Accreditation team visits to evaluate BSM

BSM's Principal Dr. Sue Skinner visits with one of the members of the accreditation team as they evaluate the school. Accreditation happens on a five year basis in order to ensure BSM is focused on creating an environment that lives up to the best practice in education. (Taya Rettler)

Accreditation team visits to evaluate BSM

April 24, 2014

On Wednesday April 23, a team of Accreditation members visited BSM to perform an evaluation that takes place every five years. The evaluation's purpose is to make sure that BSM is continuously focused on creating an environment that lives up to the best practice in education. The accreditation process takes place after BSM fills out a self report... Continue Reading

Both boys and girls golf teams look forward to a solid season

Due to cold weather, the golf team has been forced to practice inside. (Taya Rettler)

Both boys and girls golf teams look forward to a solid season

April 22, 2014

After practicing indoors due to the weather for the past two months hitting balls and getting their form down, the girls’ and boys’ golf teams are ready to start their seasons. When the teams began playing outside, they played nine holes while focusing on putting and driving. “I believe that we have a lot of strong and talented players on the... Continue Reading

Senior engages in his passion for cinematography

Nevells has been quickly earning a reputation as a skilled filmmaker at BSM. (Keenan Schember)

Senior engages in his passion for cinematography

April 24, 2014

On March 30th, BSM senior Mack Nevells won the award for best high school director in the midwest. The award was given by NATAS, or the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the same group that hosts the Emmy... Continue Reading

Craft making options abound in the Twin Cities

Craft making options abound in the Twin Cities

April 22, 2014

Fired Up Tucked away in a spacious warehouse near the University of Minnesota, Fired Up, the pottery creation shop, provides a sculpting experience unlike any other. Potters of all skill levels, including newcomers,... Continue Reading

Paint your plate provides a fun and colorful environment for guest to realease their creativity and enjoy painting a unique pottery piece. (Taylor Blad)

The AP Euro Review: a journey in procrastination

Staff writer Emily Pirkl struggles through the perils of her AP Euro assignments. (Shannon O'Connor)

The AP Euro Review: a journey in procrastination

February 25, 2014

It’s 11:09 p.m. (nine minutes after my self-imposed bedtime) and I’m far from snuggling under my flannel bed sheets. By the looks of it, I will be violating my own rule for the fifth night in a row, and, judging by my track record, this won’t be the last time. I’m on Tumblr, of course. Or, at least, I was. Then I clicked on link for a YouTube... Continue Reading

SportDateTimeOpponentLocation
Boys GolfFri, Apr 25 TBDTBDEdinburgh USA
Boys TennisFri, Apr 25 4:15 p.m.Holy AngelsValley View Playfield (Bloomington)
Boys TrackFri, Apr 25 3:30 p.m.Moore RelaysBenilde-St. Margaret's
Girls GolfFri, Apr 25 3:30 p.m.Moore RelaysBenilde-St. Margaret's
BaseballSat, Apr 26 12 p.m.EdinaAway
BaseballMon, Apr 28 6:30 p.m.St. Louis ParkAway
Boys GolfMon, Apr 28 11 a.m.NSC OpponentsBunker Hills Golf Course
Girls GolfMon, Apr 28 11 a.m.NSC OpponentsBunker Hills Golf Course
Boys TennisMon, Apr 28 4:00 p.m.Robbinsdale ArmstrongArmstrong High School
Tue, Apr 29 12 p.m.Elk River InviteElk River Country Club
Boys TennisTue, Apr 29 4:00 p.m.IrondaleIrondale High School
BaseballWed, Apr 30 4:15 p.m.Robbinsdale CooperAway
Click on any sport above to see a full schedule for that sport.
SportDateOpponentResultW/L
BaseballSat, Apr 19 Totino-Grace2-1W
Boys LacrosseSat, Apr 19 Eagan14-15L
Boys LacrosseThu, Apr 17 Spring Lake Park17-4W
Girls LacrosseThu, Apr 17 Spring Lake Park17-3W
Boys TrackThu, Apr 17 Multiple OpponentsCANCEL
Girls TrackThu, Apr 17 Multiple OpponentsCANCEL
BaseballTue, Apr 15 Fridley5-1W
Boys GolfTue, Apr 15 NSC Opponents2nd Place
Boys LacrosseTue, Apr 15 Eden Prairie8-7W
Girls LacrosseTue, Apr 15 Columbia Heights15-1W
Boys TennisTue, Apr 15 Totino-Grace7-0W
Girls GolfMon, Apr 14 BSM/Red Knight InviteCANCEL
Click on any sport above to see a full schedule for that sport.

Teachers deal with intense workload as a result of budget cut

Arriving at seven in the morning, and leaving around five, English teacher Mr. Tom Backen, like many teachers at BSM, clocks in at least ten hours each day at school. And while this may seem reasonable, the emotional impact, not to mention three additional hours of preparation after school just add to the physical toll being placed on teachers with the increased teacher workload decision last year.

One of the most recognizable changes in policy has been the increase in the number of classes each teacher is required to teach every semester, switching from five each semester to five one and six the other. “Now we don’t have a choice, it’s just a requirement to teach the sixth class,” art teacher Ms. Kristi Main said.

