This is my current workday schedule. As implied by recent educational developments and discussions, I don’t do enough to get my students where they need to be.
4 AM – wake up, get dressed
4:30 AM – eat breakfast
5 AM – do my hair and makeup
5:30 AM – leave the house
6 AM – arrive at school
6:05 AM – put my bags down at my work station
6:15 AM – make copies for each of my classes
6:30 AM – set up each of my 4 shared classrooms
7:20 AM – stand in the hallway and greet students
7:27 AM – 2:38 PM – follow the following schedule, depending on what day it is, rotating class days and periods everyday, 5 days a week*
*During hall duties I am often asked to cover other classes since we have a sub shortage in our district. During Common Planning, I am either grading or developing curriculum with my colleagues. More times than not, we use this time to grade a myriad of state and district mandated common assessments we are required to give our students during the 3-4 days a week we see them as a result of our schedule. During my prep period, I am either grading, developing work for my students, planning lessons, calling parents and guardians, having meetings with supervisors, or running around the school to get questions answered for myself, my students, or their parents/ guardians.
2:28- 4-4:30 PM -
Mondays: staff meeting, department meeting, or professional development
Tuesdays: Office Hours until 3:20, then grading until 4:30
Wednesdays & Thursdays: grading/ record keeping/ organizational teaching tasks/ photocopying until 4:30 (if I’m lucky)
(Fridays I force myself to leave by 3, unless there’s a school event my students are involved with that I wish to attend. Then I may be at school until 8 or 9.)
Also, on any given night, I’m usually up until 10 or 11 grading, writing lessons for my 3 different class sections (in 2 weeks my schedule changes for the 2nd semester and I get to plan for 4 completely different classes and grade levels!), preparing material for class, researching articles to use in class, thinking of ways to engage my students, and thinking/ worrying about my students and their home lives.
I wouldn’t mind the fact that the governor wants to extend the school day and year, except he thinks I’m not doing my job, and that teaching is cozy, easy work. If you want to extend our hours, so be it– just extend our benefits and salaries as well. I’m in one of the lower paying districts in NJ in comparison to my equivalents in other parts of the state, and I highly doubt the governor is willing to compensate for me adding another two hours to my work day. I’m emotionally and physically drained more often than not. I love teaching, and there’s a reason I entered this profession. Now, I’m second guessing what this profession is turning into.
I also question what will happen to my school community. Some of my students have 2 or 3 jobs after school so that they can support their families. Other students are expected home by 3 in order to pick up and/ or care for their younger siblings and, in some cases, their own children. Some teachers work part time at second jobs in order to make ends meet. Other teachers are spending a fortune on childcare and dropping off their kids before the sun rises in the morning and picking them up at 5 or 6 in the evening, when most daycare centers close.
I went into teaching because I wanted to make a difference. I went into teaching to change lives and educate the world’s future. I went into the education field to change– and save– lives. Between “teaching to the test” and trying to meet student growth objectives, somewhere the desire and yearning for educational and personal growth and development has been forgotten.
It’s okay though, I shouldn’t be worrying about any of this. I don’t have a right to, as, when it comes to teaching, I don’t do enough.