2011/02/24

I Ruined Everything (& Why It Was More Work Than You Thought) @INTERNETTAXTROLLS


Truth in Advertising, originally uploaded by elephantsgerald.

Dear twitter users boiling with anger about forced subsidization of unionized teachers:

I've taught art for seventeen years. I've complained about certain things at work, but I've never regretted my profession. We all knew what we were signing up for when we chose our jobs; I knew I wouldn't get rich, but I knew I'd have summers off, and a steady paycheck. So did you, actually. The summer thing is an antiquated agrarian anachronism, (read, not new), so please don't act outraged at this fresh new insult. If you became a banker or waitress or IT guy or whatever job you have that doesn't seem to mind your constant vigilance of pro union tweets, you knew it had two weeks vacation a year. You knew the salary, and the risks of advancement. When i started teaching in 1993 my contract said $20,000. I thought that sounded AMAZING. I thought a bulldozer with a haystack of twenty thousand dollar bills was going to pull up and dump them all over me. When i started getting paid I had to take a weekend job at Carmen's Pizza taking phone orders for delivery so I could pay my bills. But I had no complaint.

To earn this $20k I taught art on a cart to 850 kids at 3 different schools every week. Almost every kid was on free lunch. My budget was $1.50 per child per year. This is *actually* possible. My classes applauded when I entered the room every single time! I took up Spanish lessons again at my own expense, so that I could say "Quieres papel amarillo, o azul? Doblalo, y desdoblalo. Ok, cortalo. Bueno!" So that the new kid off the boat (so to speak) wasn't terrified that they had to talk to the gringa teacher. We made puppets, paper mache, tissue snowflakes, and lots of chalk and tempera paintings. I loved going to work every day. I loved festooning each little school with the happy art. I enjoyed telling wide-eyed kids I actually lived in the dark, mouse-poopy art closet down the hall. I worked in the lowest paying district in a 300 mile radius, but I didn't care. I felt needed, and I knew I was making some little soul's morning, every time I went to work.

I feel less and less that way when I read angry tweets and newspaper comments about my profession. Maybe I shouldn't read what angry tax paying trolls write and say on the internet, but I'm so appalled I keep checking to see if it's still there. I'm told I'm ungrateful. I read that I am greedy, or a tool of greedy union bosses. I am a selfish son of a bitch, one guy informed me, when I was trying to explain the details and the facts of current legislation. I read that everyone's life is going down the toilet, because I am breaking their backs. I have ruined everything. Everything is ruined.

Please know it did not feel like ruining everything. It felt like sitting in a tiny plastic chair at a tiny table, cajoling an autistic preschooler into brushing watercolor across a white wax face i had pre drawn, then watching him laugh at the big reveal. It felt like receiving a drawing as a gift from a talented little boy who drew like an adult, but suffered crippling arthritis in his hands and for whom i had arranged free classes at SAIC. It felt like crossing a name off a roster because she and her grandmother had been raped and killed in their house near the school. It felt like a million little notes shoved into my hands and pockets from eager little people who only came up to my waist. It felt like tamales from mothers who could not speak much English, but beamed widely as they handed the foil package over.

Now at the high school level it feels like alarmed inquiries following my every absence, it feels like a crowd around my desk, like emails during the evenings and weekends. It feels like a 6'2 kid standing up from his computer animation to announce loudly "I AM AN ARTIST". It feels like kids who come back during their lunches and study halls, spending half the day in my room, and sometimes come to school only for my class: this according to parents. It feels like emails and letters, even years later, saying I was the best teacher they ever had. It feels like all my letters of recommendation, begging for college admission or a scholarship for another fine young person. It feels like trust, or just relief that I listen.

So guess what; I am rich, you miserable, bitter harpies. But you have it all wrong. Just because your job sucks and you can't wait to get out of there every day doesn't mean that's how I feel making my living. It's a shame, but it's a world of your own making. If you loved your job, I doubt you'd be investing this kind of time degrading mine. In contrast, I enjoy the luxurious power of changing kids' minds about school *every day*, even on eight year old computers that run on my sheer will alone.



So do it. Reduce my pension. Make me poor, since I don't qualify for Social Security. Make my medicine unaffordable. Make my raise contingent upon proof that my art lessons somehow improved state math scores. Continue firing at my feet to see how long you can make me dance. It still won't change the fact that life did not work out as you planned and you're now a bitter little turd. AND I will STILL fucking love my job, because I am rocking this for all the right reasons. After you take every tool and incentive and support away from me, and millions like me, you won't suddenly have anything great that you don't already have. And then you will be terribly disappointed to find out that this isn't a scam after all. Whether decorated or destroyed, inside every school we run on something you can't legislate, isolate, measure or destroy. Much to your inarticulate all caps despair.

It's love, dumbass. If you'd bother to volunteer at the little school down the street you could have a sample. I won't even tell the kids what you wrote about their teacher.

164 comments:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful essay. There's actually a well-known -- but rarely observed -- bit of advice that describes what you did in writing this: "turn the other cheek".

    Keep working your magic with those children!

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  2. Brandi,

    Your post has simply knocked the wind out of me. And that's pretty damn difficult to do. I must, must share this absolutely brilliant essay with my radio audience tonight - Friday, February 25. It's the Mike Malloy program. We broadcast from 9P to Midnight, ET. My website is www.mikemalloy.com.

    I wish you were here so I could shake your hand, hug you, scream compliments, whatever.

    Take care,

    Mike

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  3. Thank you for posting this beautiful essay. As a teacher, I know *exactly* how you feel. I also pity those who will NEVER understand how we feel about our jobs!

    In my spare time (I know - ha ha), I work as the Education Affairs Correspondent for The Mike Malloy Show (radio). I've included the url to my website, "Kay's Report Card." You will find many, many pro-teacher/pro-union rants there.

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  4. Oops! I should have specified that you can get to my website by clicking on my name.

    I have already added this site to my favorites! ;-)

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  5. This is brilliant!! As a fellow Art teacher I get it. I get the 10 hand drawn gifts a day, the bright eyes, the hugs, and the "I'm an artist" quotes coming from all corners of the room. And no matter what they take from us, they cant't take that.
    I can't wait to share this with my colleagues. Thank you so much for posting!!

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  6. This is an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, perfect bullseye of a post.

    Thank you.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I've been a college bio prof for way too long. I can't say I meet with the delight and gratitude that you do. (More like, "Will this be on the test?") And yet ..., and yet, it is the same, and I'm in the same place. And I boggle at the vitriol thrown at teachers for ... for what?

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  7. Thanks for the essay. My mother has been an EBD (Emotionally Behaviorly Disordered) Teacher for 25 years. She now teaches at an alternative learning school with-in the public school system. She is the last line of defense for these kids. No charter or private school would take them no public school wants them. She is their only hope and she inspires everyday. She spends her weekends writing IEPs, she had to go to night school to get a science degree to comply with no child left behind. (She already had 2 undergrad degrees 1 in journalism and 1 in history, but no child left behind demanded she get a science degree as well.) It warms my heart to hear your story, I know for a fact I could never do you what you do.

