Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I want to tell you about my Husband

Warning - I'm about to get all political, which I don't usually do. But politics is hitting too close to home for me to keep quiet about this anymore.


There are any number of things happening in the world that make me want to crawl back under the covers and pretend the world isn't turning outside...the earthquake, the tsunami, the nuclear problem (all happening in a place I once called home, which, well, see my previous post); the new war in Libya (look, we've spent eleventy-gazillion dollars fighting wars in the middle east, only one of which (Afghanistan) did we have any business whatsoever getting involved in.)

I'm very seriously thinking of becoming a Quaker. That might seem like a non-sequitor. It's not.

But the thing that is making me the most upset, because it is affecting me most personally, is the idea that seems to have sprung suddenly, and out of no where, that public school teachers are Public Enemy Number One.

I don't usually get political on this blog, but this isn't politics to me. You talk smack about public school teachers, you are talking smack about a man I happen to be very much in love with.

So today, I want to tell you about my Husband.

My husband gets up at 5:45 every morning, so that he can be at school by 7:00 AM. If he doesn't have a meeting, he leaves school at 3:00 PM. If he has a meeting, he might not leave until 3:45PM.

He has 22 minutes for lunch. 22 MINUTES. It takes him 3 minutes to walk to teacher's lounge, so, really, he has 16 minutes.

My husband gets home in time to meet our kids as they get off the bus at 4:00 PM, and he helps them with their homework.

After dinner, my husband grades papers. He teaches English and Science, and between the two, there are many, many nights and weekend afternoons and early mornings where he grades papers for three hours. Many of these papers, based on the indecipherable handwriting I have personally observed, appear to have been written by a right handed lemur writing with his left hand, possibly with his left hand encased in a cast.

During the summer, he is required to use his own money to pursue a Master's Degree. If he doesn't work towards a Master's Degree, (and after his M.A. he will have to pursue continuing education) - his teaching certification will not be renewed. During his other free time, when he isn't grading papers or working on continuing education, he must put together lesson plans and curriculum plans. (Because the district he works in doesn't have a curriculum director.)

So, let's see, 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM is 8 hours...plus 2 to 3 hours per night, let's say 10.5 hours per day. And probably six hours per weekend. So, let's say, conservatively, that he works 10 hours per day on the 187 days per year he is contracted to work - that's 1870 hours. Then let's say, also conservatively, that he works 6 hours per weekend, approximately 30 weekends per year. That's another 180 hours. And let's not forget the hours he must put in during the summer, on his own dime, towards his Master's Degree, and putting together lesson plans and curriculum, so, again let's say, conservatively, 10 hours per week during the 10 weeks he has "off" in the summer. That's another 100 hours. Add those up? 2150 HOURS. Guess who has a FULL TIME JOB? MY HUSBAND. Full time and then some. SO PLEASE - stop screaming that teachers don't have full time jobs. It makes my head want to explode.

My husband's job is teach 16-17 year olds enough chemistry and physics and geology that they have a working knowledge of these things. It's also his job, as an English teacher, to teach them how write in an intelligible way.

Special education has been phased out in his district, so, among his students are several severely learning disabled students, and also some who don't speak English as their first language.

He has some students who has to remind, over and over and over again, to stop hurting themselves in the middle of class, and to not eat the chemicals that are part of the labs.

In spite of these challenges, my Husband is GOOD at what he does. He is a good teacher. He is good at helping children understand difficult concepts. If you ask him what part he loves about being a teacher, he will tell you it is the time when his door is closed and his class is full and he is teaching his kids. If you ask him why he became a teacher, well, that's a very personal story, and it's not mine to tell. But I can tell you that his reasons were compelling. He might have gone to medical school, or he might have become an engineer, but he chose to become a teacher because that's what he cared about.

He is not a miracle worker.

He is not a social worker or a psychiatrist but he is expected to act in these capacities as well.

The fact that his union has asked for him to be paid a living wage and for him to receive health insurance (for which we DO pay a portion) - is not him "fighting for things he doesn't deserve". (Thank you very much (NOT!), FOX contributor Tracy Byrnes, you horrible, wretched two-faced, abominable, low down shameful talking head, for that ridiculous assessment of what teachers are concerned about.) (In case you missed it, you can see Jon Stewart's piece here.)

My husband is not the enemy. My husband is teaching children how to understand chemistry.

