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Public Employees: The contributions of public employees are often taken for granted. How would you explain the value of your work to a stranger?

Comments: 13

As a SRP @ a BOCES,servicing 31 school districts,working in Operations & Maintenence.The primary service we provide,would be Health & Safety to the Public & Faculty.Often the everyday Disinfecting & Repairs are NOT thought of by the end users.Green cleaning,being recently implemnted has not only been cost reducing,but has also kept the facilty outbreak free,no mersa,no flu pandemics,with clean air for all occupents.This reduces the sick day count,giving students more academic time & saving tax dollars on paid sick leave.Snow removal,not only has the faciliy open for use after everyones SNOW DAY,but most importantly,it prevents Slip & Falls.

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ron viehmann
SABEA
HUDSON FALLS, NY

I'm a teacher, working with severely autistic high school students. What is the value of what I do? It's seeing a student who couldn't write his name or hold a pencil do so after working with us for over 6 months hold a pencil correctly and trace his name. It's seeing a student count to 12 that couldn't count past 4 accurately. It's seeing a student light up when he "gets" counting change or dollar bills accurately, and knows what he needs to pay a price on clothing or food. Yes, to most of us, we take such things for granted. What is the value of the work I do? Helping those with disabilities to help themselves....

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Sally Merlo
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Everyday, I put forth my best effort to educate children with disabilities. I meticulously plan lessons according to the state and county standards, I research new materials to bring into the classroom, I analyze data to make sure my students are achieving and adjust materials and methods to fill gaps. During the school year, I can work 10-12 hours a day - prepping, teaching, grading and as a case manager, I am responsible for the paper work and education of 9 children with IEPs! People think that teachers have it easy - we have the summers off, but during that time I am going to classes, too! Please give us more respect as educators.

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Jacqueline Robbins
MCEA
Silver Spring, MD

As a public school teacher, I have the responsibility of preparing students for a successful future. I accomplish this task by continuing to build a foundation of reading, language, math, social studies and science. Since they do not receive fine art instruction, I also integrate art and music when possible. However, to be able to do this, I must manage students with different personality types, sometimes dealing with a lack of parental support, physical and emotional health issues, while attending to their greatly varied, intellectual needs. This requires many "after hours" of instructional planning, grading and conferences with parents.

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Suzanne Soliz
Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi, TX

As an employee working for an organization of higher education, our main focus is on the success of our students. My responsibility is to see that I am available to do just that and to help students with questions, resources, having a listening ear, solving issues and interacting or participating in student events.

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Tina Heber
3922
Portland, OR

To a stranger, I would say the value of my work lies within each degree, each accomplishment, every victory that you've achieved. I've been a part of each of these. The value of the public employee is in moving society forward in the hope of achieving a better mankind, a more productive community, a more compassionate individual. You can try to measure me in dollars and cents, but to know my real value, is to understand your own. -A Public School Teacher

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Chris O'Neill
Phila, PA

I would ask them how many of their neighborhood children do they feed, provide school supplies for, comfort when they are sad, help through difficult times, and provide individualized instruction at their academic level? Also, how much of the materials that they need to do their job on a daily basis do they provide, $10, $50, $100, over a $1,000 a year out of their own pay check? If teachers didn't give so much of their time, energy and personal finances schools would really be in sad shape. If lawmakers really want to ease the burden on the taxpayers, ask the politicians to live on the salaries and benefits of the public employees!

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Patricia Anne Green-Dehn
ROTTERDAM
Schenectady, NY

In response to "I pay your salary..." No, actually as a taxpayer I pay my own salary; and I expect the same commitment, dedication and level of excellence from myself as I do from every other public servant.

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Dona Stallworth
Austin, TX

I teach at a community college, sacrificing professional academic opportunities and upward mobility to take on an extraordinarily heavy teaching load. All I ask for in return is a living wage, and a reasonable pension and benefits package. What is often missed is that civil servants like me pay into our own benefits package. I also hear people talk as if these benefits are given, as if our pension and benefits are gifts when, in reality, they are part of a reasonable compensation package that we accept in exchange for steady, reliable work.

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Tim O'Neill
Rochester, MN

Having worked in Mental Health, Corrections, Addictions and Medicine in my 28 year civil service/nursing career, the common man on the street forgets that these people are usually the dregs of society and don't know the courage and patience it takes to provide services/save the lives of these people, with little success and even fewer thanks. I'm sure they know that they're unable/unwilling to do it, but forget there are special people having to take on these duties with the risk of harm to themselves and their families. They're not well compensated, and now in NY the only benefit of a secure retirement is in question.

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Bobbi Stafford
PEF Division 320
Syracuse, NY

I prepare students to be productive adults who are assets and not a liability to society. I help develop their minds academically, emotionally, and psychologically. I fill the void left by dysfunctional parents. I'm a teacher, mother, nurse, counselor, and sometimes a drill sergeant.

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Jacqueline Carrero
Broward Teachers Union
Hollywood, FL

I functioned as a gatekeeper in the US social safety net, trying to strike a balance between the person in need and the taxpayer according to the regulations of a social welfare and entitlement program.

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Helen M Mendoza
PEF
Waterville, NY

I would ask them to take a deep breath. Hold it. "There," I said. "You didn't cough or wheeze, right? That's the value of my work."

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James Close
NYS Public Employees Federation
Mechanicville, NY

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