Report from Louisiana: Back to School

Hold a kind thought for teachers in the next few weeks as we head back to school. In our district, we start tomorrow – two days of motivational and procedural in-service training (again) and then kids mid-week.

This will be year 24 for me and I’m pretty in-serviced out, if you know what I mean, and I’m still stinging from a really vicious and nasty election held in the spring in which a teacher pay raise was soundly defeated. Even though we are a top-performing district, we are still the lowest paid and that is clearly not likely to change. Nobody wants to raise any kind of taxes to support technology upgrades or pay teachers, and so our district is now hemorrhaging teachers to neighboring districts who pay 7k a year more.
At any rate, I’m still salty about it. It was pretty ugly and teachers were branded socialists and communists for wanting more money.

That being said, I’m still looking forward to the new school year and new students. It is hard to let go of my summer and those lazy mornings sleeping past 5:00 a.m., but the adjustment comes pretty quickly. In a week or two the routine will be established. Before you know it fall football is on the schedule and then the evenings start cooling off. Walmart is already making room for Christmas trees.

If you have school age kids, or even if you don’t, check to see if your local teachers need anything; lots of us have Classroom Wish Lists on Amazon because in most districts teachers purchase most of their own classroom supplies, especially in high poverty districts. I wish I had kept count of the boxes of tissue, the hoards of pens, pencils, and markers that I’ve bought, the dry erase markers and paper clips. When a new teacher walks into her classroom, more often than not, the only thing provided is furniture and students.

Most of us are pretty good people. Most of us are not acting inappropriately with the students and lots of us disagree with Common Core and scripted curriculum, but we do our dead level best to educate and care for your kids while they’re in our care in spite of government idiocracy.

Here’s to year twenty-four! Wish me luck.

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