    BTW as far as compensation and "Summers off" My mother has taught summer school. She teaches night school 2 nights a week. And has volunteered for several ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

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  8. moved utterly. Thanks so much. You should be famous!

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  9. Simply amazing. I will share this with everyone I know.
    Thankyou

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  10. Ms. Martin, jsut heard Mike Maloy read this over his Portland, Oregon, outlet. I immediately pulled it up and sent it to my cousin, a 3rd grade teacher, in Los Altos, California.
    Beautifully said, with just the right amount of "go f*** yourselves" between the lines. Keep up the fight.
    Tom Neff West Linn, Oregon

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  11. Brandi,
    I just heard this on Mike Malloy's show and had to reread it. I've posted it on FB as a must read so all could see it. It's beautifully worded, and speaks to something beyond what some apparently cannot understand. I find it more and more difficult to live in a country that attacks it's intellectual foundation while simultaneously attacking innocent people in other countries. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    David

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  12. Brandi-
    Heard your post read on Mike Malloy's program this evening. I'm sending a link to anyone I hear making even the slightest whining noises about teachers, unions, etc. Teachers like you were the catylist for people like me that make their livings as artists now. Brilliant. Keep "ruining"! :)

    Dave

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  13. I very much enjoyed your post. Thank you for writing it.

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  14. A radio show host read your essay on the air. It touched my soul and made me weep for our country and the "values" that have been lost. To hear you beautifully articulating your love for your job and for the benefit it gives the children you teach and how that is what gives you self-worth and identity, rather than the current norm of the number and cost of acquired goods, made me happy. It was wonderful to hear and read again. I have shared with many others.

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  15. That is so well said. Heard it on Mike's podcast. We need the ability to negotiate for our lifes.
    Thank you!

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  16. My personal reaction and response to Brandi Martin’s brilliant piece entitled “I Ruined Everything…”

    My story is only a little different in terms of my profession and the decade when my career began. Yet, it is essentially the same in that I too absolutely love my work as a Child and Family Counselor who spent years working in residential treatment programs with broken-hearted young children and teens who were dealt insufficient hands--not of their own making.

    I too felt my spirits lift every time I witnessed the courage of these children when they braved risking the vulnerability it must have taken to yet again open themselves to “us big people” (twice their size) in spite of all the losses, wounds, and discouragements most of them had grown up enduring. I can only surmise that these survivors still had within them the burning embers that were counter-balances to this risk – the amazingly powerful “need to connect” Mostly, they seemed to be driven by their need to be seen and heard, and accepted no matter what, just as they were, without having to “do” anything other than be who they were, as they were, warts, behaviors, quirks and all. Importantly, they all had a story that they needed me to be witness to, as they unfolded over time, as trust developed in their own time frames. How cool is that to be able to go to work and be allowed to be a part of this process? Brandi got it right…it’s about heart, and it’s about making a difference in these children’s lives, and in some small way, the world.

    Sadly, more often than not, I observed that it was these kids who took the hits in their lives; blaming themselves because they needed to believe their parents or caretakers "must" be “the good ones” who surely "must" know what they were doing. Ouch!

    Alas, the Harpies (read; insurance companies) who have for years been clawing at my door, seem to have finally broken through and entered into my life in ways that may at this point be irreparable. I continue to do the work I love, albeit at a diminished capacity, since I must these days spend about half my time acting as my own collection agency against this mutant form of banking. You see, they’re kind of like bankers, but without the tellers or the ATM’s, and they’re even better at implementing their business model which can be distilled down to just 3 words that when enacted, truly does maximize their “most excellent” profits. It goes like this; “JUST…SAY…NO!”. Another 3-word corollary, is a slogan that when adhered to by cooperative patients, allows them to keep messes out of their sight, not to mention off their balance sheets, and I suspect it goes something like this; “DIE…SOMEWHERE…ELSE!”. I could rant that these guys are the “new-millennia, brown-shirts with starched collars”, or the “robber-baron, rat-bastard class”, but I won’t, because that would be untoward…wouldn’t it?

    Great work Brandi,
    HelpUsAll (TruthSeeker)

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  17. I wish you were in my childs school. Thank you.

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  18. Thank you for your service to the future of this country.

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  19. Wow. This really pulls at my heart. You have beautifully articulated the plight of good teachers. Makes you wonder how some of the bitter trolls treat their kid's teachers? Would they really attack them in person the way they do online? I hope to god not.

    But, you got it right. Anyone who is content in their career & life would not be obsessed with attacking public employees. It is a sign of feeling like an animal backed into a corner. And, of course, they created their own corner.

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  20. Yes,Brandi, you have it right.

    Wisconsin is trying to blame teachers for what Wall Street and CEOs have done to this country (that is, the wealthiest 1% of the population). They get to buy Congressional elections (and indirectly the judiciary) so no laws will be passed that will affect them or their businesses. They don't pay their fair share of taxes, they don't have to. (Read the books Perfectly Legal and No Free Lunch). They support the military industrial complex which keeps us at permanent war (Read the book "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War", written by a career army officer who is now a Professor of International Relations at BU) , which inflates the deficit. BTW, if people would read books and other materials, they would understand that the Soviet Union collapsed for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest was their military budget and their adventurism abroad (take Afghanistan, for example) which helped bankrupt the country. (Sound like any country we know?)

    None of those people are suffering from the financial meltdown and its aftermath. And it's not just teachers or other union workers who are in this leaky boat, it's 99% of the population of this country. The other 1% are running the country into the ground, have been since the 1970s at least, and blaming everyone else.

    Wake up people, particularly the ones who think they think that this is "socialism" or "communism" because they haven't read enough world history to know what communism really is. Wake up people. You are helping the wealthiest 1% sink our country. And that's not patriotic.

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  21. respect.

    just respect.
    there are people who shouldn't be allowed near children and people it should be compulsory for children to experience. you sound like one of the latter.

    (did i mention the respect?)

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  22. Paul Krugman agrees with you:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html?src=me&ref=general

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  23. Very well stated. Good for you and keep up the great work with our youth!

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  24. WOW! I heard Mike Malloy read this on air Friday night. Thanks

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  25. Excellent piece. You might be interested in this article...

    The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions

    http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/25/the-wisconsin-lie-exposed-taxpayers-actually-contribute-nothing-to-public-employee-pensions/

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  26. As a retired language arts teacher and middle school counselor, I applaud (loudly) your willingness to be blamed for ruining (???) everything. Sometimes I weary of reading the vitriol spewed by those who know nothing and refuse to learn anything. Then I remember that some of them were my students, and no amount of education may reach them until they "unclench" those minds that closed when they walked away from teachers with diplomas in hand. Teachers continue to work with students and love those students and expose students AND parents to the world. Teaching really is fun when it comes right down to it.

