Legislator Advises Teachers to Get Second Jobs

Teachers get the short end of the stick. Their pay is terrible, the bureaucracy they work with can be overbearing and many of them have to deal with the modern terror of the helicopter parent. This is, of course, on top of difficult children, state testing and the constantly moving targets that are education initiatives. But, they can always count on politicians to be on their sides, right?

Take, for example, Eric Househoulder (@erichouseholder). He’s blocked all his tweets now because he opened wide and stuck his foot as far as he could down his throat. If you search his name, however, you will see him mentioned many, many times. He also has an email address: [email protected].

What did he do? Well, a teacher expressed her frustration to him, over Twitter, that the state needs to fix PEIA which is the Public Employees Insurance Agency in West Virginia. This agency serves all state employees and is passing on increased costs to employees through reduced services and benefits and higher copays. How did Mr. Householder respond?

He had some bright (his term) ideas for dealing with her increased costs:

  • Get a second job
  • Work during summer break
  • Cut her budget
  • Get rid of the internet

If you happen to know a teacher, you know that they already have a second job. It’s the rest of the teaching they don’t do in the classroom. My mother was a teacher and she brought home work nearly every night. There was enough lesson planning and grading to keep her busy for hours. She had to stay late for parent-teacher conferences and teacher meetings. Then, there was before-school and after-school monitoring. A few weeks before school started, she began working on her back-to-school materials. Modern teachers rely on the internet for grading, communicating with parents and dealing with student assignments.

WV ranks 49th out of 50 in teacher pay. My mother taught there for nearly 50 years and her final salary was less than my first job out of graduate school. Many of these teachers hold advanced degrees. The state has hundreds of unfilled positions because the schools are considered less than desirable for many different reasons.

Before Mr. Bright Ideas berated the teacher for being so negative and shutting down his Twitter, I took a look at his feed just to see what he was up to. He was pleased to announce he’d spent a lot of time on a concealed carry bill that looked like it would pass. He also had lots of tweets and retweets about what idiots liberals are. Sounds like a good use of his time. Encouraging the divide between conservatives and liberals is such a good way to serve the public. Since he won’t accept Twitter messages anymore, perhaps a letter-writing campaign is in order or a good old-fashioned protest when the legislature reconvenes. Obviously, this guy has no interest in supporting his constituents.

Here’s the thing: legislators should be fighting to support teachers. If they don’t have enough teachers, what are they going to do, exactly? They’re blaming everything on Obamacare. People have amazingly short memories. Go back to 2002. Healthcare costs were skyrocketing and lots of people couldn’t get healthcare coverage. If other legislators don’t get the importance of the insurance fund, I think they should be forced to shadow a teacher for three entire days. When I say “shadow,” I mean that they should get up in the morning and spend the whole day with the teacher, including the after-school lesson plans and grading. They should wolf down their lunch in 10 minutes and show up early to get the classroom in order. Then, they’ll understand what, exactly it is that teachers are doing and why getting a second job is so unreasonable.

There’s more information about what this legislator and some others have been up to here. I don’t know why that website isn’t titled SMDH. There are also transcripts of the actual tweets. They might make you just as mad as Making a Murderer. Oh, by the way, his email address is [email protected], if I forgot to mention it before.

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