The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

March 19, 2013

Our Readers Speak - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teachers work long hours, have ‘real jobs’

A letter printed in The Register-Herald recently accused “teachers’ unions” of wanting “the parents with real jobs to pay their fair share.” I fail to see a connection between teacher unions and fundraising efforts that have been around since I was in grade school. Secondly, as an educator, I can attest that teachers have “real jobs.”

The implication here is that the previous letter writer, like so many others in our region, doesn’t value the contributions that we make in the lives of young people.

I come to work each day and give my students my best. I come in early and stay late. During weekends and summer, I attend meetings and professional development so that I can better prepare myself for the next academic year. I spend money out of pocket to buy classroom materials.

Though the workday ends at 3:30, parents and students often contact me for assistance with homework after hours because I make sure that every parent and student knows how to contact me at home. I can honestly say that I do all of this work for far less compensation than one would expect.

It’s not just me, either. There are teachers in my building who get here at 5:30 a.m. There are others who are here until 7 p.m. We have tireless coaches and club sponsors who give up even more time to allow students to have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. We have dedicated music and arts teachers who work incredibly hard and sacrifice their free time to give students an artistic outlet that enriches their lives.

I can attest that the people whom I work with are among the most dedicated, hardest working people I’ve ever met. Education is truly a calling, and those of us who answer that calling have immensely difficult jobs.

Don’t belittle us by insinuating that we don’t have “real jobs,” and don’t forget that we dedicate ourselves to this job because we care about the education and welfare of the children we teach — your children.

As for fundraising, students providing a llama to a family “on the other side of the planet” are making a wonderful gesture, as there are still people engaged in subsistence agriculture in other parts of the world. What a wonderful way to teach children about helping those less fortunate than themselves!  If only we were all that selfless.

John McCormick

Athens

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