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  27. Bravo!!!!! As a former fellow Art on a cart teacher I felt the same way about my job and I am hoping to get back to teaching art in the near future because it is the best job in the world - keep fighting the good fight!

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  28. Hey, Brandi -

    I felt about the same way teaching history to mostly older 9th/10th graders with (maybe) middle school skills. The school was in the geographic middle of Oakland's 180+ murders the previous year. I taught in a charter school with no classrooms for the first year, minimal supplies, and no effective guidance from the (shudder) administration.

    Except loud-mouthed homophobia. The director was very clear about that.

    So I was surprised and completely thrilled when my kids - I took "in loco parentis" to heart - started a heated argument about the French Revolution, spent their lunches wherever I set up shop, and actually started to write and think at the same time.

    There's no gimmicks to any of it. The funding structure and school philosophy don't matter. The class materials are only peripherally important (you can't buy laptops and interactive whiteboards for $1.50 per student per year). The building just needs to keep kids safe and warm. What's important is lavishing attention on them.

    And it takes a teacher to do that.

    My own kids' teachers do the same, or better, for them, and the results are clear.

    Thank you for "ruining everything," and keep up the good work. Maybe the next generation will be too full of hope and knowledge to vote for the New-Know-Nothings.

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  29. Amazing!! Could not have been written better. THANK YOU!! I will be re-posting and seeking out the mallow audio!!

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  30. Thanks so much for this essay. I am a para-educator in Special Ed. I feel the same as you. I first heard this read on the Mike Malloy show. I will share this with my friends! Thanks! Laura

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  31. Amazing blog. I'm so glad that teachers with your enthusiasm & heart continue to plow through & *teach*

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  32. OMG you are my Yoda. TY. I had an AWFUL day at school (according to one of my student's parents it has something to do with me being white); I am still confused. I'm pretty tough, but this mom got to me (she called during class, and I have a full access philosophy: open door direct line, even my cell # when needed... which is often). Two of my students saw my face from across the room before I turned away. These two middle school girls thought I needed a hug, so came rushing across the room. In the middle of their group hug the fire alarm went off (it's the 28th; got to get the one for the month in). Where else can we get this kind of quality drama and humor?! Damn straight we do it for love. Every morning when I look out on those faces (some receptive some defiant; especially since we have to use pacing guides, give Cornell notes, do Standardized Test Prep, etc.) I know the odds for them; we have a 29-36% grad rate. Even as "just an art teacher" I feel the mamma lion roar within me, "not if I can help it, not on my watch; they are going to be SUCCESSFUL, dammit!". I've been doing and feeling that way for 15 years. I hope, despite all this poop going on, I can hold on to that. I've just been told by the state legislature that my two Master's degrees in education mean nothing; as well as my 15 years here and 3 years in another state. This year I couldn't afford the art supplies I usually buy on my own, and my 20 iBook G3s are down to 8, and I was told if I wanted them to work I'd have to pay to fix them myself. Ug. I am starting to feel overwhelmed. I spend most of my summer's going to school to be a better teacher, or working on ways to improve my practices, do research, develop interdisciplinary units that show how every subject can be taught through art. I spent the summer 2 years ago writing the district pacing guide for M.S. art (though I am very disappointed in the product. The powers that be want a politically pretty tool, not a pacing guide that practical and can really help teachers get a handle on the increased demand for Accountability and Relevance to the One Curriculum. Ok, I did it. I also figured out how to help teachers "work with it" integrating some "flexibility" so they wouldn't be so terrified by it. I don't get paid to do this stuff. I do it because I like a challenge, I want to have something to say about what I teach; I want to give to my students; because I am an EDUCATOR. It is my passion, my calling, my love. My own children won't even consider being teachers because they think it takes too much time away from family, and for all the time an cash invested, there is little respect (my son says my students are painting with the car he should have had). Yet in doing this, I AM THE VILLAIN. I don't need to be hailed as a martyr; just not vilified as a miscreant. Not held up for ridicule (as I pay my hefty $800 a month health care premium, and contribute to my own measly retirement that I shall probably never see...scary, I just turned 50)as a free-loading pimple on the public backside with my hand out for a dole... OMG. To say I knew what I was getting into and then changing the rules I have dutifully played by my entire professional career; this is crazy. I am at a loss... until I get to second period (first is a bear this semester) and third, and 4/5, and 9, and 10... when Keisha walks up to me, and says, "I'm ready to ink, Ms. P." and I ask her, "Show me your 5 production steps for the layout" and she pulls out her thumbnails, gridded in centimeters, and the transfer layout she made, and finally the "nice copy" free of smudges with a crisp framal reference boundary, and she points to each piece of the production framework, naming them, and how they work together." By God Almighty I can say Fuck those bastards that don't know what I do. Fuck the mortgage company (Bank of A. never did me any favors). I AM A TEACHER.

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  33. I love all of you.

    There is a great joke going around on twitter.

    A CEO, a teacher, and a tea partier sit at a table with a dozen cookies on a plate. The CEO takes 11 cookies, and then turns and says to the tea partier, with his mouth full, "Watch out. That teacher wants a chunk of your cookie".

    Two thirds of corporations paid 0$ tax. Because they have lobbyists.

    I actually have compassion for the people who are so angry. They've not gotten the best deal. Maybe they deserve better. Their rage is misappropriated, and one day instead of an insult I'm finally going to come up with the right metaphor or explanation to make it clear. I'd rather do that, honestly.

    I am a good goddamn investment,I stay until 5 every day, I pay all my own pension, I pay $550 a month plus $3,000 deductible towards my health care. I don't qualify for social security, and if I did, if we all did, it would cost Illinois 900$ million more every year. I gave Illinois my money for my pension and they spent it on something else.

    If you care about these kinds of facts:
    http://www.ilretirementsecurity.org/news?id=0050

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  34. This is lovely and very funny. I had a good art teacher in middle school and more importantly it was a safe space during a difficult time.

    Is there way someone could donate money or supplies to your class. Like through Donor's Choose or Paypal?

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  35. Brava! I'm an artist, and I fondly remember my art teachers all through school, who pushed me, encouraged me, and believed in me. Even when I was doing a style of art they didn't really care for.

    Thanks, Mrs Judy Hines, Central Jr High, Moore OK-wherever you may be.

    Leigh Perry

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  36. Thanks... I posted a link to this on my blog for all my colleagues here in Australia. You have said what so many of us feel. Cheers!

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  37. Thanks for a wonderfully written post. As a college teacher, I feel the same way. (Although I am not currently subjected to the invective that you are.) Thanks for cutting to the heart of the matter: for most teachers, it's not about money. The greedheads just can't fathom that.

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  38. Incredibly written. Thank you for writing the truth. I aspire to teach and can only hope to do justice to the legacy and example of teachers like you. Love, Respect, and most of all, with all my heart, THANKS!

