How long are your work days?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    So I have a mother of a student with whom I generally get along. She's nice, though a bit of a tiger mom.

    Lately I've been having a bit of trouble with her over my hours. I generally put in about 9-10 hours a day at school before heading home. I have a toddler as well as a husband who works odd shifts, so working more than this, or coming to the school on weekends, really isn't an option nor do I want it to be.

    She doesn't like this. Her child's teacher last year pretty much lives at the school and this is what this mother has come to expect. The last straw was last week when she flat-out asked me what days over Thanksgiving break I'd be here so she could bring her son in for extra tutoring (I was going out of town for the break). She felt teachers should make their students their first priority.

    When I was single, I did work longer hours and it's now that I feel I'm getting more done. It's annoying because I feel I complete the work I need to get completed. I have some great room parents who do so much for me. My teaching personality isn't particularly cutesy so I don't spend much time making crafty things.

    I hate to vent, but her line about putting students first did touch a nerve. I'd like to pick your brains about how many hours a teacher should aim to be putting in.
     
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  3. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    That's insane. Was she offering to pay you for tutoring or did she think she was entitled to it?

    To your question, I am generally at school for approximately 8 1/2 hours a day and I work, on average, 3-5 hours per week at home - sometimes less, sometimes much more. I would NEVER come in on a holiday to give free tutoring to a student. The building is closed on non-school days anyway.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My contract time is from 8:30-4:00. My parent/kid contact time is between 8:30-4:00. I come in early/late as needed to make sure that my job is done. Generally I get to school by 7:00, but until 8:30, my voicemails and emails remain untouched.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our contracted hours are 7:40-3:10. Students are there 8-3. I arrive by 7:30 and leave by 3:30 most days. I do very little work at home anymore. I feel confident that everything is getting done as it should. My grading is perhaps a little slower than I'd like, but I'm not sacrificing my personal life to return a test a couple days sooner.

    ETA: my commute is just under an hour. I might spend more time at school if I had a shorter commute.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Teachers' contracted hours: 7:20-2:35.
    Admin contracted hours: 7:00-4:00.

    Kids are in school from 7:40-2:10.

    This year, I've gotten really good at leaving by 4:00. I don't take a lunch (I pack a lunch and shovel it down in 5-10 minutes before all the kids go to lunch), so I don't feel guilty leaving at my contracted time.

    My "commute" is 10 minutes.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The 'tiger mom' is out of control. Next time she ask, clearly state any time you have available for extra help within your contracted day. Let her know that ALL your students' learning is your priority every school day but you are simply not available after hours or on vacations/holidays. Your administration should back you up on this. If her child needs so much additional support she should be looking into private tutoring.:2cents:

    I leave my house by 7:30 am. Contracted hours are 8-3:15. I work dismissal duty until 3:30 (stipend position) then I privately tutor Monday through Thursday, 2-3 hours per day (10 hours per week for $70 per hour). I get home between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. 12 hour days aren't unusual for me, but the $$ is good. I WOULD NOT be giving up my vacaction time or weekends because some parent thought that should be my 'priority'...it's not.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our students are at school from 8:30 - 3:00 and I can spend as much, or as little, time at school as I want to. My school email comes to my phone, so I see it when it comes in, but I usually only reply between 8:00am and 4:00pm (and never on weekends). Our school is locked up tight on weekends and holidays; I couldn't go in even if I wanted to.

    This mom sounds as though she thinks that you are her personal employee and that you should be on call for her 24/7. I would make admin aware of her requests and let them know when you are willing to be available to communicate with her.
     
  9. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Your time and commitment outside of a regular school day is none of her business. The gall of some people. I am both horrified and amused by her neediness. It's a new one for me and I thought I'd heard them all.

    She will take advantage of you if you let her. Don't give her an inch.

    I work the assigned hours according to my contract. I come in early, leave late, and work at home. It ends up being about fifteen to twenty extra hours minimum. There is no monetary compensation for that time outside of the contract hours.

    I should add that there is virtually no district provided curriculum for my students. There are no standard textbooks or materials. I come up with it all - that's the nature of this specific special ed population. The time worked outside of school is not a burden and frankly something I enjoy.

    Be very, very careful in how you talk with this parent. Your commitment may not be defined in her terms and she will hold it against you.

    You might make some recommendations on how she can work with her child at home.

