LETTER: A Day in Greenwich Schools Without a Media Assistant

A Day Without a Media Assistant

I wish I knew what School will look like in September.  Will it still be distance learning? Will it be in person? Will it be a hybrid?  Nobody knows.  All I do know is that I will probably not be a part of it.   

I’m an elementary school Media Assistant.  My job is very likely being cut, so there will be one less competent, intelligent, level-headed person to help the students and teachers navigate what will most definitely be a challenging situation.

I won’t be there at morning drop off or afternoon dismissal duty, and those duties will be much more complex when school resumes.

The book budget has been completely cut, therefore, caring for and conserving the books we have will be even more important, but I won’t be there to do that.

I won’t be there to find that book that “reaches” that child.  I won’t be there to read that story that lets the children relax, and laugh, and imagine.

I won’t be there to help communicate with parents, so many of them will just not get the message. 

When the lockdown drills happen, or God forbid, a real lockdown emergency, my body won’t be there shielding the children from danger. My voice won’t be calming them, my hands won’t be comforting them.

My job title “media assistant” sounds like something out of a by-gone era.  I and my 14 colleagues in this position with Greenwich Public Schools do so much more than checking in and out books. We are specialists in logistics, inventory control, organization and communication.

I bring over 40 years of my varied work experience to my job every day.  I can answer questions that others cannot. I proofread, edit and refine communications. I troubleshoot equipment and technology.  I’m proud of my work and the part I play in the rhythm of my school.

But none of that matters.   I’m just a number, a head to be counted and cut.

I am not a member of GEA, the teachers union.  The Media Assistants are members of GMEA, we are the clerks, secretaries, library workers and many more town employees that have jobs all over Greenwich in many departments.

To my colleagues and friends:

I’m sorry everyone. I tried my hardest to prove my value.  And to explain why funding the schools was important. I’m sorry to have let you down and that I won’t be there to help you and the students.

It was just so much more important that the taxpayers of Greenwich get their tax cut.   

My $60 Property tax savings will be cold comfort as I am job hunting at age 62.

To the Greenwich Community:

I am just one example of the real face of what these cuts mean.  Won’t you stand with us and contact our local elected officials and ask them to use our tax money to fill the gaps in this unprecedented time?

Andrea Casson Vaz