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Letters to the Editors

Teachers put in extra time for no pay

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002

Editor: Re: Don't deprive kids because teachers underpaid, Oct. 2 letter to the editor from Kathy Calcasola:

I am always shocked by the public response that is not in support of education. However, when I read the comments from the waitress in Spring Hill, I was disgusted.

I am a teacher in Hernando County and a waitress. I am not sure which newspaper article the letter writer read that made the statement "teachers were not going to do any more in the classroom than what was absolutely necessary," but I believe the message being conveyed to the public was that teachers were going to work their hearts out, but only during the hours that they get paid for. These hours are from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

It is clear that although Ms. Calcasola stated she realizes how hard teachers work, that she is truly clueless about just how hard we work and how many hours we work beyond our regular paying hours to provide children with a wonderful education. I can assure her that teachers are teaching as they always have, but the little extras that we have become expected to do on our own time may not get done.

How many after school functions have you attended, such as fall festivals, spring flings, conference nights, etc.? These are all extras that teachers do on their own time without so much as a thank you for doing so. However, we are happy to be thanked by the excitement of the children who get to attend these functions.

Since Ms. Calcasola kept referring to her job as a waitress, let me ask how many times her boss has asked her to come in on a Saturday and take her customers on a field trip, or to stay four or five hours after her shift to conference with a customer who was not pleased with her service, and her pay will be their little excited faces?

Ms. Calcasola was correct when she said it is not a recent discovery that teaching is a low-paying job, but that statement in itself should send a cold chill down the spines of the residents of this county. We teach the future. We are with the children of this county each day for more hours than most parents. We love these children and would never do anything to jeopardize their education. That is our job and our passion or we would not be working with a four-year college degree for pay this low.

It saddens me to think she referred to us as childish when we stand up for our professionalism, instead of feeling our anguish and realizing how disgusting it is that professionals have to ask for a decent salary in this manner in the first place.

As far as Ms. Calcasola's lack of empathy for the teacher from up North qualifying for public assistance, he has a four-year college degree and if she is not aware, they are not selling them at Wal-Mart or Kmart. They have to be earned through many countless hours of hard work and expense. He should not work each day raising our future public and qualify for public assistance.

As for Ms. Calcasola's comment on how she sometimes comes home with $15 or $20 and her hourly pay is only $2.13, I have been waitressing in the same restaurant for 10 years. And, yes, I still only make $2.13 an hour, but I find it truly hard to believe she comes home with that little in tips from a waitress shift. I know because I am a waitress and you don't qualify for public assistance because you are making more money than would be necessary and that is based only on the tips you claim. If Ms. Calcasola is truly making such low tips, then she should find another waitress job.

What a nice thought that would be to be able to stay in the county I love and move to another job in my same profession and be able to have a choice in my salary. However, as a teacher, my salary is decided by a board of people who have either never been in a classroom, or it has been so long they have conveniently forgotten what it means to be a teacher.

As a single parent, if I decided I would like to make a better salary for my family it wouldn't be as easy as applying at another restaurant in the area. I would have to uproot my family and move to another county.

We are not going to neglect the children. We would like to be able to do our jobs and be respected for all we do. I don't think Ms. Calcasola should take so much offense to the teachers who are standing outside with signs. I think she should take this as an opportunity to teach her children about the freedom of speech.
-- Patty Martin, Brooksville

Hospital doesn't endorse letter writer's opinions

Editor: Re: EMS appointment was political, insulting, Oct. 2 letter:

Dr. R. Joseph Paquette expressed his opinions relative to the process by which the medical director was chosen by the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Board. He also expressed his personal feelings relative to the upcoming vote of whether the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District should be independent from the county.

Dr. Paquette, unfortunately and without authorization, signed his letter with his title as Medical Director of Spring Hill Regional Hospital.

Spring Hill Regional Hospital has great respect for the Board of County Commissioners, the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District Commission, Dr. Robert Blackburn and every man and woman serving and protecting as Spring Hill firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. We believe the issue of this fire organization's independence or continued affiliation with the county is properly left to the voters.

I apologize on behalf of Spring Hill Regional Hospital to any organization or individual who may have been offended.
-- Thomas Barb, Executive Director Spring Hill Regional Hospital

Student should not have pushed teacher

Editor: Re: Boy charged with battery, also has story to tell, Sept. 26 letter to the editor from Albert Hums:

I'm a Central High School student and I was walking over to West Hernando Middle School when I witnessed the incident with the 13-year-old boy, as many other students did. This boy was out of control and was pushing and cussing at the teacher who was trying to calm him down. We were all concerned for the teacher's safety as this boy almost knocked this teacher to the ground. Another student ran for help because this boy was going to hurt this teacher (from our point of view).

As for what Mr. Hums wrote in his letter to the editor, I'm surprised anyone would say it is okay for any student, whether mainstream or a special education student, to put their hands on anyone, whether it's a teacher, parent or student. I have been brought up to respect adults, especially my teachers, who are there to help me have a brighter future. I went to West Hernando Middle School and have a lot of respect for all the teachers and staff. I'm sorry this boy has charges against him, but he should have never put his hands on a teacher.
-- Paul Bailey, Brooksville

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