To the Editor: What everyone wants 



To The Editor: 

I teach young children, who up until very recently were unvaccinated against COVID-19. Since some of our students have weak auto immune systems, I’ve been conscientious about not exposing them to any viruses.  

I understand how important it is for our children to be in school rather than learning remotely. I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that we remain teaching and learning in person. That doesn’t come without a cost to me.

I’ve kept my distance from my beloved grandchildren. Oh yes, I see them and I hug them, but not as often nor as long as I normally would have. I don’t go out much. I had just started to feel brave enough to go out to eat in a restaurant and then the Delta variant entered the picture and the rate of infection rose and I decided not to risk it even though I was twice vaccinated.

I haven’t taken a personal day off from work in two years and haven’t used any sick days, except for one day off for a root canal. In our school, if we can’t come in to work, another staff member has to cover for us. This causes a ripple effect that’s difficult for everyone.
I’m working very hard, following numerous protocols, all the while trying to make school fun, safe and comfortable for the children of our community.

These days of working without an up-to-date contract have been disheartening for me. What would help my spirit? What would make me feel truly respected and appreciated as a professional is a well-deserved, fair contract. Specifically, I want a raise in my salary. Please urge your school board to give teachers just that – a fair contract. Ultimately it will help this district attract great teachers. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

Jackie Wheaton
Kindergarten teacher 

Mount Desert Elementary School 

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