A Teacher's Journal

Personal observations about life in general and teaching in particular.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Underfunded Education Issues

I've just been informed that teachers may not leave the classroom (students) for any reason. This may not sound like a big deal and you might even agree with the sentiment, I do in fact understand the reasoning behind the rule. However, I am concerned about basic human needs, such as a bathroom break. Teachers get to school at about 7:30 am, children enter the classroom at approximately 7:50, teaching begins at 8. Children get a bathroom/snack break at 10:00, for about ten minutes. Lunch is at 12:10, teaching resumes at 12:30. PE (you are the teacher) at 1:35, 20 minutes, bathroom break and journals take up the remaining 20 minutes or so. Pack them up, walk them out to the buses and you finally get a breather at about 2:30-2:35. The last hour of the day is your preparation time. Specials are supposed to be at 11 am, however, they are hit or miss. You may or may not have it and you will probably be teaching it. So, again, I ask -- when do we get to take care of our own bodily needs? I was told by administration that "In an emergency, you can ask a fellow grade level teacher to watch your class. However, this should not become a habit." Really? Who knew using the restroom was a "habit" that we should not have to take care of on a daily basis? Then they inform us that we have no money for substitutes so "don't call in sick" and don't ask for personal days. Yes, they are paid and yes, they are included in our contract, we will not be paid for any unused days. If, in an emergency, you must call in, then your grade level will have to split your class. So this means, in our case anyway, that you will have your 24 students plus 12 more from your colleague's class. You should prepare a packet of material for your students, in the event that you have an "emergency." Is it any wonder that teacher are burning out so quickly? Just my thoughts, zaggrad

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  • At 6:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow, your situation seems extreme! I must say that my school system has not taken its budget issues quite that far, but I can sympathize. People do not understand what sacrifices teachers have to make. Our bladders are put through the worst of tests as we train our bodies not to have a bathroom break. In the end, the doctors are telling us what damage we have done! I have been there. Being sick is not as simple as it is for others. My husband says to stay home...but I cannot. An absence requires far too much preparation and hassle. This is why teachers teach with strep throat, the flu and who knows what else.

    However, in addition to the personal complaints, the underfunding issues leads me to question what other educational needs are overlooked. That is something that my county is dealing with. So many educational needs: books, training, materials...all sacrificed for the dollar. Who suffers? I think we all do.

  • At 7:11 PM , Blogger Zaggrad said...

    Hmm, I believe that there are dozens of things that have been sacrificed in the interest of saving money, not least of which are those you've mentioned.

    I also wonder what happened to my formatting, there are supposed to be paragraph breaks in my post. Oy.

  • At 10:06 PM , Anonymous wjjet said...

    This sounds like my school! First hired five years ago, we were told the same thing - never leave the kids alone. In the same breath, we were also told to monitor the restrooms (out of the room in the hallway) and lockers (also out of the room in the hallway). Huh? So...how do I defy the law of physics to meet the demands of administration? You're exactly right - this is why smart, capable teachers leave.


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