Saturday, May 13, 2006

Teaching Time

I can't count the number of times my daughter's homeroom teacher was absent this year, and same with my son's core teacher. The school is effectively paying two teachers -- the regular one and the sub, each time a teacher is off school. Absenteeism has been epidemic amongst the teachers at this school all year. Sometimes it's illness -- but other times it has been 'seminars' etc. -- professional upgrades that I thought were supposed to be done either on 'Professional Development Days' or during the summer. Such doesn't seem to be the case at this school.

This week, my daughter's homeroom teacher told the kids they had to have all of their assignments in by May 29th because marks go in on the 31st for report cards. My daughter asked 'if the marks go in on May 31st why do we have to come to school until the end of June?'

The teacher's answer? 'That's not an appropriate question. Let's move on to something appropriate.'

The question my daughter asked was a valid one. The teacher's problem is that there is no valid answer.

There are 29 school days left -- of them, 13 can be used to teach and evaluate -- what are the rest for? Why do we send our kids to school in the month of June? I know in the past my oldest two kids couldn't hand in work past June 10th and I thought that was bad -- but May 31st?

Public schools should be run like high school -- the marks should be submitted to the office on the last day of school and report cards should be prepared and mailed in the summer. As it is the last month of school is spent with kids washing desks and taking down the classroom decor and teachers assigning busy-work that has no affect on grades. The Board of Ed. knows this, but they and the teachers continue to pretend that the teachers are working in June -- because if they weren't, there would be no reason to pay them.

In June, many elementary school teachers will become $4,000/month daycare providers. We'd do well to remember this the next time they're whining about prep time and classroom hours.