In general I believe it’s true that teachers are underpaid overall. That’s not what this is about. I work in a pretty good district, I pull down a decent salary. I can support my family. I’m fine there.
Our special education aids, they are the ones who are tragically unpaid. It would be comical, if it didn’t have dire consequences. To give you an example, I accidentally saw the W2 of one of our aids a few months ago (she printed it on my printer, and forgot to go get it). This is a college-educated woman who works very hard at a largely thankless job. She works full time, and made $17k dollars last year. That’s a fucking travesty.
As a result we are constantly short of aids, because very few qualified people are willing to work for chicken feed. The school I work in has a large Hispanic population. Many of them are very recent transplants. I love those kids. They are some of the nicest, hardest working, best behaved kids you will ever meet. We don’t have a bilingual aid anymore, because the one we had took a better paying job. Can’t blame her for that, we were lucky to have her as long as we did. She’s been gone six months now, with no replacement. Kind of hard to teach a kid to draw CAD who doesn’t speak a word of English. I have four of them right now. The bilingual kids do their best to help, but they’re trying to learn this stuff too.
Between all the kids I have right now who don’t speak English, and just regular Special Ed kids who should have an aid, but don’t, I’m going insane. I have a sweet as can be kid in the same class as two of the Spanish speaking kids. A week and a half into the term, and I’m still trying to teach her how to read a ruler. That’s usually a 1-2 day thing. Three if a kid is really struggling. No aid. No help. No support. I feel like I’m fucking drowning right now.
But it’s not about me. My job isn’t in jeopardy. I can excuse them from as much work as I need to so they can pass. That’s not the point. How the fuck are these kids supposed to learn anything? It’s not fucking fair for them to just sit there confused as shit while I bounce from one fire to the next.
We’re in a contract year right now. I’d honestly take a 0% raise, if they’d give the money to the aids so we can get more and better aids, and retain them.
It’s lunchtime now. I’m going for a drive. I need to get out of the building before I lose my shit and start yelling at the other adults in the building.