    Those who CAN, teach.

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  39. Right on Brandi! Heard this on Mike Malloy's radio show--it really got to me. I'm sending this to a bunch of people who need to STFU and learn something instead of running their mouths about crap they heard from Glenn Beck.

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  40. THANK YOU!

    My mother and sister are also teachers working in public schools and I know NO ONE who works as hard as they do to be good at their jobs.

    What a beautiful essay. It's been placed on my FB page.

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  41. Thanks for all of your responses.

    Once the donorschoose founder called me, because of a post I wrote on their facebook page. He left me a voice mail that said he thought it was great, he sent it to all 57 employees to read, and that it was an honor to serve teachers like me.

    I sat down and wept like a baby, as I listened to it again. My did that make me cry so hard?

    Positive reinforcement. I'm not used to it. Usually it seems like I only get noticed if I mess up. I'm not talking about students or parents of course.

    So frankly all the positive responses are the best salve against trolling imaginable. This has been a boost.

    I do have a donorschoose grant right now. But I really wish I could channel the money to Anonymous, Mrs P, who teaches on 13 year old G3 laptops in Oakland. Mrs. P, If you visit this page again, please contact me. I've received thousands of dollars in art supplies writing grants to Donorschoose (I seem to be good at it) and I'd love to help you set up an account and craft your message. I WOULD LOVE IT.
    My Donors choose grant- half done!

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  42. Click the gray text in the last line of the above post of mine. Thanks for your consideration!

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  43. Thank you for bringing tears to my eyes. I also LOVE my job as a teacher. I wish you the best and thank you for your words.

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  44. Thank you so much for this post. I am what I am today, because of teachers like you.

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  45. Brandi,
    you have moved me to tears & although I don't know you, I love you for this - It is exactly what I have been trying to say... THANK YOU!! <3

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  46. My first year as a programmer I made 18,000 a year. 15 years later I make 80. I don't get summers off, I don't get to play with crayons, or set my own agenda at all. I get fired at the whim of a company when they think they don't have enough work for me, or they can't afford developers at the moment. I do however get to pay taxes including high school taxes even if I send my children to a non-crappy public school. I can't even deduct my school taxes while my kids are in school, so I get to pay for educating my kids twice. All the time I hear teachers in public schools that do a crappier job than the lesser paid teachers in the private school jobs whine about how bad their jobs are and how bad the resources are. The difference between me and a teacher is that I don't have a union that pays off politicians for me, I just sit here and take it. It used to be that teachers made less and therefore were compensated with good benefits, now they make more than most of us in the private sector, and their benefits are amazing. I'm not in favor of changing things that were promised in the past, but we can't afford to keep promising the moon for teachers that release ignorant children upon society. You can call me a troll, but you union thugs are the trolls, and society is sick of you.

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  47. As a fellow Art Teacher, it is so wonderful to hear that someone else loves their job as much as I do!

    However, there are teachers in my building who don't, and I completely understand why some of us get a bad rap....because some of us deserve it!

    Let me caution all those "bitter harpies" out there. One day, in the not to distant future, the children that we are trying our best to educate will be making the decisions for this country. And I consider it a personal mission to prepare them to not only be creative and critical thinkers, but to be compassionate, caring, and innovative. If you do not feel that those things are important for our children, and you do not support those passionate teachers out there... your country's decisions will be made by a society of dull, regurgitating, incapable robots.

    Where you are a programmer, a fry cook, a teacher, a policeman, an IT guy, or a mom... that is something you should think about.


    -Mr. S., Public Elem. School Art Teacher

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  48. To the person right above me who did not have the GUTS to put your name: I do not understand your bitterness. You actually think teachers get paid as much as you? Delusional. You started at $18,000 & now make $80,000? In only 15 years? No teacher I know (and as a teacher, I know a lot of them) makes that by RETIREMENT after 30 years teaching. We do our jobs because we love "our kids" who may or may not hear "I love you" from someone at home.
    And guess what? Teachers pay taxes too... so that means they actually pay their own salary. Not that I would expect you to understand that, because it is all about poor you, making $80,000 a year & having to pay taxes (like everyone else...) to educate students (like someone paid for yours...) so they can get jobs someday too.
    But that isn't the point of Brandi's essay. And you will never get it the point because you CHOOSE not to. And that is sad.

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  49. I love this. I am one of those teachers who couldn't take it so bailed after a few years. There were parts of teaching I loved-interacting with the students was the best. I also have little notes and every card I ever got. One in particular makes me cry since the student was killed a couple years ago. You can't measure or quantify in any way the things a good teacher does that positively influence the students. I also wanted to point out to the whiny taxpayers who complain about paying school taxes yet have no children: It takes a village to raise a child and you are part of the village. You can pay now or you can pay for their incarceration later at a much higher rate-the choice is yours.

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  50. Bravo! I wish you could see me standing and clapping as I read your words. You could not have said it better.

    This morning an editorial in my local paper (bemoaning the concept of tenure and last-hired, first-fired) made a comment about new young teachers having the energy, commitment, and training evidently (at least in the opinion of this editor) not found in those of us who've been teaching a long time (in my case, 34 years). Evidently the editor has never driven by my school at 6 or 7pm and seen the empty parking lot, except for my car and the custodian's car. Evidently the editor hasn't seen my elementary art room piled to the ceiling with recycled cardboard sculptures, papier-mache flying pigs, shredded paper clay hunks that look like hunks of cave wall, stacks of paintings, and so much more - and, oh - also hasn't spoken to the kids who choose to eat lunch in my room, who stay after school to scrub the sinks, who bring me the last and most special cupcake (no wonder I'm not so skinny any more) who tell me that art is their best time of the day. He hasn't seen me standing on a table trying to hang something from a ceiling, dragging in bags full of stuff for a crazy still life, shopping in the dollar store for toothpaste so I can use it for a crazy batik lesson, and blogging my evenings away with other art teachers when I finally get home to my husband. He says the young teachers have more ENERGY? Then why are they leaving school at 3:00pm? He says they are better TRAINED? Then I guess the experience gained from 34 years spent with kids with every problem and peculiarity imaginable is less valuable than a grad class where you learned the latest lingo?

    Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike the new young crop of teachers or discredit their education - as a matter of fact I give them massive kudos for choosing a profession that seems to be on everyone's "hit list" these days. But I too went through an era of job cuts and having to start over, and it doesn't mean that I should therefore be the first to go because I am a seasoned veteran and cost a little more to keep around.

    Didn't mean to go on this long; sorry - so I will just repeat my standing O to you, even though you can't see me here cheering for your words. Thank you.

