Could someone else do it faster or better?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Spark, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Spark

    Spark Rookie

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    Jun 11, 2010

    I've been thinking about all the little things I do, that I don't enjoy, that take up a lot of time and don't necessarily need any particular genius to complete. Next year, I'm thinking of outsourcing the boring stuff and using the time to focus on my students.

    Here's a list of what I'm thinking...Any you would add? What do you think? Would you do it? What would be your price point?
    -----------------
    Ideas

    Test/paper grading--assistant would grade, enter into my computer and create digest of common mistakes

    Classroom decorating--hire decorator for cheap. They can mount student work, display it well, add themes and take care of seasonal changes

    Emails-I'm going to check it once a day at a certain hour. I'll put an auto responder on so that everyone knows I do this and can know when to expect a reply.

    Phone-You can hire people in India for really cheap to answer your phone for you. They take a digest of all the calls and make appointments for parent meetings.

    Special Unit Lesson Plans-I'm going to get grad students to write lesson plans in exchange for letters of recommendation and experience points. Wouldn't it be cool for the kids to get an expert to teach them a lesson or two on Shakespeare?
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Are you serious??

    Okay - grading papers is how I learn if my students have learned. I can see having helpers grade some of your papers but for me grading is an important part of student assessment. I need to be involved in the grading process to properly assess my students.

    I wish I could only answer my emails once a day but I can't. We get info all day long that is important and needs to be answered promptly. I also get emails regarding students that are confidential and should not be read by outside parties.

    And lesson plans are FUN. I love writing unit plans.
     
  4. MissSkippyjonJones

    MissSkippyjonJones Comrade

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    :yeahthat:
     
  5. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Get your students to do the "mundane" stuff. They'll take ownership and feel happy to do it.

    As for grading/lesson plans/emails -- I'm afraid it's part of the job.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Do you have student aides at your school? I had an 8th grader every day during 3rd period this year. He wasn't great (didn't follow instructions well), but he hung up and took down student work, cleaned and put away lab equipment, and sorted papers for me. Other teachers had their aides enter grades in the gradebook and run copies.

    I really wouldn't have grad students write units for you. They know the content, but they have no idea about pedagogy and what would be appropriate for your age group.
     
  7. Spark

    Spark Rookie

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    Paid Personal Assistant for Teachers?

    Great responses! I like hearing other people's thoughts. Isn't community great?:)

    I agree that you really get to know your students and their needs when you grade. But, sometimes, I have so many papers to grade that it's more a matter of getting through them then actually paying attention to what's really going on. What if the person grading them could take notes on each students needs/challenge areas? I could review the really bad or good ones. It could be worth it for a certain percentage of papers.

    As for the units, what if they were written by certified teachers. There are so many qualified teachers out there. I could outline the style of teaching I wanted exemplified in the lesson. Again this wouldn't be for for every hour of the day. Just for units I didn't feel as interested in. Wouldn't it be better to have a high quality unit, than whatever I could come up with at two in the morning?

    My students love to help-out in class. They are good for immediate things happening in the classroom (passing out papers, organizing books, folders, taking attendance, even enforcing discipline codes etc.) I only use them a little...because I don't want them to feel like they are my work slaves. Plus, I wouldn't want them grading papers or touching my computer data.

    My REAL QUESTION is: What would you, as a teacher, use a personal assistant for?

    I got this idea watching my husband. He is a high up exec and he has people who do just about everything but wipe his rear for him. It really seems to free him up to think more creatively and focus on higher level tasks.

    keep it coming!:thumb:
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I'm pretty sure you are getting paid to do all of those things ... officially outsourcing would be frowned upon by a school. Plenty of unemployed teachers would take your teaching position and all of the mundane stuff.

