Should teaching be "one slot of one course per teacher"?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2021

    A significant portion of a teacher's work; and possibly, for some teachers, a majority; is done outside of school hours. One could plausibly argue that some governments pay teachers lower than their own hourly minimum wages.

    Would it be better to spread this burden out, amongst a wider variety of teachers, and have teaching be one slot, of one course, per teacher?

    This way, you can still have co-ordination between teachers of the same course but a different slot; but have much more time for said co-ordination between them. If they have a second job (which they now will have time to) then they can make up the remaining income. If their second job involves downtime (ie. portions of their schedule in which they're on "stand-by" in case anything happens) one could even mark during that time, provided adequate precautions are taken to protect the confidentiality of student work, of course.

    As well, there is a growing resentment toward perceived bias in universities... and seeing as how they produce most of our teachers, it's only a matter of time before people make the connection between that and the K-12 system. I'm not sure what to make of that. I know some people have pro-academia biases, others have anti-academia biases. I myself have been accused of the former when believing the medical sciences about the merit of embryonic stem cell research, and of the latter when disbelieving the social sciences about the merit of surveys.

    But at the very least, if a teacher has a second job, they could incorporate personal experience from that job into their work. That way, it looks less of a feedback loop of "academics teaching academics" and more like something incorporating input from sources other than academia.

    Last but not least, spreading the burden out amongst a wider number of teachers exposes a wider number of people to the realities of the education system, some surprisingly negative, but some surprisingly positive. From the irrationality Bill Maher's critics exhibited in response to Bill's remark about parents who "take the kids' side," I was expecting parent-teacher conferences to be a deluge of parents "taking the kids' side." Looking back, I think more often I was the one taking the kids' side, by assuring them I don't blame them for having problems with this content.

    I don't normally believe in relying on personal experience; hell, I don't believe other people believe in it as much as they claim to; but when it comes to "who to believe on education," sometimes it's the least awful of several awful options. Sometimes the most reasonable conclusion you could've come to based on everything else turns out to be wrong.

    Spreading the teaching burden out among more teachers would give them more experience with things other than teaching to invoke, give students more experience being taught by a variety of professions, and give a higher fraction of the voting public experience with teaching; and a higher fraction than that a friend or a loved one who has experience with it. I'd be hard-pressed to think of any downsides that outweigh all that. What say you?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Feb 19, 2021

    I don’t see most teachers doing significant work outside of school hours. Most use planning time or some time before going home, but aren’t doing significant work after school or at home.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to work two completely different jobs.
     
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  4. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Well, maybe it depends on how short-staffed the school is. At one in particular I've had to give up most of my prep periods to substitute, so getting some of the marking out of the way then was out of the question, but it still would only have ever been a small fraction of the marking and lesson planning burden.

    The irony is, at other schools, I've been told not to make a habit of "going home during prep period" (I resorted to that only very sparingly anyway) because "that's when you're supposed to be working." I was reluctant to mention that I do my marking and lesson planning from the moment the students leave my last class through to 9PM, and only sometimes go home for prep period to get a half-hour power-nap before the rest of the day's classes so that hopefully I'll think more clearly than I would otherwise. That might have just made things worse.

    Man am I glad that's all behind me now.

    For working two completely different jobs, what if your second job was relevant to the subjects you teach in your first?
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I live in a really small town, so I’d find very little relevant to my English degree. Those few jobs available wouldn’t be nearly enough to support second jobs in field for an entire district of local teachers needing part time work.

    Lets also talk retirement. I would be paying into teacher retirement for job 1, then into social security for job 2. I cannot collect both. Essentially I’d be getting no retirement for one job. No thanks.

    What about other benefits? What would the school provide?
     
  6. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    That sounds more like a problem with how the social security system is set up than with the idea of multiple jobs per employee. People get laid off from jobs all the time, entire walks of life become obsolete all the time, or as this pandemic has shown, sometimes both, through no fault of individual employees. Getting two jobs; even if both are part time; should be encouraged, not discouraged, if only as a "buffer" between economic disruptions and dire poverty.

