Thursday, June 14, 2018

Program Design and Missed Breaks and Planning Periods

Often when programs are designed, teachers' planning periods and breaks are not considered. This, I believe, happens because teachers' planning periods and breaks are not seen as important. There's a feeling that good teachers don't need breaks or planning periods, and for those who rarely to never have to prepare a lesson for twenty-five students, there's no understanding of the time and effort that goes into teaching a good program, time and effort including collecting and organizing materials, copying needed papers, reading and research to inform the lesson, prepping related signage, and classroom set-up. There's also little understanding of the effect teaching large numbers of students has on individual teachers and how that effect translates into a need for regular breaks. And, yes it's true, teachers of young students often can't even use a restroom during the day due to few to no breaks. This is dehumanizing.

Thankfully our teachers' contracts give us the needed breaks to research, study, plan, prep for good teaching, and to take care of our personal needs too. Even when these breaks are contracted they are sometimes not considered when it comes to the work we are expected to do and/or desire to do to teach students well. Teachers are not superhuman. To do their work well, they need breaks and planning periods. So we have to work together to design learning in ways that respects that need because when we don't do that we often push ourselves away from the good work possible. Onward.