    I don't like all parts of my job, either. But, it's my job. You just do it.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Wow! Are you serious? I could see having someone grade some papers for you, but not all of them. And I sure wouldn't let a student enter those grades into my computer. I wouldn't mind having someone hang up student work for me either. But all the rest of the stuff is stuff that YOU get paid for...and yes, your husband might have people that help him out with mundane things, but those people get paid to do that...your students don't.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I can't imagine...
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have a student helper every day who is in charge of taking attendance, handin gout papers, taking up papers, and several other "small" kinds of tasks.

    Everything else I'm going to do myself.
     
  12. holliday

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    I see the allure of having some assistants who could do some of the drudge work (how many hours a week do I stand at the darn copy machine?? Enough to make me wonder why I bothered to get a master's degree...).

    But lesson planning is my favorite so I would never want to pass that to anyone else. I would LOVE to have someone who helped me stay organized and made sure I was always where I needed to be.

    For grading, I have a classroom clicker system from eInstruction. You can't do all work on it (essays, stories, public speaking, etc.) but for lots of other stuff, it is awesome. It is kind of like having someone else grade, graph, and create detailed reports for me. It saves me LOADS of time (time I then use to run the stupid copy machine). :lol:
     
  13. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Outsourcing your phone calls to India??? How many do you get???

    I check email before and after school. I tell parents at the beginning of the school year that if they have something urgent, they need to talk to the secretary. I will be teaching their children during school hours, not answering emails. It has never been an issue and I haven't needed to use an auto-reply feature.

    Really, you're teaching "whatever you could come up with at 2 in the morning?" While I think it's a great idea to invite "experts" into the classroom as part of your unit, it is your job and yours alone to plan the unit.
     
  14. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    I'm trying to imagine the reaction that a parent would have if they called their child's teacher only to reach INDIA, where they could leave a message with an Indian "phone answerer."
     
  15. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    ku_alum, I am thinking the OP is not really a teacher, but is maybe a student or someone getting paid to conduct research.
     
  16. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I hope so. This is a bit ridiculous.
     
  17. Aussiegirl

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    Jun 11, 2010

    Maybe OP was just having a bad day... I think we all have those days from time to time where we seem to have to spend more time on the minutia rather than teaching.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Okay, if I lived in fantasy world.....

    I would hire someone to keep an appointment book and remind me when things are and when they need to take place.

    I would hire someone who keeps all my files organized and looks for certain information or ideas when I request them and presents them to me.

    I would hire someone to make me a ton of file folder games and any other creative thing I can come across or think of.

    I would hire someone to make all the demos for any lesson.

    I would hire someone to take pictures for me at all events and turn them into lessons and books we can use.

    *I have a part-time assistant but there is only so much she can do. I want an aide AND a secretary. :)

    This is just make believe.
     
  19. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I absolutely love this post. I think it's one of the funniest in A-Z's history.

    So basically, after paying all those people, you're volunteering to be a substitute teacher, following someone else's plans. Sounds like you would make much more money as a sub, because the classroom teacher does all that work, and you only have to show up... and you don't have to pay anyone to do it!
     
  20. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out a way to outsource my summer waitressing job :lol:
     
  21. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    OK, if we're doing fantasy posts....I would pay someone to take care of make up work: getting it to students who were absent and collecting it and grading it. Make up work is the bane of my existence!!
     
  22. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Spark - I cannot imagine doing what you are saying. You need to grade your own papers that will be used to assess your student's learning. How else will you know how they are doing, what they need and how effective you have been as a teacher.

    If my little boy were in your class, I would not accept having an answering service in India. That is WRONG in so many ways. I don't always like returning calls, but it is part of the job. Blowing off parents like that is no way to treat people. Also, I think you should support the country in which you are fortunate enough to live and work.

    While I agree that the paperwork types of things can be overwhelming at times, it is necessary and can be managed well while still being an awesome teacher.
     
  23. noreenk

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    I have to admit, hosting a student teacher took care of a LOT of those things for me! She was required to create lesson plans, grade and create assessments, put up bulletin boards, etc. That left me plenty of time to answer emails and phone calls, and I was able to review everything she did and change it as needed.

