Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

UNIONS: Teachers benefit when inequities addressed

Letter by Katherine D. Finnigan, Tacoma on May 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm with 5 Comments »
May 12, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: “Unfair shots taken against labor” (letter, 5-11).

As a veteran teacher with 30 years experience, I agree with the letter writer, a local union official.

I have been teaching long enough to have worked a full day with no planning period, and the only bathroom break was at lunch. You were expected to perform duties during your lunch. You were expected to perform several extracurricular activities beyond the teaching day without pay, such as chaperoning school events.

I would leave home at 6:45 a.m., teach all day, attend the football game, chaperone the dance afterwards, stay and count money, and arrive back home around 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

For years, elementary teachers had no guaranteed planning period. Elementary teachers have a minimum of seven preparations and as many as 12.

Because the union teams have worked together with the administrative teams in school districts, many inequities have been addressed – only because of the union influence.

Not all school districts have a seniority clause. Fast forward 10 years from now for any new, young, effective teacher. He will have to make some choices: Do I mentor students after school? Or do I pick my child up from day care and spend time with him? Or do I follow doctor’s orders and exercise?

These highly effective young teachers mature, develop lives of their own and continue to be effective teachers. Those teachers are out there right now working in the trenches, and I have had the privilege of knowing and working with many of them.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Should the citizens be forced into subservience to public employees unions? That’s the power structure as it is now.

  2. Parkland says:

    Another example of public union whining. Do clowns like this honestly think that they’re the only ones who ever put in long days? It’s like this chick types this junk and thinks, “wow, now everyone will know how tough I have it!”

    Hate to break it to ya, darlin, but if I walked into Seahawks mini-camp and said, “man, I just jogged around the block, try that on for size, ya wienie!” I’d be laughed out of town. It’s sort of like how real people view whiny letter like yours.

  3. geeterpontiac says:

    That is all well and good Finnigan, but the real issue here is the poor quality of the product coming out the schoolhouse door.

    I can appreciate the long hours and hard work, but public education simply isn’t getting the job done.

    So, since the public pays the bills including teachers’ salaries, we have a valid reason to express our disgust.

    What is better for teachers doesn’t seem to benefit the students.

    Results would be rewarded.

    Students requiring remedial reading to simply function at an institute of higher education demonstrate the job isn’t being done.

  4. If only the parents of those students who cannot read well enough to function in an institute of higher learning had paid enough attention to their child’s education along the way, geeterpontiac, there would be no need for those remedial reading classes.

    At every turn the parents are notified of their child’s progress, or lack of progress. What did they do about it?

    What is a teacher supposed to do with students who refuse to participate, beyond notifying the parents?

    With proper parental involvement, students would have no choice but to excel.

  5. geeterpontiac says:

    “What is a teacher supposed to do with students who refuse to participate, beyond notifying the parents? ”

    No disagreement on the role of parents, but public education seems interested in undercutting their authority to handle their children. Of course, public education can’t handle the children in their own classrooms, so I guess fair is fair.

    Having relatives in higher education who review and approve admissions to some colleges in the area has opened my eyes.

    How about a honors student out of the district who couldn’t read well enough to understand the textbook. Blue chipper for sure.

    Someone gave this student “A”s and it wasn’t the parent. :)

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0