Letters To The Editor
I am writing in response to the Charles Rogers column, “View From The Middle” ( Canarsie Cou-rier, 9/29/05 ) regarding the tactics used by the United Federation of Teachers. While I agree that the threat by the UFT to endorse Fernando Ferrer seems somewhat childish and perhaps even laughable (Rogers’ word), it isn’t extortion. After all, the union has the legal right to bargain and negotiate on behalf of its members. To be honest, I can’t imagine life as a teacher without the UFT.
My biggest beef, however, is on the issue of the number of hours and days put in by teachers. It is a fact that the official working hours for a New York City teacher averages to be about seven hours or a little less, but it is also a fact that teachers spend countless hours working before and after school. Note that some teachers arrive on the job at 7:00 a.m. or earlier to plan and prepare lessons, conference with parents, and grade student work.
There are others who stay for several hours after school for similar reasons, sometimes leaving the building at 7 or 8:00 p.m. But most people are not aware of that. One or two prep periods a day does not give us enough time to prepare lessons and materials. It takes time to write all that stuff on chart paper and post teacher-made information charts in-side and outside the classroom.
Have you ever seen a teacher walking home empty handed? We take work home on a daily basis. What about holidays and weekends? Did you know that many teachers don’t spend their days off on a beach in Bermuda, Barbados, or the Bahamas? Instead, we are playing catch up.
There is always planning and grading that can’t be done during instruction time. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. But only teachers, our spouses and our children truly know the time we put into our job. I assure you it is a lot more than 181 days.
Finally, you’re right, Mr. Rogers, the teachers don’t have a pretty good union, we have a great union! Thank God for the ‘vociferous’ (Rogers’ adjective) Randi Weingarten.