I never took a class in college that told me a large part of teaching was advocacy. Most teachers spend their time focused on lesson planning and relationships with students, we feel politics should be left to others. I have found politics have impacted education and it is time to make sure our students’ voices are heard. Over the years I have witnessed the lost of elective classes, funding for supplies, class sizes increase and no longer having a media specialist to support my students reading need. All of this has been a result of policies enacted by state and federal legislators.
While education is a much talked about issue during campaigns very few politicians follow through on promises to educators. The tide seems to be turning slightly in Michigan where our new governor, has been steadfast in holding education as a high priority in the budget, while also creating a educational advisory panel of teachers from around the state. These big steps can only be maintained by persistent educational advocacy from teachers.
Teachers know what is going on in the classrooms. Teachers are trained in assessing and meeting our students’ needs. Teachers are busy with all that they do, but advocacy matters, when we show up our voices are heard. Today I wrote my senators and representative in support of Success in the Middle Act of 2019 to ensure that all students in the middle grades are taught an academically rigorous curriculum with effective supports. I urge other educators to do the same.
For the same reason many educators in Michigan have and will march in #RedForEd Rallies in Lansing. The next march is Tuesday June 25. Teachers have to keep the pressure on legislative bodies to fund their priorities in education.
Keep speaking out and sharing your voice on behalf of our students!
My previous advocacy post: Be A Lorax for Education
It is the first week of summer break for most Michigan teachers. While on twitter a well meaning teacher friend posted the message above, signaling to all teaching friends to enjoy the well deserved summer break. Teachers have to be careful of sharing this type of message on social media. It gives the misperception that teachers don’t work the same amount of time that “other” employed adults work.
Teachers need breaks to rejuvenate and grow professionally. The same educator who posted this message spent yesterday in Lansing lobbying for adequate funding for schools, which could not be done during normal school hours. (#RedforEd Rally) The really message educators need to share is that it is summer and NOW teachers can finally act like all other employed adults. We can go to the doctor or dentists without taking the day off. We can get to the markets before all the fresh produce is picked over, during the day. We can go out to eat and do so taking our time, instead of normal rushed thirty minute lunch while multi-tasking.
The thing is teacher spend most of their day working. Not just the 8-3 time that students are in the classrooms. Teachers have to plan the lessons, grade papers, attend meeting and stay current.
Constantly looking to improve teachers work hard like all other professionals. In fact best estimates are that teachers work 2,200 hours per year . So to put that in perspective if an employee works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year it comes to 2,000 hours per year. Nobody calls Doctors, Dentists or Lawyers part timers but most of them have office hours less than 40 hours per week. Actors and professional athletes spend far less time on their stage than educators again they aren’t part of the narrative of being part time or working less than a year. So why does society hang this narrative on educators?
It might be because we impact those around us. Parents are impacted when schools are out for breaks, now they have to figure out their children’s schedule and who will watch them during their working hours. This impact and teachers public “joy” of a break (which is valid and needed), gives rise to the “part-time” teacher position.
It is time for society to recognize that teachers put in MORE than enough time for their pay! As an educator I am going to share ALL the work I do during my summer “off” to give evidence that my district is getting every penny worth of my salary!
I previously wrote: 7 hour workday and summers off.. 4 years ago with similar sentiments.