When I make a trip to Tuttles Orchard, it means I have to bake! This is a cranberry apple crisp I made with my delicious bounty of apples.
Although this one looks slightly different, this is also a cranberry apple crisp I made.
Why make two that are different sizes?
Because this year I gave all of my juniors and seniors a reading challenge. Every year there are 25 YA books on the Eliot Rosewater Award nominee list. Every year I read them all and this year I told any student who also finished the list that I would bake for them. If they finish half of the list, they get a smaller version of the treat.
Well, it’s only November and one of my students rose to my challenge. So she gets her very own cranberry apple crisp. I was out of disposable pans, so I moved it into a disposable plastic container to take to her tomorrow.
For anyone who doubts the dedication of teachers, I would like to say I am not an anomaly. Not every teacher is also a baker, but they are all doing things like this to encourage and challenge kids. Kids are not just a paycheck for us. Nor are they data points on standardized test reports. They are people we care about and go way beyond the extra mile for.
I write this not because I want praise or awards myself, but because I hope people who are not teachers will take just a minute to think about all the extras teachers around the country are doing right now to help kids learn and grow. We are not just in it for the money (we’d be fools if we were). We are invested in our students. And if you are also invested in those students, you should be invested in us too.
Tuesday, November 19th is Red for Ed Action Day at the Indiana Statehouse. Many of your children’s teachers might not be at school that day. But it’s not because we just want a bigger paycheck. It’s not because we don’t think our presence in the classroom is important on that day. It’s not because we are lazy and want a day off. It’s not because we don’t care about your children.
It’s because we care so much. All the things that you want for your kids, we want too. We want our schools to be fully funded. And that doesn’t mean putting that money into our pockets. It means putting it into or schools so that we can fix some of the major shortfalls we are facing. Want to know more about them? Check out this infographic from the Indiana State Teachers Association. My guess is that you’ll be amazed at how bad it has gotten in Indiana.
And just because I know that some people will want to say, “you knew what you were getting into when you were hired,” I will tell you that no, I didn’t. I was hired 22 years ago, when experience and level of education still factored into our pay scale. I was hired in when Indiana still provided good health care benefits and competitive salaries for our teachers. I was hired in when every year I got at least a cost of living raise for doing my job well. That has not been true in my district since about 2008.
And for those who want to bemoan the fact that teachers get paid even though we get summers off, you need to understand some basic economics. We do not, in fact, get paid for taking the summers off. Our contracts run from the start of school (in my case late July) until the end of school (in my case late May). I have a 10 month contract. My pay is for those 10 months that I work. However, my district (and most) require that our pay be spread out over 12 months. So they are actually withholding our pay from us for two months, not paying us for not working. And I have worked for districts that have not done this. I got a partial paycheck in August and a partial check in June (this school was in session for at least the first week in June), but no check at all in July.
And, after 22 years and a master’s degree, I still have to work additional jobs. Not only am I a Magical Vacation Planner, but I also work for the College Board as an AP Reader. I do these in part because I love them and in part because the small bits of supplemental income help my family. I have two children of my own who are in upper elementary and middle school. One needs braces. One is autistic and needs behavioral therapy. They will both eventually want to drive and go to college and I haven’t even gotten a cost of living raise in about a decade (that does not mean I haven’t gotten any raise, but that my salary has not increased enough to be considered a cost of living raise).