If she reads this, she may figure out who inspired this post.
It was supposed to be the Year of the Teacher. The governor proposed to raise all teacher salaries to a minimum of $47,500 a year, including rookies entering their classroom for the very first time.
The existing bonus program, which was called ‘Best and Brightest,’ but scorned as ‘Dumb and Dumbest,’ would be eliminated in favor of a performance pay plan that would compensate teachers at schools that meet improvement goals based upon state test results.
There was a lot of controversy. Teachers hate the plan because it makes no distinction between those with years of experience and those first starting out. Experience makes a difference and, in the classroom, teaching is no exception. Simply stated, the longer someone teaches, the better they are.
But teachers hate the plan even more because it disregards the people who make the schoolhouse work–without whom, there would be no school. Flunky is not the word for them. They are superstars.
When a child vomits on the floor, who cleans it up? The ‘flunky’ superstars.
When children is hungry, morning, midday, and afternoon, who feeds them? ‘Flunky superstars.’
When a school district decides it no longer needs librarians because the clerk can unlock the door, who keeps the media center running? The ‘flunky’ superstars.
What are these ‘flunky’ superstars doing during this time of school closure and distance learning? They are contacting families to check on the students. Are they safe? Are they healthy? What do they need?
They are handing out school lunches and driving school buses to deliver learning materials so children will not regress.
They are coordinating a hundred million details that no one ever thinks of and they don’t ask for thanks. They merely say they are part of the team.
What do we do for them? Most principals will treat them to lunch once a year whenever that particular Wednesday pops up in April.
You can’t pay the bills with a free lunch once a year.
You can’t pay the bills when you only make $11 an hour and your hours run about 1200. Do the math. For all they do, the ‘flunky’ superstars make about $13,200 every year. If they volunteer for extra duty, such as after-school programs, they might extend that about another $2,000 or so.
Face it, we don’t pay them enough, we don’t recognize them enough, we don’t do enough for them even as they put in the extra effort because they are part of the team.
They deserve much better. So while you are congratulating teachers for their sacrifices during the pandemic for their care, concern, and efforts for students, remember the ‘flunky’ superstars.
They are every bit the equal of a teacher.
When this is over, they need attention, too. $15 an hour is the least of what we should start with.