Teachers work 11 hours unpaid, figures show… but change is possible

Teachers work 11 hours unpaid, figures show (Via Guardian Education .) This is a powerful reminder of some of what’s wrong with public education these days, especially on the wake of the last post. I never thought I’d be the type to write this kind of stuff, but when I talk to my colleagues who still teach High School English, it sure seems as if things have taken a turn for the worse even since I left, in terms of what they are being asked to do. My wife, Eva, a kindergarden teacher who actually follows the Houghton-Mifflin program rather religiously was so frustrated with a recent CCR-based request to also include standards on all her “lesson plans” that she said she felt like quitting… keep in mind HM is a state adopted, explicitly standards based program, and that she never-the-less felt compelled to do this extra work on her week off.

I’ve always had something of a unique relationship with authority, and I’m now encouraging her to resist, because like Nancy McKeand, I too believe change is possible.

Incidentally, I think 11 hours is very low, particularly if you are considering teachers “billable” hours as the six or so they are usually expected to work on campus. I’d say most teachers I know work 11 hours beyond the 40 hour normal work week, anecdotally. Also, as I moved out of the classroom myself, and later to the district and county level this didn’t get any better for me. In fact, I started my phd in order to force myself to work less! And it’s working. :) I worked easily 60-80 hour weeks as a site tech coordinator. 60 was still not unusual at the district level, and at the county I have learned to jealously guard my time, but I’m afraid there are still 12 hr days and longer when deadlines (or potential disaster) are upon me. And, I’m ready for that to end. Sense a theme for the evening?