By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
If a child is afraid at school, a teacher might talk to them or point them in the right direction.
But what if it was a teacher who was afraid?
According to a January survey performed by the Garden Grove Education Association, there is a large feeling of fear amongst the certificated personnel of the Garden Grove Unified School District.
The survey was presented by GGEA President Chris Francis on Tuesday night at the GGUSD school board meeting.
Francis said that the feeling of fear as a general pressure in the teaching community was something that had been building for a while and had first been pointed out during the fall.
“The feeling is almost palpable when you walk into the teacher’s lounge,” said Francis.
Francis cited one of the main points for fear in the community is the ever burgeoning problem with education funding cuts leading to potential layoffs and department downsizing.
According to Francis, some people are so worried about the situation that they call in anonymously to talk about organizational problems at their individual school sites.
As the funding for education gets cut at the state level, some expenses still continue to rise.
This is combined with larger class sizes, high expectations and overall fewer resources for educators to close the gap with.
The rising feeling of overall fear is contributing to higher stress levels, more frequent leave-taking and physical problems developed from stress, he said.
“We’ve always had high expectations for our educators,” said Alan Trudell, GGUSD public information officer, “our taxpayers and parents expect it as well. We are a no excuses institution. Regardless of the current recession, we don’t compromise on the education quality for our students.”
Trudell said the GGUSD takes pride in its employees, certificated and otherwise and happily hit the annual layoff deadline date this year, March 15, and did not hand out any pink slips of discontinued employment.
The survey was taken of educators over a three-week period in January and involved qualitative and quantitative data, open-ended questions and one on one meetings.
Francis said that although many problems were reported and assessed, he and others understand that not all fear or stress could be alleviated from the school district.
The hope is that the survey will help start collaborative steps towards lessening the feeling of fear in the district.
“We hope to have a response by May 1 and to have things ready to implement by the next school year,” said Francis.