Thursday, March 3, 2011
This morning as I drove into work I had the rare opportunity to listen to NPR. I used to listen to NPR all the time, but since my husband and I have been commuting together, we don't usually listen to the radio. We enjoy talking with each other or enjoy the companionable silence. Today I had to stay through for an open house in the evening, so we took both cars to work. They were doing a piece on the current budget crises in public schools. This morning featured Providence, Rhode Island, and Detroit, Michigan. Providence has terminated all of their teachers, and Detroit is looking an numerous things including closing half of their schools. It made me sad and grateful. I'm sad at how this is going to impact those dedicated, talented teachers who love their jobs and their kids and are fighting an up-hill battle to begin with. I'm sad at how this is going to impact the kids, especially those who are already struggling and are on the path to dropping out, even at an early age. I almost drove off the road when the journalist reported that Detroit had talked about increasing class size to 60 kids. I wanted to cry for the teachers who had to even hear that they might be faced with that.
So many times I get into a grass is greener on the other side attitude. I get frustrated with the struggle for money that my little private school is constantly in the middle of. I get frustrated with not having the budget for new books or technology. Hearing the news story this morning made me grateful for what I have. I know that as tight as things are, right now they are not going to be letting the entire staff go, so that they don't have to pay the ones who have been there the longest more, or tell me that my class is going to grow to an unmanageable size where I won't be able to get to know my kids, let alone give them the individual attention they need.
I am grateful that I can laugh with my kids when they make jokes while working on their social studies projects. I am grateful that they come to me and ask to rewrite a paper that they got a low grade on, and that they know I can and will take the time with them to help them improve their writing.
This is a tough calling we teachers answer, and it seems like it just keeps getting tougher. So tonight my prayers are with those teachers and students in Providence and Detroit, and towns and cities everywhere that are facing difficult, even scary situations.