I'm embarrassed that I didn't think to say this earlier.
I wrote about the celebratory concert for Columbia's 50th this week. I wrote about what a gift it was to experience our young people as they did what they love best. But I omitted something huge in the process.
Preparation for this concert was on top of the regular teaching schedule and concert commitments that our teachers are already juggling at this time of year. If you've been to any school concerts lately, you know that there's plenty going on in the Spring.
In order to stage this concert successfully, the students needed the support of their teachers. It wouldn't have happened without them. What that means is that those teachers worked additional hours after school and on the weekend. Without compensation.
Many teachers have second jobs to make ends meet. Musicians play gigs on the weekends. That they gave their professional expertise in order to support their students is not surprising. It's a part of who they are.
But it is a Very Big Deal.
This event could not have happened if these teachers had not worked after their contract hours, including both days of the weekend. And they worked for free. That means they essentially worked seven days straight with no day to recuperate, spend time with family, or get ready for the week ahead.
This is a BFD, folks.
If they had been allowed to bill hourly for this, you would be amazed. If you have ever booked musicians for a weekend gig, you know that good people don't come cheap. You get what you pay for. But in this case, we all got it for free. And I'm embarrassed that I didn't include thanks to them when I wrote up this concert in the first place.
This is the time of year when we often see teachers' contracts and salaries mentioned as a drag on the school budget. Sadly, some see fit to talk about "greedy teachers" when HCEA defends negotiated agreements.
I don't want to hear it.
I want you to thank a teacher. It could be one of these teachers, who deserve recognition for all their work. But really it could be any teacher. Because they all work more than you could possibility imagine.
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