Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show faith in teachers

That's the theme of a letter in this morning's Courier Times. The author of the letter said she was "appalled by Neshaminy school board President Ritchie Webb's comments that parents probably are afraid that Neshaminy teachers will retaliate against their kids if they protest recent picketing by teachers." She goes on to say that "Neshaminy teachers have shown good faith by working for more than a year without a contract" and that we should show the same good faith in them.

You can read the letter in its entirety by clicking here.

Fair or not, there is a perception by some parents that speaking out publicly against the NFT's position will lead to retaliation against their children in school. I have received more than a dozen emails from parents in this community saying exactly that. Those parents have asked my opinion if I believe teachers will retaliate, and I have responded that although some retaliation is possible simply because there are always people in any profession that lack professionalism, my belief is the vast majority of Neshaminy teachers will not hold your opinions against your students. Remember, I speak from experience in this matter.

I've been pretty clear about my feelings regarding this contract situation - I admire and respect our teachers, but I do not agree with their contractual demands. But while making my opinions known, I've avoided using insulting phrases like calling them "greedy teachers" or suggesting that they don't deserve the compensation they are receiving. The teachers may not have liked or agreed with what I said, but they have respected my views just as I have respected, but not agreed with, theirs.

When I went to the NHS back-to-school night last week and I saw many of the teachers I have known for years, there was no shortage of handshakes or hugs. And I've not seen any sort of teacher retaliation against my high schooler. From my own perspective, this matter has been handled completely professionally.

So here's a little advice to anyone who wishes to speak out about the contract situation. Regardless of your opinion, no matter who you support, make your statements respectful and void of unnecessary and insulting comments. Stick to the facts as you see them and don't react emotionally. Your opinion matters, and you should feel free to voice your beliefs to the board and the teachers without fear of retaliation.

It's just like your parents always told you . . . treat others with respect, and they'll treat you the same way in return.

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