Work-to-rule teaches Frederick County a lesson

By Ana Billotti
Round Table web producer

Ana Billotti - Round Table web producer

High school students’ school days are from 7:30 in the morning to 2:15 in the afternoon. They come to school, do the work that is given to them (or, depending on the student, don’t do it) and leave. They go home and do (or don’t do) the homework that was assigned and hope that the teacher doesn’t grade too harshly because they aren’t really paying attention to what they are writing.

High school teachers’ school days are from 7:15 to 2:50 and within that timeframe they are expected to do the following: teach one to three classes, grade papers, answer emails and phone calls, plan for their classes, tutor students, oh yeah and eat lunch, if they can spare a few minutes.

Teachers are fed up, and rightly so. They have not received a pay raise since 2009 and at a board meeting on Feb. 22, the board decided to “put in a request for extra funding from county commissioners while balancing the budget by slashing the proposed salary resource pool for employee raises in half,” according to an article in the Frederick News Post.

In addition, “The budget also includes possible furlough days dependent upon negotiations and the reversal of a 1.5 percent salary adjustment in fiscal 2012, which was a one-time stipend,” according to the same article.

Teachers work hard, harder than almost any other profession. They are responsible for teaching and helping the children assigned to their classes. For high school teachers, this can go even further; students rely on them for recommendation letters and tutoring in order to pass AP tests to get into their dream schools.

Teachers go above and beyond each and every day. They are expected to do so much and yet they receive so little in return. Why shouldn’t these teachers fight for what they believe they are worth?

Yes, it’s terrible, dreadful, and horrendous that work-to-rule will affect the lives of students. Although they don’t always like to admit it, students need their teachers; but teachers are worth a whole lot more than what they earning, and for the little rewards they receive along the way.

Work-to-rule may not work out the way teachers want it to, but they are, at the very least, allowed to make their concerns and anger public. The state of Maryland is one of the richest in the country, yet Frederick County can’t afford to give their dedicated and hardworking teachers a raise?

In fact, “Frederick County ranks in the bottom half of the state for teacher salaries, according to the Maryland State Department of Education. A first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree and a standard professional certificate can expect to earn $40,706 in Frederick, good enough for 22nd of 24 school systems in the state. A teacher with a master’s degree at step one in the pay scale can expect to earn $43,963, ranking the county 17th statewide,” according to an article published on WTOP.

Frederick County, not to brag, is one of the best counties in Maryland to live and go to school. Teachers want to come to Frederick County to teach. But they are going to be driven away once they realize they can make more money teaching at a less reputable school.

It’s sad to know that some very devoted teachers are now participating in work-to-rule and not going above and beyond like they consistently did. It’s even sadder to know they were driven to do so.

And the saddest thing of all?

The public still isn’t listening. They are sitting on their butts, complaining that the teachers’ decisions are negatively affecting everyone, yet they won’t take the time of day to really think about all the things teachers do and to give them the respect, honor, and pay raise they deserve.