Please - get off his back and let him do his job.



Blogger Lisa said...

Yes! Well said!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger ~Kristen said...

From one teacher to one who loves one.... THANK YOU!!!

I don't know if you have followed my blog long enough to read my very same words... but they are here:


And I too am tired of defending my profession. It's a terrible place to be (when you are afraid to say your a teacher) these days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Degree At Home

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 5:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said! I think where ever you go teachers are undervalued and underappreciated.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 7:09:00 AM  
Blogger mam said...

I'm sorry you had to write this, so sorry. I don't get it either. But I do have to ask this: is it just the awful media on the attack, or are "real" people actually anti-teacher too? Out here, at least, it feels like it's a pervasive (and horrifying and disgusting) message on national cable tv, but I don't know any actual people who would actually spout it off in real life. Maybe that's just the people I hang out with, I guess.

Anyway, I don't think you could possibly pay me enough money to do the work your husband does. Good teachers are awesome. Thank you to him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't get the animosity towards teachers. There are so many things wrong with education in this country & instead of tackling the real issues (poverty, heavy reliance on testing, etc), teachers have become the whipping post. It makes me very angry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger kitkat3979 said...

I think I live in the same state as you and I'm also a public employee (not a teacher, but my sister is) and let me tell you, it's not just the media. According to commenters, I'm lazy and overpaid and, oh yeah, did you know we public employees don't have to pay income tax??????

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger Coley said...

I'm right there with him. :-(

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spent some time defending teachers lately (oh, the irony, right?). The good teachers, the teachers like your husband, earn every penny they make and should earn more. Unfortunately, for every teacher like your husband that I've known or worked with, I've known 10 or 20 who half-assed their way through their day, day after day after day. I've known English teachers who wouldn't assign papers because they didn't want to grade them. I've known teachers who didn't bother doing lesson plans and just winged it from one day to the next, one moment to the next. And then there is the one who quit Hamlet half way through because, "the kids weren't getting it any way." Ummm, and that would be their fault? No. And the other one who was functionally illiterate and was supposed to be teacing kids with learning disabilities how to read. Anyway, all this to say I am so on the fence about this issue (though, as I said, I have been defending teachers, specifically on the whole work hours issue). Like I said, the good teachers don't deserve to take a hit. But the rest of them? Well, in *my* experience anyway, there aren't many who could have been doctors or engineers. But there are many who don't earn what they make.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Michal said...

Thank you!!!
Teachers are not the enemy. Not even the lazy, unispired ones.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger mrslilypond said...

I agree, teachers do not deserve to be the whipping post, they aren't the enemy and I think the majority deserve the money they get and many deserve more than they are paid. My favorite teacher in high school had a part time job to help make ends meet. I just wish it was easier to get rid of the ones that absolutely suck.

Tell your husband Thank You for doing a tough job.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger JenandAsh said...

My husband is an 8th grade social studies teacher in NY. He gets up at 5:30-6 every morning. Teaches from 7:30-2:30, has meetings and helping students after school (and Science Olympiad). He usually leaves the school before 3:30 but sometimes as late as 4.

He then picks up our 2 yr old from daycare and is home by 5 or 5:30. He spends time with his family until 8 or 8:30 and then grades papers or does lesson plans until midnight.

He honestly loves teaching and history. He is engaged and creative with the kids and makes them part of the process.

We just had another daughter 9 weeks ago.

And last week we learned he was being laid off for the 2011-2012 school year because of budgets cuts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 9:58:00 PM  
Blogger teahouse said...

Amen, sister. In Asia where my parents are from, I have an uncle who's a kindergarten teacher and who put 4 kids through college, had a nice middle class life and whose wife never worked. That would never happen in this country. Not until we start paying teachers well, demanding good quality across the board, recognizing the really good ones and sending the message to our kids that being a teacher is a respectable profession on par with being a lawyer or an engineer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Lola Granola said...

And my mom, once upon a time. You said it. I love teachers, and where we are is tragic. Now, politicians? Even though my dad has been one of those, I'm sorry, that's another story.

Saturday, May 07, 2011 9:17:00 PM  
Blogger deb said...

Thank you.

Friday, June 03, 2011 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Anthony Frost said...

I'm with you on that one.

cerebral palsy in babies

Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:43:00 PM  

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