Sep 6, 2006

proactive solutions

Some thoughts on the first day.

Here in the Olympia School District, we're happy and proud to work under a contract that, if not perfect, is better than it used to be. Thanks to the dedication of our collective bargaining team, we've achieved greater compensation, a more reasonable RIF process, the right to know what's added to our files, and a host of other changes.

So, it's easy for a teacher--yes, even a blogging teacher--to buckle down at the year's beginning, to zone in on lesson planning and forget about advocacy and activism until the next round of negotiations.

But that's not gonna cut it.

Think about it. Everett recently bargained for the right to have an off-campus, 40-minute lunch. Every day as I'm sitting in the break room, chowing down on a sandwich while enduring the jocular stylings of a long-time teacher, my mind--which is supposed to be off-duty--is wheeling, and I'm constantly looking at the clock as the minutes disappear. An extra ten minutes, which we get on the rare bizarro-schedule day, is a stress-reducer that makes sense.

Schools all over the country have adopted later starting times to deal with the simple fact that students are sick, physically and mentally, from a lack of sleep.

What are we missing because we haven't even imagined the possibilities? What are the changes you'd like to see bargained into the next contract? What problems can be solved? What improvements can be improved even more?

It's not going to happen without input from forward-thinking teachers who take time to put thoughts into words, and words into action.

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