Arizona Summer

IMG-2078
Bark Scorpion

Illuminate the room and observe the scene

shake your shoes out before you put them on

for his creepy form signals a torturous mien

he’s a venomous stinger, the scorpion

I’m a Teacher, Not a Martyr

Image result for red for ed shirts arizona

Mr. Wright is leaving. He’s my daughters’ high school orchestra teacher. Everyone is deeply saddened because he’s an exceptional teacher and person. In fact, he just won the district’s exemplary teacher’s award. His students were crestfallen – he’s such an amazing teacher! This is his dream job. So why is he leaving?

Because he can’t afford to stay: His wife stays at home and he has children he must support and can’t with a teacher’s salary.

This is wrong.

One of my co-workers is a single mom and her two sons are not covered under health insurance because she can’t afford it. Every sniffle, ache and potential accident gives her great cause to worry.

This is wrong.

Arizona has been identified as the worst for teacher pay and teacher friendliness by at least two separate studies. More teachers are leaving than entering with each year. Even substitute teachers are in great shortage.

This is wrong.

It’s time to make things right in Arizona’s education system. You can ignore the symptoms of any illness, but that doesn’t mean it will go away.

Oh Wilbur!

IMG-0853

Is there any other animal so unfairly maligned and misunderstood? Pigs are not dirty. They’re intelligent, curious and clean.

And just TODAY, it was reported that collared peccaries (javelinas) may actually mourn each other’s deaths. Thanks to an 8 year old’s science fair project, there is video footage showing javelinas nuzzling, sleeping next to and protecting a fellow corpse for ten days. (Pigs and javelinas are only distantly related…but still…!)

Fun facts: pigs have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell (hence the truffle finding). They are also smarter than dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Became a Teacher

joe-shillington-240205.jpg
Joe Shillington

When I was eight years old, my teacher, Ms. Meretta, told my mother I was one of the hardest working kids she had ever had. Until then, no adult had ever said anything positive about me. Really. My parents were concerned that I showed no genius academically. They compared me to other kids (always unfavorably). My other teachers were either distracted by personal problems, or they just seemed mean (maybe they weren’t, but they seemed unapproachable). One teacher said she liked me, but I rushed through my work too quickly to get to the “book table.” I liked reading too much.

I loved Ms. Meretta. I worked even harder after her comment to my mom. But this time, I worked hard not just for myself..but for Ms. Meretta, too.

When I was a young adult, I worked as a summer camp counselor for the YMCA. It was a fun and rewarding job. I loved the energy the kids brought each day. I loved thinking of fun activities and working with them. I laughed every day. I laughed every hour.

I’ve held different jobs but none have had the creative opportunities or the intrinsic rewards of teaching. One of my favorite gifts from a student was a short letter. I had recommended him to go to a school for high-achieving students. He had older siblings who attended a school closer to his home. He always assumed he’d follow their footsteps. It was easy to hold the fastest track time there. It was easy to be the best student. I told him I knew he would succeed at the Academy, a school that was more rigorous and offered both Spanish and Mandarin. “Besides,” I told him. “if you go and you don’t like it, you can always go to the other school.” He went to the Academy and he loved it. He wrote a letter thanking me because he’s so happy and he’s learning so much. His younger sister now attends the Academy, too.

Helping kids is endlessly rewarding.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I wish the media and politicians would stop with the negative talk about teachers and public education. Why pick on educators? Of course not every single teacher is highly qualified, but not every doctor, nurse, accountant, or politician is, either. For every lousy teacher you hear about, there are easily 1,000 fantastic teachers. I’ve had to handle a sixth grade student who slashed her peers with a razor. I’ve had to handle a fourth grade student who crapped his pants every week. I’ve had to handle students who complained of verbally abusive parents and who cried of hunger.

I teach in Arizona. We rank absolutely LAST in teacher pay. Last! 

I did not go into teaching for the money and I will never expect the pay to equal the work or expertise.

My reward is working with the children. Yes, we get summer break, but most of my teacher friends will hold a second job (teach summer school, drive Uber Lyft, etc.) to make ends meet in June and July.

Did you know…

  • Teachers must get a fingerprint card renewed regularly and they pay for it.
  • Teachers must get recertified and they must pay for it.
  • Most teachers pay for school supplies for their students.

Let’s stand behind teachers who work to help students.