In praise of teachers

Last week I happened upon a group of teachers holding a protest (after school hours) in Poultney, encouraging the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union to resume negotiations with their teachers in advance of a possible strike.

Monday, Bill Toscano, our Granville (NY) reporter, came in with a story and photos on the Future Business Leaders of America club collecting items for the local food bank. It’s a happy story: The club went a little over its 2,200-item target. There was an adult in one of the photos, helping load boxes after schoImageol for the delivery. I asked whether that was the teacher-advisor. Bill said no, that was the teacher’s spouse, helping out. That’s him on the right in the picture … oh, and I believe that’s his trailer they’re using.

On Thursday, we went to Rutland Northwest Elementary School for “Superhero Saving” night, sponsored by the Heritage Family Federal Credit Union.Most of the teachers were there, after working hours, helping students play the learning games to teach them lessons about money. Northwest is Rutland’s “bad” school, for those of you keeping score, because it has a higher percentage of kids getting free and reduced lunch. With our oldest son moving onto the Intermediate School next year, we are making arrangements for our younger one to go to Northwest, even though it would be easier logistically to have him go to Northeast. Northwest’s faculty and staff are terrific.

My wife, who works “part-time” as a teacher (29 hours per week so as not to burden the school budget with benefits), spends at least two hours each night on marking and lesson planning. Most Fridays, which she doesn’t “work” because she’s “part-time,” she catches up on paperwork.

Yesterday, she got reimbursed for buying tickets for a school event for all her students on our credit card, per school district policy. We are paying the interest on that out of pocket, just FYI.

Vermont’s civil servants took cuts in helping the state get through the recession. So did teachers (and private sector employees, but that’s another matter). The state is eager to ensure the public sector employees are getting recompense for their lost wages, but they’re still banging the drum about education costs. There’s a disconnect here.

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