To The Daily Sun,
My wife would want to kill me if she knew I was writing this letter. Recently, a reader sent a letter to the editor stating the condition of the schools in the Laconia School District in which she specified Woodland Heights School. I would like to give you a statistic you may never hear again.
I'm proud to say that I'm married to a teacher who has worked there for 23 years, five years as a para-educator and 18 as a teacher. She started at Woodland Heights after getting her Bachelor's degree and was making about $6 an hour — but if you compared the hours she actually worked compared to what she made you would be amazed. While she was a para, she was also back in college getting her Master's degree and teaching certificate. We were newly married during this time yet had so little time to ourselves, not to mention the financial burden of paying for this schooling.
Immediately upon getting her Master's degree and teaching certificate she was offered a position as a teacher at the school and she accepted because of her love for people she worked with and the students. Now, having a contract with a set salary, some might think she was on easy street. However, it was rare if I ever saw her before 7 p.m. during the week and 9 p.m. on "planning night" each week.
At one point, a few years after she started as a teacher, she was offered a job at the school where her father worked. It came with a $7,000 raise. We discussed it, but her love for Woodland Heights won out.
Her dedication to Woodland Heights has been rewarded with years without a contract or raises. One year, under a new administration, she was informed the grade she was teaching was now changed. Upon meeting with the principal at the time and explaining how well she worked with the other two teachers, she pleaded to be allowed to stay where she was. Her request was denied.
There were so many years she didn't have the teaching aids needed so we took the money out of our own pockets. There were so many nights we would be sitting on the couch together while she would be on the computer researching information and printing out teaching aids and work sheets on our home printer. There were so many times she would bring home huge laminated sheets with hundreds of flash cards, work sheets and more, and that's were my job came in. In order that we could feel like we were together, I would cut out the laminates while she worked on the computer until she couldn't take it anymore and would go to bed around 10, sometimes later. She would get up at 5 a.m. to find her laminates all cut out and sorter for her. Sometimes I would be finishing just as she was getting up.
With a heart of gold and unbelievable compassion, it seemed that every year she would have students who obviously came from homes with financial issues. The children needed new clothes or winter wear. Without judgement, she would call the parent or guardian and with her special way she'd get permission to spend personal money to buy the special needs for "her kids."
Sometimes on weekends, we'll be in Laconia and past or present students will come up to her and give her a hug and I can tell by the smiles on their faces how happy they are to see her outside of school. Memorably, one early evening we were walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk and a young lady and her grandmother were walking towards us. When the young lady recognized my wife, she came running towards us, gave my wife a big hug. When her grandmother arrived, she introduced her to us and said, "this is the best teacher I ever had; you know, the one I told you about." It was apparent by her age that it had been awhile since the girl was one of her students and the pride I felt is still with me today.
I am so lucky to have her as my wife. And Laconia should feel equally lucky to have here as a teacher. The way she always tries to be the one behind the scene, she would kill me if I mentioned her name.