Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Teachers give good marks to recent ‘grade-in’

 Your kids’ graded papers might be covered in Sbarro sauce this week as part of an area teacher protest. Don’t worry, there were no food fights involved. 

Area teachers took their show on the road to make the point that teaching doesn’t end Fridays at 3 p.m. Orange was the hot color this Saturday at Spotsylvania Towne Center. Some 135 area teachers came dressed in orange “educator at work” t-shirts to grade papers in the mall’s food court. 


Teachers from Stafford, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, Prince William and Manassas staged a “grade-in” at the food court, grading papers in public to show that educating students doesn’t just happen during school hours.
Peter Koehler-Pfotenhauer, president of the Spotsylvania Education Association said:

“Many members of the public think of teaching as a 9-to-3 job, with summers off.  Most people have no idea of the dedication required to plan lessons, grade papers, gather supplies, communicate with parents, participate in professional development, do all the required paperwork, and actually teach. And class sizes are only getting larger. We love our students, but we’re reaching the point where there isn’t enough time left to give them more of ourselves.”

Janette Martin, president of the Stafford Education Association, said that about 50 Stafford teachers participated in the grade-in on Saturday.

Grade-ins are a form of protest which have been gaining popularity nationwide in the past year, as education associations protest lack of pay and policy suggestions, like Gov. Bob McDonnell’s recent push to limit teacher contracts.