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Opinion

As a Schreiber teacher, I would like to clarify a few things about the culture of Port's schools:

My colleagues at Schreiber and I spend our time in the classroom providing meaningful, dynamic instruction to students of all levels, incorporating media and technology resources into our lessons, and exposing students to the latest advancements in our respective fields.

And yes, we also work during our prep periods with individual students to provide extra help and mentoring. In the English department, it is not rare to see teachers holding individual conferences during every free period, and before and after school, with special Ed and AP students alike.

And yes, we also support our students. We serve as club advisers, we attend events, we offer words of encouragement, we call home, we meet with guidance counselors. We make sure that any child who is failing or feeling alienated does not struggle alone.

And yes, we also write letters of recommendation and read college essays so that students will be accepted to the competitive schools of their choice. Yes, we work nights and weekends. Yes, we coach, counsel, advise, and assist - services for which we would be paid hundreds of dollars per hour as private tutors.

In no other public sector career is far exceeding job requirements considered doing too little. An off-duty police officer who stops a crime is rightfully hailed as a hero. In a culture that demands that teachers make constant sacrifices, we never go off duty. Instead of being lauded for our heroism, our dedication, and our passion, we are treated unjustly.

I sincerely thank teacher supporters who praise us for doing noble work. Unfortunately, such compliments only provide teachers with private satisfaction. We need a clear public statement that Port supports its teachers enough to give them job security and equitable wages.

Teachers should not be martyrs to their students' education. We've been saying yes to your children for years. It's time the board and the district said yes to a fair contract.

Evelina Zarkh

Schreiber English Teacher


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