    If the OP was serious, then the only "outsourcing" that would make any sense to me is using parent volunteers to help with things like bulletin boards, copies, etc. I tried getting my mother to help me grade papers one time and that was a DISASTER. Using someone else's lesson plans, much less entire units, never works for me if attempted verbatim.
     
  24. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    ???? Hmmm, I can't imagine a teacher starting this post???

    I thought it was a violation to have students grade each other paper if it was for a grade? Legally, you can't do that.

    You might as well hire someone to come in a teach the darn class for you! :p

    This is a funny thread.
     
  25. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    What's the point in assigning projects/homework if you are not going to look at them? Might as well just focus on in class work if you can't find the time to assess their work.
     
  26. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I really get where Spark's original post comes from, comparing an executive's job to ours. Very creative! And no, I don't think she is shirking her job.

    We do have some parent volunteers who do our Bulliton Boards, laminate and cut out. Love them!

    We also have a general assistant who runs copies and she puts stamps and stickers on the students' work for me. As a K teacher I have seen all the work before it goes to her. Love her!

    I have a parapro off and on, shared with the other K class. She works with the students when they are in the room and checks and stuffs their folders when we are out of the room. Love her too!
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    THis idea has come up here once or twice before.

    I am the teacher in the classroom. It's my class. I am the one who was hired to prepare the lessons, execute the lessons, and do the assessments. I decorate the bulletin boards, check the homework... it's my job.

    My judgement is a big part of why I was hired.

    Subcontracting it out is not part of the job description (and could, by the way, get very expensive!)

    It sounds as though you want to tutor-- that involves the teaching, but none of the rest of the stuff.

    Run this idea by an administrator before you implement it. It could impact your job in a serious way.
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Is this a joke? You're the teacher. It's YOUR job to prepare lessons, your JOB to evaluate your students, and your JOB to answer emails from parents. I do have a TA all year, but he only does the following (keep in mind he wants to be a teacher):
    -Type papers
    -Copy papers
    -Grade objective sections of test and the occasional homework (I still always check them over)
    -Search the web for ideas and lesson plans
    -Make power points and other activities (he loves doing it because he wants to be a teacher; I always look them over)
    -Hand out papers
    -Collect papers
    -File papers
    -Organize my room

    Everything else, I DO.
     
  29. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I have to admit; there are times when I wish I had someone to do my filing, help me get (and stay) organized, and do my copying, but I know this is just part of my job.
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, sure, that's part of the "when I win the lottery, here's what I'm going to do" dream.

    But then the alarm clock goes off, and we end the dream and get bck to reality.

    I think the difference between your post and the Original Post is that you're wishing. He or she is actually suggesting.
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I'm wondering where all of this outsourcing money would come from when I have a hard time finding money for groceries on my salary.

    Also, call me weird, but I truly enjoy almost every aspect of my job...
     
  32. kidsr#1

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    Burn out?

    Not sure how long the original poster has taught. My first thought is burn out. We all get tired and stressed about the many parts of our job. However, I had a principal tell me once.. "If you don't like all of the grading, don't assign so much work." I know it's hard to do that, but the less papers I assign, the easier my grading it.

    As for the student's grading others work...not something I do. I had a student aide this year and had her grade only papers that had definite answers (multiple choice, multiplication drills, ...). I never had her enter grades into the grade book or online grading program. After she graded the few papers, I looked through them, especially for students that struggle.

    As for email-once or twice a day is how often I check mine. Most parents at our school send notes, not emails, or phone calls.

