Letters to the Editor

Snoqualmie Valley teachers’ work day plenty long

I have taught in this district for eight years and have lived in the Valley for over 15 years. I appreciate what you were trying to say in your editorial (July 9), but was disappointed in your comment saying “the work day is typically shorter.” I don’t know of any teacher that puts in a shorter day than any other professional. The actual time in the building may be less than another type of job, but I am pretty sure those other professionals aren’t lugging home papers to correct, lessons to plan and phone numbers of parents to call from their home at night.

Many teachers are just like me — we need more planning time at school, but since we don’t have it, we are there longer with no pay and are bringing home things that need to get done, with no pay, in order to be the best teachers we can be and are expected to be.

Yes, we do have good benefits, I truly appreciate that. Yes, we do have at least a month off in the summer, two weeks during Christmas, a week during mid-winter break, and a spring break week off. We also have time-consuming conferences (which I love), report cards with dozens and dozens of grades to fill out, chats with parents and team meetings that must be done after hours because there isn’t time in the day.

I am in this profession because I can make a difference, and I love it. Do I feel validated? Yes and no. Yes, my amazing family, the students, parents, and our staff more than validate what I am doing. Each of my students is a gift for me to have for a year. Do I feel validated? No, and the only reason for that is the pay. I don’t think too many teachers remain in this profession because of the pay. They can’t.

I love my job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I am blessed that I have a husband with a good job that enables me to keep on doing what I truly feel I am called to do.

Yes, being a teacher has many great benefits. One of them is the summer. I can actually take the time to read our wonderful local newspaper.

Sharon Piper

Third grade teacher, Opstad Elementary

Great teachers

The Snoqualmie Valley is a little sadder place now with the loss of two wonderful educators — Dennis Botten and Ted Gombiski.

For those of us that knew them, our lives are richer. Many children in this Valley grew up with their help.

I knew Dennis when I was teaching here but I really got to know him when I kept score for 25 years in what started out as the YMCA basketball league, then moved to the church league basketball games. When I was sitting at my score table, I would listen to the coaches and how they dealt with the boys and girls. My idea of a great coach was one that treated all the kids fairly, taught them some good skills, didn’t yell at them and played nicely. That meant not running up the score on a smaller team. Dennis was one of those coaches that did all that.

The last time I saw Dennis was over at Rock Creek Elementary, where I teach now. I recognized his voice, and rushed over to see what he was doing at our school. He was mentoring a new student teacher. What a perfect job for him. Dennis was a teacher forever.

On our very first trip to Hawaii as a family, much to my children’s horror, they discovered they were in the same ceramics class — same period, same teacher, Ted Gombiski. Brad was a senior and Jamy was a freshman. Those were the days that a big brother would never be seen with a little sister, especially a freshman. I was just a little worried, but I didn’t need to be. Both children had a great experience thanks to Ted, and brought home many projects. All of their projects were treated with respect as pieces of art, and both kids felt they had done a good job. That was because of Ted’s kindness, patience and love of art. He quietly encouraged each and every one of his students. Ted inspired them to try something new, to take a chance with a different form of the clay. All of us can look at the attempted pie pans, vases, cups and other pieces and know that great teachers live on in our memories.

Snoqualmie Valley has had some great teachers through the years. Dennis Botten and Ted Gombiski can be added to that list.

Kathleen Stensland



I’m not so sure that the gentleman I saw by the side of the road, just off the I-90 roundabout, would agree with Al Clarke’s letter last week that stated the I-90 roundabout was a success. It was mid-day and his car appeared to be T-boned. Now, I don’t know for a fact that it was T-boned in the roundabout, but we’ve been waiting for that exact thing to happen ever since completion of this traffic “improvement.”

To say that you put your life in your hands every time you enter the roundabout from the south (Forster Woods, etc.) would be a gross understatement. Folks leaving North Bend to head east on I-90 enter the roundabout just before the folks getting off eastbound I-90 enter, and then they do the ‘magic’ shuffle. The folks wanting to head east need to change to the outer lane, except it’s now occupied by the folks heading into our town. The looks of sheer panic would be amusing, except these people are driving vehicles that weigh tons. I probably annoy anyone stuck behind me, but I’m not entering the roundabout until I’m sure I’ve got clear sailing.

Finally, there’s the folks coming off of I-90 on their cell phones going about 40 mph who are too busy to even see the yield signs. I’m guessing if the gentleman was T-boned in the roundabout, that’s where it happened.

Cindy Andre

North Bend

Sign restoration

Kudos to whoever managed to restore the welcome signs to historical Snoqualmie.

Hopefully our governors on the Ridge will realize we don’t want to be just like them.

John Mason


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