In continuing our Saturday series on teachers let me tell you a quick story. After three hours of waiting around at the dealership we were finally ushered into a financing office As the dot matrix printer printed out our forms the guy asked what our jobs were. When Taylor said that he was a high school math teacher the guy responded with:
I WISH I HAD YOUR HOURS
The hours of a teacher are a common myth to anyone that doesn’t actually know a teacher. For nine months of the year they get to be at a school – typically students are there for 8 hours – and then for the remaining three months they have it off. Summer vacation!
First let’s tackle that 3 month summer vacation. At the beginning of the school year, teachers typically have to be there 1-2 weeks before school starts. Organizing lesson plans, attending training, and meeting with your department. It’s kind of like training at the beginning of a job but you have to do it every single year. Then at the end of the year the students leave for the summer. That typically isn’t the end for the teachers. There are 1-2 weeks of dealing with final grades, unhappy parents, cleaning up your classroom, and tying up any loose ends. So that leaves them with two months.
Most teachers don’t get to fully enjoy these two months. Taylor’s “time off” has included AP training, a month long course to drive a school bus, and starting on lesson plans for subjects he hasn’t taught in the past. I know that for some of his coworkers it has included taking a second job (since teachers in many states get paid crap), teaching summer school, or watching their own children that are also home from school. Not quite the two month relaxation that people perceive.
As for the nine months at school, it’s not like those 8 hours are sitting in a cubicle. They are standing for most of the day and talking a lot. And their day is far from over when the kids leave. Grading papers, answering student questions, and working on lesson plans have to be done outside of the school day. Most teachers get to work early, stay late, and continuing working once they get home. There have been many nights I have gone to bed and Taylor is still up doing work. As much as it tires him, he loves it and rarely complains.
So to those people out there who want teacher hours: shut it. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.