Do specials teachers teach less classes?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    140

    Jun 13, 2017

    Last time I was in the classroom, I had 6 classes, before and after school hall duty, and lunch detention supervising. Depending on what we were doing, that was 3 or 4 preps. I also had a last hour plan period, so no bathroom breaks for six hours. The "regular" teachers had 5 classes with the same prep, a plan and a PLC plan period. When the kids were on a field trip, we manned the denial room for the kids whose behavior etc. kept them off the trip. Music is an unbelievable amount of outside work with so many things that no one without extensive music training would understand.

    I'm also going to point out something else since your argument is that it's unfair. To quote my SPED prof., "Fair doesn't mean everyone always gets the same; fair means everyone gets what they need."
    You're a sub there, so it's not your problem or place to criticize. If the teachers at the school have a problem with it, it doesn't affect you. Trust that the schedule is the way it is for a reason.
    Even if you didn't intend it, your words come off as accusatory, which is something for which specials teachers have little patience. Being regularly undermined by "regular" teachers and admins makes the general suckiness of teaching worse and we get defensive quickly.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  2. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    1,443

    Jun 13, 2017

    So, in this one post, you make conflicting statements (see what I've bolded in your post): Do you think that equity is determined by face time with students, or isn't it?

    I'll agree with you that there are pros and cons to every job. Everyone's job is difficult in it's own way, and looking solely at the amount of plan/lunch/non-student contact time isn't the way to determine what is "fair" or equitable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    600

    Jun 13, 2017

    ^^
    I don't see those as opposing statements. I was surprised because I am new to this school system and I thought specials teachers would have kids the same amount of time that gen ed and sped teachers would. This seems to be the case in other schools judging by the previous responses.

    Like I said, a computer teacher can have responsibilities on their job description to train teachers how to use technology, helping teachers when technology doesn't work, and many more things that goes far beyond their responsibilities to their students. I think they deserve extra prep time for these responsibilities. If a specials teacher teaches a class after school unpaid, I think they also deserve an extra prep.

    If a gym teacher or art teacher has similar responsibilities that are ongoing, then I would also agree they deserve an extra prep.

    But I think every teaching job is hard and I think all teachers could use extra prep time. I know teaching specials is not easy and that there are many things that make teaching specials harder than being a classroom teacher. I feel like maybe people aren't understanding what I am saying and are assuming that I think being a specials teacher is easy. I have never said that as I believe all teaching jobs are hard. I also believe that teachers deserve equitable plan time unless a teacher has regular responsibilities beyond normal work that a teacher would do during prep.

    I am also aware that the schools I sub in might give specials teachers with an extra prep other responsibilities or duties that they wouldn't want a sub to do.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,843
    Likes Received:
    1,678

    Jun 13, 2017

    Here, they wouldn't. All teachers, whatever their teaching assignment, work on the same contract with the same pay scale, the same amount of prep time and the same amount of supervision duty. All of our jobs don't look the same, but we all work within those parameters.

    I'm going to repeat some of the advice already given; don't try to understand or second-guess why anyone's schedule looks the way it does or who has the most challenging job. When you have a contract position, if you feel that there are inequities in your building, address them with your principal if you feel the need (although I wouldn't advise it).
     
    bella84 likes this.
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,418
    Likes Received:
    1,172

    Jun 13, 2017

    Okay. And perhaps they do. You're not sure because you don't know the whole picture. Time for what still needs to be a smiley...
    [​IMG]
     
    bella84 likes this.
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    600

    Jun 13, 2017

    Wow...I am done. I was just trying to start a discussion and ask other teachers what specials schedules look like in their building and see if the pattern I noticed in the schools that I sub in is common. I was not being accusatory at all. I did not once say that specials teachers have an easier job but it seems like people think I did. I wasn't trying to compare how hard one teacher works to another as I have stated many many times that there are different parts of each job that make it challenging.

