Tacoma Specialists
news & updates
July 2020 Vol. 3 View previous issues 1 2
What's It Like to Be Special?
Devalued and Overworked
How Worsening Working Conditions Have Affected My Students and Me
- Margaret Ross
K-5 Music Specialist
Tacoma Public Schools

In my three years as an elementary music teacher in Tacoma, I have been responsible for teaching and grading 66 different classrooms, worked with 44 different classroom teachers, and (with no common planning time) co-taught with six different music specialists - two of whom did not have music education degrees or even teacher certification. Of the 66 classrooms I have taught, 44 of them have been entirely new students (22 classrooms were returning students at my home school). This means that so far I have had to learn the names of and try to build a meaningful relationship with 1100 students!
...Because of the stress of my schedule and worry about being unable to give every student my best, I was frequently sick during the 18-19 school year and had to use every day of leave I had - personal and family leave in addition to sick leave. How can Tacoma say they support the Whole Educator when they deploy us in ways which affect our health, the quality of our instruction, and the equity of educational opportunities across the district?
If you would like more information on how you can help advocate for our students and Music, PE and Library educators, please click to add yourself to our advocacy group.
A council representing PE, Music, and Library have been meeting to gather information, rally support and determine next steps for solving district-wide Safety, Quality and Equity issues for specialist programs, students, and staff.

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