Letter: A73 addresses teachers’ dual work lives
It’s a cold Saturday morning in January, and I’m standing in the plaza at Base Village, handing out energy bar samples to families who are rushing off to ski lessons. A little girl comes up, goggles perched at an awkward angle on her helmet, and takes a bar without saying anything. I give her a look, and she mumbles, “thank you?”
Her dad laughs. “You must have been a teacher,” he says.
I don’t correct him. It’s not that I have been a teacher; I am a teacher. I will go home after a day of handing out samples to tweak my reading groups for the next week. I will spend other weekends moving bikes around Aspen, or selling vegetables at the farmers market. I’ve graded math tests while being an event coordinator for a wedding.
Without these side jobs, I would’ve had much more energy to put toward my students and their needs, but I wouldn’t have been able to live here.
Don’t get me wrong; I know how lucky I am. I love teaching in this community.
I know that I am appreciated and valued; this is evident in the dinners during long nights of conferences and my newly renovated classroom. Already this fall my fifth-graders have experienced life as a farmer at Rock Bottom Ranch (ACES) and learned about the Constitution from deputy district attorneys at the courthouse. We spend our days in a learning space that enhances our learning as well as being beautiful, thanks to this community’s willingness to pass bonds and mill levy overrides.
I am thankful for this support every day. However, mill levies and bonds cannot go to salary increases. We have a statewide teacher shortage, and it is amplified here by our cost of living. Our kids deserve not only great learning spaces, but also great teachers.
Our district has committed to using the funds that Amendment 73 would generate to increase teacher salaries. Let them do that; vote yes on Amendment 73 to continue showing how the Roaring Fork Valley cares for and supports our teachers and our students.
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