Many teachers go above and beyond
For 16 years, I've taught English and I truly love what I do. Contractually, I should work from 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but I come in early and leave later because I grade papers, do research for lessons, create meaningful activities, make photocopies, etc. I also spend Sundays grading essays because I am committed to my students' performance. I know I make a difference in the lives of students who need guidance and nurturing; without that premise, I would be ineffective.
We work with a multiplicity of students, distinctive in many ways, helping to mold and guide them into being the best people possible, whatever that means for them. Please don't compare education to any other type of business because, quite frankly, it's an interactive process requiring encouragement and inspiration that changes daily. Teachers don't earn as much as they should for what they do. I honestly don't know what specific dollar amount a teacher should earn, but I know that I don't earn what I'm worth. We're as much professionals as any other vocation.
I've also heard that we have cushy jobs, with two months of summer break, and we only work until 2 p.m.
Let's be clear: Never have my colleagues or I had a cushy job, nor have I ever left school at 2 p.m. I earned my master's degree while I worked overnight shifts just so I could finish graduate school.
We're always role models, sometimes parents and friends, and occasionally counselors, in addition to evaluating writing skills, reading ability and math levels. I spend part of my so-called summer break planning for the fall, making sure I improve upon the lessons so I can keep them interesting, all because I don't have the time to plan during the school year. I'm expected to keep up with educational trends so I can offer my students the best education possible.
Some of my colleagues, myself included, have to work at least two jobs during the school year and summer simply to survive. What true professional should, out of necessity rather than desire, have to work another job beyond his chosen calling just to live?
Before you say I'm a whiny teacher who should be happy he has a job, please speak with me about my philosophy of teaching so you know how much I devote to your children and why. If I simply worked my contract, your children wouldn't get the best I have to offer, but I think they are worth the best I have to offer. Consider what would happen if teachers, like my colleagues and me, stopped giving above and beyond and simply worked their contract because they literally couldn't afford to give any more.
David Berger, Tampa
Teachers should act professionally | June 3, letter
Seeking better pay is professional
I am completing my 27th year as a Pasco County teacher and have two children in the Pasco school system. I could not continue to sit idly by and listen to the rhetoric about teacher salaries once again. If you think the Legislature will remember your sacrifices, get real. Remember the lottery.
This notion of any of us thinking we would become rich is ridiculous. There is no intelligent educator who has ever contemplated that notion. However, I did not expect to harbor the same mind-set I had as a Peace Corps volunteer. This is a real job.
When you speak to parents, they usually respond with, "I don't know how you do it.'' Yet, when the issue of merely asking for a cost of living increase is tabled, we are now behaving unprofessionally.
I have never had a substantial raise in 27 years, let alone a bonus or paid vacation like others in our community. This is for all you bleeding hearts in education: If your expectations are similar to those within volunteer vocations, then expect no pay for your job.
Supporting efforts for better pay and working conditions is an act of professionalism. Because you do your job well and spend dedicated hours helping others you should be paid well? Where was that written in the teacher oath?
As a taxpayer and school insider, I continue to be appalled at the enormous amount of wasteful educational programs. There is substantial educational funding not getting to educators and students who are the best bang for the buck.
To sit back and do nothing would be the greatest act of being unprofessional.
Catherine Depp Clum,
New Port Richey
A firefighting legacy in Hudson
A legacy is something given down to others, this letter is just that. My family has been firefighting since the early 1960s. My dad and my uncles started the Hudson Volunteer Fire Department, which had its station on Old Dixie Highway in Hudson.
This week, that legacy ended with my brother, Tom Mattix, retiring after 40 years of service. My dad retired back in the 1980s because of medical reasons. My other brother retired in 1980s and my uncles all retired after that — in the 1990s and in this decade.
We all were firefighters at one time. It's a legacy that we won't forget. Sorry I missed his last day.
M. Mattix, Hudson
Pizza deliverers count on your tips
Everyone knows that food costs have risen dramatically over the last year and restaurants as well as grocery stores have had to increase their prices to maintain a fair profit.
I have delivered pizza for the last seven years in the Palm Harbor/Tarpon Springs area for the same restaurant.
For the tax year 2007, the government said it cost 48.5 cents per mile to drive a car. This number was based on 2006 costs, when gas cost less than $2 per gallon. Allowing for the cost increase of fuel to $4 per gallon, it is safe to say it now costs 55 cents per mile to drive.
We drivers receive a nominal delivery charge which does not come close to covering expenses. It covers 2.71 miles of driving my car. With the average delivery being 5.15 miles, I have already lost $1.35 when I arrive at your door.
There is no simple computation for tipping a delivery driver, but if you consider the amount of food ordered plus the driving distance, I'm sure most people can reasonably figure what the service and convenience is worth. To put it in perspective: If your neighbor offered you $2 to drive across town and bring his pizza to him, just exactly how hard would you laugh at him/her?
I'd like to thank the generous tippers out there. You make our night when we see your address on the next delivery ticket (yes, we remember the good as well as the bad).
To the subpar tippers, I still thank you and give your dog a biscuit that I carry with me, but it's time to "step up to the pump," like we drivers do every time we travel to your house.
Dave Flowers, New Port Richey
Jasmine Lakes needs a cleanup
If and when you drive through Jasmine Lakes subdivision off U.S. 19 just north of the Home Depot, you will see a number of homes with code violations. At least one-third of the 1,500 homes here have one or more violations.
This place is an eyesore to the people who take pride in the yards. Some of the people I've talked to say they are ashamed to tell anyone they live in Jasmine Lakes. Three years ago, this place was cleaned of almost all violations.
Since the new president and board have taken over, no one is calling in the violations. Jasmine Lakes has become a very dirty area in which to live. As you drive through this area, you will notice homes with high grass. I call them weeds. Also, there are boats with trailers on front lawns, motor homes, work trucks and all kinds of broken down cars and trucks with no license plates on them. That's a major violation. There are bushes overgrown and junk all around the house. This isn't a pretty sight.
The property values have dropped in the last two years. Maybe some neighbors will see this and start calling County Code Enforcement at (727) 847-8171 and get the area cleaned up once and for all.
If you want to add all the other subdivisions in the same shape, call the same number. Let's clean up Pasco.
Richard Imondi, Port Richey
Council member is accountable
I drive though Port Richey every day and in 15 years have never broken any traffic laws. Most people who live in this area feel the same.
Because the Port Richey mayor thinks accused drunken driver council member Steven O'Neil is a nice guy, should not be any excuse for his behavior. If this city official killed someone while intoxicated, would he be treated any different?
Hold him accountable, just like anyone else. Let justice be served.
J. Hawthrone, Port Richey