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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Work to the contract and not a minute more.

Up till recently, the entire education system depended on teachers giving millions of unpaid hours, sacrificing their time with friends and family, and what little money they have to make sure things keep moving. Now it still requires all that, but now it also wants teachers to risk their and their families' health, and it is way past time teachers said no. The system will never change unless teachers give it a reason to do so.

If teachers aren’t going to be treated with respect and compensated appropriately, if our safety is not assured, then from now on, the system should just get an honest day’s work and nothing more. Then we can rush home with white knuckles so that we can decontaminate ourselves.

Some teachers and families and lots of elected officials might be thinking teachers can’t do that, that their students desperately need all the extra that they do, well friends, teachers need to survive. They need to get home to their families, and if that means not doing all the extra things they would normally do, and for free, then GOOD!!!

In a good year, not working to the contract was a bad thing. The system before the pandemic had no incentive to change. It churned and burned through teachers, and we see how little society has appreciated all the effort teachers did. They appreciated them so much that they now require many of them to risk their lives on top of all the other things they would do.  

For the last couple of years’ teachers all over the nation tired of being blamed for society’s ills and both paid and treated like second class, citizens rose up in protest and demanded more pay and better working conditions, and they won too. 

Then when we in a weekend we switched to distance learning, we suddenly became heroes, well friends that acclaim was short-lived because now we are expected to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of the economy.  It is our responsibility to save society, and it is just to bad we aren't paid like professionals.

 Teachers, by their nature, are givers, and I am here to let you know that in years past, their altruism allowed the system to run roughshod over them, and now it may cost them their health and more. 

It might sound counter-intuitive, but teachers need to be selfish, not to teach their children or society a lesson, but because it is past time the system changed, that and because that may help you get home healthy and safe.

The truth is this teachers and education did not have a good relationship before they decided we had to risk our lives, and now an already bad situation is made even worse. 

Teachers have now become nurses, social workers, disciplinarian, and truant officers because administrations won’t get involved until you try multiple interventions or attempts. Then we are paper-pushers, and boy oh boy, do we push paper. When I started teaching twenty years ago, my lesson plan was a little box on a calendar, now it’s a two paged, eight font monstrosity, and then there is the data I am required to take on every student, in every class, every day. Data that, for the most part, sits there helping no one. Teachers today often have fewer and fewer resources and more and more demands and responsibilities. These demands also often take away from the number one thing we are supposed to do, teach. Now let's add wear a mask and hope for the best to the list.

In short, in good years, teachers were given way too much to do and not nearly enough time and resources to do it, all while their actual pay because of the rising costs of benefits and inflation is decreasing.  That was in good years. GOOD YEARS!!!

Somewhere along the way, things changed. Teachers went from revered members of the community too; you're lazy and selfish if you don't think schools should solve all the ills of society, and you care about your and your family's health. How dare you, what about the children?   

We need to stop working for free, especially now that we could literally get sick and die for doing so. If enough teachers did that, then this alone would send a big enough signal that things need to change.

So, teachers do you and your students a favor, work to the contract, and not one minute more. The future of education, the teaching profession, and your health may depend upon it. 


  1. DCPS is more worried about bending over backwards to please parents than they're concerned about the health of teachers. They tell teachers to take it or leave it and if they choose the latter then it's don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya.

  2. I wish this would work. I sit here on Labor Day writing lesson plans because I won't have time in school again this week.