in positive relationships between principals and teachers that impact student achievement. Leadership and support, communication, and inter-personal (trust and respect) skills were found to be the most important factors in developing positive relationships between principals and teachers which impact student achievement.

If I were determining which of those three is paramount to accelerated standards in any school, I would firmly state ‘trust and respect.’ I have worked in an environment lacking in both of those characteristics. There is nothing comparable to a teacher’s fear when he pulls into the parking lot that today may be one of those days were he is not only unappreciated by his students and parents but equally unsupported by his administration.

Enjoy a summer read and at the same time, garner ideas and empowerment for your teaching experience next fall.

LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE: NEW FOUND PATRIOTISM

Audie Murphy, one of America’s most decorated soldiers.
Audie Murphy’s one man stand in the battle for the Colmar Pocket.
The actual area of Murphy’s one man effort to free the Colmar Pocket.

The darkness of the forest shielded me from the day’s intense heat. The serene quiet assured me this was holy ground as these Vosges Mountains, located in the French Colmar Pocket, witnessed one of the fiercest battles of World War II. As our guide related the story of Audie Murphy’s one man stand, my memory barely flickered at the mention of the event. In January of 1945, this young American soldier held off the enemy, alone. He sent his men to a safer distance while he fought off enemy tanks and infantry. With his field phone in hand and a .50 caliber machine gun, Murphy stood on a flaming tank and began his “one man stand.” This story clearly demonstrated Murphy’s bravery, love of his men and a determination to win back a territory long held under enemy suppression. As I stood in the solace, it reminded me of an emotion which is under attack and held hostage by those who cannot understand its importance: patriotism. My own patriotic feelings buried by those who would shame me for loving my country and the brave who fought for her.

A light breeze moved the leaves ever so slightly as the guide finished Audie Murphy’s story. One lone beam of sunlight found its way through the arches of the tall pines. As the final segment to this tour, the guide recited the Veteran’s Prayer. Words like “sacrifice, love, honor” drifted in the air. No one dare move so as not to disturb this incredible moment of memorializing those who willingly gave their lives. And then it happened. A distant church bell slowly tolled as if to pay its own homage to the moment of solemnity. There were audible sounds of suppressed sobs. This band of tourists, who knew nothing of each other’s stories, came together for one moment: to honor the patriotic efforts of an American, Audie Murphy.

Why did I chose to write about this on a teaching blog? Our schools are rewriting and omitting “politically incorrect” history. Statues and murals of our founding fathers, flawed as they were, are destroyed in the name of 21st Century Correctness. Our children are experiencing apologetics for our nation instead of unconditional love for our country. On sporting fields, the National Anthem is highjacked for political purposes of souring our children on the very country which insures their freedom.

The tour guide left us with these final words: thank you America for freeing us from the Nazi’s and the evil which prevailed in our villages and cities. Her voice broke as she welled up with tears. She continued, “We will always be grateful for the sacrifice you made to save our country.” My one wish, at that moment, was all children could witness the admiration for our country professed by this French guide . Our country is doomed for failure if patriotism can only be found after a 9/11 event or on July 4th. We need to assure accurate portrayals of history so our children understand this country never intended to bathe in a false light of superiority. While we are far from perfection, it is our imperfection which hones us to become better citizens. Upholding the tenants of liberty through our varied history is patriotic and must be forwarded to the next generations. Teachers are the future guides. The stories of America’s plight for freedom, through the actions of the brave, must never be forgotten.

I’m Baaack!

In case you missed me, I took a needed break. Upon discovering we never took an overseas trip in our 39 year marriage, my husband and I traveled (via the Rhine River) through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland on a Vikings longboat. It was amazing! The picture illustrates one of the small villages we encountered on the Middle Rhine. I would encourage you to take any of the Vikings tours. They arranged all air travel, transportation to and from the boat. The cost included all tipping, wine, beer and cocktails.

I’ll be “baack” tomorrow with a post of one incredible moment experienced at the Audie Murphy “one man stand” site in Germany. Tune in!

A LITNUS TEST FOR PROACTIVE TEACHERS AND SUPPORTIVE ADMINISTRATORS or WHY YOU SHOULD BUY MY BOOK!

The following blog is from the “cutting room floor” of my book. After sharing some reasons to run from teaching, my current purpose is to share insights so the reader learns from my mistakes. I couldn’t save my own job. Perhaps these ideas will save your’s. Find out more and purchase RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD! available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Teachers: What if you perceive no common ground regarding your teaching philosophy and your administrator? Do not believe if you stay long enough, you will “win him over.”

If you see a disconnect with your style of teaching and the interviewing committee, this is not the right job. Remember you are interviewing the administrator just as much as he is interviewing you. In one such interview, when it was my time to ask questions, my first question was, “What is the procedure of discipline for your students?” The answer: all of our kids are great kids so we don’t have a certain procedure. I did not accept the position.

Administrators: Principals’ main job description should be: how can I remove obstacles so my staff teach in an atmosphere of positive reinforcement and productivity?

Don’t use the words “I have your back” or “I always support my staff” unless you have a history of doing so. There is nothing worse than staff experiencing the small town atmosphere of their school only to discover the “mayor” makes campaign promises which he refuses to keep.

Administrators should avoid speaking to or asking a department chair to intervene with the “questionable actions” of a teacher. If admin doubts the conduct of a teacher, it is prudent he and the teacher have direct communication. Dropping by my office, the department chair expressed my principal’s disapproval regarding a previous meeting where I questioned the lack of budget for a new program. The passive, aggressive actions of the principal demonstrated “if you question me in a public meeting, I will silence you in a private office visit from your department chair.”

Administrators and Teachers: Principals and staff should avoid gossiping or hypothetical conversations. Whispering a true narrative does not pass the gossip test if the subject is not in the room to defend himself.

Enjoy a summer read which addresses these situations and provides solutions.

PROACTIVE CONVERSATIONS WITH ADMIN or WHY YOU SHOULD BUY MY BOOK!

As I edited my book, I realized 85,000 words were about 15,000 words too many! I needed to do some pruning. The following blogs are from the “cutting room floor” of my book. After sharing some reasons to run from teaching, my current purpose is to share insights so the reader learns from my mistakes. I couldn’t save my own job but perhaps these proposed conversations will save your’s. Find out more and purchase “RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD!”


Be proactive! Make sure your admin is on record with his response to parental complaints. Such collaborative conversations between teacher and admin could include but not be limited to:

1. What is the procedure when a parent contacts me to complain?
2. How do you want me to reply? Is the admin copied on the reply?
3. What if my reply is not enough?
4. What is the admin’s philosophy of dealing with parent complaints?
5. What criteria determines the teacher’s favor? the parent’s favor?
6. What if the parent is unreasonable?
7. How will the admin interact to insure that I am able to continue teaching without vitriol e-mails, personal confrontations or meetings behind my back?
8. Does the admin meet with parents without my knowledge?
9. Are parents’ negative comments placed in my file?
10.Do I have access to my file?

Enjoy a summer read which addresses these situations and provides solutions. Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child! is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.