Facing the consequences of last year’s budget cuts has been difficult for many among the BSM faculty and staff. Cutting $750,000 from last years budget, making staff cuts, and forcing teachers to take on an increased workload are some of the challenges being coped with this year.

While there are financial woes that must be dealt with, the impacts of the decision are widespread and devastating, and will be felt for some time to come. “The 6-5 workload is just simply too much––the whole situation was incredibly difficult to cope with, and continues to be difficult to deal with. I think we have financial realities that we’re all aware of, but I think we need to look at other ways around it,” English teacher Mrs. Maura Brew said.

One extra class may seem like a small price to pay for teachers, but there is a hidden toll that this extra work brings with it. “It’s amazing how going from teaching 5 to 6 does really take that much of a toll on you both mentally and physically. By the end of the day it’s just exhausting,” Ms. Main said.

IMG_6339-750x500

Art teacher Ms. Main is one of the many teachers who have been negatively impacted by increased class-loads. (meghan ortizcazarin)

The adversity of this year’s schedule is surprisingly unseen by much of the BSM community, but nonetheless, its impacts are palpable. “I’ve noticed a lot of my colleagues extremely stressed, in a way that students will not see, because they are constant professionals, but they are stressed,” Mrs. Brew said.

This extra challenge is one that results in direct consequences for not only teachers, but students as well. “We’ve got people who are overloaded right now, and who are struggling to maintain the level and the degree of their teaching and curriculum––it’s a real struggle––but I think that we’re extremely lucky that across the board the faculty are doing whatever it takes to try and maintain that standard,” Mrs. Brew said.

One extra class brings with it an increased workload with more students, parents, and grading. “It’s a huge difference in the amount of work, just because with the extra class you also have more preps––it’s the extra bit of work. It would be like saying you have five papers to write, but everytime I say there’s five, there’s a sixth––it’s the extra chunk,” Ms. Main said.

Facing these additional requirements, teachers are not compensated for the extra workload or increased stress. “You can’t even fathom that people are not being compensated for working more than they’ve ever had to,” math teacher Mrs. Mary Seppala said.

The fact that you have taken a solid community, and broken that, because you broke people’s trust and lost their respect, as a whole was damaging.”

— Ms. Main

The previous role that teachers played in the community was instrumental in creating the spirit of BSM, but many now feel unable to take on extra tasks due to the distrust and increased stress of the changes. “There are little things that some teacher might have taken on in the past, which are no longer a paid position anymore. Or, we simply don’t have the time to take on anymore. When you were compensated you could at least justify it, I’m spending this time, but at least it’s sort of worth it––something has to give, because we’re already doing so much,” Mrs. Seppala said.

As a result of the reduced ability to take on extra tasks, many feel as though the extremely tightly woven BSM community has begun to fray. “The fact that you have taken a solid community, and broken that, because you broke people’s trust and lost their respect, as a whole was damaging,” Ms. Main said.

With the changes in the teaching load there is the threat that some teachers will decide to leave BSM, yet the historically tight-knit group of teachers at Benilde-St. Margaret’s hope that this isn’t the case. “At a public school you would be teaching fewer classes and making a lot more money. What’s keeping people here is the culture of the teachers, and the students. There’s a worry that if it gets to be too much that people might leave, and we don’t want that because everyone here is a really good teacher, and we don’t want to see teachers like that leave because it’s too much,” Mrs. Seppala said.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Teachers deal with intense workload as a result of budget cut”

  1. Rachel Kaplan on December 19th, 2013 8:58 pm

    As a BSM alum, I am absolutely appalled. After almost four years at Northwestern University, I can truly say BSM teachers are unparalleled in both preparing students for and helping them succeed in college…teachers like Mrs. Brew and Mr. Backen have had a huge impact on both my academic pursuits and my life. I would love if someone from the administration could explain to myself and my parents—who, lucky for me, paid my way through six years at BSM, greatly because of the superb quality of teaching—how they can afford a one to one laptop program (in a hugely affluent school) and a $4 million dollar athletic facility in face of cutting teachers and overworking them. Amazing teachers are incredibly hard to find, and they should be rewarded for the efforts, not punished while trying to make ends meet.

    [Reply]

  2. Claire Drawe on February 10th, 2014 5:16 pm

    No disrespect for the teachers i had in high school but you’re life at BSM is easier than most teachers in most schools around the country. You just haven’t had a to do it in so long if ever if BSM was your first job that it’s going to take an adjustment period, but it is far from impossible. I teach 6 classes a day at a school that does not have a copy center so I do all of my own copying before and after school I am at school til 5pm almost every night of the week I do all of my own paper work. I teach multiple subjects and bring home stacks of papers but this is what I signed on for this is the reality of a teacher anyone who thought that teaching is an 8 to 4 gig 5 days a week is wrong its a 60 hour+ a week job we only get paid for 40 of them. Teachers and BSM need to be thankful for what they do have because it is so much more than I have a teacher or than most teachers in the state have.

    [Reply]

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