The following story is from an article posted in KEA NEWS, March 2011. KEA’s Charles Main interviewed Cindi to capture her thoughts on the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey in order to share with educators across Kentucky prior to their statewide survey.
Cindi Rigsbee, a seventh grade language arts teacher from Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland, North Carolina, remembers very clearly the indignity that fueled her desire to take the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey in 2002. She had been working at a school which had only one phone available for teachers’ use during the school day.
“That one phone was in the ‘teachers' lounge’ about two steps from the ONE bathroom available for adults only,” Rigsbee wrote in an email to KEA News last month. “That bathroom had slats in the bottom of the door. So if a teacher were in there, another teacher on the phone could hear everything going on in the bathroom.”
And, Rigsbee added, the person in the bathroom could everything being said on the phone.
“So when the NC Teacher Working Conditions survey came, I jumped for joy. I thought ‘Finally, I'll have the opportunity to share what it's like to try to teach children when I don't even have my lower level needs met.’”
“At that time, I didn't know that the survey speaks to so much more than physical working conditions. It addresses leadership and collegiality and professional development and on and on.”
Rigsbee believe she was “probably the first teacher in my school” to complete the survey in 2002, because she was “so excited that teachers would finally have a voice that could impact their day-to-day work environment and subsequently, their students' learning.”
Rigsbee, a National Board Certified Teacher who has taught for 23 years, wrote that she is “thrilled” at the effect of the survey on the culture of her school, adding, “My principal uses it to get an idea on our teachers' views about everything from his leadership style to how supported our beginning teachers feel. We use it to drive our professional development, too.”
Finally, she offered this message of encouragement to Kentucky Teachers:
"Teachers have been quiet behind the doors of the classroom for too long. Teaching should no longer be a profession that is done to us instead of with us. Finally we have a survey that gives us a voice, and that gives us the opportunity to share our thoughts in a way that doesn't affect our evaluations or our relationships with our colleagues. We have to grab this opportunity and use it do make a difference in our schools and our classrooms."