How much extra time is expected of high school teachers?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by whisper, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. whisper

    whisper New Member

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    Jan 2, 2012

    I've taught middle school for quite awhile, but do to moving, have recently started working in a small high school as an English teacher. My question is how much is expected by other schools of their employees? I alone was in charge of the entire homecoming (new to the school - new principal) all activities for the week and the dance, both junior and high school student councils (entailing dances, fundraisers, service projects), and am also a class sponsor. Besides the regular work of teaching English - and all the grading that goes with it, this extra work leaves me working 4 weekdays each week until usually close to 9 - 11 pm each night. My poor husband brings me dinner - I feel like I don't even know my own home anymore. I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed. Now my principal wants me to go back for my masters to teach dual credit English. I'm 52-years-old and I really don't know how I'll find the time for that next year, what with the next homecoming, and then having to also sponsor prom in the spring. Is there anything I can do as a non-tenured teacher to cut back on this workload? I feel it's late in my career to be looking for another job. Is this normal for high school teachers to have so much to do? Thanks for any input.
     
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  3. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jan 2, 2012

    Not normal at my school. We have a faculty sponsor but Student Council should be doing all that stuff with you merely supervising. Same thing for dances, including prom.

    Can't you tell your P that the MA program is a great idea but it has to be balanced with a bit less on the service side?

    Here's my extra stuff: I am a club sponsor for 3 clubs. One is essentially defunct, one will be so next year, and the third has had one meeting. So that's easy. I am a class sponsor, but all that means is that I take roll at the weekly meeting. I chaperone 2 dances per year, which is a commitment of 4 hours each. I supervise detention at lunch for a week each trimester.

    I think that's it, basically. I attend many games and events, but that's because I like it. No one keeps track. I routinely work in the evening, but my P says I'm a workaholic and it's true I lovelovelove my job. So I can't blame them for it.

    How many students do you have?
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 2, 2012

    What you're doing wouldn't happen at my school. Like the PP, Homecoming and other events like it are handled by StuCo. Faculty sponsors are responsible for overseeing everything that their clubs do, but they're not responsible for actually running everything, if that makes sense.

    I sponsor a club, but it's completely voluntary on my part. If I wanted to, I could roll in at the start of contract time, roll out when my contract time is up, and that would be the end of my day. Many teachers at my school do exactly that, and no one looks down on them. The extra stuff (clubs, sports, tutoring, etc.) is purely voluntary.

    What are you getting in exchange for sponsoring a class? Does it apply to your teaching load, i.e., do you have a period where this class (or the StuCo members of this class) meets and plans events? Our StuCo advisor, the "big" one who oversees the entire StuCo and who works with all the individual class sponsors, has a class period where all the StuCo members meet. They call it "Leadership" or something and the students earn credit for it.

    Are you paid? What sorts of extra-curricular responsibilities do the other teachers have? What does your contract say about extra duties?
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jan 2, 2012

    It sounds like a lot but depending on how small the school is they just may not have enough people. How much do the other teachers do?

    I'm a first year teacher. I'm a class advisor, director of the fall play, and assistant director of the spring musical. We are also encouraged to work two football games and two basketball games taking tickets. I try to go to as many events as I can because I enjoy them.

    I'm starting my masters next year and am hoping to only assist with drama with limited responsibility.
     
  6. whisper

    whisper New Member

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    Jan 2, 2012

    Thanks so much for the quick response! I plan to talk to my principal about maybe one or the other (degree/extra c), but he kept telling me this fall that homecoming will be easier next year because I'll know how to do it. I'm not against working - I've always put in extra time and used to go to games too. I'm having to invent curriculum as I go because the teacher I replaced left nothing to go by but the texts and an extremely outdated curriculum "calendar." So not only is there the papers to grade, but I'm constantly making new plans, units, etc. I'm teaching two classes each of Fresh and Soph English, plus two writing classes for 7th graders. Seventh grade is no problem, but since I'm new to high school, it's a never ending task just to be ready the next day to keep them interested. I've got about 25 students per class.
     
  7. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Jan 2, 2012

    Whisper, I totally understand where you are coming from because your job sounds very similar to mine. I, however, have a position of handling and overseeing our student activities, but I am only asked to teach three classes (Fr. and So. English also). I'm lucky that my principal is a past activities director himself, so he knows how much time goes into the planning and implementation.

