Freshman Peyton Melin organizes Lenten common basket

The Melin family visited with a family during their travels to Flores De Villa, Peru, last summer. Their trip included aiding their church in building homes for struggling Peruvians. (courtesy of Peyton Melin)

Freshman Peyton Melin organizes Lenten common basket

April 15, 2014

With the help of the BSM World Language Department, freshman Peyton Melin spent the week of April 1 raising awareness to the community of BSM about a small city in Peru, Flores de Villa, located about 30 minutes from the capital, Lima. “Lima is a modern city with a casino,... Continue Reading

Junior establishes self as premier softball player

Junior establishes self as premier softball player

April 15, 2014

Junior captain Maddie Houlihan has come along way since first stepping up to the tee-ball plate as a young six year old. With her college future already mapped out and two years remaining as a Red Knight still to play, the University... Continue Reading

The importance of feminism can’t be ignored

The iconic Rosie the Riveter image has been a symbol of feminism since World War 2. (Ryan Applehof)

The importance of feminism can’t be ignored

April 17, 2014

I grew up with a stay at home dad. Every morning, he brushed my hair, made my lunch, and sent me off to school. In the evenings, he made dinner and folded laundry. My mom has always been the breadwinner, and I never questioned this situation––it was just how we did things. I think it is the responsibility... Continue Reading

Aloe Blacc makes a name for himself in latest record

The album takes influence from the sounds of the 60's and 70's, while still remain modern and fresh. (Aloe Blacc press image)

Aloe Blacc makes a name for himself in latest record

April 9, 2014

Aloe Blacc makes a name for himself in the music business with “Lift Your Spirit,” a soulful and creative album with a classy feel. His vintage sound made it more difficult for him to produce hits, but his... Continue Reading

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 LacrosseSat, Apr 19 5 p.m.EaganAway
BaseballMon, Apr 21 4:30 p.m.WayzataHome
Boys GolfMon, Apr 21 9 a.m.Chanhassen Invite Deer Run Golf Club
BaseballTue, Apr 22 4:15 p.m.IrondaleAway
Boys GolfTue, Apr 22 1 p.m.NSC OpponentsVictory Links Golf Course
Girls GolfTue, Apr 22 3 p.m.NSC OpponentsMajestic Oaks Golf Course
Boys LacrosseTue, Apr 22 7 p.m.St. Thomas AcademyHome
Boys TennisTue, Apr 22 4:00 p.m.FridleyFridley High School
Boys TennisWed, Apr 23 4:00 p.m.WayzataWayzata High School
BaseballThu, Apr 24 4:15 p.m.Spring Lake ParkHome
Girls GolfThu, Apr 24 3 p.m.NSC OpponentsMajestic Oaks Golf Course
Boys LacrosseThu, Apr 24 7 p.m.Blake Away
Click on any sport above to see a full schedule for that sport.
SportDateOpponentResultW/L
Boys TennisTue, Apr 08 Columbia Heights7-0W
Boys TrackTue, Apr 08 Multiple Opponents46
Tue, Apr 08 Multiple Opponents83
Girls TrackTue, Apr 08 Multiple Opponents83
Boys TennisMon, Apr 07 Blake 3-4L
Girls BasketballSat, Mar 08 Holy Family Catholic61-66L
Girls BasketballTue, Mar 04 Mound-Westonka85-60W
Boys BasketballSat, Mar 01 Waconia60-69L
Girls BasketballFri, Feb 28 Columbia Heights84-46W
Boys HockeyWed, Feb 26 Eden Prairie2-3 2OTL
Boys BasketballTue, Feb 25 Mound-Westonka50-47W
Girls BasketballTue, Feb 25 St. Louis Park71-47W
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]

The Knight Errant intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Knight Errant does not allow anonymous comments, and the Knight Errant requires first and last names and a valid email address in order for comments to be published. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.