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Old 08-23-2011, 11:39 PM
 
354 posts, read 804,135 times
Reputation: 324

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LOVING my kiddos being in school these past two days!

Was surprised to find a letter in my daughter's backpack with an envelope attached with the words "due Friday" on it.

It was a letter from another teacher (and co-worker) announcing my daughter's teacher's birthday. It would be "VERY helpful" for me to send some cash to school so that this friend/teacher could buy the teacher (from the class) with the birthday a gift card to a nice restaurant to dine with "her husband and children" so that she will "know how much we appreciate her".

WHAT?! I just met her a couple days ago! Isn't Christmas, Valentine's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day and and end of school year gift enough? Apparently not.

There seems to be no end to their tactless begging. A couple years ago one of my daughter's teacher's alerted us to her Amazon page. Last year my other daughter's teacher not only sent out a "wish list" (she wanted a director's chair) highlighting favorite colors, stores, and restaurants, but things she DIDN'T like. "No coffee or hand lotion, please".

I don't know if this is done in other regions of the country--most of my friends have older kids. It DOES seem to get worse every year...

If I weren't worried it would come back to bite my kids (you gotta wonder) I would complain to the District. This has really gotten out of hand. And I hate when these 'room moms' get my kids to nag me for the gifts/cash. "Mommy, don't forget we're buying Mrs. So-and-So a pedicure before she goes on maternity leave! Nathan's mommy said they need the money RIGHT NOW!"

And if you're a teacher who thinks I'm an awful mom, too bad. You get paid, you have awesome health benefits, you have a pension plan, a union that will never fire you, you have ALL summer off, Christmas, Spring break, and most postal holidays off! Quit yer bellyachin'!

Tell me I'm not alone...

Last edited by Bo; 08-25-2011 at 07:05 AM.. Reason: Moved from the Austin forum.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:30 AM
 
515 posts, read 1,218,061 times
Reputation: 183
LOL, great post!

I've been homeschooling my youngest now for 5 years ( my oldest went all the way through public school and my youngest thrould 3rd grade). I've been complaining how much homeschooling is costing me this school year, but then I remember all of the things I use to have to pay for when they were in school and all of the fundraisers. I also remember the good old days when you just sent a gift to the teacher at the holidays and at the end of the school year. But when my kids were in school I was forever writing a check or putting cash in an envelope for something. I'll stop complaining about homeschool cost now.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:11 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
326 posts, read 674,106 times
Reputation: 178
When my kids were in schools, we were never asked or hinted to do anything like that. Never knew the public school teachers were allowed to send home notes collecting money for "non-school" related.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:43 AM
 
7 posts, read 17,799 times
Reputation: 56
I was a teacher. The school district gave us $28 per year for "supplies." That included everything - chalk, paper, pens, staples, dry erase markers . . . and photocopying. Of course, this money lasted about a week (for example, we had to make our own quizzes, tests and homework assignments - kids weren't allowed to take home books, nor were they given anything resembling a workbook.) After that, all supplies came out of our pocket.

Similarly, we had to provide food and snacks to many of the kids. Just buying lunches for hungry students cost me more than $100 every week - more than 20% of my paycheck. Most of the kids were eligible for free or reduced lunches, but many of their parents refused to (or couldn't) fill out the form necessary for this, and so buying lunch for the kids was the only way to keep them going through the day.

I watched kids cut each other with knives, walked into empty classrooms to find 11 and 12 year-old girls performing oral six on boys, was told that students could not be held after school for detention because this meant there would be no way for them to get home. I had kids who showed up only once or twice per semester, but they were not kicked out of school or disciplined - it wasn't allowed.

Despite being an English teacher, I was told that student scores were especially horrible in math, and therefore I had to teach math instead, at least for the next two months. The students then went from one math class to another - they had no English class. That said, most of these kids were functionally illiterate; a few didn't know the alphabet.

There was no one to complain to about any of this, it came down from the administrators at both the school and the district. nearly every teacher I met was an alcoholic from the stress. The burnout rate was unbelievable. There were other young and enthusiastic teachers there, but we did not renew our contracts at the end of the year. As far as I know, we all left teaching for good.

A majority of people who enter teaching will no longer be teachers after five years. It's a horrible job, and in most places - contrary to what the first person person wrote - it does not always offer especially good health care or pensions. At my school, teachers were regularly fired and the union didn't care. Teachers spent most of their free days grading papers, keeping up their required continuing education courses (on their own dime) and planning curriculum. Studies have shown that teachers work more hours throughout the year than nearly any other profession requiring a college degree. Their pay is among the worst for people with similar levels of education.

