Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rage for the Machine

Still pissed off about loosing my bike rights, I sent the following off to our local paper the Southwest Review. Am I Tilting at windmills?

Little Things Add Up in District 199

For three years I have bike commuted to the Inver Grove Heights Middle School where I love working as a teacher and coach. I started bike commuting for fun, fitness, cost savings and environmentalism. I think little things add up.

The Middle School is a great place. The encouragement of students, fellow staff members, my principals, head custodian and room custodians toward riding to school shows our supportive building community.

Yes, and cycling adds to my work with students. Frosted eyelashes on a -20 degree day make an impression with kids. Having a bike in the corner of my classroom starts conversations on ecology, fitness and helmets.

One such conversation let to bringing in my repair stand and bike tools to help students with brakes, kickstands, cables, tires and more. Another day, I worked with a student to repair the district owned bikes and adult tricycles ridden in the halls during our adaptive P.E. classes.

Helping a student with a bike problem builds on our school community, shows caring and becomes something that benefits achievement. Giving a child a safe bike and a little extra adult support is not the answer to all of our academic problems, but it contributes.

Regrettably, Dr. Wells, our Superintendent of Schools, has recently decided no staff bike may go inside our schools. I contend, an expensive, adult bike is a target for vandalism and theft without a secure storage spot during late hours of teaching and coaching. A lone bike in the snow will not start important conversations or be an example to children.

My bike doesn’t harm district property; I have fixed district property. Safety isn’t threatened; it is increased. Learning isn’t limited it’s bolstered. Bike commuting is an answer not a problem. It is to be celebrated not restricted. Does Dr. Wells’ decision add up? Does Dr. Wells park in the student lot?

Please support teacher cycling and outreach along with the countless other excellent things teachers and staff do in District 199. Little things the community does add up for students too.

Heath Anderson
Inver Grove Heights Middle School
ELL Teacher, 7th Grade Football Coach, Middle School Track Coach, Nordic Ski Coach
Go Spartans!


queasyfish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Wouldn't this be an opportunity to demonstrate to the kids how to keep a bike safe at school?

Your cycling and cycle repair offer an opportunity to mentor, role model, and educate and this is more powerful and important than a perceived threat of vandalism and theivery.

I would need more data as to why staff bikes = vandalism (like the argument that when you have condoms available, all the kids start having sex).

Jared said...

Nice letter. Your efforts should not be squashed. I support your efforts completely.