    I know I am a substitute and it doesn't affect me. I was just curious about the schedule and whether it was common. That's all.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,418
    Likes Received:
    1,172

    Jun 13, 2017

    Here's the thing that I think led to the responses you got: people started sharing what you asked for. Your responses tended to reply with how different that was than what you were used to, or that something isn't fair (i.e. "At this school, teachers have recess duty half the time and I think that it would be more fair if specials teachers covered it." as well as "I have a lot of respect of specials teachers but it seems to me like the reg ed teachers aren't getting fair treatment in this school. I think they at least deserve not to have lunch or recess duty so they can have a 45 minute lunch." just two posts later), which is why the conversation steered that way.
     
    bella84 and vickilyn like this.
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    600

    Jun 13, 2017

    I said that because when I covered specials at this school, I had a 45 minute lunch everyday while classroom teachers had a 25 minute lunch due to recess duty 3/5 of the days when I covered for them. I have been subbing in this school since January so I was familiar with the schedule.
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,418
    Likes Received:
    1,172

    Jun 13, 2017

    :banghead:
     
    bella84 likes this.
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    600

    Jun 13, 2017

    What? I do find it unfair that some teachers get only 25 mins for lunch 3 days a week while others get 45 mins every day. That's why I said the schedules seemed unfair.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,650
    Likes Received:
    2,403

    Jun 13, 2017

    Accept that you may very well be getting a skewed picture that is leading you to false assumptions. Most special teachers have extra duties that they have almost certainly traded with someone so that you don't have to be stressed trying to keep track of a variety of things that may only make sense if it is your job and your schedule. One of my best friends is a PE teacher. She also teaches the health classes, as well as the driver's ed classes. She grades papers, goes between buildings, and works with some of our most difficult students. Just like me, she never gets to eat lunch during the school day because so much bleeds over into "prep" time. A new hire coworker comes from the camp that her prep and lunch time are sacred, but she eats during the "prep" that we share, and again at lunch, leaving me with all things discipline, grading, planning, and coordination with other teachers. It's not my job to be her conscious, so I do my job and hers because I know what needs to get done in the course of our day. On paper we have the same schedule - the reality is quite different. I could rant and rave, or, as I currently do, I can simply make sure that all these little extras get done so our school functions as it should. I'm not patting myself on the back, because I am not the only teacher who has this "get it done" mentality. I am hoping that the new coworker will wake up and smell the coffee, but who knows?

    If you want to petition for equal lunches for all, I should send you my address and let you take it up with admin. As it is, I am compensated well for my time, so it is a wash for me.
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    791

    Jun 13, 2017

    I have my suspicions that if you added up every second of my school year and lined it up next to a music teacher in my building, I have more kid time, but honestly, it's not something I'm going to complain about. Everybody has a tough job. Truthfully, just having all those names memorized makes them pretty impressive in my eyes, forgetting anything else they do.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jun 13, 2017

    I'm a specialist. My schedule isn't set and depends entirely on what is happening in the classrooms on any given day. At least half the time I don't get a lunch period at all. Is that fair? When I'm working with a class whose teacher has sold her prep, which means that she is compensated in exchange for taking on an additional class during the day and does not have a planning period, it means that I don't have a prep period either...but I'm not compensated for that. Is that fair? My day in front of student begins the moment the building opens for students, 30 minutes before other teachers have to be "on", and ends after contract time, but I'm not paid for this additional time. Is that fair? On paper, no, these things aren't fair, because I'm contractually entitled to a duty-free lunch and to be paid for sold preps and for extending my day beyond contract hours. In reality, it's a trade-off I'm willing and happy to make because I have access to other perks that most teachers don't. There are days when I don't work with big classes and instead focus on individual students; those days are much "lighter".

    You can bet that if I know I'm going to be out, I'll schedule as little as possible for a sub, because the job is complex and because the sub may not be okay with not having a lunch or whatever. In those situations, what the sub sees and experiences is definitely not an accurate representation of what my job actually entails. I'd hate to be judged for that.

    When it comes to other specialists in an elementary setting, they can only work with what they've been given. Let's say that there are 25 class periods available for any given specialist. That might be something like 6 periods per day minus 1 prep period. If there are only 18 elementary classes, that leaves 7 unassigned class periods where the specialist has no classes to teach. Is that the fault of the specialist, whose job, I should point out, is to provide prep relief for classroom teachers at the elementary level? Again, I can assure you that those 7 unassigned periods are almost surely filled with other activities that keep the specialist busy all day long throughout the year. Some days might be lighter, but certainly other days will be very heavy. It all evens out in the end, and most teachers who have been around for a while understand that. The ones who don't understand that, the ones who keep tabs on what everyone else is or is not doing, tend not to last long in this profession.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  14. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Messages:
    574
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 14, 2017

    The special area teachers at my school work insanely hard. I feel for them. Not only do they teach their own classes during the day, but they fill all remaining time doing RTI. So our music teacher might teach a music class, then go pull 5th graders for math intervention, then do music for kindergarten, and skip lunch because a teacher needs help finishing up assessments. It's insane.

