Fairfax Co. Teachers Vent Frustrations in New Survey

Fairfax County Public School teachers vented their frustrations through a new survey, which was sponsored by the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers.

The results show what News4's been reporting for some time -- teacher morale in the county has been slipping amid complaints of a growing workload.

Steve Greenburg, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, provided News4's Northern Virginia Bureau an early look at the results of the survey.

"As you look at the survey, you can see that we're at a tipping point when it comes to keeping the best educators in this county," Greenburg said.

Of the more than 1,400 teachers who responded, 82 percent say their workload has either stayed the same or increased compared with last year.

Math teacher Lynn Schmauder spent about a half of her Thanksgiving break doing work, and she feels some parents don't understand how overworked she and her colleagues are, expecting teachers to respond at all hours.

"That's what would have to change. Is this expectation that this select profession is always on call, always 24-7, supposed to be working," Schmauder said.

Fellow teacher Paul Rubenstein agrees.

"That's when it just starts to become more of a burden, and we're all tired. And it's literally just physically tiring," Rubenstein said.

When asked what they would do should they not receive a significant raise or step-up next year, 42 percent of the teachers said the would keep teaching in Fairfax County. However, a quarter of respondents said they'd have to get a second or third job to supplement their income.

"I certainly have a second job," Schmauder said. "Most of my peers in the math department already do second jobs."

"We need to be able to live comfortably. We need to be able to pay our bills. We need to be able to have fun, go on vacations and not worry about well how much money am I going to need to borrow to do this," Rubenstein said.

Both Rubenstein and Schmauder hold out hope that the new superintendent, Dr, Karen Garza, can help lessen their growing workload. However, they warn those changes need to come soon.

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