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  51. One more thought. I previously missed reading the comment by the anonomous programmer who called us a bunch of "union thugs". I've been teaching 34 years and I do NOT make the $80,000 you earned in 1/2 that time, and never will. And by the way, many of us spend a good deal of time in our "summers off" with extra jobs to make up the difference, and also in our classrooms getting things ready for the coming year (with no extra pay). And those private school teachers who earn less? I have nothing against them, but you should note that we teach the students they don't want, the ones with all the baggage. And by the way, we also pay school taxes, (even though the only child I have is in college so we are shelling out the "big bucks" for that) but I do not complain about school taxes because educating our children is a cornerstone of society. And I'm assuming you didn't become a programmer without education, right? Anyhow, it's ironic that you are anonymous, because of course you wouldn't want to admit your identity when calling someone a troll.

    Brandi, thanks for letting me comment a 2nd time!

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  52. WOW! Thank you for saying this! THEY WILL NOT BREAK US!

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  53. just...wonderful. let 'em stew in their own juices. where would we be without teachers?

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  54. I recently retired after teaching elementary school for 40 years. Can't think of a better way to have spent that time -- long hours, so-so pay, HUGE human rewards. Now I am back at my school volunteering -- also the BEST!! Do I deserve the retirement I paid into all those years (we weren't allowed to contribute to Social Security from our district and the money I did contribute to SS outside of education I will not be eligible to collect because of my Teachers' Retirement) -- you bet I do!!

    Thanks for your essay!!

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  55. Aahh yes, my first year teaching art (1989)- made $17,625. I spent my summers painting houses so I could afford to go back in the fall! Nice work.

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  56. I'm a new teacher and filled with an immense amount of passion as you clearly are too... it's why we do this and it's sad when people can not understand. Why do we sign up to get paid $20,000? It's our calling - it's what we were meant to do.

    I cried and got goosebumps when I read this. Keep doing what you were meant to do in your life. Let's continue to fight the fight. :) Congratulations to you on a successful and beautiful life!

    -Katie

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  57. Way to Go Brandi!! As a teacher for 20 years you summed up what many of us in Wisconsin are feeling right now. With just the right amount of "attitude" I might add.

    And to the programmer who posted a ways up, you SHOULD be worried about whether or not you have a job. With a crappy attitude like yours I would think your employer can't wait to get rid of you.

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  58. Brandi,

    THANK YOU!! You have so eloquently summed up what I have been feeling the last few weeks! I have been teaching in Wisconsin for 22 years and I have never been as demoralized as I have the past weeks.

    I just can't express how touched I was by what you wrote. I have been considering an early retirement and a change in careers - I've been on the fence, I'll admit, but just know that if I decide to continue teaching, what you wrote will have a lot to do with it. Simply, thank you...

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  59. I feel like you read mg mind and heart when I read this. Our local paper gets so many vicious comments about teachers online that it almost makes me as angry as the writer. Then I remember I'm not a person who is angry at society; I'm a person who decided to make a change in society. When a private school and affluent school had an opening for me to teach art I was set on teaching in an urban school. Yes it is challenging but I love my job. Instead of complaining people need to get in their community; see what's really going on and decide to make a difference instead of making negative comments. But that would be a lot harder for the trolls out there!

    America is the only society I know who treats their teachers with such skepticism and disrespect. These are the people who devote their lives to your children. Many ate amazing. I'll admit there are spoilers out there, but they should be dealt with seperately.

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  60. I'm a former HS choir director who became a stay at home dad, and being in Wisconsin, I may not have the chance to ever get back into education. There's a good chance that electives like art and music will no longer be offered due to our new historic budget cuts. What I love about your story is that it puts a face on the nameless 'teacher' that gets lambasted every day. Sad thing is, the people who need to see who you are and what you do won't ever set foot in your classroom. It's difficult to take a chance and confront the possibility that your preconceived notions may be wrong, so most people avoid that kind of self-confrontation. So thanks for speaking up, and please don't ever lose sight of the positive impact you have on the people that really matter.

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  61. I have a son and daughter-in-law who are teachers. My son teaches in Minnesota (ESL-5 years) and my daughter-in-law teaches in Wisconsin (biology-8 years). Both are excellent teachers-I may be a little bias. Let's save a few bucks and we can fall further behind the Chinese and other countries in the class room by getting rid of teachers like you and them and turn our education system over to people like Gov. Scott Walker.

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  62. i'm here some months after the fact...


    i've wanted to be a teacher since 2nd grade [when my teacher started letting me go "ahead" of the rest of the class, and i stopped being bored]

    by the time i was an adult, it just wouldn't have worked - i could not have *physically* done it.

    but oh i STILL wanted it. still do.

    so i mentored. lots of teens.. a couple dozen. it's more one-on-one but i was teaching [for free!]

    i loved it. i miss it.


    mr. $80,000 a year - in CALIFORNIA, the highest paid TEACHER makes LESS THAN YOU. by a lot.
    teachers are NOT paid for summer vacation [unless they teach summer school] and i don't why people think they are.

    ok, i do know - it's because most districts allow teachers to have their pay SPLIT, so they aren't paid all they are owed each paycheck so that they get paychecks in the summer - but they aren't being paid for not working, they are defering their wages.


    teaching is THE most important job in this country.

    the ONLY reason we end up with "bad" teacher is because of the GIGO principle [garbage in, garbage out] so MANY want to teach, but can't AFFORD to teach, because of the crappy salaries, the high cost they have to pay OUT of those salaries for those benefits...

    the whole things is INSANE! we should be running programs to INCREASE teachers, increase their training, increase their experience, to train MORE teachers, and actually put enough teachers in schools so that every child is reached.



    instead, the goverment pulls random crap - cutting vital programs [music and arts ARE vital - man does not live by bread alone; students need more than the 4 "Rs" to really synthesize everything] cutting teachers, cutting other programs, cutting benefits - they work really damned hard to make schools a hostile working enviroment and the BLAME THE TEACHERS for the shit they created.



    TEACHING IS *THE* MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD - teaching is what allows the next generation to keep everything running! destroy teaching, and you destroy your country. PERIOD.

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  63. "Just because your job sucks and you can't wait to get out of there every day doesn't mean that's how I feel making my living."

    That first bit totally describes me, and I've been too ill for too long to realize until now, when I'm starting to get healthy again. However my reaction isn't to think everyone should hate their job. I'm looking for a career that doesn't stink!

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  64. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  65. I know I am reading this months after it was written but it came to me at a time when I really needed it, more than I wanted to admit. I am a teacher in WI and going into my 14th year. I have been broken down by the comments that are being made about teachers, having to defend myself to people I don't even know. They decide that it is ok to bash me and my profession for being greedy and they have no idea who I am or what I do. I continue to invite each of them into my classroom but have not had anyone take me up on it yet. Wonder why. So I thank you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this blog and for helping me find the strength and courage to enter another school year with the same amount of zest and love that I have done in years past.

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  66. Thank you for putting into words what I still feel after 34 years of teaching.

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  67. I will think about this essay next time I sit at a school board meeting and have to listen to a board member call me and my fellow teachers greedy while the other board members stare at the floor. Teaching is one of ways people actually can make the world a better place. Thank you for reminding me.

