Back to school, work to rule

I’m shadowing my son at Grafton Middle School this afternoon. Technically “afternoon” means “after 10:55 a.m.,” because sixth graders eat their lunch at an ungodly early hour.

Going to middle school should be interesting — I’ve never had that experience. Bellingham decided not to build a middle school when I was growing up, opting instead to put the high school on double sessions to deal with overcrowding. I was thisclose to going to Catholic school when the town “fixed” the overcrowding by putting seventh graders in the elementary schools.

Hopefully today I can also find someone who will explain exactly what “work to rule” will mean for Grafton students starting Monday. I’ve been able to confirm from a few people that a little over 79 percent of the union voted to OK the work to rule effort, but I’d like someone from the union to tell me how that’s going to affect our kids. I’m also told that one of the major problems isn’t necessarily money but the wording in the contract — what, exactly, is the sticking point?


3 thoughts on “Back to school, work to rule

  1. > voted to OK the work to rule effort, but I’d like someone from the union to tell me how that’s going to affect our kids.

    I’m not from the union, but I have an example of how it will affect the kids. My daughter went to her high school teacher the other day for extra help after school, for an upcoming test. The teacher said she couldn’t do it, as she was not working any extra time because of the contract situation.

    As I understand it, “work to rule” means the teachers follow the wording of the contract as closely as possible. That means no work outside of the school hours for which they are being paid.

    It shows that teachers are taken for granted in that we expect them to work more than their contracts call for. And when the contract comes up for renegotiation and the teachers have to fight for even a tiny increase, that is their opportunity to show that they deserve to be well paid.

  2. As the spouse of one of the teacher’s who voted to work to rule, and a fellow blogger, I am happy to comment on the subject.

    My husband was born to teach. There are not many people in the world today who can say they were genetically programmed for a vocation, he is truly one of them. He knows that his income will never make our family “rich” but he does deserve an increase, just as the private sector, on an annual basis. To assume that it is acceptable for teachers to work without an increase when gas prices and home heating oil prices are as high as they are today does not sit well with me or my husband. When I say increase, I am talking a nominal increase, similar to the private sector, 3%, it is below COLA and national inflation average. The language specifics are not outrageous either. I don’t feel that I am at liberty to say what they are as negotionations are ongoing, albeit languishing.

    Work to rule means that teachers will be working to the letter, or rule, of their contract. The contract says they should be at school at 7:10 no earlier. The contract says they don’t need to be at school after 2:00, no later. No extra help for the kids who need and want it. No extra cirricular activities.

    It will impact the kids and it already has. Teachers who are dedicated understand the seriousness of the situation, however they also understand that they must take a stand because at the end of the day it is about taking care of our families. And quite frankly if the superintendent is eligible for a raise, the teachers should be as well.

  3. Clarification…

    Extra curricular activites WILL take place IF the teacher is being paid a stipend for that position. So clubs, sports, etc. will still take place as usual where the advisor is being paid. Where you won’t see teachers are at dances (parents will have to chaperone), PTG meetings, concerts, etc. Also, all conferences, except for the ones set for after report cards come out, will have to take place during the school day. Unfortunately, parents will have to take time off from their own jobs if they wish to meet with the teachers.

    Hope that helps. 🙂

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