A job well done

Our Position: We should take the time to appreciate that our teachers still helped their students to their utmost ability even with all that was going on behind the scenes.

Before winter break, all LT teachers were working under the terms of last year’s contract. The teachers received a contract on Dec 17, and on Dec 21 it was voted on and passed with overwhelming approval (see page 3 for full the story).

When contracts are negotiated, the cost of living in the U.S. is considered, meaning that as the cost of living increases, so do teachers’ salaries in most cases. When the teachers’ contracts expire, the union has multiple courses of action they can take, according to Labor Notes website. The teachers’ union attempts to negotiate with the school board on an entirely new contract. They can agree to extend their last contract, go on a strike, or work without a contract. Since no agreement was reached between the Lyons Township Education Association and LT’s Board of Education by the start of school in August, the teachers agreed to work under last year’s contract as negotiations continued.

Not only did teachers continue to work on the extended contract, they also continued to do numerous day-to-day activities for students that are not in their job description.

When teachers use their unscheduled periods, for example their lunch period, to allow students to come in for extra help or make up tests, they are not getting paid extra for that work. When teachers take students on field trips, they have to take the time to get the field trip approved and then use their whole day, including their lunch and unscheduled periods, to look after students. There is much additional effort that goes into all those extra activities, yet they still take the time to do them.

Writing letters of recommendation for students that are applying to college and offering before and after school help are more examples of actions our teachers do daily to help us learn and prepare for college.

The teachers continued to do all these activities for their students for a whole semester, without knowing when a new contract would be made. Some teachers could have decided not to continue doing a lot of the additional work because of not having an agreement, but they continued to work without many students even realizing that there was even a problem.

Teachers from other school districts have been on strike for days and sometimes weeks, preventing students from getting their education. For example, in April of 2018, Oklahoma teachers walked out because the teachers were underpaid, according to the New York Times. The lack of a contract did not reach the point of a walkout at LT. The staff felt it was necessary to continue on, knowing that things would sort themselves out eventually. Since the staff came to a conclusion that attempted to remedy some of the union’s biggest concerns, the months without contract have come to a close. Make sure to thank your teachers for the effort and care they put into your first semester and beyond.