Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

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As I wind up my 24th year of teaching in Los Angeles classrooms , I pause to think of my past lives in different schools and neighborhoods. While presenting to students in Finland I always included a slide of past eras of my life such as growing up in the Eastside, college and adulthood in the Westside, teaching on the Southside, and married life in the Valley. Apart from being a native Angeleno, significant years of my life have been spent living in many parts of town, and teaching in many communities. I love all of them.

Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that what students all over L.A. need more than anything is an ally on the school board. My South Central students need a warrior who recognizes that our teachers’ strike was more than just a salary dispute, but a movement to reclaim our rightful place as agents of change in the profession we love. One that will help us do our jobs serving students. My West Valley students need a fighter who will challenge our legislators to …

FULBRIGHT: I'm Moving to Finland

When I tell people that come January, I will be living in Finland for 5 months, the reactions are shock, wonder, and admiration. "I wish I could get away for 5 months like that!" is a common reaction.

The truth is it is not so easy.

Your Job 



Most teachers who apply for a Fulbright tend to be intricately involved in the management of their schools. They are department chairs, coaches, coordinators, and many times all of the above. Aside from that, we have our own rolls of students we are committed to.

I had the opportunity to leave the classroom this year for the first time in 22 years. My Fulbright award definitely swayed me into the direction of taking on a full time Magnet Program Coordinator role. If I wasn't personally in charge of 150 students, it would make my departure easier to bear.

But no matter your role, knowing you will be leaving your school is a tough decision.  As January approaches, the decision is still a tough one to deal with.

Your Pay


Although Fulbright covers your costs while living abroad, you have your own expenses to deal with at home. It turns out there is a wide variety of support that teachers receive from their school districts.

Most Fulbrighters receive some level of salary and benefits. But there are some districts that completely cut teachers off and assign them an unpaid leave. At our orientation, one teacher shared that her school gave away her position during her leave and when she returned, she had to cobble together three minimum wage jobs until she was able to obtain another teaching position.

My school district, in spite of months of questions, has not told me what I can expect for compensation next year. So I have to plan for zero. This means renting out my home, and moving in with loved ones in order to save money for 2018. This was really hard to do, but I am willing to make sacrifices to get to Finland.

It will mean living like a college student again in order to pay my bills while conducting my inquiry project in Finland.

Many leaders in my district have written congratulatory letters to me and are thorough supporters of my endeavor. But the must frustrating part is those who respond with "what is a Fulbright?" when I try to get answers about my leave. Those are the tough days.

Your Family


There is nothing easy about leaving friends and family behind. But I take this as an opportunity to encourage them all to visit you while abroad. My daughter Alana plans to visit and keep me warm.

Your Housing


Many worry warts have asked me if I am stressed about the move or finding housing or the food or the language. No! I am excited! That is all part of the adventure. When will I ever have the opportunity to find a cool new apartment and be cosmopolitan? When will I ever get to challenge myself by being immersed in a completely foreign culture? Your grow or you die.

The apartment I am looking at is in the city center, a short walk from everything. However, a short walk might seem like torture when it is below zero, but I hope my acclimation will be quick.


As the holidays approach, I continue to gather artifacts and ideas that I will share with the Finnish people. Los Angelenos represent the intersection of race, class, gender, and all that makes America already great. I embark on my Fulbright hoping to share with the Finns as much as they may share with me.

Want to learn about the awesome program that is sending me to Finland? Check it out here.

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