February 11, 2001
Dear Governor Cayetano,
I wish you could have been at the 23rd Annual Hawai`i Educational Research Association (HERA) Conference yesterday.
I sat and listened to a panel of five first-year teachers talk about their experiences. They are plagued by lack of classroom supplies, lack of administrative and faculty support, and lack of respect. One young woman is on tranquilizers, and sees a psychiatrist regularly. Ironically, her last appointment was the same day of the rally at the Capitol last week. Another cannot even get a pencil sharpener, or staples from her school. Yet another is yearbook advisor, and she has absolutely no prior yearbook experience.
But perhaps the teacher who scared me most was a young woman named Jan. In a lot of ways, Jan is like me. We both quit our jobs, leaving the stability of a paycheck for two years of school, and a future career that promises little in monetary rewards. Somehow, we were convinced that teaching was our “calling”; that the rewards of being a teacher were much too rich to compare with money. We are both worried how soon we can start families of our own, and purchase a house. Well, after four days of teaching, Jan quit. Luckily, she is back at the same school and will finish the school year, but she’s in the same awful classroom, under the same terrible circumstances. I don’t think I need to elaborate, but let’s just say that no one deserves a class like Jan’s. And let’s also say that Jan isn’t alone.
Jan and the other presenters are all graduates of the Masters of Education in Teaching (MET) Program at the University of Hawaii. It is a highly respected program that prepares its students to be exceptional teachers. Our Teacher of the Year, Derek Minakami, is the perfect representative. They are all people who truly believe in providing our students with the most enriching, engaging, and meaningful education they could ever receive. They are dedicated and committed to their jobs as teachers. They give more to their students than you could ever imagine.
I am a student in the MET Program. I still want, more than ever, to be a teacher. But I’m frightened of what I’ll be up against.
If nothing else, recognize teachers for the professionals they are. Would you ever question your doctor over the cost of your check-up? So when you’re talking about this whole pay raise issue, don’t ever give the excuse of “there’s just not enough money.” Money isn’t the issue here. Our children are the issue. Give them both school supplies and happy teachers.
Susan Sensei’s English Lesson #65（スーザン先生の英語講座）
You have a little time after dinner and want to try and go back to a certain store, but you don’t want to get there to see that it has already closed. You can call the operator, and ask,
Then, call the store and say,
“What time are you open until? “
|Loco Girl’s Profile（ロコ・ガールのプロフィール） Born in Hilo, I grew up going fishing with Dad, shopping with Mom, and trying to be a good “big sister” to a younger sister and brother. A Waiakea High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa alumni, I taught English in Japan for two years on the JET Program. I love doing a lot of things-shopping, reading, lettering, making jewelry & crafts, watching Friends-and that’s just the start of my list! I like being busy, and am active with the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) and the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC.) My family and friends are, of course, very important to me, and are why I live a very typical, happy, local-style life in Hawaii and will never leave!|