    There are teachers at my school who are only at school for the contract hours. Their rooms are really no different from those who are there early and late. It is something that I've always wondered about. Are there little fairies who set up the room each night?
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I know you're being funny, but...No fairies. Just productive use of the available time in a day. My room arrangement doesn't change much. Kids change my calendar. I hang seasonal decor, run copies and check email during prep periods. BBs are all about my students' work. Kids check some of their own work, I take other stuff home but don't spend more than 30 minutes to an hour on correcting/planning each week. I know maybe only one or two staff members at my school who stay well past contracted time...and you're right!...their rooms/instruction aren't much different than those who leave at regular dismissal.

    I think we all do what works for our own personal feelings of what it takes to be prepared and at the top of our games for our kids. For some that's coming early and staying late. Others need 'Down time' at home with family. Others need to go work out, or work second jobs to make ends meet or for personal fulfillment. We all pretty much do what works for us.

    The idea that parents, (or fellow colleagues or admin:eek:) would judge other professionals based on non-contracted personal life priorities is sad.
     
  11. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Nov 30, 2014

    :yeahthat:

    This is unbelievable! She's a real piece of work. I agree with others - do NOT give her an inch! If she wants so much extra help for her son during vacation, SHE can provide it at home! Unreal....

    I am contracted for 8 hours a day (but can choose what 8 hours those are with some leeway - like come in earlier if I want to leave earlier that day, etc.) Kids are there 8-3. I usually work 7:30 (though I am REALLY trying to push that up to 7, but I have a 30-40 minute commute...) to 4:30 or so. Sometimes longer. I also work a bit at home one or two days a week, and I usually work at least 3 hours on Sunday. I'm in a new grade level and am still a newish teacher (3rd year), so there's a LOT to do. We also get very little prep time during the school day - an hour a week.

    If you are already putting in 9-10 hours a day, you are already going above and beyond. "Tiger mom" needs to shut her mouth. I cannot believe the gall of some people....
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Nov 30, 2014

    I used to put in a lot of hours... I used to get in by roughly 7:15 and stay until at least 4:45 - but typically 6:00 - most nights. Contracted hours are 8:35-4:20 (I think) for reference. I also used to bring home ton of work in the evenings and on the weekends. At one point earlier this year, I spent a straight 8.5 hours working on a Sunday with nothing more than a bathroom break. Sadly, that's probably not the most hours I've put in on a Sunday either. I was letting the job control my life.

    About a month ago, I threw up my hands in defeat. I decided not to live that way any longer. Now, I get to school around 7:45 or 8:00 in the morning, so still before contract time begins. Almost every single day now, I pack up my bag and walk out the door with my students as I'm walking them to the bus. I don't even go back in the building. I just go straight to my car. I do very, very little, if any, work at home now. I find a way to get it done during prep time, and sometimes I even sacrifice instruction if there is something that really needs to be done. I'm happier now than I've been in all my five years of teaching, and I honestly don't think I'm any less effective as a teacher than I was before.

    There is no way I'd allow my admin to tell me I need to put in more hours than I'm currently doing, let alone a parent. I do sometimes respond to parent emails outside of contract hours, assuming I've checked my email for some reason, but they'd be sorry if they thought that was a something they could count on all the time.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Good for you!

    I have several family members who are in the health care field (RNs). They only work contracted hours and don't bring home their work.

    At work, I'm highly productive and put forth 150%. Once I walk out of the office at the end of the day, though, I'm D-O-N-E with school! :2cents:
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    lol

    Of my colleagues, the ones whose rooms are the neatest and leave as soon as the kids walk out the door are the ones that make liberal use of the DVD player. And/or they assign three-day in-class projects that are graded for "completion."
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I was told by an administrator that I should have parent conferences at eight and nine at night. My team refused. She left after a year so that wasn't repeated.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Parents never cease to amaze me!

    OP, tell the parent that you will check at school and see if there are any teachers who tutor. Tell her you will give her the names and she can work out her fee with them.

    You have a family that, rightfully, comes first in your life.
     
  17. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I agree with cza about making good use of your time. I have a 44 minute prep every day. I also have a 22 minute study hall I monitor. Kids come in during their study halls to help change decor as needed. I'm able to leave shortly after the kids because I use my time wisely. I am also finally able to reuse a lot of rubrics and things from years past! I can't believe how much time that saves.

    I don't assign busy work, which also helps. I have a friend who complains about how much she has to grade, but she also assigns tons of busy work. I do give multi-day projects, but I monitor as they work. I grade pieces and parts as I can.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I really believe that the post should be shared with the administration, maybe minus the "tiger mother" phrase. This is a parent problem that will probably follow the kid through the years. Administration should be interested in the tone of the parental contact, the unreasonable demands that are far outside the boundaries agreed to in your contract, and the assumption that any parent can dictate teacher behavior that is so far from the norm. Do I tutor during the day, or after school when I am still contracted to be there? You bet! Do I tutor on weekends and holiday breaks? Only for a significant amount of money per hour. I suspect this parent has considered private tutoring, but feels that if she can guilt the regular teacher into doing what she wants at no charge, she is financially ahead in the game.