During the school year, I regularly worked 90 hours a week - I had to be at school at 6:30 am until 5:00 pm. That's 55 hours a week right there. I also coached (this wasn't legally a requirement, but you couldn't get away with not doing it) three days a week until 8 pm. That makes 64 hours. I can't remember ever *not* having at least a couple of hours of grading and preparation at night, and I normally put in 12 hours on the weekend, including school functions. We left a week after the students during the summer and came back two weeks before the students. Averaging it out, we still worked, what, 80 hours a week? I kept track of my hours, and after completing my year of teaching, I made roughly $7.21 per hour for every hour I worked. Subtract out-of-pocket expenses and I made far less than minimum wage - and I have an MA. This isn't as unusual as one might think.

Once, I e-mailed every student and parent about an upcoming parent-teacher conference. I called each parent twice. I sent notes home with the students. Other teachers did the same. The entire school (of about 700 students) received 10 total visits from parents. I had none myself.

Obviously, this was not one of the country's better school districts. But more than 20% of America's children live in federally-defined poverty and attend similar schools. (And the government's definition of poverty for a family of four today is around $22,000 in annual income - this is far below what poverty really means in much of the country. Where I taught, the cheapest one bedroom apartments ran around $700 a month, not including utilities. A family of four might easily pay 60% of their total income to live in something just an inch above squalor.)

Yeah, I think the whole grabby teacher thing is a bit sad. But the job, for most teachers, is horribly underpaid and insecure. I know many people (including myself, now that I'm relatively wealthy) who live in places with stellar, high-paid teachers. They are the exceptions to the rule, and even they tend to be making much less in constant dollars than their peers were just a decade ago. And you really don't have any idea what teaching costs them out-of-pocket.

Teaching has never been a great job, really. But what many parents don't realize is it's now more poorly-paid than ever, rarely appreciated and for many teachers, a roulette wheel of nerves each year when they're laid-off and can only hope that they may be extended another one-year contract come July or August.

Here's a link about a couple of great Austin teachers, and what they went through:

The devastating layoffs that shook our lives - Pinched: Tales from an Economic Downturn - Salon.com

The good news is that after attempting to sell their house and find new jobs, both were rehired, luckily, although at a more than $8000 loss teaching the same number of students. Many others weren't so lucky.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
302 posts, read 586,118 times
Reputation: 164
Wow, what school does your child go to?

Our school teachers ask for help for supplies. Specially wipes for cleaning the room, because lets face it, kids get sick a lot. I don't want my child getting sick, so I help with a lot of wipes

But for gifts? For a "director's chair"? Are you kidding me?? That's just blatantly inappropriate. Probably unethical as well. I would speak with the Principal and see what his/her take is on it.

This is basically what it comes down to: "Give me what I want! Remember, I grade your child! His future is in my incredibly greedy hands!!!"

@Aswyth: I undersand a teacher's job isn't easy. Neither is the job of most folk nowadays. That still doesn't excuse greedy borderline blackmail-like behavior by these teachers.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:14 AM
 
2,596 posts, read 4,828,729 times
Reputation: 3964
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemonlime22 View Post
And if you're a teacher who thinks I'm an awful mom, too bad. You get paid, you have awesome health benefits, you have a pension plan, a union that will never fire you, you have ALL summer off, Christmas, Spring break, and most postal holidays off! Quit yer bellyachin'!
First off, for the specific incident you cited, I would be SHOCKED if this wasn't expressly forbidden employee conduct (this is assuming we're talking public school. If it's private, all bets are off--that's a totally different culture.) I find that sort of thing completely inappropriate, especially on the second day of school, and I would notify the principal. Do it anonymously if you like.

As for your last paragraph? It sounds like one of those cases of "Blah blah is so easy... until you try it yourself." Ironically, that's often said about parenting too... everyone has a lot of opinions about how they could do it so much better and how you're incompetently raising a neanderthal when your kid pitches a fit in the grocery store, until they actually get their hands dirty and try it themselves. So maybe it's time you got off your high horse and *gasp* volunteered in a classroom. Oh, what? Too busy? Sure...

It's also clear you're either not really from Austin or are woefully misinformed from your gossipy friends. Unions are strong in other states. Here, they have little influence--certainly NO influence on who is hired or fired. There's no tenure here. Teachers can and do get fired. Perhaps you had your head under the dryer at the beauty parlor and simply missed watching a single news broadcast or reading a single newspaper article for the past year? Are you aware of how many teachers got laid off in the Austin area and across the state last year?
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:16 AM
 
1,132 posts, read 2,223,796 times
Reputation: 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemonlime22 View Post
LOVING my kiddos being in school these past two days!

Was surprised to find a letter in my daughter's backpack with an envelope attached with the words "due Friday" on it.