    If I could hire someone it would be to ward off any irrate parents (not that I've had that many). Or the occasional parent you get that calls all the time, just to make sure they understand something, or want to question why their child lost recess time, or better yet to say that their child wasn't able to get their homework done because they were really busy over the weekend. :)

    God know teachers get burned out, that's why he gave us weekends and summers. :)
     
  33. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jun 13, 2010

    very true!
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Test/paper grading--assistant would grade, enter into my computer and create digest of common mistakes
    There are confidentiality issues here, also you need to see the mistakes your students are making so you can analyze what they don't understand, adjust your teaching, re-teach...I've had paras- it is NOT their job to GRADE work...assessment and grading are part of a PROFESSIONAL educator's job
    Classroom decorating--hire decorator for cheap. They can mount student work, display it well, add themes and take care of seasonal changesI wouldn't do this as I'm quite good at it myself...What exactly would you pay someone for this? A member here on AtoZ had this idea some time back, but truthfully I can't imagine too many teachers spending their own money on having someone come in and do this for them.

    Emails-I'm going to check it once a day at a certain hour. I'll put an auto responder on so that everyone knows I do this and can know when to expect a reply.This seems somewhat reasonable. Expect to 'miss stuff' though, as some emails are time-sensitive...even short term...

    Phone-You can hire people in India for really cheap to answer your phone for you. They take a digest of all the calls and make appointments for parent meetings.[Again, where are you getting all this money to pay people? I'm sorry, but I'm all about being personally connected to my students and their families...a family making an appointment with a call screener in India just doesn't cut it for me...I get VERY FEW parent phone calls (but then again, I respond to email in a TIMELY manner) and the school secretary takes the messages and leaves them for me to call back parents on my prep or lunch- again, this is VERY rare.

    Special Unit Lesson Plans-I'm going to get grad students to write lesson plans in exchange for letters of recommendation and experience points. Wouldn't it be cool for the kids to get an expert to teach them a lesson or two on Shakespeare?
    I'm all about tapping into community expertise BUT I also know that many people who are experts in a content or subject area are NOT teachers, they don't know how to adjust their knowledge to 'kids'...One lesson or two might be cool, I'd have the grad student run EVERYTHING by me though.
    Spark, truthfully I wonder what it is that you thought teaching would be...these things are part and parcel of being a professional educator...there are also child study meetings to attend, IEPs and 504s to review, report cards, independent reading and writing conferences with students, supply orders, participation on committees, professional development classes and workshops to attend...Yeah, it's not an easy job and while I don't believe all of it should be done 'faster', you might want to consider that with your attitude, there are people out there who can do it 'better'.
     
  35. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    As the wife of an exec, too, I think Spark was just daydreaming on a particularly rough day when she was feeling like she couldn't keep her head above water. That is all.

    As for my dream/fantasy world - I would outsource the organizational work and filing in a heartbeat!!! No other part of my job gets in the way of my success like not being able to find something immediately. I can get behind on grading, but would never outsource this. As for BBs, keep them simple and don't have many that have to be switched out each month or season. I do one hallway display and a calendar that are changed monthly. Sci/SS/Math vocab goes on the wall and gets changed with each unit of study. LA comprehension skill posters get switched only when we end a unit and the kids make these for me so they are pumped to do it. Everything else (b'days, schedule, 6 traits of writing, parts of speech and punctuation, math problem solving key phrases, etc.) stays the same all year.

    I do lesson planning with my team teacher and love it - so that just leaves phone calls and emails. I only get about 1-2 phone calls a week, other than ones I make when kids do well. I check email first thing in the morning, at recess, lunch, and at 2:00 to make sure no one has an alternative way to get home, and then after school. My parents know I am TEACHING, so they don't expect a quick reply. If I know I can't get back to them until after school, I will shoot them a quick reply to state that.

    One other thing: I do let a parent volunteer handle the hallway displays (one seasonal, one writing, one sci/ss related) and my book order from Scholastic.
     
  36. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    My thoughts exactly. But if someone wants to make copies for me, I wouldn't decline the offer. I sure as sin wouldn't pay someone to do it though.
     
  37. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I can't decide if the OP is serious or not, but I will assume the suggestions are meant to be taken seriously.

