Article originally appeared in the October 2007 issue of Ohio Schools magazine, written by OEA member Robert Meyer.
- I could pick and choose who I hired as an employee based on qualifications, education and job position needs.
If an employee didn’t perform his or her job satisfactorily, I had the option of terminating that employee.
As a manager, I could choose whether or not to be sensitive to an employee’s needs, but ultimately, the employee had to put work first or risk losing a job.
I never gave a thought to leaving my managerial position until my 19th year.
I educated myself regarding managerial techniques and adopted the best.
Continuing education was not a requirement of my job.
In the "real" world, businesses often pass on their increased costs to customers.
I rarely had a parent contact me with questions or comments regarding their son or daughter in the work environment.
In the event that, as a manager, I contacted a parent about problems with an employee, my assessment of the situation was not questioned.
- The workplace tends to incorporate employees who are generally of the same education and ability level needed to perform the job functions.
Management would not tolerate it if employees were unprepared.
We were not required by law to make modifications for workers who could not meet work requirements.
If modifications for employees were mandated, the businesses would pass the costs on to the customers.
The focus often is not on the needs of the individual, but rather on the overall needs of the business.
In the "real" world, I routinely worked 50 plus hours a week.
Business depends on teachers to provide educated, responsible employees.
I rarely wore hats other than manager.
As a manager, I rarely had to be concerned about the role in which my employees saw me outside of work.
I didn’t need to spend my own funds to purchase materials for my job duties.
Business owners or management are rarely criticized or urged to make financial sacrifices "for the employees."
During my business career, I had the luxury of scheduling my own break times.
After 19 years in business, I questioned what I was contributing to my community beyond helping a few superiors to become wealthier and increasing corporate profits.
In business, few people take it upon themselves to contact businesses and inform the owners how to properly run the business.
If a student doesn’t perform his or her work satisfactorily, he or she still returns to school each day.
In education, if we don’t consider the emotional needs of our students at any given time during the day, we risk losing a connection that will affect the entire remaining school year.
I almost turned in my resignation as a middle school teacher after my first year. It was the most challenging job that I had attempted.
- Likewise, as a teacher, I am continually researching new methods and considering how to adapt the best ideas for my students.
I am required to continuously seek continuing education.
We are at the mercy of voters who can vote "no" to supporting increased costs and still expect to receive the same level or a higher level of service.
We routinely deal with parents who have suggestions or comments—both positive and negative.
Parents often question the teacher’s ability, decision making, and assessment of the situation.
I have classes of students with a full range of cognitive abilities and capabilities.
In education, all types of modifications must be made to ensure each student’s best chance of success.
All modifications must be made at whatever cost is required, even if the "customers" vote "no" to requests to help pay for such needs.
Each individual student’s needs must be met in order for us to be considered successful.
I routinely work 50-60 hours per week, weekends, holidays and during summer "vacation."
In education, we do not depend on businesses to supply us with educated and responsible students.
As a teacher, I have been parent, counselor, cheerleader, coach and have filled a host of other roles.
I am always seen in that role by students and must always keep that in mind when in public.
I have spent several hundred dollars per year to acquire materials for my classroom.
Educators are routinely urged to accept economic sacrifices—since we are in it for the kids. For every hour that I teach, coach, give up lunchtime, and work outside the classroom, I am working for the kids. However, I do not accept that teachers should have to struggle financially in order to be there for the kids.
In my classroom, every minute must be planned for, and I run on my students’ schedules.
I have no doubt as to what I and other teachers contribute on a daily basis; we have tangible proof in the faces of the students we impact each day.
With education, many people feel that they know how best to operate a school district and educate children.