Volunteer at a school, see

for yourself what teachers do

I just read the letter comparing teachers to the andquot;new priesthoodandquot; (andquot;Teachers being treated like they're new priesthood,andquot; March 23). If that were truly the case, the teachers would have a home and transportation provided, utilities paid and a stipend to spend. They also would not have families to be concerned about. I cannot make the connection.

Several years ago I retired, and since my wife was still working I decided to do some volunteer work. I thought about the veterans, the library or schools. By chance I ended up tutoring with a third-grade class in Coalinga. This happy coincidence brought an eye-opening change in my life. My previous experience with the educational system was limited to raising five kids and having a teacher sister-in-law who I often kidded about having two months off in the summer. I have since apologized to her for my phenomenal ignorance.

All the teachers I have worked with over the years, in Coalinga, Smith River, Susanville and Crescent City have been dedicated individuals who strive to educate our children despite significant obstacles. They must have administrative and community support, and then they are still fighting an up hill battle. Due to increased regulations, they are required to complete more paperwork, attend more meetings and document more required curriculum which reduces teaching time. A consistent issue is budgetary constraints. Without exception, every teacher I have worked with, has felt compelled to buy supplies for their students with their own money. They also provide money for meals whenever they know a child doesn't have it. They buy incentive prizes for their students and sometimes pay for children to go on class outings.

In my experience, I have never seen a teachers day end by 3 o'clock. That would certainly be the exception. Generally, there are kids who need extra time, meetings to attend and always papers to grade. More often than not those papers are taken home and graded in the evenings or on weekends at the expense of their own families.

It seems convoluted and obscene to quibble over paying a living wage to those entrusted with educating our future citizens and leaders. This is especially true in light of the outrageous sums paid to our athletes and other entertainment figures who weren't required to spend five years obtaining a teaching credential and who will have little or no lasting impact on our society.

For those of you who have the time and patience, spend some volunteer time at your local schools. It will give you a new perspective and the schools can use your help.

Jesse Borrego

Crescent City