Many thoughts have almost bubbled up into a post here this past week, but there has been a lot of competition for my time, mainly setting up my classroom for the new school year. I've put in well over a week so far on my own time. Tomorrow I HAVE to report, and it will be a day I'm finally paid for. Classroom teachers reading this are nodding their heads, uh-huh.
In the meantime...
There was recently an amazing story reported by Doug Noon about an elementary school in Alaska that turned down state bonuses for staff members because their kids had made great academic gains. The story was reported here.
There were some interesting comments left on Doug's post, including one from Melissa, in Oregon, which cited an article where the sentiment, especially in the comments, was clearly of the mind that teachers have got it made.
Which brings me to something that has been bugging me no end - that those of us in the classroom are truly helpless in the public eye. I'm talking about people commenting anonymously on blogs and other online publications having free reign to take potshots. Consider this post and following comments. The public has a field day saying whatever... The one employee who engaged in the conversation and was not anonymous is no longer employed by the school district. Would I have liked to say something there? Of course - but at what price?
My school recently had a particularly nasty incident with our school's Wikipedia entry. Somebody altered the entry with several libelous, judgemental, unsubstantiated statements. After I fixed the damage (immediately), how did we deal with it? On our own, in-house. Would it have been nice - maybe even appropriate - to be backed up by our employer? Of course.
What is my point in this ramble, exactly? I guess it's that teachers at schools are really out there on our own in this medium. You gotta watch what you say. And you are at the mercy of a potential multitude of folks who are ready to say anything, with nothing to lose, anonymously.
To all the teachers like Mary, at that school that went through the very difficult discussion about the ethics of accepting money because of the achievement of their students, I say thank you. Thanks for the uncomfortable time you are spending in the public eye. You came up with a decision that had to be incredibly divisive - and now you are exposed to all kinds of criticism, from colleagues and the public. I hope you are able to move and have a great year with your kids.