Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'll preface this by saying that teachers have a difficult job that I could never do unless I got to pick the students, and that they really don't make very much money. But today's Star Tribune article about the St. Paul school district's plan to bill teachers if they use appliances at work that use what are deemed excessive amounts of energy contained two rather interesting quotes from teachers:

"I'm not going to pay the fee," said Kimberly Colbert, an English teacher at Central High School who has a small refrigerator in her room. In addition, the English teachers share a microwave. They are necessary accessories, she said, for teachers who have just 30 minutes for lunch. And, considering that she spends $300 a year of her own money for school supplies and works countless hours from home, having a fridge or microwave should be allowable perks, Colbert said.
"It's kind of a slap in the face, to be honest," she said. "I'm going to keep my appliance, and I guess I will wait to see if someone unplugs it."

Norma Jorgensen, a kindergarten teacher at Homecroft Elementary, said she was upset when she first heard about the fee. She uses her classroom refrigerator to chill not only her food, but also the lunches of many of her students. And she uses her microwave not only for meals, but also for classroom art projects and making popcorn for her kids in the afternoons.
So, Jorgensen said, she'll pay the fee rather than get rid of the appliances.
"I wonder if corporate America would do this to their employees," she said. "But instead of whining and complaining about it, I asked my husband and he said, 'Just pay it.' "

Again, I have quite a bit of sympathy for teachers - especially ones in a inner city school district who deal with limited resources, as well as often ill-prepared students. But isn't the reflexively hostile position of these teachers a bit troubling? They can't be unaware of the fact that energy prices are expected to skyrocket this winter, to the point where the cost of running an extra refrigerator is not negligible. And it is, after all, our money that's at stake here. And yet these teachers appear to instantly have perceived this as a move motivated by malice and spite. And if Ms. Jorgensen really wonders if monolithic "corporate America" would simply ignore spending an extra $100 or so per worker, she really ought to become more familiar with it.


At 6:12 PM, Blogger Derek Jensen said...

Of course, no one is forcing these teachers to stay at their jobs. They are free to quit and open up their own schools if they like.


Post a Comment

<< Home