Here's the problem. There is no dignity in teaching anymore. Okay...okay, well, I know. I see you wagging your tail. Dignity is highly over-rated, right? Like not having to go out and beg the taxpayer to actually pay for the meat and potatoes (And I heartily consider music and art an essential part of the main course!) as opposed to the a la carte items at school?
It's budget time again...and I know you know that, because this year, for the first time in all my teaching years (no, I'm not telling you how many!), students know about it. They're talking about it, in fact they've even spoken to the principal about it. What?! Do they not have parent/spokespeople/advocates?
And now, we're asked to jump into the ring. It's drama all over again. I know the times are hard. I do get that. I have friends and family whose jobs are tenuously tipping in the wrong direction. But I've also seen a few get jobs recently, and that gives me a little hope. But the thing that is bugging me at this very moment is the distraction of it all. I would just like to teach...and count on the fact that others have the best academic interests of our kids at heart.
There's talk of two PE teachers being cut, a music teacher, an art teacher and my dear friend, the librarian's assistant losing her job. Well, let me tell you a little pinky swear secret story about her, Spot. She's really a living, breathing librarian herself...but on the cheap! The taxpayers got her for a steal, and they don't even know or care.
Today, I went into the library with Rhonda the Resistant (reader, that is). It was my lunchtime, but I was determined to get this kid into a just-right book. So...I catch the eye of my friend, aka Librarian-on-the-Cheap, and she and I double team that Rhonda. After looking at rounds and rounds of books and giving her all kinds of suggestions, Rhonda finally found a book to take home on this snowy, early dismissal day. So tonight? Rhonda is doing the one thing that will really add up to success in her life...she's home reading her just-right book. And my good friend's probably sitting at home too. But you know what, Spot? If someone that valuable loses her job? Everybody loses.
There is no dignity and it's not pretty when a teacher goes "to the mattresses" for the things that matter most in schools. But times have changed, and I guess that image of dignity has got to go along with it all. I will go to the mattress if I have to here. So watch out, Spot. And say hi to Delilah for me. And don't forget to behave. Beware: I may not have my dignity, but I still do have those eyes in the back of my head! ;)