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It's High Time for Critic to Volunteer at Schools

June 09, 2002

Re "Will Teachers Learn to Quit Bellyaching?" June 2:

I am incensed that Kelly Oberlin and others expect public school teachers to donate hundreds of hours of their time each year simply because they "chose the teaching profession."

I think she should ask all of her "teacher friends in Santa Ana" to apply for teaching jobs in south Orange County where they will "enjoy" inflated costs of everything. A teachers without a working partner can forget about buying a home. Dana Point, for example, just agreed to pay its city manager $125,000 a year, a $600 monthly travel expense and give him $250,000 to help buy a home.

Our children are not valued that much and no such deal will ever be made for a teacher.

As to "hurting our kids," I invite Oberlin to volunteer her time for makeup tests, tutoring, club advising and then write to tell us about the extra hours that she gladly took away--without pay--from her family.

Susan Rouse

Dana Point

*

In her letter, Kelly Oberlin accuses teachers of "shirking their responsibilities and shortchanging our kids." One of the biggest challenges teachers face is the public's ignorance about teaching. Test scores aren't high enough. Kids are dropping out. California kids score among the lowest in the country. Teachers are failing their students.

Why are teachers blamed when they have so little control over their environment? I teach in a wonderful district, yet my job becomes more difficult every year.

There is no money for new computers, yet we are expected to teach the technology standards. Classrooms are not air-conditioned, so we teach when the room temperature hits 90 degrees.

We teach from textbooks chosen for us that are written by people who have never been in a classroom. We are told there isn't enough money to buy workbooks for every child so we are given one to copy--but there isn't enough money for paper. When teachers run out of copies for the month, many pay for their own copies. Most teachers spend at least $1,000 of their own money for classroom supplies each year.

We have no control over any of these things, yet we go on teaching. There aren't many professions in which you are required to complete five or more years of college, yet remain at the mercy of people who have little or no experience in your field. And you have to rely upon a union to fight for everything you need to do your job.

I challenge Oberlin or anyone else who thinks teachers are "bellyaching" to visit a classroom.

Sara Pelly

Orange

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