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Teacher responds to letter

3/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor in the West Side Leader March 14, 2013, titled “Resident suggests firing striking union members,” referring to striking teachers.

There are several misconceptions that seem to be rampant about teachers’ work effort. First he says, “Do not pay teachers to sit around 12 weeks each summer with pay. …” Guess what? We don’t! Teachers are not paid in the summer unless they choose to have their nine months of pay distributed over 12 months. Some people can opt to have more pay per month, but then they receive no pay over the summer.

Secondly, teachers do not “… sit around 12 weeks each summer. …” I do not teach kindergarten through grade 12, but college level; however, I know that classroom curricula do not create themselves. I spend about a month preparing for every college class I teach, in advance of the course. I suspect kindergarten through grade 12 teachers spend the better part of their summer preparing for the next year. Teachers are preparing the courses/subjects without pay.

Thirdly, teachers work more than the school hours during the school year. Most evenings and weekends are spent working, again for no pay. When administrators or taxpayers speak of requiring teachers to work 40 hours per week, I say to myself, “Great! My work hours would be greatly reduced!”

Fourth misconception is that teachers even have “12 weeks off.” Kindergarten through grade 12 schools generally end after the first week of June; then teachers have to grade material, submit grades, as well as clean up their classrooms and files. So already we are at least partly into the second week of June, leaving less than three weeks in June. July has four-plus weeks, so we are up to seven weeks totally. August has three weeks before school starts, but about two weeks before teachers are required to be in the school, so the total is now nine weeks (and much of that nine weeks, as mentioned before, has been spent preparing for the next year).

My advice to those who are quick to judge others is: Walk a mile in their moccasins!

Kathryn Sasowsky, Bath

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