Summer is over. Teachers' attention and energy are turned to preparing for school. They will purchase classroom items, office supplies and curriculum enrichmentmaterials out of their own pockets. They have taken workshops and graduate classes to update or improve their skills, mostly at their cost.
They try to meet the expectations of the government, the administration and the parents. However, the government passes unfunded regulations; administrators make demands, but do not provide support; and parents request special treatment for their children. All this is to be done with a class of 25 or more students including mainstreamed, special-needs students. The new trend is to expect the teacher to use the internet to create her own materials. Budget cuts had to be made, so there is little likelihood of a teacher aide.
The teacher's day is NOT what is listed on the school schedule. They are up early preparing. They stay late to get things in order for the next day. They spend evenings, weekends and holidays grading papers, preparing lessons, and doing grade cards.
Teachers want a good start to the school year. They want their rooms ready and their curricula in order. They want a positive and optimistic attitude when they greet their students. Most of all they want to be respected for their education and their efforts by students, parents andadministrators.
No teacher wants to go on strike. Yet, invariably, each school year there are districts that have not been able to settle contracts. Too often, there is an "us against them" attitude between the school boards and the teacher associations. What is truly needed is open, honest and fair contract negotiations held frequently until a realistic settlement can be reached. A school board that has not settled a contract with teachers and is not negotiating at this time of year does not have the best interest of thechildren in mind.