Over 75 Palm Beach County teachers implemented an unusual protest on Saturday after the Florida Legislature put into effect a requirement that teachers and other public employees must contribute 3 percent of their salary toward their retirement, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post.
The teachers, dressed in red, took themselves, their red pens and their students’ homework to the food courts in the malls in Boynton Beach, Wellington Green and Palm Beach Gardens to prove a point.
The protest, called the “Grade-In Marathon” was organized by a handful of teachers who were supported by the Classroom Teachers Association. Their goal was to show the public that being a teacher involves much more than what they think, one of the protestors shared.
“It is unbelievable the way teachers are treated so poorly in schools. Teachers do so much more than just teach math and reading. They help students with their self-esteem and other social skills while the students are under their care for approximately 6 or more hours every week day,” said Krystal L. who works in the Broward County School System, but feels unappreciated and has been victim to budget cuts, layoffs and no increase in pay for the last couple of years.
“I spend hours and hours after my students leave my classroom preparing for lessons, coming up with most of my own materials to teach, grading papers, putting grades into the computer, talking to parents on the phone, etc. And a lot of my work is done at home when I leave the school too. Where is the pay for those hours? Where is the appreciation from my school or even parents for what I do for their kids?” – Sammy W. from Palm Beach Gardens
“Working with special children with autism and other disorders leaves me exhausted daily. I have to do so much more than what is expected of other teachers, plus I’m always physically challenged as well, as I have been attacked many times by students. That deserves a pay CUT? I don’t think so.” – Marie A. from Lake Worth
“I love being a teacher and I love my kids so much. The school system does not make it easy for me though to feel appreciated. All I do for my students is rewarded only by how good I feel for what a difference I know I make in their lives.” – Lynette M. from Palm Beach Gardens
Teachers seem to lose their personal sense of worth and incentive to want to do their best when Tallahassee does not take care of them financially and school administrators seem unappreciative. It is up to the state to make sure teachers are financially compensated and it is up to the schools to make sure teachers feel appreciated and worth-while.
If you’re a teacher in South Florida, do you feel appreciated? Please share your thoughts.
If you found this article to be informative and would like email notifications of other posts by this Headlines Examiner, please subscribe above.
Also, please follow the author on Twitter for all article posts on all kinds of topics @DocKC. The Twitter button is above as well. Thank you!