And then there were 5...

By Eric Antuna on September 17, 2009

This has been a trying week.  Altercations with parents, losing of staff and friends due to switching of teachers at school sites - if your school district is in a budget NIGHTMARE you might be feeling the same now. We lost two teachers this week on account of our numbers.  One in 1st the other in 3rd. As a result, we've had to collapse two classes and lose a colleague in 2nd to move to 3rd. Such change can make it difficult for students and staff alike. As a result, we have a ratio of 24:1 in grades 1, 2, and 3, and 32:1 in K, 4, and 5 (I received 3 more students).  

The teachers were cut because the district is overstaffed in some schools and understaffed in others.  The union process for involuntary transfers created a list for all teachers in the district.  That order helped principals identify personnel and the move of teachers around the district.  Many teachers were moved and many more can still be moved if the populations of schools shift.

Does anyone have words of encouragement for others caught up in this fiasco?  Thanks for listening!

Happy Constitution Day! (September 17)



I thought I was the only one feeling that way. I am the only 2nd grade teacher at my school in the inner city of Baltimore, MD. Budget cuts is really taking a toll on us. My ratio is 26:1 and I'm told I can get up to 35. I'm trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it's very dim.

Vanessa- Hang in there! If there is anything I can post to make it better for you, please let me know! -Eric


All month, I have been saying to myself..when will the month end...when will it end? It has been nonstop. It sounds redundant to too. It's a challenge...and all we want to focus on is the kids and executing our curriculum but when you are a part of a community as large as a school, there is always so much more. Hold on and remember that with time, comes change!!

Naomi NYC K Teacher


Didn't September feel like eons! And now, October is nearly half-way! I don't get it. But, you are so right, there's so much that comes our way, we really have to stay focused on what is ultimately our true job: students. I hope to hear from you soon!

Thanks! -Eric

Hi Eric, congrats on becoming a teacher mentor. As an educator in the inner city, "I feel your pain". Hang in there and thanks for your honest view of what teachers must often endure when budget cuts take place.


Thanks! I am honored to be a teacher mentor for Scholastic. This truly is an exhilarating experience. I'm glad to know that we can come together to share our thoughts and feelings about how things are and hopefully give and take support from one and other. Hope to hear from you again, soon!


AZING teachers in the past few years due to budget cuts. It is painful.

I'm sure all the pieces will come together. We have to be resourceful and ensure our voices are heard in the government offices around the country. No nation can afford to compromise the education of their children. The consequences are so far-reaching!

Thanks for continuing to provide resources and encouragement for all teachers in the trenches to do a great job despite the challenges around them.



Thanks for the great words! Making sure that we are there for each other and, most importantly, the students will help us all get through this disaster of a fiscal crisis. Thanks for sharing your site, I look forward to hearing from you in the future!



Hi Eric, Here in San Diego, we are being hit hard with school populations dwindling in some areas and teachers being moved around to communities they have never connected with before :-( . In addition, school districts are scrambling to make changes in staffing ratios to save money (by not hiring or letting go of teachers).

It is ALL disheartening! How will we ever get out of this economic crisis without highly educated, well prepared future leaders? sigh.



I totally agree and feel your pain. We're experiencing a MAJOR drop in enrollment here in the desert. More thank 20 teachers positions were switched and about as many classrooms collapsed. It makes it so difficult to focus on students when you don't know what's going to happen next. Thanks for sharing and I hope to hear from you soon! Hopefully we can share some more positive stuff or at least so great ideas to share with larger class sizes!

Good Luck!


Hi, Eric! It's sad to say, but teacher cuts are affecting a LOT of us this year! Two years ago we cut 6 teachers in May and hired 4 back in August. The other 2 are still without a job. The 4 who came back are doing a great job and help remind all of us how lucky we are to have a job! I hope there are no more layoffs at your school and that your school year can get into a routine!!

Good luck! Laura

Laura- Thanks for the comment! You're so right that we're lucky to have our jobs and make that commitment to students that much more meaningful with an increased class size or change in the school days. Thanks again for the comment! Hope to hear from you soon!


Hi Eric,

I feel your pain! Not only was I part of some massive layoffs years ago, I was the cut off guy. Anyone who had been hired after me was let go as well.

In the end, things have a way of working out. I landed a new job before summer vacation and have made some great friends at Scholastic.

Good luck this year and keep sharing those great ides.

Best, Jeremy


I really am glad that you were able to get rehired somewhere else. Thanks for the uplifting comments to those that were cut this year. I hope to hear back from you soon, and if you have any great ideas, please share them!


It's so tough when classes shift after school begins. We work hard getting everything ready for the group we think we have and when changes are made it disrupts routines. I received two new students after 2 weeks and I had to change everything I had set up. I hope you have no more changes!


Thanks for the comment! I agree, it is so very hard to change things around that I am actually doing a "Come Back to School Night" because we've had so much change with new students and teacher changes. Good luck!


Sorry to hear that. Always try to find and cherish that minuscule moment of joy.

In the words of Sister Corita Kent: "Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed."


Thanks for the great inspiration. So often we find ourselves in the middle of turmoil and find it hard to see outside, but it's important to keep ourselves positive and clearly focused. Thanks again!


These are tough times for all schools in all parts of the country, for sure. When I started teaching in 1994, the economic climate was similar to how it is now and it was the WORST time to land a teaching position, let alone KEEP one at a particular site. Just know that I've seen this tide rise every 7-10 or so years. Now more than ever, though, teachers need to encourage each other to fight the good fight,effect policy change for kids and most importantly know that they ARE respected and appreciated.

Best of luck to you!


I totally agree. Thanks for the great words of encouragement!


Yeah I know what you mean... My school lost 2 teachers this week! Its hard not to be discouraged during these times!


I totally agree! Thanks for sharing your concern.


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