Letters to the Editor from March 23

March 23, 2007 12:00 am

Letter writers' arguments

ring as simple-minded

As a former teacher and a current parent of students in the Del Norte school system, I must respond to Bobby Rodriguez's letter (""Teachers being treated like they're new priesthood," March 21).

I agree that if you're looking for big bucks, perhaps teaching is not for you. And I must admit that compared to other places in California our teachers have it pretty good in many ways – our students are relatively respectful and well-behaved and don't have to submit to gun searches before they enter their school.

But the idea that teachers can just teach and do whatever they please while expecting reverence is simple-minded. Teachers are expected to teach a state-mandated curriculum over which they have less and less discretion while juggling more students and fewer resources. Other than parenting itself, in what profession is one person responsible for monitoring your child's education, health, eyesight, nutrition and social and psychological development? Teachers didn't ask for these extra responsibilities – these tasks are foisted upon them by the Feds, the state and (dare I say) parents who can't or won't take the time and effort to ensure the well-being of their own children.

Rodriguez is also right about teachers' days off – I know I really appreciated having summer vacations. But please don't be fooled by the idea of being finished at 3 p.m. Even the least dedicated teachers have to grade papers, write lessons plans and fill out endless paperwork. And don't forget the duties related to extra-curricular activities like coaching, yearbook advisers and all the other jobs that have fallen to teachers as staffing positions have disappeared during the last 20 years. Seldom do stipends actually make up for the personal time teachers spend providing these programs to our children. Compare the number of Teacher of the Year awards to the number of teacher hours spent, and you come up with very little thanks indeed.

Sure, a lot of people in America have difficult and thankless jobs. But I don't think it's unreasonable for teachers to ask for fair compensation when we trust our children to them every day with the expectation that after 12 years of school they won't emerge as ignorant as people who believe that our educators don't deserve more respect.

Carla Critz

Crescent City

Writer's justification for views is based on movies, TV shows

In regards to Bobby Rodriguez's letter, "Teachers being treated like they're new priesthood" (March 22), I have to hope to God that his/her letter was a bad joke by a school teacher intending to arouse sympathy from the public to support our local teachers in their quest to obtain a decent and fair wage for their services.

Any and all justification that Rodriguez used to denounce a teacher's role, purpose and goal in teaching our children was based on his perceived glorification of a television show or big-screen movie. Rodriguez needs to "Kill your TV" as the bumper sticker suggests. He/she needs to find the truth in fact, and not a venue intending to pocket millions of dollars displaying actors playing roles. That's called entertainment, and apparently he took the hook, line and sinker.

Unless Rodriguez has been in a classroom lately, he has no idea what our teachers are up against. As a substitute at various locals, from the juvenile hall to Del Norte High School, I have seen a handful of kids that are truly interested in learning, and a boatload that come from a background that Rodriguez obviously is acquainted with – the video age, where heroes are pompous actors, foul-mouth musicians and see-me, be-me athletes.

What a loathsome and disturbing attempt on Rodriguez's part to discredit a truly valued profession and high-quality person.

David O'Brien

Crescent City

Facts don't support writer's statements about teachers

I must respond to Booby Rodriguez's views concerning teachers ("Teachers being treated like they're new priesthood," March 22). Today's teacher no longer teaches just reading, writing and math. Today's teacher also teaches our children manners, such as "please" and "thank you," how to behave properly in social gatherings and sex education to name a few. Why are teachers teaching these things? It is because they aren't in some cases being taught at home.

I would challenge Rodriguez to walk onto any of the Del Norte school campuses at 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday and see just how many teachers actually leave their jobs at that time. I would guess he would find only 5 percent of teachers actually leave at that time. The other 95 percent stay working in their classrooms until 4 p.m. or later. I would also like him to drive by the same campuses on any given weekend and count how many teachers are there giving their "unpaid" time to their jobs.

Does Rodriguez really think that teachers leave their classrooms the day after school is out for summer vacation? No, indeed they do not. They will put in another 1-3 weeks of "unpaid" work to clean and put their classrooms in order. Then, in August, they are back in their rooms, 1-3 weeks before their actual "paid" days start, setting up their rooms for the upcoming year.

Teachers also are required to attend meetings after school and even on the weekends. They do not get "overtime" for those meetings either.

Today's teachers are the unsung heroes of our community. They are being underpaid and overworked. Teachers do deserve more pay. If Rodriguez doesn't think so, he should ask this one final question: How much would he pay for a better future for our country?

Pennye Quick

Crescent City

Writer doesn't have facts straight in critical letter

In response to Bobby Rodriguez's letter about teachers asking for a fair raise in their income ("Teachers being treated like they're new priesthood," March 22), he obviously has no idea about the jobs they do and salaries they need.

First, about long summer vacations: Most beginning teachers have a huge debt to be repaid, costing them thousands in order to get the degree they need to teach. Some have to get even extra college degrees in the summer to be trained for special classes.

Secondly, Rodriguez's statements, "a work day ends at 3 p.m.":Who do you suppose grades the papers turned in, plans and prepares lesson plans and papers for the next day's classes and cleans up and prepares the room for the next day? Most teachers work until 5 or 6 p.m. every day and many times on weekends. Coaches work not only on school days but after-school hours and on weekends when games are scheduled.

Finally, I was a teacher in California and never got "discounted mortgages and loans or tuition reimbursement."

So, obviously Rodriguez does not have his facts straight in criticizing teachers

Betty Timmev

Crescent City