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 | 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.

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