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Letter: In Pembroke, lack of support for teachers

I am so sad that our Pembroke teachers’ contract did not get passed and by the lack of support from voters. There were only a handful of residents there.

One resident had the nerve to get up and say, “I am tired of hearing that this is about the kids; teachers should do the job because they love it.” That is why I do it. That is why I buy all my own supplies, spend countless hours at home researching and lesson planning, spend nights up worried about the children I am responsible for.

The fact is, as much as I love my job, I have a master’s degree and this is my career. I have one of the biggest responsibilities in this country, while this country makes it almost impossible to do so efficiently and I get paid less than people who pick up trash for a living (which I have tremendous amounts of respect for. Every job holds a purpose). To top it all off, as a teacher I am the first one blamed when students do not do well on some stupid standardized test.

I moved to the town I teach in because I am proud of the schools and so proud of the professionals I work with who work their tails off to provide every student in this town with not only an education, but with love, respect and kindness. This is not a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job. This is a 365 days a year, seven days a week job. I love my job, I love my students and I love this town.

It is always about the kids. I just need enough money to support my family, just like everyone else.

BRIDGET LEE

Pembroke

(The writer is a teacher at the Pembroke Village School and a graduate of Pembroke Academy.)

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "the average annual salary of a garbage collector was $34,420 as of May 2011, and garbage collectors earned an average hourly wage of $16.55 per hour. Half of all garbage collectors reported annual earnings of between $23,820 and $42,680, with a median reported salary of $32,280. The lowest-paid 10 percent of garbage collectors earned $18,560 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent reported annual earnings of $55,510 or more." From the State of NH Department of Education: "Pembroke teacher salaries have 14 steps and run between $32,623 for a beginning teacher with a BA to $62,331 for a MA +16 years experience" For 9 months worth of work, not too bad. 5-6 weeks vacation, able to work elsewhere for three months, out by 4PM. I think that garbage collectors work harder. PS-they are "sanitary engineers".

Don't forget that those so called 8 months of work also include many hours outside of school prepairing lessons, grading, mentoring, tutoring, extra curricular activites after school in support of their students, paying for supplies for their students, the workshops, the unpaid summer meetings in preparation for the new school year. Most teachers don't put in a 7:40am to 2:50 PM shift. Most don't leave the school until 2-3 hours after the last academic class is finished for the day. walk a mile in any teacher's shoes and you just might gain a new perspective on just how they "only put in 9 months" of work.

My father, born in 1916, attended a one room school - one teacher, 40 kids, 8 grades, just one room with books, a blackboard, desks, and a woodstove, plus an out house. Younger pupils could learn from hearing what was being taught to the older pupils in the room. Pupils were not always grouped by age. Pupils were frequently grouped so that fast learners could help other pupils learn at their own pace. In today's schools the kids are passed through the grades based on their age and not based on their ability to learn at their own pace. Some kids become bored because they are able to learn at a pace that is far beyond their age. Others become bored because they are lost in a system that demands that they learn at an average pace based on their age. Some can fall behind and never catch up because of problems or lack of resources at home. Boredom results in behavior problems. At one point, back in the 1970s, I knew of several cases where pupils in grades 5 - 8 couldn't even read the very first sentence in the first chapter of their math book. I still wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to establish supervised multi-age classrooms or study halls within the schools for the purpose of encouraging bored kids from both ends of the spectrum of learning ability to help each other release their boredom and behavior issues by working together to advance the process of learning, so that less children are left behind. The one-room school concept worked well for my father. I have his report cards now - there is no grade on them lower than an A, which I think is what it still takes on a transcript to work at companies like GE.

I knew at some point it would be Bush's fault. There will always be a reason why the kids are not learning it seems. Yet nobody seems to know how to fix the problemo. When are the teachers going to come front and center and tell everybody why they cannot teach in their classrooms? Are there too many coded kids? Are there too many dead beat beat parents? Obviously there is a reason why kid's are failing or reasons. Till we address those nothing will change.

Yes it all comes back to Bush. God forbid that he wanted to measure results, progressives can't stand that. Now, I stubbed my toe today and I blamed Bush. I sneezed and I blamed Bush. Imagine what progressives do.

You just might want to read my post again. The point was that this failed act which goes to the heart of what your complaining about with teachers was put forth with a Republican controlled House, Senate, and Republican president. I was not blaming Bush Jr. I was putting the blame squarely on the Republicans. That act pretty well ties the hands of educators when it comes to how things get to be taught in class. Basically in a nutshell it requires all students in the class to perform equally. The act makes no distinction between a learning disabled, a handicapped, or normal student. If the results of the class do not show "improvement", the school system gets penalized even to the point of the teacher being let go. Now with this in mind do you really wonder why it seems the curriculum has been "dummed down?"

