MEA Voice Magazine – August 2020 Issue

 

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MEA Voice Magazine

One thought on “MEA Voice Magazine – August 2020 Issue

  1. The following is not so much a comment, rather a submission.
    From Experienced Teacher to Newbie
    I’d like to give my voice to share another point of view of starting this 2020 school year. I have been teaching for over 20 years in a small school district in the Upper Peninsula, where my own children went to school. I have been a Title I teacher, Title I aide, Title I Director, School Improvement Administrator, and half-time classroom teacher throughout my years there. My jobs changed with the needs of the school, but for the last few years, it’s been the first 4 former job titles. I’d like to note that although I was employed full time by the school, I got paid separately for each job, (small stipends for 2 of the jobs) meaning I could not afford the health insurance nor did I gain seniority in my positions. I paid dues for both support and teacher unions.
    I was approached by administrators to take on the role of special education teacher about 3 weeks before school began, as there had been almost no applicants. I agreed as it would mean I could finally take the insurance. Since my husband is retiring very soon, I really had no choice. I also agreed to take whatever classes were necessary to fill this emergency position. I have taught many of the students already and felt I could meet their different needs.
    It turned out that I would have to not only take on the responsibility of the elementary special education teacher, but also the high school. I had to immediately re-enroll in graduate school and begin a virtual class before our school year started. I currently have 20 students, K-12, with a possibility of 4 more elementary students. There is no one to mentor me or to explain the IEP process beyond asking our ISD for help. I have had to study each IEP closely and search widely throughout the school for the curriculum and materials that were being used before Covid 19 hit. I began setting up both of the new classrooms I’d be using. Feeling lost, I joined an online Sped group which has been wonderful for getting ideas, but also brings a sense of panic that I am not doing everything that I need to do. Every hour there are many posts from other desperate teachers, asking for help!
    I think I have found an analogy to fit my situation. I am like a self-taught cook, who began a rather modest, but well-liked food truck. The owners of the big restaurant in town, came to me, knowing that I was struggling financially, and offered me a chef’s job at their restaurant. I agreed, although I knew I’d have a lot to learn! Then the position turned out to be both breakfast and dinner chef and I’d have to go to cooking school at the same time to learn new recipes. At this school they expected me to study other people’s recipes, modify them, and write new ones of my own to publish. Also, it was my responsibility to teach a cooking class to online learners and to allow them to watch my kitchen throughout the day so we could interact. When I reached out for help, the owners sent in friendly people who showed up during the busiest time of the day and asked, “How can I help you?” Of course, my priority was to get the orders out to diners that were waiting for the food, getting more impatient every minute. Meanwhile, the owners did not fulfill their promise of getting a new manager, so the food truck that I’d worked so hard at, still stood empty, with customers complaining that they needed their food!
    I know I can “cook for my students a well-balanced meal,” but to make it delicious and suit all their tastes, I need more time and assistance. I am sure I’m not the only one in a similar situation, and I know it will improve with time, but at the moment I feel I’m living in some kind of surreal world that just may make all the dishes crash to the floor at the same time.

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MEA Voice Magazine – April 2021 Issue

Click to view online. In this issue: Letter to Members: You are the Strength in Union Above and Beyond: Retired educator Pam Kellar Nominations sought for ESP Caucus Board My View: Eclipsing Restoration with New Growth Savoring a Win for the People Push is On for Changes to Evaluation System Legislative Councils: a case study […]