Board should walk in teachers' shoes
Reflecting on the recent negotiation process between the Champaign Federation of Teachers and the Unit 4 board, I wonder: Of the current board of education members, how many truly understand the demands placed on our teachers?
Perhaps we as a community should require board of education members to serve as guest teachers for several consecutive days so they understand what really happens in and beyond the classroom.
Let them plan and present instruction, attend the meetings, write and score the assessments, deliver the reteaching and reassessments, field the parent phone calls and track the data. Show them the resources teachers have: cramped classrooms, incomplete textbook sets, insufficient financial support for professional development, inaccessible computer labs and an abundance of disruptions. Demand that they simultaneously keep dozens of students engaged while meeting the individual needs of each learner. Evaluate their performance based on factors outside of their control.
After a few days (and nights) of serving as a teacher, I bet they begin to comprehend what it means to feel overworked and undervalued. It might help them enter into the next contract negotiation process with a little more understanding of what it means to be a teacher in Unit 4 schools.
Yes, the board has an obligation to our town's taxpayers and should work to keep the schools on firm financial footing. Neither of those obligations needs to prevent the board from treating its teachers with dignity.