I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"We Work Hard, Sir. We Work Hard."

UPDATE: Correa herself contacted me and clarified a few things I fund inaudible on the video. Thanks for that, Zoila.

We have hit a breaking point, and teachers are starting to stand up and say: "Enough."

This speech comes to us from West New York, a school district besieged by political nonsense, yet full of dedicated, extraordinary professionals who give everything of themselves for their beautiful, deserving students.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to Zoila Correa:

"I just want to speak on... this week happens to be National Respect Week. And I posted this on my classroom, and it says: 'Show respect, even to people who don't deserve it. Not as a reflection of their character, but as reflection of yours.'
"And as a teacher, I'm a little disappointed in saying... I understand that we all have passion. If you know me, you know I'm full of passion. But I still think we need to respect our community. And as a West New Yorker, that I was born here, I've been working for West New York since I was 14 at the rec program, and I still work for West New York, and I have no intention of leaving West New York." 
"But my concern is not so much... I mean, yes, the politics, but it's always been here. But my concern, president, as a teacher that is your teacher... you know, I heard the candidate that came up and won the nomination, and she pretty much -- as a teacher, I was very offended. 
[Applause starts] 
"And I don't know if you had come to talk to me... and no offense ma'am, I totally respect you, and as a woman and as a provider, or whatever it is -- I don't know the terms. But the fact that I feel like you didn't have a base to say that we need a more rigorous program. 
"I am a 6th Grade math teacher, and our program is rigorous. And we stand up to the top state schools as we saw in that report. Every single one of those students were higher, higher, higher, higher, higher. Not one, not one was lower. Not one.
"And I work, sir. I work. You know me. Please, come to my classroom: 311. I work. Come to my house, three in the morning. I work. I work my heart out. So when I hear that we're not rigorous, or we need more PD [professional development]... Sir, it's October, and I'm on lesson 1.4. Not because I'm lazy. But because we have enough PD from the state. We have enough SGOs, SGPs, 504s, I&RS, domain this, domain that -- we work hard, sir. We work hard. 
[Applause grows] 
"My heart is in this town. Not my kids, because I would have them here but there aren't enough rec programs anymore. But my heart -- I bleed West New York. So when I stand here, and hear how the students, they need charter schools... how dare you. You don't know me. Come to my school. Come to my class. Do what I do, in and out. And tell me if a charter school could do more. 
"And I don't need my union. I do it because I really love the kids of this town. So when I see someone saying that our graduation rates are terrible, and my husband found out that they are 84 percent*, when I hear that we need our best in videos in Hudson County -- no offense -- TV, when I hear that we need "the best" for the kids... 
"I am the best. My teachers are the best. Our coworkers are the best." 
[Pointing] "All those awards? Show them that. Please do not insult us. Say you want to talk and hold our hand. Encourage us. Don't trash us. Please, sir, and you voted someone in, and that breaks my heart. Because what did she have to say? She said she was the best? What she had to say was all insulting our community. 
"And that my president -- because you are my president, and my life depends on what you guys [points at board] vote for -- that's what breaks my heart. 
"Please, come to my school. Sit in my classroom. I'm all about my kids."
If every school board and politician in America actually listened to teachers with the courage and the eloquence of Zoila Correa, much of the reformy nonsense we are currently foisting on our kids would be ended.

Enough is enough. Teachers are NOT the problem, and teacher bashing is not the solution.

Your students are lucky to have you for a teacher, Zoila.

(h/t Hudson County View)

* Correa's husband is a data analyst for West New York.

1 comment:

Giuseppe said...

Brava to Zoila Correa! She has said it all, with passion, intelligence and courage. Enough is enough.