    I feel like you often post about concerns and thoughts that you have while subbing. While this is fine, I think you'll find that it easily offends people because as a sub, your view is skewed. There is so so much more that goes into teaching and the daily routine that you will never have the opportunity to see, so you have to check your judgement at the door.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  15. Al Bean

    Al Bean Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 14, 2017

    Here's the long and short of it: if a third grade teacher wanted to go to school and become a music teacher; they could have. They chose not to. The focus should be on advocating for what is best for your students, which should have nothing to do with my schedule and perhaps the hiring of more aides. I firmly suggest you shadow an actual specialist for a week before you make assumptions that are damaging and extremely prevalent. I have seen this logic wreak havoc and destroy programs in my districts which ultimately hurts the children as our positions become unstaffable.

    Ps: At least 20 mins of that 45 min lunch is spent transitioning the room between developmental grade levels because again, we cannot waste a single minute due to limited time with students. An art teacher cannot set our paint for a 2:15 class when they arrive at 7; it will dry up. Transitioning expensive materials to tailor lessons to developmental level and unique standards per each grade is unique to our job... I expect the specials teacher is really getting a 25 min lunch, and if she had recess duty in between her chunks of classes, she would literally not get to eat. I have worked that schedule and could not eat until 2:30...
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jun 14, 2017

    The length of lunch periods may not tell the entire story. Unless you speak to the person who drafted the master schedule, everything is just speculation.

    At the school I taught in for 6 years, my team negotiated with the principal a few times. We gave up things in order to get other things we'd rather have. For example, in order to get our specials at a certain time, we may offer to take the first lunch. Or cover an extra duty after school.

    As others pointed out, the actual teacher's schedule may not match the schedule left for the sub. We never had subs cover car rider or bus duty. We always had another teacher do it for us. At my school, specials teachers were assigned before school AND after school duty. (Classroom teachers had one or the other.) Specials teachers had a lot of after school commitments- performances, art events, etc... Our computer teacher was always being pulled in 100 directions at once and was expected to plan with each grade level at least once per week. One year, one grade had very poor readers. The entire grade level had an hour long reading remediation block. Specials teachers were sent to support the grade level at this time, along with every parapro in the school. Because this was intense remediation, subs were exempt from this period. An administrator would fill in if needed or a teacher on their prep. On occasion, there would be no one available at that time. In that case, the sub would cover a different grade level teacher's class while the certified teacher went to the remediation hour.

    Or, maybe they are not full time? They may have a 0.6 or 0.7 position and their schedule isn't even all week.

    In a nutshell, none of us know why the schedule is like that. I highly doubt they simply get more planning.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  17. renard

    renard Companion

    Joined:
    May 13, 2015
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    97

    Jun 14, 2017

    Oh boy, well, I've done it all. Specials, regular, substitute, even pre-k SPED. As it's been said over and over, as a sub, you don't have the full perspective. Subtitutes just aren't kept in the loop and until you work full-time over at least one year, you're just not seeing much of what they talk about. Many of us started as subs, that's not a dig, it's jus a reality.

    Every teacher has different challenges. Back in the day, I used to get bit, hit, and scratched by preschoolers with severe Autism. Hard, hard, hard. The non-violent, mildly-delayed preschoolers used to hug, sing, and be happy. Easy peasy. When in French, I had a few gems who worked hard and a big group of second language-haters who spent the entire period silently muttering their hatred of the language. Times that by alll the classes. Not quite so easy. Now, I work at a college and deal with hardworking immigrants who require detailed grammar trees and differentiating gerunds/nouns. Academically, not so easy, but amazing students. My coworker loves it and still has PTSD from her year teaching kinder.

    My point is that EVERY position, whether they be specials, a sub, whatever, they all have their good and bad points. We all work hard, we all often work to the bone.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Pi-R-Squared,
  2. MissCeliaB
Total: 422 (members: 3, guests: 395, robots: 24)
test