Thursday, February 12, 2004

My first blog.....aaaaaaah. So refreshing. What follows is an email that I sent to the superintendent of Big School District yesterday. It sums up my righteous indignation and despair at the moment.

(don't worry. I'm sure happier blogs are to come)

Dear J.,

I want today back.

Unfortunately, time marches on, and I can't have it back. You
can't give it back to me, either. But you can listen to me, if you choose
to do so.

Today, I left the house before my baby woke up. I wanted to get a good
start to my day, which would be spent on Special Education paperwork and
meetings. I would always rather teach my students, but sometimes
we sped teachers get buried in late IEPs, and have to meet with teams
when there is no other time. Today was one of those days. It was busy,
somewhat hectic, and tiring, like most days. It was productive.

After school, I left to go to class. I have to take this class
because I have to get a Moderate Needs endorsement to my license, to keep
my job. This is after a Master's degree that took me 4 years, full-time.
My Master's degree is 72 credits. That's twice what most folks have
for their Master's degrees. After last semester, this semester, and
one more practicum this summer, I will have 88 graduate credit hours.
Someone who got a 30 hour Master's degree in anything, and got 58 more
credits in anything, is getting paid more than I am, while I languish at
the Master's level on the salary schedule. They move ahead, because
they chose a less rigorous program of study. I get penalized
financially for choosing to serve the students who need the most help. This is
what I was thinking about, while I was sitting in class, listening to
the same literacy instruction I heard a few years ago, but hey, the state
says I need the hours.

After that class, I walked through the frigid night to my car,
and drove home. I entered the house, took off my coat and shoes, and went
to the bedroom. There, in her crib, my baby was sleeping.

I attended a class that the state says I have to have, so I can have an
endorsement that I don't even want, for a job that doesn't reward me
equally with my peers. I have to suffer the indignity of being
paid less for a job that is the most difficult to staff, AND I have
to get more education on top of it, for nothing. Nothing! I don't get
paid, I don't get any more knowledge.

Worst of all, I didn't get to talk to my baby today. Not once.
Not one word. I touched her hair when I left the house, and I just
touched her hair when I came home. I got to look at her, like a precious,
fragile object in a museum. I got to wonder what she learned today,
what she discovered, what new things she can do. I got to wonder these
things, not see them.

I want these tears to stop rolling down my face. I want to be
able to withstand this torture for one more day, but frankly, I don't
know if it is possible. Day-to-day, I don't know if I can take it anymore.
I just keep getting up in the morning, somehow.

I want to get paid what I deserve. I realized at the beginning
of this year, when we got no pay raise (while others did get hefty
ones), that it would be up to me to make more money for my family, by
finding extra jobs, doing extra things. Taking this class is throwing money
away, not making it. I do not get compensated for it in any way. Every
day, it makes me more and more disgusted. I feel devalued, every single

I want you to really think about what I'm saying. I want you to
listen to the desperation in my voice. I want you to realize that I am
the only person "supporting" my family financially, at it is a stretch,
because I have to put money out for classes, still! I want you to
understand that I am not asking for a reply that says, "We in the administration
understand that you work very hard, and we appreciate your
efforts." I want a reply that tells me you have thought long and hard about
the implications for my family, because of my absence in order to
serve the children of others' families.

I want many things that I know I will not receive. I will not
receive more pay, because there is no more money left in the budget. I
will not be able to dry my tears, because I still have 12 weeks left of
the class I'm taking: 12 more Wednesdays of coming home to my precious
baby, asleep in her crib, not having seen her mama once that day. Not

I want today back!