Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our teachers MAY be going on strike this week.

We've got one of those situation locally right now where the teacher's union and the school district can't come to an agreement. They've been negotiating since June of this year. I've been following along with a great bit of interest. Because not only do I have family members that teach, I have a family member on the school board as well.

It's been all over the news, and of course 90% of the people commenting are the ones that either don't have a child in the district or who are from the next town over. A large majority of the parents in our area know what's going on. And we inform those who don't.

There is a lot on the line, and the school board is only offering baby steps to compromise with teachers. These teachers took a pay freeze during the recession to help our district stay on budget. We now have a 39 million dollar surplus. I don't think asking for a pay raise, incrementally over a period of years to catch them up is out of the question. A fourth year teacher makes as much as a four year teacher. I think that needs to be fixed.

I normally don't pipe up about things that are personal in nature or close to home on here, but I think teachers are an invaluable resource. They are our real heroes, along with police, firefighters and first responders. I hate that athletes get multi-million dollar contracts and fame, while our teachers have to fight for a fair shake.

The salary isn't the only thing up for discussion here and it's not even the breaking point. The district fired several high school counselors, which the school are in desperate need of. Class sizes in science labs and tech labs exceed the equipment with. The district refuses to limit class sized and create more teaching periods for those classes.

The teachers also want the district to comply with STATE LAWS regarding having no more than 30% of a class with an IEP and to not exceed ISBE class sizes. This will in turn standardize the caseloads of special education teachers to meet the legal and deserved needs of everyone student.

As a parent, my take away is this.
Our teachers gave up pay, in order to help the district and keep their kids in classrooms. Now that the economy and our district is recovering, they'd like to see that sacrifice honored with a raise. The teachers want to cap class sizes to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. They are also trying to protect the classrooms of our most vulnerable students and afford their support staff the best opportunities to serve special needs students.

Yep. I'm down with all that. I'm down with all of that. I kind of hope they go on strike. Mind you, after a 4 day weekend, I'm screaming NOOOOO on the inside, but if the teachers get what they want in the end, I'll guess I'll suck it up and teach them for the duration for the strike.

And that's coming from someone who you could not pay enough to teach a whole classroom full of kids. That's a big NOPE. So teachers get huge props from me.

They get up every day, with plans. Tons of plans. And they teach our kids. They love our kids. They care about them. They care about the people they will be someday. That's a huge responsibility. Just as big as being a parent. Education can make or break you. There are children everyday, in our state that see more care and attention at school than they do at home. Teachers often spend their own money on supplies and paying for lunch for a student. Or buying and bringing pairs of gloves for the kids who won't have any. Now I know nobody is perfect and being a teacher doesn't elevate someone to sainthood. Except for some teachers, maybe it should.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

The five stages of grieving your microwave

The microwave works just fine. It must just be the defrost setting. I'll try it again. Hmmm. Still cold. Let's try to cook setting. I'll put this jar of water in there and wait for it to heat up. Hmmm. Even though everything else is scalding after two minutes, this jar and water are still cold. Let's go for a few more minutes. This water must be defective.

Why isn't this piece of crap microwave working?! It's not that old. It's a GE for god's sake. That's like the gold standard in appliances. This microwave is only 9 years old. WHY DON'T THEY MAKE THINGS THAT LAST ANYMORE. How on earth am I supposed to make corn dogs now?!

Bargaining: Pleeeeeaaaasssee work microwave. I'm so sorry I've not cleaned you like I should have. I'm so sorry I put a spoon in you on accident a couple months ago. If you promise to work again, I will clean you every week and will never ever burn popcorn in you again. Then literal bargaining. Going from store to store to price microwaves. Checking out prices online to see if I can get a deal. Going to the resale shop and salvation army.

Depression: Why are microwaves so expensive? This is 2014, why is a decent microwave AT LEAST $65? We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make a machine we can shove a good amount of food in and cook it in two minutes for under $50? Why couldn't this have happened before I bought those two Christmas gifts? Now I'm going to have to wait until I can budget a new microwave. We might go hungry.

Acceptance: We'll be OKAY. We won't go hungry. I'll just have to use the oven a bit more, and be a little more creative in my planning, prepping and cooking. After all, what did we do before microwaves? Plus I am kind of loving the extra counter space. If at the end of two weeks, I just CANNOT stand it, I'll go buy a new one.

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