    Verify your willingness to help during contracted hours, willingness to send home busy work for practice as desired, but draw the line in the sand about work off the clock for your annual salary. You haven't signed up to tutor privately, so no one should even attempt to guilt you into a second job you don't want.

    Get your administrators to back you up, and then this will be much easier. Good luck.
     
  19. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Tutoring during the break? Um, heck no! Providing help during your contracted time, absolutely.

    I get to school between 7:00 and 7:15 each day and leave at about 3:30. I have students from 8:00 until 2:30 with a 30 min lunch and a 45 min prep. From 1:45 to 2:30 students have chorus/band/orchestra/intramural sports/study hall. I sometimes cover a class (study hall) at this time or more likely have 1-5 students in my room doing make up work.

    So, to answer the question, my time at work is typically 8 1/2 hours, and I rarely take work home. I have one 45 min prep each day, and then that 45 min at the end of the day is often one where I can get about 20-30 min of my own work done. I put in about an hour in the morning (7-8) and an hour after school (2:30-3:30) and of those 2 hours an hour of it is contracted time and the other hour is the extra I choose to put in.

    As a middle school teacher teaching a "special" I realize my situation is a bit different. But I taught 5th grade for the past three years and when a child needed extra help I did it from 8:15 to 8:45 (contracted time) and 3:15 - 3:45 (also contracted time). I did not offer student help beyond those hours and I never once felt I was a bad teacher for doing so.
     
  20. ms.pekkle

    ms.pekkle Rookie

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    This is my second year teaching and I try very hard to leave by 5:00, if not earlier. I do stay once every few weeks until 6 or 7.

    Last year I stayed late almost every day. It's just not right, I tell you!

    I also would get there at 7 am. Lately I have been getting to school by 7:30, and it feels good.
     
  21. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    We are contracted 8-3:30, but I average about 7:30am (occasionally 7/7:15...traffic is horrible on the way here) until 7:30pm (occasionally 6:30, about 2 times so far before 6:30, and sometimes as late as 9:30. Keep in mind that I'm a first year, respond to e-mails immediately (usually), and also am likely far less efficient with my time than others.

    I'm working on cutting that back, though. The past week I probably averaged 7:00 instead of my more usual 7:30/8, and going into this week I feel pretty set in moving that back another half hour or so.
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I can't believe a parent would expect you to tutor over break! My first year I used to go into school on the weekends and spend 6-8 hours working every Sunday. That's the only school I've ever worked at that allows teachers to go in on weekends, so I couldn't do that anymore even if I wanted to. Our building is also not open on holidays. When parents request meetings at ridiculous times, I usually tell them that the building is closed during those times and no one is allowed in. If your "tiger mom" knows that's not true, tell her it's open for staff only.

    I'm in year five and I'm way better at getting stuff done at school. Every once in awhile things will pile up and I'll have a really late night where I have to stay until 6 or 7 (contract hours are 7:30-3:30), but that literally happens maybe 3 times per year. Most days I'm out by 4, maybe 4:30 once per week. I am not a morning person and never arrive early unless I have a meeting starting right at 7:30, and even then I might come at 7:15. Generally I will deal with teacher e-mails at home and that's about it. If it's a parent e-mail, I purposely wait until the next school day to answer it so that parents don't come to expect me being "on call" 24/7.

    We have a lot of teachers that put in 10-12 hours at school daily, and some of them are pretty openly judgmental about those of us that leave right away...but I'd rather deal with that than be in their shoes working all of those hours! Our entire Kindergarten team regularly works 14-15 hours every single day, all year long. I know it's so much harder to get things done during the day with K students, but I have to imagine that they are somehow doing more than necessary or doing something inefficiently to work like that all year long. I like all four of them as people, but I'm constantly thinking about how thankful I am that my teammates aren't like that. In contrast, our principals are rarely there past 4, and they are the ones evaluating me, so I don't care what the other teachers think!
     
