ITA Survey #5 Results
October 14, 2020
Dear Supt Walker and IUSD School Board Members,
Attached please find the results from ITA’s Survey #5, completed October 5-8. I urge you to read the summary data in the first attached document, but also please take the time to read the many comments teachers provided. I warn you, they will break your heart.
In four decades working for IUSD, never have I felt so disheartened and discouraged by the lack of concern for staff members. While we teachers have always worked overtime and extra hard to be our very best, now we are asked to do all that and more. These demands will cause irreparable harm to the relationship between the teachers and the district if something drastic isn’t done to reduce the teachers’ work and stress levels as soon as possible.
The district has promised many wonderful things to parents, offering several models for them to choose for their children. The district promised specially trained aides and teachers with engaging curriculum and a rich array of opportunities. Those things are not happening. Teachers do NOT feel trained at the level they need to work well. The teachers
feel responsible for fulfilling these promises, and failing. The parents are expecting the teachers to fulfill the district’s promises, and some parents consider teachers are failing to meet the promises the district made. Now teachers are taking the brunt of the parents’ complaints because life in the chosen model is not what parents expected.
Please remember that in addition to taking on the risks and challenges of working during this pandemic, teachers are also the first to field parent complaints that there are too many assignments, not enough assignments, no musical instruments, no field trips, and every other conceivable complaint. Teachers are responsible for none of those problems, nor are they able to solve them, yet they feel obligated to defend the district and do more more more to compensate. Add to that a drastically reduced funding level from the state looming over them, increases to their costs for their benefits, no likely COLA in the foreseeable future, not to mention possible cuts. Teachers are literally suffering right now. The district needs to make substantial reductions to teachers’ work requirements, so the work load becomes noticeably more manageable.
Teaching during a pandemic is not normal. We should not be expecting normal things from students, from parents, or from teachers. PLEASE increase time for teachers to manage the new demands of these teaching models. And PLEASE eliminate or reduce every task being asked of teachers. For this year, you must act ASAP to prevent teachers from burning out before Thanksgiving. I’m being extremely serious. Read those comments. I challenge you to read all of them — have a box of tissues nearby.
Please do call me if you’d like to talk about these issues and identify solutions. We have many ideas about how to survive this pandemic, this school year, and still help kids learn.
Irvine Teachers Association