BSM alum succeeds in journalism industry as TIME reporter

July 10, 2014

As Benilde-St. Margaret’s seniors endured their final days of high school before graduation, they prepare to move one step closer to getting jobs and becoming successful. Benilde-St. Margaret’s class of 2008 alum, Alexandra Sifferlin, is an example of this success; she has turned what was once a childhood ambition into an exciting reality. Sifferlin is now a health reporter for TIME Magazine, and has spent the last few years reporting on an assortment of health related issues. “I love being a health reporter because I like to think I’m doing a service. Health, medicine, and science impact everyone, and I get the most touching emails from readers,” said Sifferlin. At the age of... Continue Reading

Baseball team falls short to Armstrong in vital section game

June 4, 2014

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s baseball team made the trek to Siebert Field at the University of Minnesota to take on the Wayzata Trojans in a section playoff showdown. According to junior Connor Day, “Our team played well and with a lot of chemistry. We rebounded well from our loss last week.” The Trojans scored first with one player crossing the plate in the top half of the first inning; the Red Knights answered by scoring two runs in the bottom of the second. BSM senior Michael Kaminski threw a complete game, allowing only two runs over the course of seven innings as well as recording one RBI. Junior Tyler Wyvell along with seniors Keaton Studsrud and Christopher Racchini also contributed... Continue Reading

10 Things To Do Around Lake Calhoun

Going to the beach is one of the most popular pastimes of Lake Calhoun goers. Bring a towel and your sun block and head to either one of the two beaches of Lake Calhoun. (Keenan Schember, Megan Ortizcazarin)

10 Things To Do Around Lake Calhoun

June 5, 2014

The definitive ranking of BSM water fountains

Sophamore Gunnar Lundberg stops for a cool refreshing drink (Emily Larson)

The definitive ranking of BSM water fountains

June 3, 2014

As the days become longer and the heat index spikes, students often seek the comfort of a cool sip of water from one of the many selections of drinking fountains offered at BSM. But with so many to choose from, not all can claim the title of Most Popular Water Fountain. From dirty drains, leaky fountains, horrible locations and warm, iron-laced water,... Continue Reading

SportDateTimeOpponentLocation
Boys SoccerTue, Aug 19 3:45 p.m.BlakeBlake Middle School
Girls SoccerTue, Aug 19 7 p.m.Holy AngelsHome
Boys SoccerThu, Aug 21 4 p.m.MarshallMarshall
Girls SoccerThu, Aug 21 7 p.m.Blake Blake Middle School
Boys SoccerTue, Aug 26 7 p.m.Eden PraireHome
FootballThu, Aug 28 7 p.m.Holy AngelsHoly Angels
Boys SoccerThu, Aug 28 4:30 p.m.St Paul AcademySt Paul Academy
Girls SoccerThu, Aug 28 7:30 p.m.MinnetonkaHome
Boys SoccerTue, Sep 02 7 p.m.OronoHome
Girls SoccerTue, Sep 02 5 p.m.OronoOrono HS
Boys SoccerThu, Sep 04 5 p.m.RochesterHome
FootballFri, Sep 05 7 p.m.ChaskaChaska HS
Click on any sport above to see a full schedule for that sport.
SportDateOpponentResultW/L
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.

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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.

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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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