Supporting teachers and staff

If this were 1978 can you imagine the kids' graffiti?**
Every day I see these signs.... and the Italian-mother-guilt-trip extends itself from the grave and I feel like crap. Mamma-Gloria was a teacher - Spanish, Italian, English and she even covered a French teacher's maternity leave. She HATED PTA Moms who requested teachers and pushed for their kids to get into special programs. "If they don't see my kid is gifted then there is something wrong with the program." According to my Mom teachers knew best.

Yet, she always gave a gift to the teachers at Christmastime (sometimes wine!) and made sure we had what we needed to succeed, but didn't run booths at the Blacktop Carnival. She said she'd spent enough time at school (she quit when she was pregnant with me).

My Dad had a different approach - he came and talked to our classes about Science. At 86 he still teaches a course at his local hospital. A couple of years ago he went into N's 4th grade class and talked about living in London during World War II. Parents still comment that their kid found it very interesting.

I'm very involved, but I'm selective in what I do, picking activities that (I feel) support academics. I focus on the libraries, or when the kids were smaller, helping in the classroom.

If teachers/staff don't get that parents who offer their time to the school are supporting them, what can we do?

Yesterday I was driving up Country Club and passed five signs. I came home wondering if my kids' teachers know that *I* support them? Do they misunderstand this blog (like they misunderstood what I stood for as a BOE candidate)? Do they misunderstand what I say or what I mean when I speak out?

So I asked myself - how can I show my support without putting up this sign? (Which I think supports union propaganda, and education). I did one thing.

I hope that it makes a difference. If every parent did something similar (I wrote thank you notes) to remind teachers that they care, would the signs come down? I feel like they are breeding hostility in an already-volatile atmosphere. A misguided guilt-trip.  Can't teachers picket the Wade building instead of their own schools, where kids are pretty much the audience? Or maybe the Municipal building so that our Mayor - who is a teacher - sees their discontent?

I care and I want to show teachers I care. My kids care too, but they don't need to see this. Keep the kids out of the negotiations! "Kids first"? Kids are getting the (subliminal) message first - teachers don't want to be there.

I want them to have excellent working conditions because it reflects on the students. But I also want them to appreciate what they have - a supportive community of families who picked Bridgewater because of the schools. I want teachers who WANT to teach my kids, because teaching is special work. I'm not saying do it unpaid! Or even at an unfair wage - I'm saying that teaching kids isn't like other professions. You have to like children and want to be there, or else you will suck at your job. For years I worked as an administrative assistant. I didn't like the work but I performed well at my job anyway. Teaching isn't like that!

So a few teachers who made a difference in my kids' lives got a thank you. (Not current teachers, it isn't right to do that while they are still grading my kids). Over the years they've had plenty of other kinds of "thank yous". I hope they remember them now....

I support our teachers and our staff... in my own way.

** Image from Dick Bergeron's blog http://blogs.mycentraljersey.com/bridgewater/2012/01/07/signs-of-discontent-with-an-unsatisfactory-process/ Accessed Jan 10, 2012.

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