Need snacks, drinks for your meeting? Why not ask others …

save-our-teachers-2

Teaching appears increasingly to be among those no-win careers. Given the limits placed on educators in terms of maintaining discipline, the disrespect shown instructors by students – and in some cases, parents – and the ever-increasing paperwork involved with being a teacher, it is not a job for the faint of heart.

That said, teaching is not on par with peacekeeping duty in sub-Saharan Africa, a Sherpa employed as a guide on Mt. Everest or working the fields as a migrant laborer.

Yes, teachers (and coaches) are put in a difficult position by administration and school boards who require them to ask parents for not insignificant fees. In my district, there are charges for students to play sports, participate in clubs, play in the band and even to park a car at school during class hours.

There are course-specific fees, as well, varying from $5 up to $100, with most being in the $20 to $50 range. While these are for the more specialize classes such as welding and culinary arts, they represent additional costs that can add up, particularly for large families.

The disconnect seems to be in the area of district administrators, who are intent on creating fiefdoms, and teachers, who are left with less than enough money to run their classrooms with the resources they need.

save-our-teachersBut when I receive an email from one of my daughters’ schools titled “Save Our Teachers,” requesting donations for the purchase of such items of chocolate, bottled water, Coke and snacks for “teachers’ monthly faculty meetings,” it seems a bit much.

For what parents have to pay in fees, cover in costs for student fundraisers, not to mention pay out in taxes for a school system that seems stronger on style than substance given the majesty of many of its buildings and athletic complexes, it’s just a bit off-putting.

Nearly everyone working today has monthly or, as in some cases, weekly meetings. It’s part of the job. Most of us wouldn’t imagine sending out an email to our employer’s membership list or vendors requesting donations for chocolate, snacks and bottled water during our own meetings.

We’d likely get fired if we did so.

The district my students attend is one of the wealthiest in the state, if not the wealthiest – though I doubt I’m doing my part in that area – and most of the teachers are well compensated. That said, I understand that teaching is a demanding job that often extends well beyond the hours a school is open.

But sending out a plea for money so teachers can be plied with for snacks and drinks during their once-a-month meetings seems a tone-deaf move, at best.

(Top: Photo of teachers meeting somewhere in eastern United States at some point over the past 20 years.)

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28 thoughts on “Need snacks, drinks for your meeting? Why not ask others …

  1. Annoyed the hell out of me to get a request for funding from my old school when they charge £12000 a year in fees. Not for teachers snacks tbh but for bursaries. Laudable to rovide bursaries but I doubt they would establish an Old Girls In Need fund …

    • Yes, the bubble of education would seem, at times, to extend beyond that which exists at universities and colleges. If you can’t get by on $12,000 a year in fees, raise your fees; don’t hit the alumnae up for money.

      • When the school has just raised £2.5 mill (approx) for selling two sculptures it wasn’t exactly judicious timing. The business devt manager has changed jobs … But yeah. Raise the fees to subsidise bursaries, or stop offering bursaries. Of course, nothing is that simple. Requests for coke and snacks are somewhat different but equally unacceptable.

  2. Outrageous! Why does anyone need a snack during a meeting, I can never understand. If you eat breakfast, have a light lunch during work hours and dinner in the evening, that’s all anyone ever needs. A cup of tea or coffee at the very most should be the only thing on offer in a meeting. Our senior team are guilty of gorging on trash food and considering one of them is morbidly obese, not a great advertisement for healthy eating, either.

    • You are old Jenny Pellett said old roughseas. I couldn’t even understand why people guzzled stewed coffee endlessly, ate biscuits, and basically pigged out at meetings. Coffee was vile so I never bothered. Have to say when I organised lunchtime meetings (ie people giving up a lunch break) they got a decent healthy meal. (Long story there!)

      • I’m just astonished to see how much food people eat in a working day. Morning break in the staff room when there’s barely time for a coffee ( and I confess to being a two cup a day gal), and people are tucking into bacon rolls, doughnuts, sandwiches…no wonder the UK has a rising diabetes problem…

      • Tbh, I rarely ate at work. Breakfast and something at night. But I have always been food picky, I would rather do without than eat crap. Same now. Might have a sandwich and salad for supper …

      • I would think that we in the US would be able to counter the continual grazing with the incessant plodding back and forth to the lunch room throughout the day. That’s got to burn some serious calories, right?