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  68. Posting well after the fact to send some more positive reinforcement! I'll say what I always say to anyone who asks, "If there is a more important job in the world than teaching, I'd love to hear what it is."

    Education is the foundation of everything--EVERYTHING!--in our society. Take away education, and it all falls apart. Thank you for what you do. I can't do it, and I am grateful every day for my child's wonderful teachers and all the other wonderful teachers I know are out there, working away for lousy pay and little credit. Thank you.

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  69. your blog just hit my twitter feed and i tweeted it myself with a quote. brilliant. you made me cry. i'm a 5th year "older" teacher rebel. we all need to speak truth to power in this same manner. and we need to ignore the trolls or the naysayers who will never understand.

    i think the people who believe we have cushy, high-paying jobs with summers off are the same people who as kids thought teachers lived at school. such big imaginations! they must have had at least one good teacher who nurtured their out-of-the-box thinking. *wink-wink*

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  70. All the way from Ireland, about to start into a new school year, can I just say thank you. And for those who still don't get it,"the truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind" - Emily Dickinson.

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  71. As a pre-service teacher who is merely a year away from entering the field, I thank you for this post. This is an inspiration and confirmation that I will take with me as I continue on to the profession that I fell in love with before I began. Thank you.

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  72. Those of us in the educational field are in it for the right reasons, and that's something nobody and nothing can take away. Thank you for reminding me of that.

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  73. Awesome and well said!

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  74. This is incredibly awesome. Moved me all over. Rock on. ROCK ON.

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  75. I thought your essay was very true as to how many people now view the teaching profession. I hope people begin to recognize that it takes a really dedicated person to teach. The main benefit of the teaching profession is the feeling that you made a difference in the life of the present life of a child and hopefully, his or her adult life too.

    However, in the world of tweets and facebook, there is still no excuse for bad grammar. I am sure that it was an oversight. Since I was a child, the first person singular "I" was always a capital letter.

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  76. I arrived here via http://staceyrobinsmith.com - he posted the final paragraphs of your post and I plan to do so, too ... with link, of course.

    As I teacher who does it for love, I concur. Thanks.

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  77. This is fantastic. I'm an elementary music teacher in Wisconsin and we're definitely hearing the same comments from people who don't understand why we do what we do. I go in every day because of the smiles on my students' faces. I spent hours today gluing googly eyes on snowflakes (and wearing a TON of glitter home) because my 3rd graders thought it would look great to have them for our concert next week. I give up my lunch hour twice a week and for an hour after school to run a show choir, because my 4th and 5th graders are SO excited about the music from Wicked that they sing it on the playground. I have a student who MAYBE said three words to me all of last year, and this year he's in show choir, and he spent ten minutes talking up a storm after rehearsal last week. I see students who struggle with reading learn songs faster than the rest of their class. My concert might look less professional because I have my students announce the songs, even the kindergartners, and it's incredible to see them light up when they get to speak into the microphone.

    I am not a union thug. I am not a lazy, greedy whiner. I am not a freeloader. I AM A TEACHER.

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  78. Dear Brandi, and Teachers everywhere ~ Thank you for being "there" - whichever school you're at, today!

    I followed you home from Caitlyn's, and will be leaving more breadcrumbs leading back here, as well as to her place (ImaginingBetter.com) during my wanders through the interwebs.

    Many of my friends, relatives, and formerly-strangers have been vitally inspiring teachers. I've learned from all of them, and even from the very few who were 'bitter turds' themselves.

    Keep up the Great Work, my dear.

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  79. I'm an urban high school teacher in my alma mater; I'm in my 18th year of teaching, 16 yrs here. Everyone in our school gets free breakfast and lunch. For some of these kids, (including myself, when I was 17 at the same school, living on my own) this is the only semi-nutritrious meal eaten all day. The art program, however underfunded, saved my life. It gave me purpose, meaning, and an outlet for expression. I can't even begin to imagine teaching anywhere else. Our budget has stayed exactly the same since I started there in '95, even w/ inflation, and the addition of three extra art teachers. I can't even imagine having less money than we do now, but that is our future. We are now making things and selling them in a local business so that we have money to buy supplies. I can't tell you how many hundreds of dollars of my own money I've pumped into the program, or donated to someone who had some sort of hardship, over the years. I've bought more junk food that I don't even eat just so kids can go on a field trip somewhere. If this is ruining everything, well then I will proudly continue to ruin everything because I make a difference every day. Betcha the banks and Wall St. can't say the same. They've ruined mortgages, but it didn't do anything for those poor people who lost their homes...

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  80. I don't know you personally, so I won't judge you, for better or for worse. I do know however that there are a load of incompetent art teachers out there- I've seen them myself- and that there are an even bigger load of art teachers who can't teach, and claim to be doing so by demanding that their students draw what the teachers want.

    I used to have an art teacher who would reject every project idea I wanted to do because she wanted to train the class for the 'nature of the real world, where everyone rejects your ideas again and again'. Eventually she settled on the last project idea each student chose because she'd run out of time to teach us her twisted 'lessons'. I did the project, but I hated every moment of it, because i was never allowed to draw what i wanted. She'd also demand we learn art by rote among so many other shitty things. She'd demand that we stay in the school for long hours (over four hours beyond what curriculum time students had per day, every day)- art apparently had to take ages to do all the time, so even if you completed work and it looked pleasing, you had to re do and re do and re do it simply because she 'had time left'.

    I had another teacher that said that his classes had always stayed back at night and slept in school for weeks on end to finish projects. A senior student told me they never got to bathe during these periods of time and would sit in that dank dusty room doing whatever projects they had 'chosen' to do.

    Again, I am not judging you, but maybe the 'trolling comments' out there exist because a bunch of your colleagues or the people in the same profession as you are complete pieces of shit. It's been a very consistent observation, really.

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  81. This. I love this. As someone who hopes to be a teacher next year (Still applying!) I just hope I can be as dedicated and as amazing as you are in this essay. It's utterly terrifying for someone like me, knowing all the challenges and negative feedback out there, knowing what I'm going up against. Essays like this give me the inspiration I need to keep trying.

    Also, I absolutely could not let such a wonderful essay end with such a negative review. :-)

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  82. Thank you for this very useful information. I find it very interesting post...

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  83. I too am rich now. I gave up a software engineering job making twice what I do now. Why? Because I love kids. I lost all motivation for my software engineering job, and had to find something else to do. Oh, and the new VP of the software company I was working for got a $1M interest-free loan while programmers were being laid off.

    So, I did inventories, talked to a number of people, research jobs on the Internet, and finally, wrote a list of all the things I love to do. Computer programming wasn't on that list. Working with children was. I then had to decide if I wanted to work for children (indirectly), or with them. Teaching won out. I went back to school to get a Masters in Education (42 credit hours in a year), and started teaching.