It was a letter from another teacher (and co-worker) announcing my daughter's teacher's birthday. It would be "VERY helpful" for me to send some cash to school so that this friend/teacher could buy the teacher (from the class) with the birthday a gift card to a nice restaurant to dine with "her husband and children" so that she will "know how much we appreciate her".

WHAT?! I just met her a couple days ago! Isn't Christmas, Valentine's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day and and end of school year gift enough? Apparently not.

There seems to be no end to their tactless begging. A couple years ago one of my daughter's teacher's alerted us to her Amazon page. Last year my other daughter's teacher not only sent out a "wish list" (she wanted a director's chair) highlighting favorite colors, stores, and restaurants, but things she DIDN'T like. "No coffee or hand lotion, please".

I don't know if this is done in other regions of the country--most of my friends have older kids. It DOES seem to get worse every year...

If I weren't worried it would come back to bite my kids (you gotta wonder) I would complain to the District. This has really gotten out of hand. And I hate when these 'room moms' get my kids to nag me for the gifts/cash. "Mommy, don't forget we're buying Mrs. So-and-So a pedicure before she goes on maternity leave! Nathan's mommy said they need the money RIGHT NOW!"

And if you're a teacher who thinks I'm an awful mom, too bad. You get paid, you have awesome health benefits, you have a pension plan, a union that will never fire you, you have ALL summer off, Christmas, Spring break, and most postal holidays off! Quit yer bellyachin'!

Tell me I'm not alone...
This is crazy and I would think highly unethical, but outside of this situation I think you have greatly over-romanticized teaching. I remember almost 20 years ago when my teachers had to buy our supplies but now they have to cover way more than they ever did. I think we should all pitch in more where we can for necessities, and I don't necessarily disagree with an occasional personal gift, but an Amazon list and dinner out after only knowing her for a week is insane. I'd much rather show up with a basket of most wanted supplies for the room.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX!!!!
3,765 posts, read 7,889,892 times
Reputation: 1756
When my son was in public school, the room mothers were always asking for a handout for gifts, but not other teachers as far as I know. Nevertheless, I NEVER gave into those funds, it did not affect my son's grades one bit. If we were so moved, we'd present a small individual gift of our choosing at Christmas.

As far as the teachers having to provide supplies, every school he's gone too, we've had to pony up supplies for the classroom at the beginning of the year. In addition to scissors, crayons, pencils, etc, we've had to bring in paper towels, kleenex, boxes of ziploc bags, antibacterial wipes, etc. I am not sure where you taught Aswyth, but this was the case for us in AISD and the Seattle school district.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Folsom, CA
491 posts, read 1,467,910 times
Reputation: 240
I can sympathize with the plight of the teachers but the "helicopter room moms" are a recent and, in my opinion, unnecessary accretion. Direct communication with the teachers rather than through surrogates is better.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:42 AM
 
354 posts, read 804,135 times
Reputation: 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by h886 View Post
First off, for the specific incident you cited, I would be SHOCKED if this wasn't expressly forbidden employee conduct (this is assuming we're talking public school. If it's private, all bets are off--that's a totally different culture.) I find that sort of thing completely inappropriate, especially on the second day of school, and I would notify the principal. Do it anonymously if you like.

As for your last paragraph? It sounds like one of those cases of "Blah blah is so easy... until you try it yourself." Ironically, that's often said about parenting too... everyone has a lot of opinions about how they could do it so much better and how you're incompetently raising a neanderthal when your kid pitches a fit in the grocery store, until they actually get their hands dirty and try it themselves. So maybe it's time you got off your high horse and *gasp* volunteered in a classroom. Oh, what? Too busy? Sure...
Probably won't be volunteering--I have 2 part-time jobs (was working last night until 11:30). Strange how elementary school teachers in the 70s didn't rely on mother-slave labor. They did the job they were paid to do. I don't consider "help with die cutting" imperative to my kids education. I'm sure their job is harder than I can imagine. So what? Most people work harder than I can imagine.


It's also clear you're either not really from Austin or are woefully misinformed from your gossipy friends. Unions are strong in other states. Here, they have little influence--certainly NO influence on who is hired or fired. There's no tenure here. Teachers can and do get fired. Perhaps you had your head under the dryer at the beauty parlor and simply missed watching a single news broadcast or reading a single newspaper article for the past year? Are you aware of how many teachers got laid off in the Austin area and across the state last year?
Head under dryer? LOL. I DO have plenty of laundry, though. My kids actually attend school in Hays county, not in Austin. Is it really that different in Travis county? And I think the teachers union must have more influence than I would like, or else I could get vouchers, and CHOOSE where my kids go to school.
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