    Facilitating homecomings, proms, and projects is a lot of work. In theory, the kids should be doing most of the work, but in my experience, the adult in charge still has to make sure everything is happening as it should be. I have found that the second year of each activity was easier, but after 6 years, I still have to follow my very detailed notes from the year before to keep myself and my StuCo members organized.

    Trying to go back for a masters has been my plan, too, but with my workload (which is much less than yours), I haven't been able to find the time. My suggestion to you is to sit down with your P and discuss where your energies are needed most--as an activities director or teaching an advanced class. I think it is unreasonable to expect you to handle all you are doing plus take on the masters at this point.
     
  8. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 2, 2012

    You shouldn't have to invent curriculum. If you're not a member of the English Companion Ning, join immediately! It's an online community of over 30,000 English teachers, and they're ready and willing to share. What are your core texts? I've taught 9th and 10th and have materials for Lord of the Flies, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, short stories, etc.
     
  9. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Jan 2, 2012

    I shadowed a teacher last semester, and that included all his classes and all of his extracurriculars. He taught 8 total periods: 2 sections AP Calc AB, 1 section AP Calc BC, 1 section Acting I, 1 section Acting III, 3 sections Precalculus. His extracurricular responsibilities included vocal jazz, drama club, class of 2012 sponsor, and directing the Fall play.

    I thought it was a very full schedule, and it was, but it was certainly a lot of fun for both of us.
     
  10. kme93

    kme93 Companion

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    Jan 2, 2012

    OMG that sounds like an incredible amount of work! I'm a first year teacher and here's my workload: my regular 4 classes (two preps), student community service committee, one of the student community service faculty advisers, and fill-in for other teachers as needed.
     
  11. whisper

    whisper New Member

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    Jan 2, 2012

    Thank you for your advice. Nice (in a misery-loves-company way) to know I'm not alone here! After posting this, I'm definitely going to have that talk with my principal.
     
  12. whisper

    whisper New Member

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    Jan 2, 2012

    Never heard of it, but will be looking into this immediately. Thank you! Yes, I'm starting Shakespeare RJ and JC this week. I did find some material for JC online. I try use online resources as much as possible - still takes awhile to comb through it all. Thank you!
     
  13. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 2, 2012

    The Folger Shakespeare Library site is a great resource: http://www.folger.edu/index_sa.cfm?specaudid=2
     
  14. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Jan 4, 2012

    It's dependent on the school

    I do think that's excessive, but if the school's small, it may not be helped. When I taught in NY, I had five different preps, English 10, Drama, Speech, General Music & ESL, I ran the drama club and the choir. No one else was willing. It was my choice, however, i was not asked to do it. Now, I have three preps, AP Lang/English 12 & Theatre I, I direct 5 shows a year, sponsor drama club and literature club and coordinate district theatre festival (10 schools, 500 students). I also am studying very slowly for my Ph.D. It's my choice, because I don't get paid for any of it. What I have noticed though, at least here, is that there a few teachers that do everything, coach, sponsor clubs, attend games, etc, and some who do absolutely nothing. And the kids all know who to ask for support. I know not everyone can give the time after school, and that's fine, but what bothers me is when teachers say (and I've heard them say this) "I won't because it's a waste of my time" I have had several teachers ask me why I stay every day until 5 rehearsing, and come in weekends and holidays, because, as they have said, "The kids don't really care anyway." or "It's not that important." Of course, my answer is, "If they don't care, why are they willing to come in on a Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. and work until 5 p.m." These kids get nothing for their work, except personal satisfaction and much gratitude from me. Those are the teachers that bother me.
     
  15. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    Jan 4, 2012

    I teach at a small school and it's nothing like that here. Stuco (which I sponsor) and cheerleaders are responsible for Homecoming, Junior class sponsors are responsible for Prom, and Beta usually does a dance or two. It sounds like you are being asked to do way too much.
     
  16. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

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    Jan 4, 2012

    Whisper, your workload sounds insane! :( I agree with the post about asking if you should be an activities director or a teacher. This will sound negative, but if I felt that overwhelmed with work, I had to stay that late, and I didn't enjoy the workload, I would want to transfer to another school if my principal didn't understand. I wonder if you should talk to your union representative if your principal will still expect you to do so much work.
     

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