Well back from my silence during Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. As promised…at 5pm Friday I shut it all off. I didn’t look back. I just pray that I made one person think and be more aware.
I am back, I am not sure if the mood is much better. I am certainly trying. I did spend a long long lunch date with a dear friend with many giggles, tears and much gut spilling. It was so needed and it helped me to understand I am not alone and I grateful for that one friend. The one that makes rainy days shiny and makes burdens lighter.We all need a friend like that. I am blessed to have one.
While most of what I can point to that is consuming me and my OCD brain are things out of my control. Some personal but some very public. The biggest is the attack on education that I am praying hard doesn’t hit my husband this spring. As numbers dwindle in my district and as the same sometimes crooked people make the decisions I worry and I always come back to my “But Not My Family Post” from April 7, 2011. I am not sure I could say it any better than I said it then. The ones making the decisions need to look beyond dollars in the classroom (that has been cut for the last four years). And no I am not saying keep the teachers to save the families. I am saying make cuts absolutely every way you can (and I know that hasn’t happened in my district because we have one of highest dollars outside of classroom ratios in our area). In my opinion look at those dollars outside the classroom and determine then if you still need to cut more teachers. So please enjoy my post and know today I probably mean it even more than I meant it back then.
What do you do when you are faced with hard roads ahead. Do you stay on the road even though it will be hard and you may not make it to the other side? Do you forge through and decide you can accomplish and will accomplish the end goal? What do you when you have lived the last five years of your life that way and you are just tired? Tired of fighting so hard and tired of always walking that blurry line that is hanging on by a life raft and drowning in what could be your demise?
Welcome to the world of education circa the unnamed recession. When my guy decided to do a complete 180 and become an educator I supported him. He wasn’t happy and I hated not seeing him happy. I sat by and allowed my own career aspirations sit on the side. I prayed and skimped and saved and even went over due on some bills. We sacrificed for his happiness. His first year teaching we said, “Shoooo, we just missed the recession.” He was in the residential/commercial building industry. Then the bottom dropped out and now we hold our breaths every March/April/May waiting for the lovely ol’ slip in the color of pink. It has been thrown out at a possibility and then shushed. Then we take a breath and vow to hang on tighter. Every year, year after year. We contact congressmen, senators, local political officials, our school board and school administrators. We try and remind them of the importance of education not just to our family but to the nation as a whole.
The reality is good teachers are being booted out of “office” in favor or what? Overfilled classrooms, over compensated salaries for those who “make” the tough decisions? The sad news is now my daughters are a part of that educational system. They are drowning in classrooms full of students of all shapes and sizes and socioeconomic levels. They see children who are either beaten or have not eaten on a regular basis. How do I explain that to them? This is all provided by the generous lawmakers, administrators and the powers that be that determine they know what is best for my husband, our livelihood and my children.
More frustrating is that I give back. I feel like I owe something to this entity that has been so kind as to employ my husband for the last five years and so kind as to educate my children. I have walked the halls of their schools and saw what little their teachers are working with. They make something out of nothing and still manage to inspire a learning environment that most can envy. But the thanks they are provided with daily is in the form of a this ever looming pink slip that follows around families just like mine every day. I can say not my family, but we have three children that count on that food and shelter that that money provides. But how is our woe any different than the fourth grade teacher who just had her first baby and husband is laid off from the local factory? It isn’t.
I have heard teachers are the “privileged elite” by the very man I voted into office. The ironic thing is not much about my life has felt so privileged the last five years. My husband’s family is chalked full of retired teachers, nothing about their life appears privileged. Mitch Daniels says of teachers and other public officials jobs that they are used to; “feather-bedded payrolls, very expensive salaries and benefits” and I can attest that as a teaching family that nothing is feather bedded and our benefits are not “elite”. We have, as a family, racked up so much medical debt because of lack of decent benefits that by the time we are done paying it down we will certainly be deserving of a wing of the hospital. We have not had dental insurance since 2007. We have never had eye insurance. If that isn’t enough on what coverage we have had our cost has risen a ton since he began teaching. Some of that is the obvious growing family but most of it is just the supposed cost of insurance that the governing board of the schools decides.
So Mitch, today while you sat in your “unofficial” gubernatorial house that I am sure is much nicer than mine. I am sure your medical debt is paid off by my husbands working dollars. I am sure you are pretty secure in where you future lies. I am very certain you don’t have to worry about things like a new faucet, god forbid a life threatening illness or taking care of three young children on a meager, at best, income from a job that is in limbo almost every day. When I voted for you and met you I believed in what you had to say. I trusted that you cared about my future like you cared about your own. The last eight years I have seen anything but.
I plead with you (you=equal democrat, republican, governor, superintendent, principal and school board or any other fool who has his hand in the educational cookie jar) for all the families that are just like my own that are shouting from the rooftops, “But not my family?”
When will this madness stop? When will we declare a rainy day and stop paying those who don’t deserve it and pay those that do? The ones that stand in front of a classroom not because the salary is golden or the benefits are top of the line. They do it, and I do it, because we love what we do. The only privileged part of my life is that every MWF every spring and fall semester I get to stand in front of a group of students that trust me when I say, “If you do this your life will be better.” The thing is, I am not sure I believe it anymore. Prove me wrong.