    First of all, while teachers are professionals, we are not the same as high-level executives. That would be the superintendent, who I am sure, does delegate much of his/her daily work to others. That's not just a perk of the job, it is a necessity given the level of responsibility placed on the exec's position.

    Grading papers and decorating the room - you already have a room FULL of "assistants"...USE THEM! When we went over homework, my CT would usually let students choose up to 3 questions they had problems with and work them on the board. Students were allowed to correct any mistakes they made on these problems before having their paper graded. After working the sample problems, students would exchange papers and we would cover the rest of the homework. Sometimes we let students work the problems on the board, if time permitted. Other times, we just gave out the answers. The students recorded the number of incorrect answers and the resulting grade at the top of the paper, then returned the paper to the owner. The CT or I put the grades in the computer. We also looked over the papers to make sure they had been graded properly and to see which students were struggling. I can assess this much more effectively (and quickly) myself instead of having someone else do it all and compile a list of the most common mistakes.

    We also let students return papers after they have been graded and recorded.

    Decorating the room - Students LOVE helping out with this. I agree it can be tedious at times. I took the time to hang up (and later take down) class work in the hallway that had been done by the students. It took about an hour for each one. I did it on workdays when the students weren't there and I had the time for it.

    Checking emails - Should be done in the morning, during planning/prep and at the end of the day just to make sure you haven't missed any messages requiring a time-sensitive response.

    Outsourcing parent calls to India - I simply cannot fathom a teacher seriously considering this. If I called the school to speak with my son's teacher and got an automated answering service in India, I am going to be in the principals office FIRST THING the next morning. The teacher WILL speak to me about the issue, one way or the other. Trying to avoid the issue will only ensure the issue will become much larger.

    Last year, my son went from an "A" to a "D" in one grading period on his reading. He is an avid reader and had the highest number of AR points (Accelerated Reading) in the entire school the year before. That was a big issue, since I had been given NO INDICATION AT ALL that there was any problem with his class work or grade. So I went to the teacher. Although I was naturally upset at his grade, I realized it was because he hadn't done the necessary work and the only explanation I wanted was WHY the teacher didn't contact me or his mother earlier in the grading period when we could have done something about it. But, when I approached the teacher, she not only became defensive, she lied to my face and told me she HAD communicated with the mother a number of times. (I knew my ex would have called me immediately if that were true, because it's always my job to "fix problems" at school). The issue of non-communication was frustrating, but still relatively minor. The issue of telling an outright lie to my face escalated the issue and made life difficult for the P because I refused to let it slide.

    The bottom line is that, as a parent, I expect open and honest communication with the teacher. So I owe the same open and honest communication to the parents of my students.

    Trading letters of reference to grad students in exchange for lesson plans - That sounds like thinly disguised bribery to me. Even if they agree, what kind of honest assessment of their teaching abilities could you list in your reference letter? The only thing you could accurately say is they wrote effective lesson plans for you.

    I don't like writing lesson plans myself. It was the part of my ST that I disliked the most. But it is part of MY job and, like it or not, it will make me a better teacher for doing it. I work as a substitute teacher, so I follow the lesson plans of other teachers all the time. I can honestly say I learn very little about being a better teacher myself when all I do is read plans written by someone else.
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I thought Spark might be serious until the India answering service...I'm going to assume Spark was being light-hearted.

    I've considered whether or not I could have a student teacher. On one hand I almost feel a responsibility to...one, I'm a good teacher, and two, I wouldn't be a teacher unless someone else opened her classroom up to me so I could complete my college requirements. But I'm such a control freak, so I just don't know...
     
  39. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Well, I'm glad a few people get it. Spark, I hope you will stick around and continue to be a breath of fresh air.
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Keep in mind, the OP chose to put this in 'General Education', not 'Teacher Timeout' or 'Chat'.
     
  41. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    She's new, give her a break!
     

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