Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Teacher Work Day

I remember a phone conversation I had with an old high school buddy a few years ago. He had moved to New York City after college and we had lost touch. In that time, I had secured my first teaching position, and he was interested to know what it was like to sit on the opposite side of the desk. When I told him my schedule (5 classes, 1 duty, 1 prep, lunch, team meeting) he scoffed. So you only teach 5 out of 9 periods? That's only like half the day! I remember the desire to take the 8 hour trip to NYC just so I could slam his fingers in the nearest door.

What he didn't understand was that those four “non-teaching” periods were either spent dealing with student concerns, or working one-on-one – and I either ate lunch in my room while kids played catch-up or ate in the cafeteria to build better relationships.

At the time my friend was working as a personal trainer at a private gym for some fancy corporation. He showed up at 9am, motivated a few portly CEOs, then clocked out at 5pm. He didn't realize that a teacher doesn't stop being a teacher after the final bell rings. My first year teaching was pretty characteristic of all first year experiences. I got to school early, stayed late, then brought home work to do during commercials.

I'm now in my sixth year of teaching, and this routine has not changed much. Last night after spending almost three hours working on lesson plans, I asked myself, shouldn't this be getting easier? For good teachers, I think there's an obvious answer to that.
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2 Responses:

Danika Barker said...

Too true, and it's only going to get worse for teachers in our board since they're in contract negotiations and the news media love to slam "lazy greedy teachers."

Mrs. D said...

I so wish that those folks could spend a week teaching!