      • I used to chair a meeting involving half a dozen hospital consultants. One very old school (male) gynaeoncologist complained about the lack of meat. So at the next meeting, I ordered a plateful of meat. Of course, it was probably the only time he ever missed that meeting. Nobody ate the meat. Word obv got back and I received a grovelling apology about his absence and the special catering arrangements I’d made. I went back to the usual fare and nary a word was ever mentioned again. Good bloke if you stood up to him. He reduced another colleague to tears. Tried it on me at our first meeting. Never again 🙂

  3. Touchy subject! This is unacceptable and unprofessional. This type of expenses is not for the benefit of the students. Anyone who works in education, our main duty first and foremost is the students, their learning. Teachers get a budget for the ProD day including food provision. Children can use this to feed the hungry and purchase what is essential at the school level. Touchy!

    • Yes, I can see sending money in to help students who may be struggling (not that there aren’t free and reduced-price lunch programs for that). But I can only imagine the look on my boss’s face if he found out I was soliciting our members for donations so i could eat chips and drink Coke during our meetings.

  4. You mean that the salaries are so low that the poor sods can;t afford their own snacks?
    Better to set a good example by not eating at meetings…how can you contribute with a mouthful of biscuit anyway?

  5. Shouldn’t the teachers be compensated for the tedium of another blanketty-blank meeting? As if they don’t have far more important things on their minds, like how to restrain themselves from physical assault when a generation of disrespectful brats is disrupting learning with backchat.

    • I believe they are compensated … with a paycheck. And, yes, they probably do have more important things on their minds. As I said, I could not be a teacher, especially with the increasing percentage of children who do as they please, to the detriment of teachers trying to do their jobs and other students.

      • They are undercompensated compared with far less important jobs like business executives. In the ideal world, teachers and the medical profession should be the most highly paid professions, eagerly competed for and occupied only by the best of the best.

      • A business executive who runs a company, or help runs a company, that employs 10, 100, 1,000 or even 10,000 individuals is hardly “far less important.” You may deem it less important, but many of the parents of the children taught by teachers are employed by those business executives or are the business executives themselves.

        Further, being a teacher in and of itself doesn’t increase one’s worth to society. In other words, society benefits far more from a first rate plumber than a third rate philosopher.

      • The point is that the quality of that business executive, or plumber, is moulded by the education received. If your 10 000 individuals are being mismanaged by someone who is the best available for the job but could have been far better with a finer education, then the importance is shown in a more accurate perspective.
        Similarly, if a workforce and their leaders are all operating sub-optimally due to health care which is not of a sufficiently high standard — because those who could deliver it better have been attracted to other professions — it shows that the medical profession is also far more important than heads of state or business or popular entertainers or sports players … the list is endless. Training and healthcare are the foundations on which all society is built, and the whole remuneration and selection structure should surely recognise this?

      • Obviously, society doesn’t always value what is most important to its well being. But unless you want the government to dictate how much each profession will be paid, there isn’t a lot that can be done about that.

        I recognize that entertainers and athletes rarely have the same influence over individual children as good teachers, but I also recognize that people are free to do with their money as they see fit. Command economies have been notorious failures, economically, socially and morally.

      • Perhaps good government intervention is needed in these two primary areas. It is alarmingly apparent in our country that deterioration in the quality of teachers creates a new generation of further deterioration. A vicious circle sets in..

      • Unfortunately, I’m not sure intervention would work. If you greatly incentivize teaching, it will attract some who will be in it for the financial reward, not the payoff of working with kids. Same with professions such as nursing. Obviously, everyone needs to make a living, and good teachers and nurses should be well compensated, but often good teachers and nurses go into those professions for the love of what they do. There are already incentives in place, such as bonuses for teachers who are certified, subsidies for nurses (and teachers, I believe) who teach in rural districts, etc. At some point, education and health care become the responsibility of the parent in the first case and the patient in the second case. I understand all about generational literacy shortfalls and poverty keeping people from living healthy lifestyles, but there is a sense of personal responsible, or lack thereof, that is making the jobs of teachers and nurses much more difficult than it should be.

      • Again, it would depend on the effectiveness of the selection processes which would accompany the incentive. The idea would be that only the most suitable would be chosen out of hordes of eager applicants. Unfortunately, many of those who love teaching are still not much good at the job.
        You are right about that lack.

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