Friday, March 13, 2009

Five and a half days.

     Well, state budget cuts have hit home.  The principal called a surprise staff meeting after school on Wednesday to let us know what she had heard at her district meeting that morning.  Education actually fared pretty well all things considered, ending with only a 5.2% cut for next year.  Most of the cuts are going to be up to the decretion of the individual districts, but the Legislature specifically cut the $77.6 million slated for teacher training days.  That means teacher contracts have been cut from 188 days to 182.5 days, leaving me with a 2.9% pay cut. I'll still have the same 180 days with the students, they were adamant about not cutting that time down, and as of now we have been promised that class sizes will not increase.  That's good. 
     What it does mean is that the week we had before school to prepare for the new year is gone.  No one is sure exactly how it's going to pan out, but either I'll be expected to show up on the same first day as the students, prepared to start the new school year, or I'll be losing most of the time I used to get for grading at the end of each term. 
     Quite a few of the teachers were up in arms about these cuts, fearing that we were going to bear the brunt of these cuts and that administrators and district personnel wouldn't be made to feel the pinch at all.  Not that I trust the powers that be at all, but I figure I'll just wait and see before I go burning things down.  The principal, someone who I have worked with for 7 years now and trust completely, is pretty sure that administrators, custodians and office personnel will also lose those 5 1/2 days.
     In both his acceptance and inauguration  speeches President Obama said things were going to get worse before they get better, and that we'd all feel the pinch.  I just got pinched.  I don't like it, but I know people who have gotten smacked by the economy.  Every other department in the state got hit with 9% budget cuts.  People are losing their jobs.  I'll remember that on those days I'm not getting paid to set up my class and prepare for the new year. 
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Your Conscience said...

Your Conscience supposes this will continue. Teachers will be expected to work for free (which they probably do anyway with grading tests in their spare time and all)until they quit working. Some might apply term "efficiency" to the situation. When Your Conscience's hours were cut it did not get more efficient, rather our hero simply continued on in it's way and stopped at a more early hour. Fuck 'em...

It seems to leave you in a dilemma. Do you not prepare, as you're not being paid, or do you settle for sucking at your job (and, depending on your ideals, cheating the kids and contributing to the problem) and thinking it serves them right. How you answer that is clearly up to you. But if our apparent direction is any indication, this state, NAY, Your Conscience assumes the nation as a whole is suffering. We deserve it... Just yesterday Your Conscience was at a local merchant and watched a woman argue with the register jockey as to why she got three cents less in change. After all, it was $5.83 and she gave $6.00. Shouldn't she get twenty cents back? She could not grasp the idea of simple math. Seriously...

Your Conscience tends to calculate change in its head and compare it with the register's calculation. That appears to be a dwindling skill. Thankfully we know how that single mom from Sandy is doing on "American Idol"...

Hopefully you don't have any kids. One of the questions Your Conscience asks people is if they would like to be their kids when their kids are their age. It seems to Your Conscience to be a good assessment of a person's optimism. There was a time when one would answer the question saying they don't want to be their kids, rather they want to be their grandkids, the future possibilities seemed so endless. In all the people You Conscience has asked (maybe a half dozen or so) nobody, even those with kids, has responded with "yes".Nobody. It's quite telling...

As a whole, the U.S. seems to be heading toward a third world structure. We have gone from the largest importer of raw materials and the largest producer of finished goods to the opposite: importing finished goods and exporting raw materials. This is a third world strategy and people know it -- or at least they will in the near future...

A Paperback Writer said...

Yeah, we got a similar little talk on Friday. I pointed out that it was a pity we didn't get to choose which days we didn't work.... Quite frankly, I'd take off all parent-teacher conferences and the day before Christmas break.
There wasn't too much moaning and groaning about it for us. Quite frankly, we all figured it'd come to that. And no one was too surprised that our bonus money for this year was gone, too. In fact, when we started our projects last August, most of us figured we'd never get paid for them.
Heck, I already put in hours and hour more than I get paid for (due to academic team, mostly.) Not much difference.

My high school choir teacher, Anne Applegate (who was later a Utah State Teacher Of The Year), had a sign on the wall of her room that read:
We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now fully qualified to do anything with nothing.
I think it sums up teaching quite well.

jmpnmark said...

Well my hours weren't cut they have been extended. But when one works a salary position this is not a good thing.

Basic calculations have become a dwindling skill but it has both its pros and cons.

I actually got talked to last year at work about my going home 'early'. I come in about 6am and leave about 3 pm and don't take a lunch. I get talked to by a supervisor who would show up about 10 am with most of the crew and they once had to stay until 5:30, they of course didn't miss out on their hour and a half lunch.

To be truthful I don't know if this was a calculation problem on my bosses part or a lame attempt to divert attention away from the fact the work wasn't getting done.

On the other hand poor calculation skills can be a wonderful thing. I'll be in Mazatlan next week using my remaining week of vacation. I used my remaining vacation time last month but why point this out, I get an extra vacation out of it.