Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Opportunity to Educate

Tomorrow is my last day at work for two and a half weeks. I absolutely love my job, but it can be so exhausting! The kiddos are crazy, the staff is tired, and all of our attention-spans are waivering. To those people who say that teachers should not get so much time off, work ONE week in our job and we will see what kind of break you want. Last week I read an article in our local paper written by a community member who was upset that their child is not in school enough "due to teachers taking so many breaks." My first response is "I'm a teacher, not a child care provider" and second, "What breaks!?!" Sure, the calandar says that I get a few days for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas, and a week in the spring, but do you really think that I do not work during that time?! If you do, you obviously have never done this job. To the outsider, it may seem like a regular 8 to 3 job. Well, the short answer is hell no!
Every free day that we get, I either bring a huge stack of grading/planning home with me to work on during my "break" or I work twice as much the week before to get it all done. Sounds like what the average worker has to do. Also, other than the above mentioned breaks, all other days off are either- unpaid holidays, workdays (yes, I do work), grading days, conferences, or (thanks to the current budget) furlough days.  Of course, most people say "Hey what about the summer?" Well, most of us teachers spend our summer in trainings, taking classes to further our education, still planning for the year to come, working in our classroom, or occasionally, we take a day for our family.
It's also important to remember that we get no vacation time throughout the year, really only have from mid-June to mid-August "off", and we do not get paid for the months we do not work. Also, imagine being in charge of 60 11 and 12 year olds (and I only work part-time), then you actually have to earn their respect, teach them something daily, and communicate with their parents. I'm sure that most people are thinking "No way!" Now think about doing all of this for less than what the average college graduate makes, eventhough you have a masters degree to pay for. So.... stop complaining about how/when I do my job! Unless you have been a teacher, you have no right to talk about how "little" we do, because no one who has been a teacher would ever say that! They know better!!

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