The Greatest Gift of All

Have you ever noticed that when someone complains about teachers – they typically do so using perfect grammar and phraseology – their critical thoughts the result of reading, observation, and comprehension – then cogently organized and written with well-constructed sentences and proper punctuation, so that the message coveys the critics ire while provoking an emotional response?

Somewhere, a dedicated classroom teacher taught them how to do that.

It’s sort of like griping about the farmer with a mouthful of food. 

Many years ago, I trained and earned the FAA Certificated Flight Instructor rating – essentially a federally administered teaching certificate. 

One of the requirements was a test detailing one’s knowledge of the principles and process of learning, barriers to the transfer of information, teaching methods, planning instructional activities, and techniques for critiquing and evaluating students.

It gave me a very brief peek at the preparation of an educator.

It was an incredibly difficult process – as it should be. 

There are few roles in our society that are more important than the development of impressionable young minds – imparting the fundamentals of reading, writing, and mathematics – and exposing students to the arts and sciences, fostering a love of exploration and examination, leading to a quest for lifelong learning based upon a solid foundation.

The influence of classroom teachers goes far beyond imparting understanding and awareness – they help shape and ready the leaders of tomorrow – and they literally change lives in the process.

The transfer of knowledge is the greatest gift of all.    

Historically, our classroom teachers have been horribly underpaid and overburdened – forced to go into their own pockets for instructional aids, paper, and pencils – then subjected to harsh internal and external criticism, exposed to maltreatment and physical abuse by out-of-control students, and saddled with additional responsibilities and bureaucratic meddling that has resulted in a growing recruitment and retention crisis in Volusia County and beyond.

For what seems like an eternity, Volusia United Educators – under the leadership of the intrepid Elizabeth Albert – have fought hard for a sliver of the pie, demanding a living wage for classroom teachers and support staff, while watching an unrestrained administration spend precious public funds like a drunken sailor, under the “supervision” of a feckless elected body who often seem paralyzed by political fear, misdirection, and ignorance. 

Fortunately, it appears VUE has reached a tentative agreement.

According to a press release issued by Volusia County District Schools on Friday:

  • The minimum teacher salary will be increased to $44,335.00
  • All teachers will receive a minimum of a 2.5% salary increase
  • Eligible teachers will receive longevity bonus in addition to the salary increase based on the previous MOU which will be included in the January 29, 2021 paycheck
  • Salary increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2020

The agreement is expected to be ratified by teachers in January, before going to the Volusia County School Board and Florida Department of Education early next year.  

According to the release by the District’s Community “Disinformation” Services, “This agreement honors the original contract language agreed upon on April 4, 2019 and reflects a commitment to making salaries a budget priority.”

That’s complete “BS” (hey, it’s Christmas, y’all – I am trying my damnedest to be “merry and bright”) because if history has proven anything, it is that a living wage for teachers, paraprofessionals and staff will never be a “budget priority” for a bloated bureaucracy that now exists solely to serve itself.

Congratulations to Volusia County teachers – and the negotiating team at Volusia United Educators – for standing in solidarity and fighting hard for a competitive compensation and benefits package at a time when teachers are being asked to risk their lives to mold and educate our next generation of thinkers. 

Well deserved – and a step in the right direction.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Photo Credit: Volusia United Educators

5 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift of All

  1. Thanks for the shout out to teachers! I work with a lot of good ones! Things have changed a lot since I first started teaching. It reminds me of the boiling frog…
    When you’re a student, good teaching looks effortless. However, when you’re a teacher, on the other side of the desk, you realize the amount of time and effort your teachers put into their lessons. Thank you Mr. Whitaker and Mrs. Woodward- you made it look effortless.

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  2. You are so right about teachers – they deserve more than the increase mentioned, but at least it’s a start in the right direction. In all of my years in school, I loved most of my teachers and they taught me so much – only 2 stand out who were horrid and that is because they didn’t belong in the job – my 2nd grade teacher (a spinster who looked like the Wicked Witch of the West – no joke!) Ms. Drizga and my 12th grade history teacher Ms. Ahern – she had it in for everyone except the teacher’s pet in each of her classes – it was just so wrong. But, as for the rest, they were wonderful. My 2 children who grew up here, in the Volusia County School system had awesome teachers, too – but they certainly didn’t get paid enough & never had enough time on their hands with the numbers of students in their classrooms so a bunch of us always volunteered (time, assistance, materials, money, whatever we were able) and no one shows appreciation like a teacher! Poor teachers – my heart has always gone out to them. Merry Christmas to all and thank you, as always, for bringing attention to this important matter!

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  3. Oh please, enough with teachers and their unions. Greed, they want, want , want. Take, take, take.
    Volusia c or less rated school system. The school system teachers work 185 days a year, have every holiday off know to man. Every Summer off. And they still complain. Totally unethical.

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    1. Mark I am retired and have lived in Ormond 4 years.Since I never had kids I paid school taxes all my adult life.When you go on any real estate site like Zillow it rates the schools where you are looking to move and the neighborhood.When I was an employer and you gave me 1 to 3 out of 10 like Daytona schools I had no union.YOU WERE FIRED.Ormond High school kids go to Mainland rated a 3. Remember the course for football players that never existed and the ex principal makes a nice pension.Time to stop the crying and do your job.We know what trash you teach .We know how many graduate and go to college and we know who should be in a trade school and not college at least you dont work in Wendys the rest of your life.On Long Island most teachers retire with over $100 K a year plus administrators who get up to $300K and move to a country club in Palm Beach and buy a new Mercedes.Been there and moved.I praise businesses who teach trades like electricians ,plumbers and A/C people.After their initial training they work more hours than teachers but dont cry about money and live a nice life.Have to laugh at last week when kids online wanted snow days.Mark have a happy holiday and sorry about the jerks in Daytona who cant make a path to a beach.

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  4. Teachers are definitely underpaid and under appreciated. At $44,355 for 10 months that’s $4433/month, $1108/week, $221/day divided by 18 kids in a class is $12 per child per day. Based on a 6 hour day this teacher is paid $2/hour for your child and expected to educate future leaders of the country. My granddaughter earns a lots more than that babysitting and just needs to keep a child safe for a few hours.

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