Instead of focusing on her students Monday morning, Anissa Weinraub, an English teacher at Academy at Palumbo in South Philadelphia, said she was stunned by the School Reform Commission's sudden decision to cancel its teacher contract.
"When the SRC unilaterally imposes . . . what else are they going to try to impose on?" Weinraub asked at a rally outside Gov. Corbett's Philadelphia office Monday afternoon.
Weinraub said she believed the teachers' union was negotiating in good faith and was shocked by Monday's news.
"These snap decisions in these moments are things that are not about building a unified Philadelphia," she said.
Shaw MacQueen, a sixth-grade math teacher at William C. Bryant Promise Academy in West Philadelphia, said he saw an e-mail from Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite Jr. in the early afternoon but did not have time to read it.
"But I knew it wasn't good," said MacQueen, 26.
Before he left to attend the protest outside Corbett's office, MacQueen said the teachers at his school were angry and fearful.
"The PFT offered health-care concessions a year ago," MacQueen said. "The district said it wasn't good enough. Then they just go and say, 'Well, we're going to throw out your contract.' "
Stephen Flemming, 32, a third-grade teacher at John B. Kelly Elementary School in Germantown, said he felt outrage not just at what the SRC did, but at "how they went about it."
The sudden announcement was "shrouded in secrecy" and did not include public input, Flemming said.
Decisions affecting teachers "ought to be discussed at the bargaining table, not imposed," he said.
He expressed concern that "at some point in the future, they're going to cut the salaries."
Flemming said he spends personal money for a lot of little things in the classroom, including parties - "to make third grade fun."
Now, he said, "I'm going to think twice."
LeShawna Coleman, 34, who teaches at five schools for students who speak other languages as well as English, called the SRC's decision "callous."
Coleman said she spends two hours a night preparing for the next day of classes and routinely pays for basic classroom supplies such as writing paper.
"This felt like a punch in the back," Coleman said.
She also expected that the SRC would not stop at its unilateral actions on Monday.
"Today it's this. Next school year, it's going to be additional salary cuts," she said.
She said the SRC's figures for what teachers will pay for health care were misleading because teachers may pay more depending on the family coverage they need.
Coleman said that teachers were being used to balance the district's budget.
"We're not the decision-makers. We didn't make the decisions" that led to the district having financial problems, she said.
"But we're being blamed for it," she said.
Weinraub echoed that sentiment.
"This was created from above," Weinraub said, pointing toward Gov. Corbett's 11th floor office on South Broad Street.