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Friday, March 03, 2017

When Teachers Work Overtime

This month I'll devote two weekends to professional learning. The work is not valued by most in my teaching/learning community--in fact, most look at me like I'm crazy because I will devote a Friday night, Saturday and/or Sunday to a learning event.

Now, no one likes a martyr, but I feel I have to speak up.

I don't mind giving extra. Most teachers give extra time all the time. We are invested in our work and like to do a good job.

I like the impact that good learning and contribution creates with regard to teaching well, and like teachers everywhere I try to pick the best professional learning to support what I can do with and for children.

It would be nice, however, to have some acknowledgement for the extra work. Words and actions like this would mean a lot.
  • Hey, I know you worked all weekend. Why don't you take a weekday off to make up for all that extra time.
  • I appreciate your advocacy and reading over the summer, let's sit down and talk about how we can make some of that research and work a reality.
  • I read your thoughts about the recent conference you attended, let's sit down and see how we can realistically put some of those new ideas into action in our school.
  • I used the idea you shared with the leadership team--they really liked it and would like you to come in and tell us more about it.
  • I appreciate that you'd like to bridge the opportunity gap in our school. I'd like to do the same, how might we work on that in new ways so we really make positive change.
  • Let's sit down and look at the calendar--what events on this calendar truly empower and engage our learning community, and what events exist here simply because we've always done it that way. It might be time to "weed our garden" of professional expectations and events.
It's the time of year when teachers like me get tired. We've worked hard all year on our own and with colleagues to advocate and push our work and the work of our collaborative team forward. We're entering the season where there is little extra time due to testing, special projects, and end-of-the-year events. Also we have a number of tasks to complete with regard to next year's work and planning. 

Not a lot of new and different happens at this time of year. Rather than get discouraged at the new ideas that didn't take hold or the advocacy that didn't result in the changes I'd hoped for, it's time to take a back step and focus more heavily on the day-to-day service to colleagues, children, and their families (they are my greatest supporters!). It's time to complete the tasks at hand and save the big think for the summer days where time and energy are high.