Editorial: Let there be no whining in the classroom

the Oak Leaf

Remember elementary school, when the first day of school was the highlight of the year? We were so excited about meeting new friends, sharpening new pencils and finding out if we got that awesome teacher who gave out candy. As we age, the first day of school remains pretty much the same, but every year we face it with more dread than the last. Sure, there’s still some awesome teachers who bring cookies or candy to class, but the innocence has worn off.

In the wake of budget cuts, first-day-of-school excitement took a dramatic plunge. Of course waking up early, standing in lines and dumping extraneous amounts of cash at the bookstore are unpleasant experiences as always, but what made this particular first day unusually painful had much more to do with overall morale than anything else.

The economy and budget cuts have affected the majority of the SRJC community, but the bottom-line is students are here to learn. We suffer through sleep deprivation, boredom and poverty for our education, and it is hard. Although students spoke up about the impact of budget cuts on their lives through several protests, instructors do not want to hear our complaints in class. If we are here to do our jobs and learn we should expect the teachers to be here to teach.

On the first day of class we expect our teachers to review the syllabus, explain how they grade and show us the tools we will need to succeed. This semester some students were greeted with something else, teachers complaining about their paychecks.

Instructing is a job and instructors may not always be satisfied with their job. How would you feel if you sat down in your doctor’s office and he started your check up by telling you he does not get paid enough? It would make us uncomfortable. The classroom is a teacher’s work place and like the rest of us there are standards of professionalism that must be observed when we are at work. From the barista at Starbucks to state senators, it is not socially acceptable when employees openly express their dissatisfaction. As students, we would like to think that instructors care at least a little bit more about providing us with an education than their paychecks.

Not all teachers are making a big deal about the cuts. We at the Oak Leaf applaud the professionalism of these teachers. To those who feel it necessary to derail our education so that you may vent your grievances, we ask you to please refrain. Your rants and chatter about your potential pay cut wastes the time and money we invest in our education. Budget cuts should only be mentioned when they have something to do with the curriculum.

With the possibility of additional cuts in the future, the temptation to grumble will only get worse. And let us be clear we do not begrudge you your livelihood; we will support you in your quest to get the pay that you deserve. However the classroom is not the place to sway us to your cause.

What instructors have to remember is that we are all in this together. Your funding was cut, and so was ours. We share the burden we have to print handouts ourselves, with our own ink, our paper and our time. Teachers have fewer units and are paid less. We students have fewer class options and have to fight to get in each one.

The flurry of protests over wage and class cuts is drowning out the most important aspect of college. We, the students, are here to learn. Instructors are here to teach. When budget issues get in the way of that, nobody wins.

These budget problems need to be addressed by the right people. When in class, we need to focus on our education, keep a positive attitude and continue going about our college lives. Instructors’ bitter attitudes only make students feel second best.