Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The PYTWYMI Option: The new wave of imagining excellence and investing in our future

For those of you carefully following the PYMWYMI fund raising drive, you know that personal commitments have not exactly been gushing forth from the Brunswick Community United demographic.  By whom we mean the petition signers and yard sign displayers.  This is why, in rare moments of clarity, we call them the POMWTMI’s, which stands for Put Our Money Where Their Mouth Is.

We understand that we’re in a tough economy and jobs are scarce, so maybe that’s why we aren’t seeing much in the way of personal sacrifice from our school advocate friends.  If that was the case, though, wouldn’t you expect them to have looked out for everyone else’s financial interests just like they’re watching out for theirs?

Enough pondering the inscrutability of the schoolies; it only aggravates one, and inevitably, leads to more conundrums and cognitive conflicts.

No, we’d rather come to you and the reluctant devotees in our midst with a solution that no one will be able to dismiss.

We call it “The PYTWYMI Plan” for lack of a better term,  which stands for “Put Your Time Where Your Mouth Is.” Clever, huh? We knew it would be a crowd pleaser.


‘Time is money,’ as the old saying goes.  If you can’t wave that $1,000 check around in the next budget meeting, maybe you can wave a ‘40 hour’ card around for all to see.

Here’s the foundation for our new opportunity.  Teacher’s contracts typically call for about 182 workdays per year.  And there are 600 plus petition signers over at BCU.  If just 60% of them volunteered one half day per year in the classroom, that would be the equivalent of one full teacher work year time wise.  If 60% volunteered one half day per school month in the classroom, it would be the equivalent of 9 full time teachers in work time.  And if 60% volunteered one half day per school week in the classroom, it would be the equivalent of 36 full time classroom ‘person-years.’

We recognize that not everyone over at BCD who has signed the petition is as qualified as our paid teaching staff, but we’re willing to bet many are, in as much as many are probably retired and/or former teachers.  Then there are our friends on the Bowdoin faculty.

Surely a well known member of the art faculty over there could spare four classroom hours a week for the children.  And how about an outspoken member of the history and environmental studies faculty; imagine how he could bring the subjects alive for young minds looking to absorb knowledge each and every day?  And he could lecture them on the history of 50 years of education budget cuts.

Even your fearless reporter might consider dusting off the old K&E ‘slip-stick’ that got us through multiple engineering degree programs.  We could show those eager children some real math magic!  Our kids will tell you that we need a little work on our patience, but hey, free coffee and donuts would go a long way in resolving that.  And a little more honesty and bellying up to the bar from the schoolies of all stripes and positions would flood us with warm feelings.

In our younger era, Mrs. Side was a regular classroom volunteer in our children's’ elementary school years; we remember it fondly, as does she.  And it certainly strengthened the linkage of families to schools and their staffs.

You know, when you stop and think about it, Brunswick is probably flush with retired teachers and professors; why aren’t they giving a day a week as classroom assets?  And we have a ton of therapists and various types of social workers in town.  Why aren’t these aptly talented individuals tripping all over each other to volunteer their services in our school system?  Why aren’t they already a vital component of our school excellence?  And contributing their expertise to our future – ‘the children?’

If they already are, we hope somebody can fill us in on the details so we can report on them.

So there you have it; our innovative alternative to PYMWYMI fund-raising.  A more personal, more heartfelt PYTWYMI program!  We’re so proud and excited about this new dimension of town commitment that we’ll be manning our comment banks 24 hours a day. We’ll record the hours volunteered to us here at Side, which we will carefully tabulate and report to school officials.

We can’t wait to see what we get in the way of response; we’ve got goose bumps just thinking about it.  We’ll need two thermometers from now on, of course; one for PYMWYMI, and one for PYTWYMI.  We’ve yet to come up with a volunteer days goal, but we’ll do that soon enough.


We’re also looking forward to press coverage of our new program, since we’re sure school officials and teachers will welcome volunteer presence in the class rooms and the schools, and call reporters in for lively commentary on the idea.

At least we hope so.  Perish the thought that they’d rather just have  more money to spend, and keep the amateurs out of the schools.  Not to mention protecting union jobs no matter what  they’d be giving up in the way of community involvement.

Nah; that couldn’t happen; not here in Brunswick, where all the men are hard working, all the women are kind, and all the children are above average.


In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have. -Lee Iacocca, automobile executive (b. 1924)

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