Sunday, January 4, 2015

The "End of My Time Off"

Tonight as I sit and work on grades, I realize that Christmas break has quickly come to an end.  Just like summer and any other breaks, the time flew by.  It was full of laughter, food, and time with family.  It was also a time full of speech practices, prepping for upcoming courses, and correcting papers.  I know that I chose to be at school for most of the break, but now that it's over, I would give anything for one more day to sit in my PJ's reading a novel.  

Most teachers use their "time off" for prepping for upcoming courses, grading papers, and recharging.  It always amazing that at least once during a break someone makes a sarcastic comment about a teacher's easy schedule.  I also know that this has been a sore point for a lot of teachers.  We somehow feel we have to defend our Christmas break or our summers off.  For 2015, I'm done.  I'm not going to justify the calendar any longer.  I know the schedule I have.  I know what kind of hours my colleagues log and the time coaches spend with their students outside of the school day.

According to the Washington Post, an average teacher works 53 hours a week. The article went on to say that if the teacher is also a coach of extra-curricular to add on eleven to twelve hours to that total. I once asked a previous superintendent if I could change my contract to be paid by the hour.  He simply chuckled and said no school district could afford to pay teachers by the hour.

If we truly stop to think about the disparity between the hours worked and the salary paid, is it any wonder that young people choose other professions rather than education?  I have a daughter that recently earned her teaching degree, and she is anticipating her first job.  I've repeatedly asked her if she was sure about her professional choice.  And I believe she's given me a great answer.

She didn't choose education for the hours or the money.  (None of which will play out in her favor.) She's getting into education for the look on a student's face when they understand a concept or when a sixth grade class thinks it funny when she sings a parody to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" She's getting into education because a seventh grader said that he actually likes math because of her.
She's getting into education for the same reason I did 24 years ago - it's all about the kids.

So I'll sit in my PJ's tonight, watch the "Twilight" marathon, and continue to grade Literature 9 papers. All that because I'm excited to see the kids tomorrow!

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