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Baja teachers ordered back to schools, but many without this year's pay

Veronica worked at furniture store and sold tortillas

Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools. - Image by Luis Guiterrez
Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools.

Teachers from all levels will return to schools today in Baja California. They will take part in designing a strategy to make classrooms from the whole state a safe place of Covid for students. But some of them without full-time work have been almost a year without any pay.

Veronica asked not to publish her real name. She is a middle school biology teacher that has taught online since August last year and still she has not got any check from the state educational system. Baja California's government owes non-full-time teachers 40 million pesos ($2 million USD).

Veronica: “I have six groups of 55 or 60 students each in the evening. Now I work in the mornings at a furniture shop, and I even had to sell tortillas. Imagine how difficult it is to get back home and check the children's homework, give your class, prepare for the next day, and work in the morning for 200 pesos ($10 USD)."

She has been reporting this issue since the first month of delay, but the state authorities claim that is a federal matter.

“Sometimes I delay rent payments; thank God the landlord has waited for me. We made efforts to finish our careers, thinking it would be easier to get work, but it's the other way around."

Omaira Zamora, a middle school visual arts teacher, has had no pay since last August. This means a debt of 80 thousand pesos ($4,000 USD). As a visual arts professional, she found a way to make extra income by doing small designing jobs.

“At the beginning it was pretty slow because events stopped, but now people are getting active, so now I’m doing personalized designs for events. "I’m not against returning to classrooms; what I’m worried about is how I'm supposed to pay for gas to go to school or pay someone to babysit my daughters if I haven’t been paid."

Last Wednesday the National Coordinator of Education Workers held a demonstration in front of the educational offices in Tijuana. Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools and pointed out the responsibility the government is putting on teachers.

Luis Reyes, an elementary school teacher, said: “It's not fair for us that the government is giving us responsibility to develop this plan. Our workload will be doubled. I understand it's part of our job, but it's impossible to do it when we have no financial stability, and when the government is not taking responsibility and has just decided to send us back to schools.”

The federal and the state governments stated that students will have to return to classrooms in August. According to the union leader Marco Pacheco, this is not enough time to get all the schools ready, especially those that have been vandalized during the pandemic.

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Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools. - Image by Luis Guiterrez
Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools.

Teachers from all levels will return to schools today in Baja California. They will take part in designing a strategy to make classrooms from the whole state a safe place of Covid for students. But some of them without full-time work have been almost a year without any pay.

Veronica asked not to publish her real name. She is a middle school biology teacher that has taught online since August last year and still she has not got any check from the state educational system. Baja California's government owes non-full-time teachers 40 million pesos ($2 million USD).

Veronica: “I have six groups of 55 or 60 students each in the evening. Now I work in the mornings at a furniture shop, and I even had to sell tortillas. Imagine how difficult it is to get back home and check the children's homework, give your class, prepare for the next day, and work in the morning for 200 pesos ($10 USD)."

She has been reporting this issue since the first month of delay, but the state authorities claim that is a federal matter.

“Sometimes I delay rent payments; thank God the landlord has waited for me. We made efforts to finish our careers, thinking it would be easier to get work, but it's the other way around."

Omaira Zamora, a middle school visual arts teacher, has had no pay since last August. This means a debt of 80 thousand pesos ($4,000 USD). As a visual arts professional, she found a way to make extra income by doing small designing jobs.

“At the beginning it was pretty slow because events stopped, but now people are getting active, so now I’m doing personalized designs for events. "I’m not against returning to classrooms; what I’m worried about is how I'm supposed to pay for gas to go to school or pay someone to babysit my daughters if I haven’t been paid."

Last Wednesday the National Coordinator of Education Workers held a demonstration in front of the educational offices in Tijuana. Around 100 teachers protested the lack of an institutional plan for the reopening of schools and pointed out the responsibility the government is putting on teachers.

Luis Reyes, an elementary school teacher, said: “It's not fair for us that the government is giving us responsibility to develop this plan. Our workload will be doubled. I understand it's part of our job, but it's impossible to do it when we have no financial stability, and when the government is not taking responsibility and has just decided to send us back to schools.”

The federal and the state governments stated that students will have to return to classrooms in August. According to the union leader Marco Pacheco, this is not enough time to get all the schools ready, especially those that have been vandalized during the pandemic.

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