Saturday, May 24, 2008

What teachers need: Teaching as a profession

Dallas Morning News - Editorial
Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gary Schepf, Irving ISD:

No matter how bad the day has been, just a little "thank you" from one of my students is all it takes to erase the "yuck" of the day. While higher pay would be nice, public respect and employee benefits would be better.

Carl Garner, Mesquite ISD:

Respect is what I need to keep me coming back. The Legislature shows a lack of respect for teachers as a whole with the incentive pay program. Teachers will always be underpaid, but being underappreciated is much more detrimental. I am blessed to work on a wonderful campus where we are a family of teachers who respect and collaborate. I would love more money because most teachers are worth it, but dangling the carrot of extra money for test scores is demeaning.

Diane Berry, McKinney ISD:

Teachers want to be treated like the professionals they are. This not only means to be paid well, but also to be given a voice in the processes that affect them. Teachers are not lazy. Grading papers, writing lesson plans, keeping up with current methodologies and their certifications require preparations that extend well beyond their normal workday. Many work close to 60- to 80-hour weeks, uncompensated! Teachers are only paid for the 188 days that they are assigned to teach. This payment is usually stretched out over 12 months, but, despite appearances, teachers are not getting paid to do nothing. If anything, there is no other profession that requires its professionals to do so much for free.

Susan Rollins Creighton, Lewisville ISD:

I completely concur with Diane Berry about the loss of respect given to the profession of teaching, and I point to administrations and school boards of Texas for not creating career paths for teachers the way they have for administrators. Teachers are the single most important element in a student's success in school, yet we are forever treated like the low man on the educational totem pole. Encourage us to get more education, help us pay for it, pay us according to our abilities and our students' successes, then respect our abilities and let us help those teachers who aren't as competent yet.

Osley Cook Jr., Dallas ISD:

• I want to be paid for the actual hours that I work. It is normal for fine arts teachers and coaches to work 14- to 16-hour days. There are even core teachers who give extra time to help with academics. The stipends that we get are just a drop in the bucket to the actual hours we put in.

• Treat me like a parent to more than 1,000 kids. Those are the numbers of children for whom I have had to buy shoes, shirts, baseball equipment, musical instruments, paper, pencils, bus passes and food. I want to be able to claim some of these children on my tax return. Some of them spend more time with me than they do with their own parents.

Kathy Brodaski, Richardson ISD:

I may not be performing open-heart surgery or creating new laws, but I am educating people who might do those things someday. I'm not a teacher because I'm not capable of doing something else, but because I chose to teach. It's hard work, it's frustrating, it's heart-breaking, it's extremely rewarding, but it's not for everyone. So please treat me like a professional.

Carey Carpenter, Alba-Golden ISD:

I continue to maintain that teachers do 12 months worth of work in nine months. By May, we're exhausted. My summer begins by getting rested. Then I sign up for classes targeted at teacher improvement. I spend countless hours planning ways to present my curriculum in an improved way the following year. I resent those who think we teach just so we can have a three-month holiday.

Sue Warriner, Lewisville ISD:

I'm not here for the pay. I left a high-paying job to teach, and it was the best thing I have ever done. However, right now the Texas Education Agency is rewriting the ELA TEKS (English/Language Arts state standards) and making a mess of it. They have not taken the teachers' viewpoints into consideration at all. Why is a bureaucrat telling me what to teach? The state needs to have respect for our professionalism and allow us to have a say in what is important to teach our students.

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