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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reporter becomes teacher

I am not going to lie. It often wears on me being the bearer of bad news where education is concerned. Sifting through the shiny, happy cover talking about the warts.

Mary Maraghy is a former Times Union reporter who left to become a teacher and she wrote about it in a recent issue. The excitement she feels is literally dripping off the page. I wish her well and sincerely hope she can sustain it.

Here is where we come to the however. She wrote, “I thought we were crazy busy at the TU, then I became a teacher… teachers do the work of fifty people and never in forty hours.” That’s right because the typical teacher works far more than forty hours a week. Many leave their kids in extended day care and have to take breaks from writing lesson plans to tuck them into bed. Most teachers enter the field knowing they will have to do some lesson planning and grading on their own time and are okay with it. Unfortunately the paper work has become at best daunting to some and over whelming to others.

Later she wrote, “I’ve spent more than five hundred dollars making my classroom colorful and inviting…” That’s what teachers do; they routinely buy basic supplies that you think would be provided for their classrooms. They also buy supplies for their kids, things you think their parents would provide, items like notebooks, pencils and paper and unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Many teachers also often buy things you might not think about such as food and clothes for their kids. Teachers do so even though many are paycheck to paycheck.

I applaud her choices. I have been there and remember the excitement myself. At the same time I think it would be nice if teachers were given just the amount of work they were paid for and didn’t have to spend their own money on necessities. I don’t think that is unreasonable or too much to ask.

Teaching can be a great gig; unfortunately the teaching part has actually become just a small part of the job.

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