School employees privileged? 

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When I think of someone who is privileged, I think of someone who does nothing or must do nothing to get through life. Or having everything handed to them, not having to work for it.School employees do not fit that picture. Our bus drivers have the hard job of transporting the students to and from school safely every day. For that responsibility, they earn very little pay, and most drivers use it to pay their insurance, which is why most of them drive a bus for Patrick County Schools. Finding bus drivers is very hard to do.

Then, there are our custodians and cafeteria workers. They feed the students two meals a day and keep the schools clean. That’s hard to do at home with only a couple kids there, especially during the summer. Think of the work when there are a couple hundred, as in our elementary schools, or 800 at the high school. Sounds easy, right?

Lastly there are teachers, administrators and their assistants; people who made the decision to become teachers, and some to become administrators, and then spent years doing it. And most pay dearly for it. Teachers in particular spend seven hours a day with students and then a couple more at school after students leave to go home. Then most teachers go home and work at least another couple hours to get ready for the next day. Public education is under fire for not doing a suitable job teaching the students. This adds more pressure to the school systems to work harder and longer to move forward and improve every day. Teachers are under a lot of pressure to succeed. And they are. Our students are competitive for college placements, jobs and whatever they wish to do after high school.

Teachers are thought to have it made during the summer, but that is not true. Summer is time for them to work on their skills and teaching techniques to improve in their jobs. Several of our teachers did that through June and more classes are scheduled. I really do not think our school employees are in the “privileged class.” They work as hard, or harder than anyone, and I want to thank them for the demanding work they have done and will do for the students of our county.

I also would like to thank the Patrick County Board of Supervisors for their help in keeping the health insurance affordable for our employees. Without the county’s help, we probably would have lost several of our teachers. So, thank you very much!

Ronnie TerryChairman

Patrick County School Board

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