    For the record, I'm not saying every teacher should have to rely on a second job for income, but that a pattern of that being the norm instead of the exception should be an ideal to strive for, partly for the above reason, but mainly for all the reasons I mentioned in the OP. Ideally the system should accommodate those who wish to teach full time as well. But right now "part-time" positions, with, as far as I'm aware, the sole exception of part-time substituting, require you to also be on call to substitute at the same school even if it's the first period of the day and your class is last period of the day, or vice versa. That doesn't sound very accommodating to taking multiple jobs in case you lose one of them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  7. RainStorm

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    Personally, I'm just going to say it straight --This plan would be ridiculous and untenable.

    If you work part-time, you don't get insurance coverage. It costs over $1,000 per month to get insurance for your self through the ACA, and even that isn't great insurance. So I would have to come up with $12,000 additional income to pay for my insurance (and that is just me, it would be outrageously more if I have children of my own.) I don't know of any organization that offers full insurance to part-time workers.

    Also, employers don't have to offer retirement plans to part time workers -- so yes, the organization would benefit greatly from reduced benefit costs, but each employee would suffer from having to self-pay for insurance and retirement. In many states, teachers are not allowed to draw social security when they retire because of state law. So then, they not only wouldn't get social security, they wouldn't have any retirement (just like ImaTeacher explained.)

    Lastly, many teachers subject matter does not directly relate to any other type of job. If you teach Shakespeare, or Physics, there is no related part-time job you are going to be able to do during hours that don't conflict with your school hours.

    I am a professional, with a Master's degree and 20 years of experience. There is no way I could afford to work two part-time jobs, and make any where near the salary I would need to survive. It would also cause untold scheduling issues. At some point, the needs and requirements of these two part-time jobs would conflict -- and which would I choose over the other?

    Your "plan" doesn't take into consideration many important factors -- such as timing conflicts, the time needed to transport yourself from one position to another, the consequences of losing health insurance options, and the retirement implications.
     
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  8. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that you're being blunt, because that's better than trying to tiptoe around any of this, but I still think your points apply more to "under current circumstances" than necessarily "forever."

    Once again this comes down to the political reforms that would need to be made before such a plan could (possibly?) be made feasible. Various things you mention; from healthcare tied to employment, (depends on the country, really) to multiple part-time jobs as a buffer against layoffs discouraged instead of encouraged; already have a variety of other reasons they shouldn't have been the case in the first place. These are things in society worth re-evaluating in the broader political context first, partly to see if that paves the way for this approach to schooling, but also for plenty of other reasons.

    Shakespeare plays can be done part time; your average part-time local theatre troupe probably wouldn't make as much as someone classically trained, but I can see drawing upon that for insight into Shakespeare all the same.

    Physics actually has precedent in public universities, in that the same professors teaching courses do science research too, and repeatedly reference such research in their lectures. Seeing as how much of engineering is already within the public sector, I'm almost wondering if that could be used as a sort of outreach program; shorter shifts at the site itself, in exchange for a job that lets you incorporate your real-world projects they can see for themselves into your lessons, and maybe recruits more engineers!
     
  9. RainStorm

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    First of all, part-time local theatre troops don't typically pay anything at all. They are done for the love of performance. Secondly, in my county there are 14 teachers who teach Shakespeare. There are no local theatre troops that do Shakespeare here.

    Yes, it would be wonderful if all the politics changed, if health insurance wasn't tied to full-time jobs, if retirement for teachers was not restricted, etc etc. I don't see any of that changing any time soon.

    Feel free to continue pondering, but I'm out of this conversation. You obviously don't want to hear what anyone else to say, so there is no point.
     
  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I'm still stuck on the fact that you are upset they won't let you go home to nap. That's the oddest thing I've ever heard. It's not their problem you do your prep at home. Do your prep when you're supposed to.
     
