What would happen if we only worked our contracted hours?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by eddygirl, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Another thread got me thinking about this: It is obvious that there are many hard-working teachers who put an extraordinary amount of time (well over their contracted hours) into providing quality educational experiences for their students. But I wondered--what would happen if we only worked our contracted hours?

    Let's say an "imaginary timer" is set for your contracted hours, and at the end of that time, you MUST stop doing schoolwork: no planning, no grading, no looking for ideas on educational websites, etc. What would/could you cut out of your work week? How would this affect your classes?

    Coaches and activity moderators, leave your extra-curriculars out of the mix--let's just think in terms of the classroom and the educational experiences you provide there.

    Also, how would this affect your school if every teacher in the building did this? Let's pretend that administrators would not expect you to work more than those contracted hours, but would simply accept that you "put in your time efficiently." What differences would you see in your school as a whole?
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I think you'd see a lot less quality teaching going on, and a lot more "busy work" being given so teachers had a chance to do all the clerical type things that go along with teaching.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Well, if you just continued doing exactly what you do for lessons in the classroom the way you do it now, it wouldn't go very well.

    If you were required to teach and assess the curriculum and do the other clerical work, things would have to change if you were required to make sure students were still learning. How we do what we do often depends on the extra time we plan to spend outside of contract hours. We would have to be much more careful how we assign work, what we teach, and how much grading would be done. However, I think we could astonish ourselves because sometimes we go too big with our lessons and what we expect the students to do when more clean, precise lessons and work product actually will target the skill or the content.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Personally I would give more busy work to start. During the time the students are doing that I would design more cooperative work for future weeks. There would be a day-long project assigned at least once a week. I would spend less time walking around during that project time (which would require me to have some great rubrics set up in advance, a good thing to come out of it!).

    Students would have to do far more on their own, in their own time. More reading of the chapter at home and answering questions from the back on their own.

    Students would have fewer assessments. The ones they do have would be ones that were built to be easily graded.
     
  6. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I have a lot of systems and routines in place so that I can leave at my contracted time (need to because of childcare). I do all of the "extras" on my own time between 8-11 pm and 4:40-6:30 am. That's when I get creative and add the magic to teaching. So, yes I could do my job in my contracted hours, but it would be just the bare bones that are required.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've seen the results of teachers who just work contract hours. It's not pretty and one of the many reasons I have to stay longer.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dozens of my students would simply never be able to reach me. One of my kids this summer took a fisherman job in Maine for the summer. His hours were 4am to noon. My hours were 8am to noon. We went over his assignments in the evenings before he went to sleep.
     
  9. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    We've done this as an entire district as a protest during contract negotiation times. It's hard on the teachers who want to do their best job. It's hard to be able to contact and meet with parents who also work. It was WAY more stressful for me.
     
  10. janney

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    I would stop spending (wasting) time talking to other teachers after dismissal. I'm sure I would become more efficient with my time so I could get everything done; I tend to be slow without a set deadline.

    On the other hand I would have to find a new hobby since a lot of what I do outside of contract hours is the "fun" part.
     
  11. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    If I only worked during my contract time, students would not receive any grades. They wouldn't have much work to do either, since the majority of my planning occurs after contract time as my "planning" during the day is taken up with meetings of some sort or another. I would also never conference with parents.
     
  12. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    We are doing this! The whole district. The school board won't approve a contract so the teachers union has us working only from 7:55 to 3:25 daily. We have to walk in together and leave together.
     
  13. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I know for me it would be horrible. I change the environment weekly and only have an hour and a half in my schedule to do it, and usually it takes me about 3 hours. I wouldn't get to change the materials in the environment as often and it would be detrimental to the children. I'm a Montessori teacher, by the way.
     
  14. Silmarienne

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    That's just it, long-term, it's the kids who would lose out since we would have to spend less time focused on them in order to get those assessments tallied, papers graded, and so on. I can't imagine report card time.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    We would have to really work on basics and hammer them hard. Then we would have lessons to put them together, but not necessarily huge assignments to grade. Just enough to make sure they can apply the skills in a cohesive unit.

    I honestly believe we struggle to think differently based on what we are used to - working longer hours. We would have to focus more because the students would still need to learn.

    I would actually do little project work. My time would be spent observing what was being done because the work would be more able to be assessed particularly in early grades by walking and looking at what the students are producing - or not.

    I don't believe project work is valuable when students don't have the basics mastered, imho.
     
  16. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I doubt I'd get any planning done - I'd spend the entire prep time returning phone calls. I don't think parents would like me calling them at 6:30, either.

    Which means I'd be winging it. I don't wing things. I plan pretty carefully.

    My day would certainly involve a *lot* more informal assessments; in fact, I doubt I would assign much that had to be graded unless I had a system where I could have the kids grade each other's papers.

    I think I'd be pretty miserable.

    Jamie - that's crazy! Keep us updated on that.
     
  17. alioxenfree

    alioxenfree Rookie

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    Contract Time

    My head would explode! I do all of the things I have to do at/from work like parent phone calls and emails, SmartBoard lessons, copies, laminating, record progress monitoring data, and prep for reading groups, math, and science. We are also required to keep a blog updated weekly. I'm sometimes asked to translate at parent meetings during contract time. I do grading after contract hours either at school or at home or waiting at the beauty shop, car wash, etc. I also do some planning and professional reading/research at home.

    If we had to only work contract hours, my grading would have to be done during my preps (planning periods) causing a domino effect. I'd also still have to do some planning and prep during that time. My blog would just have the minimum information required by the district. More parents and students visit the blog when it is more interactive, but that would take too much of my time. We have a new math program so that might be a nightmare without my colleagues and I having extra time (right now we have 45 min. a week of common planning time so we would basically just do very general plans for all subjects and all the other tasks the administration requires during that time).