    I started in a high poverty, high minority school that was a Magent school for IT (technology). All kids got to learn how to design and create web pages, and use the Microsoft apps to create documents and powerpoints and spreadsheets. They programmed in Alice. By the time these poor minority kids got to high school, they were ahead of most other kids in using technology.

    I cried at times to hear the stories of some of my students. I cried in front of them when I explained to them why a beloved fellow teacher would no longer be teaching (he was arrested for something.) And the kids loved me back. And I came to realize that, while I wasn't making money being a teacher, I was rich.

    I realized in reading these comments that not all of my students like me. And that's just fine. That's their right. But I still work with them regardless, and I'm still there for them, regardless. I hope I can have that same attitude for the people that do not love us teachers.

    In past year, my wife, who has had Lyme disease and hasn't been able to work for four years, and I had to sell our home becuse we couldn't afford it anymore. My teaching salary just isn't enough. But that's okay too. I'm still rich, because I'm a teacher.

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  84. I want my little girl to have you for a teacher! No disrespect to her current teachers, because they are mostly excellent. What can I say -- this essay almost made me cry but I can do better than cry: I vote!

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  85. I'm a Chicago Public School teacher and have just finished my fourth day of striking. I read your post as I was riding the train home and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! The Rahm controlled Chicago media has been brutal and your piece was just what I needed.

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  86. Brandi - I am glad you like your job. I'm actually happy for you. But (warning... I become an A-hole here) you have it pretty cushy.

    The benefits you get are excellent - people that work much harder than you (and are smarter, better educated, and did much better in high school/college) don't get those benefits. I google'd you and found your contract. Your work day is 8 hours a day with a 50 minutes for lunch (paid). Your student contact time is less than 5 hours a day. On Fridays, your day ends when the students leave. The school year is 186 days, with 12 paid sick days, 2 personal days. You can get a 1 year sabbatical paid at 50% (holy crap!).

    You get paid health insurance (70%-85%), life insurance, disability insurance, tuition reimbursement.

    You get automatic 6% raises for the 4 years prior to retirement.

    This is all before we start talking the pension (most teachers make more in retirement than while working).

    I'm not saying teaching isn't a noble profession and you shouldn't enjoy it, but I'm sick of the whining. You will never find another job with the pay and benefits you get now.

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    1. David- when did I complain about pay? I don't. I never have. Did I complain about my benefits? I did not.
      My complaint is with people who chose not to go into teaching, then decry the benefits of teaching like its a surprise. I've had it from people who don't want to teach, then bitch about the benefits. Kiss my pension laden ass, and feel free to join me in the trenches tomorrow.
      The pension is better then social security, but it is in place of social security. If I married you, you could collect my pension benefit when I died, but I couldn't collect social security benefits after your death.
      I don't want more money or more benefits. I over deliver, the taxpayers (which includes me, I live in town) are getting more than their money's worth. What I want, is to not be treated like a criminal or a thug when I make kids achieve AND their faces light up every day. Stop putting words into my mouth, and allow me to give some to you: you're welcome.

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    2. Furthermore: who exactly do you think is smarter, better educated, and did better in school than me?
      One thing you won't find in google is that I was a National Merit Semifinalist in high school. Perhaps you overlooked that I went to the University of Wisconsin Madison, then the competitive School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for six years of undergrad, and now have a masters and 20 more graduate credits. Don't worry about my GPA, because it's solid.
      I'm sorry. Do you think I'm doing this because I *can't* do something else? Because I took a computer programming exam, got a job at a software company training CIO's how to configure their financial billing software from the text side to tighten up their rate of return. The significantly higher pay and cushy benefits from that job were not worth the toll the 50 work weeks took on my single-parent little family. I returned to teaching, satisfied that I could do the corporate thing, but I'd rather have the time with my kids when they're young.
      I currently teach web design, CSS, flash animation, digital and film photography, photoshop for photos and illustration. Despite being a poor school, my AP students score in the top 22% of the nation. My AP numbers and other classes have doubled and required the hiring of more teachers to handle the load. 41 kids in this state were awarded medals at the national level: two of them were in my class.
      If I were selling, I'm the leader. When it comes to repeat sales, I have incredible return. I take little budget and create national level positive PR. I'm not a knuckle-dragging troglodyte who stumbled through community college and lucked into a license. I have valuable, high level skills, and I would love to see whoever it is you think is smarter than me come in here, make gang-bangers stop interrupting and start working, and go to college where THEY teach THEIR professors about masking on new adjustment layers because their professors have never heard of it.

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    3. Hey David. She just wiped your stoopid azz across the floor. Now go Google pwnd

      Delete
  87. This is amazing! My colleagues and I started a teachers voice blog. I'd love to repost this on our site! Www.chicityteacher.wordpress.com

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  88. Wow....talk about voice! Do you teach art or writing?!

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  89. David,

    You are a coward. You better get back to your shitty desk job, your productivity is declining as we speak.

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  90. My grandmother and grandfather were teachers, poverty and hard wor and unfairness were a big part of their experience. My grandmother had four kids at a time and in a state where that meant she was not supposed to teach. You deserve a fair wage and fair treatment.

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  91. A friend of mine in Wilmington, NC posted the link to this page on her facebook page. As a social worker who comes from a very LONG line of teachers, I am amazed by all that you have accomplished. I only hope my children are fortunate enough to have teachers like you, I think they have and will continue to in the future. I believe it takes a courageous, intelligent, generous person to go into the most noble profession there is, teaching. Thank you. And this year, as my family does each year, we will continue to say thank you to those teachers who continue to jump in there and do the hard, hard work of being a part of the village. Bless your heart David for not going into the teaching profession. I pray you don't have any children and if you do I pray you are forced to home school them and that they are as equally disrespectful of you as you are of this woman because maybe then you will develop some insight. Peace.

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  92. The taxpayers didn't take anything away from you in terms of the tools used to do your job. You can thank your fellow teachers and administrators for that. They have created systems so financially unsustainable, that the only apparent thing to cut (according to those same dumbasses) is teachers and resources for the teachers. You make a fine living... salary, pension, benefits and all. You're called ungrateful when you want to take that very nice living, and enrich yourself even further. The money isn't there, thanks to your fellow teachers and administrators who have created financially unsustainable systems. Did I already mention that?

    So yes, teachers who think they deserve raises of 10% or 20% or 30% are fucked in the head because they're already being paid well to do their jobs.

    I'm glad you love your job.

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  93. You know what is funny - I did have to google "pwnd" to find out what it meant.

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  94. Brandi and others - you are very judgemental of people who post opinions in contrast of your own. You call them trolls, cowards, stoopid (sp)...

    You posted controversial, political, opinionated statements on a public forum - did you not expect people to post differing opinions?

    Perhaps your viewpoints are too myopic, and you are too emotionally involved in the issues. Read some of the editorials and comments on major online news sources - you will find a lot of the public is turning against public sector unions. Did you see what happened in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio?

