Letter to the Editor: The Big Debacle - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Letter to the Editor: The Big Debacle

A never ending conversation continues to occur without resolution that has plagued, state government administrators and educators across, the United States! The big debacle is how to properly compensate public school teachers?

Working part time as a Human Resources Manager in this suppresses economy, has lead me to being a substitute teacher periodically for the last four years. This has given me time to analyze, examine and reflect on this subject matter of how to compensate teachers properly. As I accepted more assignments, I began to notice that some days, I would finish my day as a substitute teacher, drained of energy, frustrated and my vocal chords strained, and leaving lengthy notes to teachers.

Other times I left an assignment feeling great, with lessons completed and no behavior issues. Lucky for me, I can choose the environment in which I teach because I am a substitute teacher. Unfortunately, some teachers aren’t so fortunate. After two years of being a substitute teacher my thoughts of becoming an educator blurred.

However, I gained a new appreciation and respect for educators. For some educators it isn’t easy being a teacher, because they wear many hats that go outside the scope of being a teacher. A few educators hit it rich by getting a job in a school that allows them to teach, inspire excite the minds of the youth. This is only about forty percent of the educators. The other sixty percent have to prepare daily for combat.

I highly recommend compensating teachers based on the environment in which an educator teaches, often times teachers are subjected to teach in school districts that are not conducive or exhibit behaviors that promote healthy environments for learning that serves to benefit the students.

Therefore, since environments vary according to school district, educators’ compensation should also vary. A challenging environment can make the job of a teacher overwhelmingly frustrating and stressful. Various organizations provide a higher compensation to their employees for working in stressful or hazardous work environments. Why shouldn’t educators be compensated accordingly?

My definition of a healthy school environment, as it pertains to learning, is one that has these components: parent participation, a strong attendance rate, a supportive administration, proper student-teacher ratio, consisting of support staff if needed for the classroom.

Parent participation is important to the overall well-being of the child as well as the welfare of the school. Without parent participation rate of at least 50%, a disservice is being done not only to school but to the child. Foremost, it sends a message to your child, that education is a priority. Participation also includes responding to teacher’s emails, notes, and attending teacher and parent conferences.

Parents must review the student’s note book to verify they are doing school assignments on a regular basis. Parental volunteering reflects the presence of community; it also aids the teacher with additional support in the classroom when needed. Parents are also kept informed about instruction, the culture of the classroom and school. A strong PTA creates additional funding for school events such as book fairs, school trips, events such as “are you smarter than a fifth grader” where parents students and teachers come together to engage in learning activities after school hours

A school with at least an attendance rate of 85% will benefit students by ensuring they are attending school regularly to receive instruction. This will result in them being able to bridge the gaps in there learning with consistency .Furthermore; the student will be presence when new skills are taught. School attendance goals are usually around 94% for the school year.

This prevents students from falling behind and guarantees students are learning and receiving information at the same time as other students. Therefore, this will not hinder the teacher’s lesson plan or assessments, nor does the teacher have to take time out of the day to get the students caught up so that everyone is on the same page.

The success of a school depends heavily on the administration staff enforcing school policies and procedures, ensuring ongoing training to educators, and being supportive of the teachers. Teachers are faced with having the difficult discussions about a student’s behavior or learning abilities with parents.

There are not a large percentage of parents that will not allow the school to administer free testing nor will the parent seek private testing for their child. Therefore, the parent and school may rule out any mental or emotional disabilities. Parents will often gain a negative opinion of the teacher and accuse them of picking on their child. This is when the administrator staff needs to intervene in the situation.

Parents are often afraid that their child will be labeled; believing this will have a devastating effective on their child. This is where administrator can be most effective. When the administration acts as a liaison between the teacher and parent when necessary it shows the unity to the parent and reflects collaboration and support to the teacher.

It is imperative that teachers have a student ratio of 1 teacher per 25 kids, while the student ratio number is normally higher; if the class size is larger, additional support needs to be provided to ensure the success of all students. In a classroom, a teacher has to address many students needs, some with learning disabilities, motor skill issues or behavior concerns. A student with disabilities has the teacher performing several jobs at once, including teacher and educational assistant.

I consider these components necessary to a healthy educational environment that promotes stability and consistency that is conducive for learning and achieving. In most learning environments, teachers lack these fundamental components. These problems often lead to a very frustrating and stressful work environment for teachers, creating a host of other negative factors which may lead them to resign. It is evident that many teachers do work in hazard environments and should be paid accordingly!

 


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