Daily Herald
Elgin High teacher starts blog about being pink-slipped
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 3/29/2010 12:08 AM

Elgin High School art teacher Tom Bremer follows a number of educational blogs. He writes a classroom blog to supplement his cartooning, animation and photography classes.

So when he found out he was one of the 732 teachers getting pink-slipped by Elgin Area School District U-46, it seemed natural to start blogging about the experienced.

"I'd been worried about this for awhile. I thought to myself, I'm going to do something about this," Bremer, of Carol Stream, said Friday.

Leavenoteacherleftbehind.blogspot.com aims to "raise awareness of the awful circumstances surrounding public education," according to Bremer's first post.

It's not simply for teachers, or from his point of view. Bremer has extended an open invitation to "anyone who has a stake in this" to send him e-mails of their experiences.

"The more we can put a personal face on the issue, the more the public can become aware of what's going on," he said. He hopes he'll get responses from people around the country.

On March 18, he mass e-mailed employees in U-46, inviting them to share their stories. A few, including EHS special education teacher Jon Miquelon and nurse Lora Nora, have contributed.

"I am now following your BLOG. It already is very powerful. Personally, now that I have been pinked, I am going to put my Family Nurse Practitioner certification/training to good use, continue to help the students/community we served, but in a different nursing capacity then as a certified School Nurse for the past 11 years. My heart is broken for all of us - students, staff, communities, and our principals, who have to shoulder this burden," Nora writes.

Jacqueline Irizarry, an English Language Learners teacher at the school, wrote that she has been pink-slipped four times from the district, but always hired back to her job. "This time I'm not as hopeful," she wrote. "... My feelings are of dejection and sadness to leave my kids."

Though still in its early stages, Bremer said the experience has been therapeutic. In the near future, he plans to write a post on the powerless feeling of being pink-slipped.

"You know, at the end of the day writing a blog does not get me hired. But on the other hand, I can bring it into an interview and say rather than mope, this is how I handled this situation."