Teachers work when school is out
I am a high school teacher, but I'm not writing about budget cuts or step increases. I simply want to provide some information that many people are lacking: what I do in my profession. I do not work from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for 196 days a year. I work about 350 days a year, 10 to 12 hours a day during the school year, and two to four hours a day on weekends, breaks and summer. People who tell me to get a summer job and work all year long like "normal people" don't realize that I do work all summer long, unpaid.
I'm given five days before the school year starts to attend meetings, organize my classroom, gather the books my students will need and have orientation. That leaves me with maybe three days of actual planning, which allows me to plan for maybe the first week of school and make copies for that week. When do the other 175 days of school get planned? Certainly not in the 110 minutes a day I have as planning time. I have to use the restroom, contact parents and grade papers for 100 to 150 students. You do the math.
So when do I do these things? In the summer, at night and on the weekends, that's when. My husband hasn't seen our dining room table in about a month because I'm already planning for a course I'll be teaching next year. Check the log at my daughter's day care; most days I pick her up around 4 p.m., not 2:45 p.m. When she takes naps on the weekends and during summer, I work. During the school year the same thing often happens when she goes to bed at night.
I could certainly stop doing all of this at home, but I won't. If I did, I would be an ineffective teacher, and your children would not learn anything in my class. I take extreme pride in what I do, and try to make the lessons and activities interesting and fun for your children.
More important, I'm not the only one who lives like this. Don't ask a teacher if you don't believe me; ask a teacher's spouse or child. Most important, don't try to tel l me what my job is like, or how much vacation you think I get.
Karen Coss, Wesley Chapel
Hitting boaters with fee is unfair
The rumor is Pasco County will start charging boaters $5 each time they use the facilities at public boat ramps.
Let's count the way boaters are already taxed in this county. Gasoline tax is charged every time you fill your boat up even though boats are not driven down the road. Your trailer has to be registered and have a license plate renewed every year. Sales tax is charged when you purchase the boat. Your boat has to be registered every year. If you fish, let's not forget your license you have to purchase every year.
You are already taxed five times for having a boat and now we will charged a sixth tax. The county may call it a fee; if it is coming out of your pocket, it is a tax.
Why not charge everyone that uses the park, whether to picnic, go to the beach, fish or go boating, $1 at the entrance and not discriminate against boaters? It is a public park.
I know Anclote is a problem with boaters coming from Pinellas, but why are taxpaying residents of Pasco who are boaters being penalized and being taxed again?
Joseph P. Sekula,
New Port Richey
Work on park has been a disaster
The idea of a park in long county-neglected Embassy Hills was a welcome breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, for anyone who has passed the site or lives by it, it has turned into a usual Pasco County disaster.
Going on three months of construction now, it has turne d into an eyesore. The county did not require the area to be fenced off as with any other construction site, and this has led to use of the park long before it is completed.
What little grass has been planted is ruined by parking of cars, and most of the beautiful bushes and plants are now dead or dying.
The area is disgusting with trash from patrons. One young mother changes her baby's diapers and leaves the soiled ones behind on the ground. Graffiti covers the children's playground equipment and 15- and 16-year-olds think it's their personal property.
Where is the county oversight? Who is in charge? Why isn't the Sheriff's Office more involved here?
Close this park to the public until it is ready to be opened and then let the county protect the people's investment with oversight and patrols.
Ernie Stetz, Port Richey
Editor's note: Pasco County has asked the Sheriff's Office to increase patrols of the Lake Lisa Park. The construction company, not the county, is responsible for replacing dead landscaping.