I thought there were sub groups in NCLB based on disabilities, poverty levels etc. Am I wrong on that? I also believe our education system has been in decline for many years.

There are no subgroups. There are IEP's that let the teacher know what type of disablity the student has so the teacher can adjust his or her lesson so that that student can can be able to grasp the same information being taught. The results must be the same through all the same class level. That is all students must show the same progress with grades. The act does not differentiate between economic class, disabilities, or handicap. So some teachers end up doing the students work in class, and most just teach the "test" otherwise they are considered failures and are terminated from their positions.

Those people here who complain that the teachers put out a real lousy product, needs to familiarize themselves with the failed and unfunded No Child Left Behind Act signed and backed by Bush Jr. Before you complain you first must understand that this lousy law is the main reason you feel the terachers put out a lousy product. But wait..it is a republican idea so it must be good so the teachers are at fault! Ha!

Proficiency in education should be based on a curriculum that emphasizes American exceptionalism, non-revisionist history, personal merit, performance, interest, and achievement...none of those thoughts even exist in a liberal democrat union teachers mind and they control 100% of the educational system....that is the root cause of their complete failure

You just may want to check that statement sail and go to NH Frameworks and NH educational standards 600 series. they are quite enlightening. These were put into place courtesy of the NCLB act

Well, No Child Left Behind holds teachers ACCOUNTABLE and measures their performance. That alone is enough to be happy it was passed.

It is great to hold teachers acountable however, to expect a student with learning disabilities perform equally as well as a student without leaves alot to be desired. In other words, a student who has trouble understanding what they are reading due to a handicap has to perform as well as a student without the handicap in the SAME amount of time or the teacher is considered a failure and is terminated after a period of time. Now does that seem right? That is the end result of the NCLB

If I may add, maybe it comes for the continued refrain from school boards, " we have to spend more money to reform the school system." That seems to be the battle cry from education when jobs don't exist. Fact is, we have been shouting that battle cry now for over 40 years. And what happens is a continual lowering of the American school children performances as compared to the rest of the world. School districts bloated with nepotism.

Could the disappointing performance of America's students have anything to do with what goes on outside the school? In other words, do the parents in the more successful nations spends more time or put more emphasis on learning/studying? I don't know. Just asking...

Very True Gen X. When I was a kid teachers were respected. My parents told me that school was a job and that I was expected to sit there and listen and obey the teacher. Not so anymore. In those days parenting was important. Your kid had an issue, most parents saw it as a reflection on their parenting and would make sure the issue was addressed. They would be embarassed to hear their kid was missbehaving or did not do their work at school. Today we have parents who feel that the school needs to cover all the bases for them. Feed their kids, give them tutors, aides, shrinks, physical therapists etc. Or they threaten to sue. We also have obesity problems. Very rare in my time did you see a kid with a weight issue. For me, kids are eating junk food, are less active and it is affecting them mentally. You do get a sugar high, but then you get a low, so now kids are depressed at age 7. Nobody seems to look at diets and inactivity, parent involvement, or anything. Just drug the kids. My guess is that is why we are seeing so many angry young men these days. Do those drugs affect them? Makes you wonder.

How blasphemous of you Gen_X_er . . . making perfect sense like that! The anti-education teachers know full well that it's the folks who spend about 35-40 hours a week with our nations youth that deserve ALL of the blame for what's wrong . . . not the parents who spend the other 128-133 hours(well, they theoretically spend that much time) with them.

There seems to be this undercurrent of hostility or lack of respect channeled towards teachers the last few years. I'm not sure where this is coming from. I don't remember it growing up in the 80s. I'm not a teacher nor do I have any friends or family who are. But when I was in my 20s I had a roommate who was a high school teacher. His job was a lot tougher than I thought before I met him. He was in school by 6AM getting his lessons prepared and came home to correct tests and homework every afternoon. He worked part-time during the summer to earn extra money. Actually, my cousin was going to be a teacher until halfway through the licensing process he discovered he could make more money as a carpenter--which is what he does now. Anyway, what am I missing? Why the hostility?

NOT SURE WHERE IT'S COMING FROM?!?!?!? You could start by looking here . . . granitegrok.com Or you could look to Talk Radio, FOX news, the Tea Party, the Free-State project, Libertarians . . . That should keep you busy for awhile . . .

My guess HD i that it is coming from folks experiences with teachers, the push to get rid of testing in schools and unions asking for more money. That is my guess.

fact say that the teachers are putting out a real lousy product and the people paying for it are sick and tired of the whiny teachers screaming for more money to fix it.

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