Northwest NEWS

April 5, 1999


Guest Editorial

Teachers need salary increase

by Ann Panush, Principal of Arrowhead Elementary

   I have been an educator and administrator in Northshore for 21 years. I feel proud and fortunate that I am surrounded daily by professional, hard-working, and dedicated educators.

   In the last ten years, there have been significant changes. I have seen teachers accept the new state standards with professionalism, attending extra training and making necessary changes in their classroom environments.

   Teachers have adjusted to new changes in technology by enrolling in classes on their own time (after school or on weekends) and incorporating these new skills into their daily classroom activities. Teachers have accepted new curricula from the district, participating in training, and making major changes in their teaching styles to implement the best practices for students.

   Teachers are assessing students differently and then spending up to 20 hours per test to correct and give feedback to students and parents. Teachers are tutoring students before and after school. I see teachers working harder every hour.

   As the principal, my car used to be the first car in the parking lot each day and the last car to leave each evening. Now there are several teacher cars in the parking lot before I arrive at 7:30 a.m., and my car is never the last on in the lot at 5:30 p.m.

   Teachers are putting in long hours every day and then take work home. Teachers used to spend lunchtime in the staff room talking about their families, personal stories, or life adventures. Now, teachers rush into their office, quickly get their lunches, and either return to their classroom to answer their e-mail or voice mail, or go to the workroom to finish a last-minute task for their students. Teachers have little or no time during the school day for personal tasks or personal communication. I hear from parents that teachers seem "stressed" and I hear from teachers that the demands of this job are increasing.

   Despite all these changes, I have seen the salary of the teachers remain basically the same. If we want to maintain the quality of education in Northshore, it's time for a new change--a salary change.

   Please join with me in writing of calling the state legislatures (1-800-562-600) to support a teacher salary increase. We simply can't attract new people or keep our current staff without monetary recognition for an ever-increasing, demanding, and critically important job.