Monday, October 13, 2008

Workin' hard for the money

How much work should teachers do outside of school?

This weekend was a three-day weekend. So on Friday I met up with some friends for dinner and a movie. On Saturday my fiance and I went to his office's company picnic, went for a run together and ordered takeout for dinner. On Sunday I ran for 4 hours (as part of my training for the NYC marathon in November, I was doing my last 20-mile run) and spent the rest of the day passed out on the couch. Today I had a doctor's appointment, and then I went shopping.

In short, it was a delightful three-day weekend, except that I did zero work or planning for the next week (unless you count the few minutes I spent lying in bed this morning planning my mini lesson for tomorrow).

This isn't to say that I'm under-planned. In fact, I'm reasonably confident (I say "reasonably" only because it's gotten to the point where I'm a tad scared to open up my plan book) that not only do I have my teaching points all lined up, but my guided reading groups and strategy lessons are all put together as well. That's because I generally work my butt off during my hours in school; I get to school a full hour before classes begin and I'm busy every second until the end of the day, including the few precious moments when I'm shoveling my lunch into my mouth. I do all this so I can leave school as soon as it's over and get in my marathon training run and still have time to shower and eat dinner and relax.

I bring work home from school every night. But I only do that work at home maybe three or four nights out of seven. And the other three or four nights? I feel guilty.

How much work should teachers do outside of school? How much work do you do outside of work?


Anonymous said...

I will start planning/grading soon. I took the weekend off.

I can be a few days behind - that's reasonable. But I have to be planned.

I want to take more evenings off. I wish I could.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't mean for this to sound belligerent but I'm kind of frustrated with the poor, over worked underpaid impression that the county has of teachers and then I read things like this blog entry. I work in corporate America (finance) and have for the past 13 years. I'm fairly certain that if I were a teacher for the past 13 years I would be making the same salary as I do now. However, if I get out of work by 6:30 that's a good day (I get in by 7:30). I also do not have summers off and only get 3 weeks of vacation per year. And to top it off I won't have a pension waiting for me when I retire. I have to try and squirrel away 5% of my income into 401k. If you worked 11 or 12 hours a day as most of the corporate drones in NYC do, what time would you be getting out? Certainly not early enough to be able to train for the marathon, eat dinner and relax. I'm lucky if I have 2 hours of spare time when I get home before I go to bed for 6 hours of sleep. Sometimes I don't think teachers understand how hard most people in corporate America have it. And yet they always find something to complain about. You want a pension, job security, 3 months of vacation and a high salary??? You can't have it all. Choose.

miss brave said...

Unfortunately, you do sound just a tad belligerent, considering that I re-read this entry and I honestly don't think I was "complaining." In fact, I admitted that I often don't stay late at school.

Look, this is an age-old argument and I'm sure it will continue. Having never worked in corporate America, you're right, I probably don't understand how hard the "corporate drones" have it. But, conversely, do they really understand how hard teachers have it? Perhaps not.

I certainly don't have a "woe is me" attitude about teaching. I am the first to admit that getting the summers off and school vacations is an awesome perk. Please don't lump all teachers together -- you think teachers always find something to complain about? I think workers in corporate finance always find something to complain about! (Like complaining about how teachers have it so much easier...) You want a pension, job security, and three months of vacation? Become a teacher!