As I was sitting at my daughter’s dance class last week I overheard a few other moms talking about how many days off school the students were having recently.
There was a day off for parent conferences at the end of the first quarter, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, a 2 hour early release for professional development and few other things here and there. One mom stated, “I just don’t understand why the teachers need ALL these days off. I think kids should go to school every single Monday through Friday all year. EVERY day.”
I sat there listening like
I mean, really? Really? I wanted to bring out my teacher voice and tell them what was going through my mind. But I didn’t want to get kicked out of there and embarrass my daughter so I kept my mouth shut.
As teachers, we are used to getting crap from parents / the community / everyone in the free world when summer rolls around and we have “all summer off.” But to hear parents complain in October, well it just struck a nerve.
It made me wonder if parents have even the slightest idea about what goes on in a classroom on a daily basis. I’m assuming the women having this discussion have never even volunteered in their child’s classroom. Most jobs allow employees the ability to get their work done at work. Shocker right? Teachers don’t have that “luxury.” If it doesn’t get done at school, it HAS to get done at home because guess what? A teacher can’t call up parents and say, “Oh I’m sorry. Your child’s report card is going to be late because I didn’t have time to get them done.” Nope, that won’t fly.
In my last blog post I discussed professional development and how sometimes it honestly isn’t that beneficial. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t needed. Teachers are required to work 10 more days than students in most districts. Tacking those days on at the end of the school year isn’t going to do a lot of good because professional development at that time is kind of pointless. Throughout the year those days are necessary – necessary when teachers are getting burned out and looking for new ideas. They’re necessary days for teachers to be able to get report cards finished, meet with parents and make the zillion conference phone calls that they otherwise won’t have time for.
It’s disheartening that teachers are often not getting support from the people who matter most – the parents. Teachers go to work each day with the goal of teaching these children something new or in other ways enriching their lives. They want to send them home to their parents smarter, kinder, better than they came in that morning. Most teachers have good intentions but are judged (unfairly) based on stereotypes and the fact that people just don’t understand what really goes on inside the walls of a school.
What can be done about the way parents (and most of society) view teachers and how they spend their time during work days? Do you think they’ll ever really “get it?” Share your thoughts in the comments!