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  11. RainStorm

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    Every public school I worked at, we were not allowed to leave during the day (even during our planning period.) It would require special permission directly from the principal, and there would have to be a reason like you had an urgent doctor's appointment or your child was sick at his school and needed to be picked up. We would have been fired if we left between our start time and our end time without special permission for an urgent emergency. We had several teachers get written up for going out to their cars (parked on the street, not on school property) to smoke (which wasn't allowed on school property.) One actually got a warning that if it happened again, she would be fired. Teachers were expected to be present at the school during their planning time in case they were needed for an urgent unplanned meeting or if the admin needed to see them. I can't imagine a public school where the teacher is allowed to go home during planning - especially not to nap. We are payed for our planning time, and expected to be physically in the school building.
     
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  12. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Which is why I used it very sparingly and specifically held back on mentioning to the principal that was my reason. I figured showing up to an unfamiliar town without a feasible plan to prevent insomnia to a point that could've made it harder to think clearly would be even more damaging. My students were well aware that prior to that point I had already been working late at the school, as students with after-school extra-curriculars saw me marking when they walked past my classroom and that school was rumour central, but one of the upsides of that was that, even if they noticed I had briefly left and came right back well before my next class, they wouldn't know why and at least would've known it wasn't out of mere laziness.

    I think generally the work world, if not their customers, needs to stop downplaying the real harms of sleep deprivation (and I've always had the utmost of sympathy for students tired enough to fall asleep on those uncomfortable desks) but in the meantime getting a desperately needed power nap by any means necessary is the least awful of several awful options. This isn't like most jobs; you need to think as clearly as possible, as no prior plan can replace quick thinking in a sudden urgent situation.

    Man am I glad I'm out of that profession. :/
     
  13. TeacherNY

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    If you need to "power nap" during the day then you need to seek professional help. Some people want to nap when they get home from work but that's different from NEEDING it to even function properly.
    And I'm also confused because you're saying you're out of the teaching profession? Then why are you here?
     
  14. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Because I want to share the thoughts I've formed over the course of my time spent within it, and the way those thoughts have been shaped by several months' worth of hindsight? Because even though technically I can't prove I ever was there, any more than anyone else can, these thoughts are still more likely to catch another teacher's attention if a site has "teacher" in the name?

    (And in case you suggest talking with former colleagues as an alternative, for some of these thoughts I already have. For the more fringe ones like this thread and the "imposing older generations' taste in literature" thread, obviously, I felt the need to bounce them off strangers before seeing if said former colleagues might take it the wrong way.)
     
  15. GeetGeet

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    I have to admit I skimmed this thread a bit, but the argument seems to be based on a personal experience; to me, it doesn't reflect issues that most teachers consider to be a problem. I spend a lot of time grading and planning outside of school hours because I concentrate better when I have a solid block of time to get things done. I WISH I could get it all done in school, but after 16 years of teaching, I realize that I probably never will! But I don't assume most teachers are like me and I don't quite understand how working two jobs would be at all beneficial, without even considering the logistics of insurance and retirement. Once those get factored in, the argument makes even less sense. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but the whole premise is confusing.
     
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  16. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Didn't strike me as rude at all! Struck me as constructive criticism, actually.

    I don't know who to believe, about how my workload compared to anyone else's, but I'm just thinking about the fact that students are in there for about half a dozen hours a day, and teachers are in the classroom with them for a majority of that time. It stands to reason that if assessment is to be a significant fraction of that time (which it should be, as one of the goals of education is lifting people out of poverty, and telling a would-be employer how knowledgeable you are is useless unless you can prove it) and one teacher has to mark dozens' of students papers' each, then on average the workload after school hours should be at least comparable to school hours if not greater.
     
  17. GeetGeet

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    Feb 23, 2021

     
  18. GeetGeet

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    Assessment doesn't always mean that you need to spend a lot of time grading. As an educator, I assess students constantly as I watch what they do. If I graded them on every little thing that indicates learning, like behavior, engagement, etc, I would not have time for anything else, and I would also be reducing the human experience of learning to something I could prove on paper. When my administration hired me, I assumed they acknowledged my level of professionalism, and I shouldn't have to prove my professionalism constantly. If I give indication that I am not doing my job, I can expect extra scrutiny, but in general I hope that admin trusts that I am always assessing, even if that assessment is informal.
     
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