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