Nov 23

Leave with Your Students

School Busses

Attribution: Some rights reserved by Lisarawkt.

This is my 21st year teaching and today I did something that I’ve never done in my career; I left work with my students. Literally. I experienced what it’s like to wait behind the buses to pull out of the parking lot. This is huge for me. Twenty-one years and I’ve never left school with my students. Even on days that I have a doctor’s appointment or a dentist appointment or that I have phone calls to make or business to take care of I have always managed to schedule those after school giving myself enough time to make sure I’m ready for the next school day. I’m around after school everyday that I am working at least for half an hour to 45 minutes after the kids leave. [It must be said here that I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife who is available every single day to pick up our children and be at home with them, otherwise I’m not sure I would be able to stick around right after school every single day.]

Now you might be thinking, “what’s the big deal?” or “Why did you do that today?” Today is special because teachers of the Chimacum School District were able to negotiate furlough days in response to the 1.9% pay cut we took from the state. We had a half day, early release, today. Usually teachers stay at school and get work done that cannot be accomplished with students in our classes. We are able to meet with each other to collaborate, we can meet as a staff to deal with school-wide issues, we are also a small enough school that as middle school teachers we can meet with high school teachers to discuss subject area issues to coordinate what our students are learning. All great work but today all the teachers left school with our students. Here is our official comment for today (posted on many of our Facebook pages):

We would rather be teaching! Wednesday is the first furlough half day for Chimacum schools. Instead of spending time on collaboration, professional development, or planning lessons, teachers go home at the same time as the students. State cuts hurt student learning! Let your legislators know at the CEA Day of Action event on Monday, November 28.

Our state has been facing huge deficits and a large percentage of those deficits are being dealt with by taking money away from education. Huge cuts that affecting all facets of education. Monday, Nov 28, our day of action event includes showing the movie Mitchell 20 and wearing red for public ed. I’ve also been posting this online petition I found that speaks well to what is happening here in WA state urging our state government to fully fund education!

So this is what education has come to that teachers who would never rush out of school and end their day when their students leave are choosing to do just that to show their state government the harm that happens when education is cut. Would we rather be working? Absolutely. So why can’t we just stick around and work? The message it sends. That no matter how much they cut education teachers will shoulder the burden and work for free. Too many teachers do that and I for one am putting my foot down and saying enough is enough. I want to do my job and I want to do it well but I also want to advocate for my profession and our right to earn a decent wage.

So if you live in WA state join us on Monday, Nov 28, to watch Mitchell 20 at the Chimacum Tri-Area Community Center and wear red for public ed!

• Enjoy complimentary refreshments and good conversation!
• Take action and contact your legislators! We provide the postcards, you write your message, we’ll take care of postage and mailing.
• Nov. 28 is the first day of the legislative special session and the state Day of Action—Wear Red for Public Ed and join us in Chimacum!

Movie starts at 6:30, come at 6:00 for letter writing and snacks.

“A compelling look at teachers’ efforts”
-Seattle Times Movie Review

“The Mitchell 20 stakes out a position and sticks with it. The human drama on display here is compelling.” -Arizona Republic Film Review

Mitchell 20: A group of teachers deal with state budget cuts, school district issues, and even immigration problems while pursuing their own professional development through National Board Certification.

We at Chimacum care about our students and their families and we wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

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    • Anonymous on November 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Very well said! Go Chimacum Education Association and teachers of Washington state!

    • Pjsmith on November 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks, Al! See you at our day of action on Monday. Please join us!

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