Wednesday, January 20, 2010


NY Times Op-Ed by substitute teacher Carolyn Bucior.

The hat-tip goes to Mrs. Mimi, who lays out why the lady is shooting at the wrong target.

Mimi mentions that teachers work in germ-infested petri dishes (I like to call the children my little outbreak monkeys) in response to this:
As much as I became frustrated by the lack of training and support, I was most angered by how many days teachers were out of their classrooms. Nationwide, 5.2 percent of teachers are absent on any given day, a rate three times as high as that of professionals outside teaching and more than one and a half times as high as that of teachers in Britain. Teachers in America are most likely to be absent on Fridays, followed by Mondays.
I was struck by the comparison to British schools, so I snooped a little.  According to Woodlands Junior School,
English schools have three terms (semesters), separated by vacations.
The summer vacation lasts for about 6 weeks from July 20 to September 4; winter and spring vacation both last two weeks, from December 21 to around January 6 and March 25 to around April 5, respectively.
The new school year starts in September, at the end of summer vacation.
The three terms are:
Autumn Term: September to December
Spring Term: January to April
Summer Term: April to July

Each term lasts for approximately thirteen weeks and there is a week half term break in the middle of each term.
By my count, that means that teachers never go more than seven weeks without a week and a half long break in between.  Maybe I'm wrong (and I know I'm being defensive), but I think if I had even a week off every two months, I might not get so run down.  If I didn't get so run-down, I wouldn't have two or three instances a year when my body breaks down on a Thursday or Friday night and I can't get up for three days (never mind the craziness last month).  Maybe, if I had a block of time like that off every two months, it would be easier to get in to see the doctor without having to miss school.

Additionally, most trainings/conferences run over Fridays or Mondays so that we lucky ducks can spend part of our weekend being trained without the district paying for a sub.

Is it fair subs are being put into classrooms without appropriate training or education prerequisites?  No.  Is anyone forcing them to keep the job?  No.  Is there anything to keep them from getting some of that training on their own?  No.  I know they would have to pay for it themselves, but I am STILL paying for my college education and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.  Them's the breaks.

I have more to say about this, but I have to get to bed (so I don't have to call in on Monday, haha), and I wanted to post something meaty-ish before things got ugly, end-of-term-grading-wise.

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