Vail Daily letter: ‘Yes’ on 3A, 3B
October 14, 2016
I started my teaching career in Eagle County in 2001. When I arrived, the school district advertised that it was attempting to draw in great teachers by offering a good salary, optimal class sizes and great buildings. For 15 years, I've loved teaching Eagle County kids. I've loved living here and raising two daughters in the mountains. But my job is getting harder.
Throughout this time, our school budget has been immensely decreased. We've cut many teacher positions. Because each class now has 33 students, I struggle to walk through my room without tripping. Because I have only 45 minutes of "non-student" planning time per day, I struggle to find time to grade tests and adequately prepare for the next day's classes. If we could hire another teacher, students would have access to more classes, such as wood shop, home economics or Spanish and all of us would have more time to grade and plan meaningful lessons.
More importantly, the students are struggling. When you are one student among 33, you will not have your chance to be heard or get time with your teacher every day and this makes learning a challenge. Especially in seventh grade, where we are trying to teach our students how to become independent learners, but they still need a lot of guidance. As a teacher, this makes me so frustrated because I know I am not physically capable of reaching each student or spending the time I need to have success. I don't have time to give the essential feedback that will help students on their journey. I don't have the time to figure out what students need each day. I don't have the time to check up on each student every day — which is why I love being a teacher. We are doing all these things to the best of our abilities, but I know in my heart that I may be coming up short and/or I don't have the stamina to keep it up.
I hope you will vote "yes" on 3A and 3B so the district can reduce our class sizes and students will be able to get the meaningful connections and help that they deserve. Vote "yes" so our existing schools can be improved to help with better energy efficiency and maybe at our school we can have hallways that can handle our numbers. Vote "yes" so we can retain teachers who love our students and want to make Eagle County their home, rather than losing them to other districts that pay more.
We will always attract teachers who want to check out our beautiful Vail Valley but they won't stay if they can't afford it. Please join me in voting "yes" on 3A and 3B to help solve these problems. Don't fail our students.
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