Every great teacher knows too many people who believe teachers only work nine months a year. Critics point to the calendar and talk about what a cushy job teachers have. What bunk.
Using this reasoning, baseball players work only half the year. Clergy work 52 days annually and players in the NFL work less than 20. Tax accountants work from January 31st until April 15. Construction workers work only on sunny days.
Why is it only teachers are singled out and accused of having an abbreviated work year?
I can hear the uproar from the professional football players. “Twenty days? What about all our training days?”
Exactly. What about all the teacher training days? Many teachers train all summer long. They take summer classes to get an advanced degree. They take classes in new technology or a new curriculum. They have to accumulate college hours to renew their teaching license. They have to accumulate in-service hours to fulfill their school district’s requirements. They pay for these classes out of their own pockets, by the way. How many professional football players pay for their own training? They are paid hefty salaries TO train.
Many teachers do home visits during the summer months. Some have Open Houses or accompany students to competitions during “their breaks. ” I’ve sanded school desks and painted my classroom in the summer time. I once worked for a school district that required teachers to scrape all the gum off the bottom of the school desks. No I’m not making this up.
Teacher Conferences that share new teaching strategies are held during “vacation” months. Textbooks are reviewed, discussed and adopted. Websites for student use are designed. The class syllabus is written. Guest speakers are contacted and learning field trips are scheduled. Some teachers teach summer school all summer long. I know a teacher who welcomed her students back to school today. (It’s July 30th as I write this). Hello Annie. I hope you have a wonderful year with your students!
Last week I had the chance to do something I love to do. I had lunch with a young lady who had just been hired for her first teaching job. She will be teaching first grade beginning in August. She was just bubbling over with enthusiasm. She simply can’t wait to get started. It made me think back to the very beginning of my teaching career. What a thrill that was to walk into my own classroom. Her enthusiasm had me reliving my love for the teaching profession.
What is she doing now? She is going to garage sales to buy books even though her teacher salary hasn’t started. She is grouping those books into skill levels so her students can make the best use of them. She’s looking for inexpensive ways to decorate her classroom. I put together four tubs of books for her to use in her classroom. I looked around my house for items she might be able to use to help her get started. I doubt that NFL players have to purchase their own helmets. If they did, they would have the resources to do so. Teachers spend so much of their own money simply to buy learning materials for their students.
It made me feel wonderful to pass along some tools this new teacher’s students might use to learn. Next week she’ll begin meeting with her teacher team to set learning goals and write lesson plans. Great teachers begin planning for their students’ success long before they walk into the room. And she is going to be one of the greatest teachers ever.
Before you throw things away, think about a teacher who might value your cast offs. Even better, purchase a gift card to a school supply store for your child’s teacher. And if you hear someone spouting off about how much time off a teacher has…educate them.
TEACH…To Change Lives
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