When I began my career, I taught in a Catholic school that lived in poverty. But I never really knew austerity until I taught in Las Virgenes.
For 25 years, your teen-agers have clumped through my classroom door and into my heart, but my budget for every paper and stick of chalk and film this year for five full classes (up to 40 students each) is $90.
I can manage, though. I am very good at improvising and going without.
What I cannot do, though, is talk to your children every day. With 40 in a room, I hardly know their names.
If you pass Proposition K for me, I promise:
* The money will hire teachers.
* We’ll get portable classrooms so the kids can sit down.
* I’ll use the books I’ve already got.
* I’ll talk to my students every day. I will know them inside out.
* They will write every day.
* The money won’t go to Sacramento. Every penny stays here.
Driving by Christo’s umbrellas recently, I thought of our sons and daughters, my students.
All together they are overwhelming. One can hardly see them all. As soon as I think I’ve focused on one, it’s gone, replaced by another silky yellow umbrella, another funny and lovable teen-ager. They pop out at me when I least expect them and grow in amazing places.
I found a favorite umbrella, just as I often have favorite students. (I can’t help it.) It caught my eye both going and coming. How could an umbrella stand so firmly in solid mountain rock? Yet, there it was--waiting to be noticed, daring me to ignore it.
Pass Proposition K and spend a fraction of yellow umbrella costs on our students. They are all over the place, asking to be noticed.