flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

March 06, 2013

Lousy employment

You hear the strangest things when you ride the train.

This morning, Jerkface (thus named because he decided it was all cool to smoke in the passenger waiting area and then tried to cut in front of everyone else when the train came) loudly approached another waiting passenger.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m on vacation.”

“Did you volunteer to work?”

“No, I’m on vacation”

“Where are you going?”

“Home. But I should go see my husband”


“He’s sick”

“Sick how?”

“He got sick at work”

Now this is all said very calmly, like they’re talking about Sixers scores. Except they’d be more excited about that.

“What kind of sick?”

“He fell.”

“Is he ok?”

“Yeah, I think so. He’s in the hospital.”

“Did he break his arm or something?”

“No. He hit his head. Good thing I’m on vacation.”

“Hit his head… is he conscious?”

“Yeah, I guess. Kind of. I think he can talk a little.”

Again, not a bit of emotion to this. Wow. Husband fell at work, was hurt / is ill enough to be in the hospital, semi-conscious, and all she can think of is that she’s on vacation. Her job must suck.

My job is good. But there’s this thing. If you’re from these parts, you’ve seen that we’re in contract negotiations.

They want any of us who make more than 35k a year to take a 13% pay cut, another 13% cut to pay for benefits. That’s a quarter of my salary, taken away. Which, yes, I get that the district is broke and that they have to cut. I get that I need to pay for bennies. But damn, that is poverty level. I already took a bit short of a 50% pay cut to take this job, because time is more important to me than money.

Except now they want us to work another hour a day, and cover the lunch room during our lunches, and not have any periods where we can grade or plan. I already spend 2 hours extra a day on this stuff, beyond working through lunch and my “prep” period. So, now they want me to work an extra 3.5 hours a day, with no break at all (isn’t that against labor laws??) for 25% less pay?

And they call it an opening negotiation stance?

I am grateful I have a job. I love my job. I love my kids. But jeez, this is nuts!

So here’s one of the reasons I’m in it. I have this class – contemporary issues in science. It’s an elective. So, one of the things I do is read a science news blurb, daily. One of the recent blurbs was about North Korea testing nuclear weapons (it registered as an earthquake).  We talked about how North Korea is flexing its military might, and I said, they hate us, but they hate Japan more, and they’re closer.

My kids asked why and I said that, though I had never learned about it in school, I had read that there was some seriously bad blood in Asia against the Japanese after what they did in World War II.  But that I could be wrong because history was not my area.

Now, they’re doing projects, so one of the kids started doing research on this, because she was interested. I told her to look up the Rape of Nanking. She came up with the Rap of Nana King… After correcting her google, she looked at the stuff, and suddenly she has a new project she’s going to do in her world history class.

Moments like that? The humor and the spark? No other job has that.


Blogger junewilliams7 said...

Yup, it's a wonderful job when you see how you words can literally change a child's life and future. But you still need a living wage. You've got two kids who need a college fund and may need braces in a few years. You have Mr Birdie, but teachers who are the sole breadwinner don't have that "luxury." I hope your reps can knock sense into those dodo-brains.

March 07, 2013 6:05 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

Well, they have put much, much more than that in this new contract. They will not supply books or copy machines. They will not provide doors, waterfountains, or desks. No lunch? no prep? no restricted class size (we are limited to 33 right now, they want to take off that limit) and no limit on number of preps (different kind of classes you can teach - currently it's 3). The whole thing is RIDICULOUS and has nothing to do with educating children. It's absurd and trying to get us to concede.

March 09, 2013 3:23 PM  
Anonymous AmyJ said...

Ugh! I feel for you Betsy. I thought you worked for a charter district though, not city school. What they are asking for is ridiculous.

March 16, 2013 10:53 AM  

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