    Isn't that the basis of your blog post? Why are people "hating" on teachers. Did you not expect a response?

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  95. OK, last post for me...

    I am wrong, and you all are right. I admit it. You got me.

    Education is the USA is excellent! It needs no improvement. Not only that, it continues to improve! Google it, read it for yourself! We lead the world - go USA!

    Teachers are underpaid, not overpaid! Brandi's district average salary for teachers is $76,000 (13 years experience) with 176 teachers making over $100K. Not nearly enough! And the Lake Forest teachers (on strike) - don't get me started! The 2 and 3 percent raise they are offered are a joke, as is their $106,000 average salary! They fully deserve the 5% and 6% raises they are striking for.

    Pension crisis - a myth. Raise state taxes to 20% of income on the 95% of the people that are not public sector workers and the problem goes away! So what if people can't afford to fund their own retirements, teachers pensions are guaranteed in the state constitution! Gazinga!

    And teacher accountability - that is overrated. Just because it is Illinois state law doesn't mean it applies to the CTU. Boom - go on strike and problem is solved. Teachers shouldn't be accountable for student test scores anyway (and why should principals have any say in the teachers they hire - make them hire union teachers). The teachers unions work for the kids, after all! They will fix any shortfalls in education!

    And last, but not least - teachers are the best and brightest in the land! They graduate at the very top of their class. Not the bottom 1/2 or even the bottom 1/3 like all the reports say!

    I post this not to be mean, or to belittle teachers. There are some great ones out there. Seriously Brandi - aren't you frustrated with the state of education in the US? I care because I have kids in the system, and my taxes go up every year to pay for this mess. Individual teachers are not the problem, but teacher unions (composed of teachers) have certainly contributed to the mess, and stand in the way of any reforms.

    If nothing changes, how will the system get better?

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    1. pwnd. you are missing the point. all your fine talking points are great for debate, but she is a teacher. she wants to teach, to make a difference in kids' lives. instead she is asked to do infinitely more with infinitely less and zero support from administrators, school boards, education departments, and a whole host of government know-it-alls who never taught or had any educational training. and goobers like you that think all that is needed is some "smart" people to go design a system of objective learning, curriculum, testing, and accountability that must be doled out in a precisely orchestrated, systematic spoonfed manner so that all that is left is to blame the teachers for the whole mess not working.

      Yes, Brandi's message rings through. Teachers ruined everything. Yeah, right. Teachers are the answer, not the problem

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  96. If teachers really want to teach and make a difference, why are they striking? Because it is NOT about the kids. And yes, the teachers have a choice. They do not have to participate in the strike. Get back in the classroom if that's all you really care about.

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  97. Anonymous mouth breather, they are striking in part to fight for what they know is in the best interest of the kids. It's like trickle down theory, except the kind that makes sense.

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    1. Raising teacher pay above the already too high amount does NOTHING to benefit the kids.

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  98. they are striking because they aren't being allowed to teach. they are being crammed in a little tiny educational "box" that makes no sense and no matter how much you pay them and how many perks the union wins, they are fed up with the system. try listening to them and not just negotiating.

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  99. "A Little Perspective on Teachers"


    I am fed up with teachers and their hefty salary guides. What we need here is a little perspective. If I had my way, I'd pay these teachers myself.... I'd pay them babysitting wages. That's right... instead of paying these outrageous taxes, I'd give them $3.00 an hour out of my own pocket. And I'm only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15.00 a day - each parent should pay $15.00 a day for these teachers to babysit their child. Even if they have more than one child, it's still a lot cheaper than private day care.

    Now, how many children do they teach a day - maybe twenty? That's $15.00 x 20 = $300 a day. But, remember they only work 180 days a year!! I'm not going to pay them for all those vacations. $300 x 180 = $54,000. (Just a minute, I think my calculator needs batteries.)

    I know now you teachers will say what about those who have ten years' experience and a Master's degree? Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just babysitting, they could read the kids a story. We can round that off to about $5.00 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children. That's $500 a day times 180 days. That's $90,000....HUH???? Wait a minute, let's get a little perspective here. Babysitting wages are too good for these teachers. Did anyone see a salary guide around here??

    Author Unknown


    now - please note, that was written AT LEAST 20 years ago, back when minimum wage WAS $5 and hour.
    AND that this would be "under the table"... someone listed the OP's contract and her salary... while neglecting to factor what she paid in taxes and for her insurance and etc...
    add in that teachers? work INSANELY more hours than this - setting things up, grading, writing tests...
    that they often pay for thing out of pocket and are never reimbursed...

    that, for the level of required education, teachers are paid the LEAST in comparison to their educational expenses, and have the fewest programs [with the smallest monetary amount for compensation, *IF* one can get into one] to help them achieve the minimal level of education and credentialing required to BE teachers...

    ReplyDelete
  100. Thank you from a sister art teacher in a public school. Thank you for speaking for all of us.
    Warmly, Marla

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  101. Not allowed to teach. LOL. They are being allowed to teach.. in fact they are being given more time to do so. Time to show that dedication and DO THE FUCKING JOB THEY'RE PAID TO DO.

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  102. Thank you for your work. Some of us with children just love and respect you, and we are so very thankful for the way you pour yourself into teaching our precious, but not always seeming precious, children. Please keep it up and know that the damaging adult voices are not the only adult voices. Some of us are truly thankful.

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  103. Just to be clear
    1. this article is dated 2011/02/24
    2. I AM NOT IN CHICAGO AND I AM NOT ON STRIKE.
    3. I did not once in this article or in real life complain about my pay or benefits.
    4. I AM SATISFIED WITH MY PAY AND BENEFITS.
    5. My complaint is only that people who hate their jobs and are complaining their lives away think I'm doing the same thing. I'm not. Igladly and happily put in tons of extra time for free, and don't care, because I love my job, and I'm sorry you don't love yours.
    6. Mr. David, all those people you say did better in school, worked harder, and are smarter than me, who are earning less with no benefits, they can't be that smart. EVERYBODY knows when teachers work and how much they get, just like YOU were able to find out all the benefits of my workplace. It wasn't hard, was it? not a secret, was it? Feel free to join us. It's rewarding work, spiritually. and according to you, financially.
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  104. Chicago is lloking to hire! David, please pass along to your intelligent educated friends who want to make more money teaching impoverished urban children.
    http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Career_opportunities/Pages/CareerOpportunities.aspx

    You do have to live IN the City of Chicago to teach there, however. It's required by law.
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  105. Bravo! Your words are a form of art! You could not have said it more enduring, realistic, and prophetic! I too am an Art Teacher.

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  106. OMG!!! As a 'just retired' art teacher your words make my soul SOAR! SOAR! SOAR!!! From the bottom of my heart I commend you and honor you, your efforts and your colleagues. I understand each and every example of pure joy that you experience in your art classes with children. DO NOT let them get you down. I loved every minute as an art teacher and I KNOW it has made me a better human being.

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