  23. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Our contracted day is from 7:45-4:30. I am school by 7:45 because I have a daughter I have to drop off at the middle school. So I can't go in any earlier than that except for an occasional day here and there when her Dad can drop her off. I generally leave by 4:30. Our kinder kids get out of school at 3:10 so I have plenty of time to get stuff done before I am allowed to leave. I sometimes do come in on the weekends because it is quiet with no distractions, I can get a lot done. I might come in on a weekend once every 6 weeks or so.
    When I taught first grade I did come on weekends a lot more, to grade papers and stuff. I don't generally take things home because my home time is spent doing family stuff.
     
  24. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I am wondering if OP is having this problem because it is a charter school? I missed that the first time around. I do know that some charters have longer days, but I doubt that over a holiday break is the norm.
     
  25. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Maybe, but I've worked at 2 charters and have NEVER heard of a parent requesting this. Both my former and current principals would probably laugh if they heard this - a "Yeah right, that's ridiculous!" kind of laugh.
     
  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Thanks for your thoughts! The mother in question did expect free tutoring. I suppose in her defense she comes from a culture that does not have Thanksgiving and perhaps just thought it was a school holiday. Still, while I think most people have to work above and beyond every now and then, a general expectation to devote all extra hours is ridiculous.

    As for the charter school, it's about the same hours as when I worked non-charter. We do have keys to enter the building at any time and some teachers do spend weekends and portions of holidays there.

    For me 10 hours fits what I need to get done in a relaxed fashion. I personally don't get the ridiculously long days. I get that sometimes you need to do that especially in a new situation, but day after day, year after year... I begin to wonder if it's more of a bragging issue than an actual work issue.
     
  27. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Yeah, going to have to majorly disagree with you on that last statement there. I'm in my first year, and pulling the outrageously long days, but even if I was pulling those kinds of days in the future, not a chance would it be because I wanted to "brag". Similarly, all of the teachers that I got to know well while subbing that pulled long days (and one that I stay close in contact with and had many discussions about education) pull the long hours to do the job how they feel they need to do it (different people will feel differently about what this "looks" like). No one in their right mind is going to stay at school doing work, continually peeking out at the parking lot so that they make sure they can say they were the last one out the door.
     
  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Unfortunately, I have met several teachers who do exactly just that. Perhaps they aren't in their right minds, but at the beginning of this school year our principal lectured to us about the "tattling" going on about who wasn't working such n such hours. I have seen teachers who do use their hours worked as if it's a badge of honor. When these teachers stop talking about the "lesser" teachers who don't pull long evenings and weekends, I'll be more inclined to believe you.
     
  29. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Fair enough. :) The way it was written, I was taking it as a "they are staying longer *because* they want to brag" - when you were meaning it more as a "those that do stay longer end up commenting on that to others and use it as a put-down"...just a misunderstanding of the context!
     
  30. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I see how it could be misconstrued that way! :haha:
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

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    That's insane. Teaching is your JOB, not your life. Tell her you work 8-4 (or whatever your hours are), and that's it.

    At my school, if students want help outside of the regular school day, they have to hire a tutor. Per district policy, we are not allowed to tutor kids at school for money. I would hope this mom is paying you.
     
  32. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    The problem is that teachers by and large give... and give... and give. We give our time to freely and the majority of us spend our own money on work supplies. Parents have come to expect it.
     
  33. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    My contract hours are 7:50 to 3:10. I'm contractually obligated to offer "free tutoring" once a week until 4 pm.

    Ask the parent: does she do extra work or would she work for free? Well, you don't - and won't - either.
     
  34. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I see it too. At lunch last week, I had a teacher in my hallway say to me "how do you do it? How can you leave at 3 everyday?" She claims she has so much to do and I could tell she was trying to be snarky.

    So, I told her: "It's easy. For one, I don't waste my time during the day talking to co-workers. Two, at 3:10, I grab my things and walk out the door."

    I have a few other secrets, but I was done with her at that point.
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Rule number 1 with me is that I will not tutor any kid who is not falling behind and in danger of having to repeat a grade.
     
  36. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    :lol:

    I had a colleague ask me the same thing a few years ago when I was still in the classroom. :rolleyes:
     
  37. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    My hours vary from day to day as per my contract.
    I work and afterschool program 2 days a week for extra help (for additional pay)

    I often come early and stay afterschool. Zero of that time is spent actually working with students. I put in enough time before/after/at home. I don't need to also put in extra time working with students.

    Tiger mom can hire a tutor.
     
  38. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I teach HS History - there is nothing to set up. I ask the kids to straighten up the desks and rows before they leave. It takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes for me to write my "Board Components" for the next day, straighten up my desk and pack up my projector. I am VERY organized throughout the day so that my end-of-the-day routine is stress-free.
     

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