    I would cut back on the reader responses :( because they're not required and they take a lot of time for me to read and respond to meaningfully. Our science curriculum requires a lot of prep so I'd probably streamline some of the lessons.

    I'm a slower worker than most because I spend a lot of time thinking when I'm working (Okay, I'm a space cadet :whistle:) , so I need some extra time. In some areas I might become more efficient, but I would feel so much stress and anxiety about not doing all the important things I want to do and having to do some things subpar because of the lack of time to do them right. It wouldn't be worth it.

    If all the teachers in my school only worked contract time, I think we'd see teachers grading more papers when the kids are in the room, fewer hands-on activities, more worksheets, less creative bulletin boards (our K-2 teachers' bulletin boards are always fabulous), less collaboration on lessons/sharing of ideas, and less contact with parents.

    It wouldn't be pretty. I'd survive, but I wouldn't be happy. At all.
     
  18. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    Love it! It is called working to the rule. I think anyone who does not have a contract or their school district isn't budging should be doing this.
     
  19. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    One word...CHAOS!
     
  20. carrieSAtoUSA

    carrieSAtoUSA Rookie

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    How many of the teachers in the district are working at home though? I totally understand what your district is doing, but there's no ways I could leave with empty hands. I would stress out, worrying about my planning, etc. Grading can wait, but planning can't!
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    The thing is, teachers are soooo willing to go the extra mile .... or thousand miles .... that now it's become the norm. It isn't compensated, often not appreciated, and sometimes doesn't even get the results we're looking for. Crazy. I'd like to see what would happen if everyone worked to their contracts, everyone. Would the powers that be notice what the kids weren't getting? Would it be reflected in test results?

    It just seems like the more teachers do, the more that is expected of them to do. Out of their own pockets.
     
  22. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I would have to opposite feeling about it, and I'm so glad we don't have to join the union here. I would hate it, and refuse to do it. I just don't think I could work in a state with a strong union presence. Then, instead of just having one group of people (the administration) telling you what to do, you'd have TWO groups of people telling you what to do. I'm a member of a national educational organization for the legal protection and the professional development opportunities. I would take part in rallies outside of work time, but I would not diminish my productivity as a teacher in any way (work to rule, sick out, strike, etc.) I'm in this for the kids, and they, and I, are the ones who would suffer, not the administration.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Even in non-union states teachers have decided to work to the rule to get their raises or other increased benefits in very bad recession times.
     
  24. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Grading and all of the extra paperwork we have to do is what would take a hit. All of the planning and coping that could easily be done in the contracted time. There would be less time to do it, but I'm okay with that. It would mean not everything is a serious structured plan and teachers would have to go with their instincts more. Some teachers are more effective when they do it that way.
     
  25. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I can't imagine all of our teachers trying to use the one copying machine during the 15 min. prep we have when the kids are at recess...
     
  26. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    THAT would NOT be pretty. :dizzy:

    But seriously, think of how fresh and energetic you would be if you had a life outside of school! :rolleyes:
     
  27. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Well, I live in a tiny rural town, and there are very few young, single people here. If I couldn't work on school stuff, I would be very, VERY bored!
     
  28. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Things that wouldn't happen:

    No open house night, as that is from 5-8
    No parent conferences. No where in my contract does it state I have to stay until 9 pm twice a year.
    No coaching until 9 or 10 every night from December to March.
    Speaking of coaching, since all of our competitions are on Saturdays, I guess the kids are on their own.
    No more two grades per student, per class, per week. Either the administration's expectations will have to change, or they will have to write up every teacher repeatedly.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    When I read the thread's title I actually laughed! I do sooo much outside of my "contracted" hours that I can hardly imagine how my class would function if I left after three.

    Under the right circumstances, I would be willing to participate in districtwide protest. I realize it may not seem to be the best for the students, but 1) the powers that be take advantage of teachers hesitating to do anything that may not be in the best interest of the students even if it negatively impacts our own lives, and 2) sometimes adults have to make decisions that may hurt children short-term but ultimately help them (and in this case, education in general). A divorce may leave a child crying and terribly upset, but you know that in the long-run the change was best for everyone, including your child. I can see how the same idea applies to education.
     
  30. tk1teacher

    tk1teacher Rookie

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    I moved to a small county within the same state from a large county Our districts are set up by county. I was very surprised to learn that the students at our school are still on campus at our contracted end of work day. I casually mentioned it to an administrator. Oh yes teachers can leave the admin take care of things after hours... really... on rainy days students are called by bus sometimes this is 20 minutes after our contract day. I have always worked overtime. I do not see how to get the job done without more that contracted hours. Even the "worst" teachers have to stay to finish the bare bones job. I have suggested several times that we should work our contract hours. However, even only a few do it it does not work. Everyone has to be in agreement for it to have an impact. It is ironic how we feel guilty if we leave on time. I have found that this county does have teacher work days for conferences versus the night conference also they are not afraid to hire a sub for a day to get conferences done. It is a nice place to work. I think every district has quirks but every county expects teachers to work overtime. They do not even consider how much time they are adding when sending down another paper that should be filled out or another documentation for students. At in-services when some one is brave enough to ask when this new ____ is to be done whomever is doing the in-services skirts around the subject. If we write down everything we do as volunteer hours it really helps the school grade. LOL yep I had a principal in the big county that asked us to log our extra hours so he could turn it in as volunteer hours which would boost our school grade.
     
  31. comaba

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    :agreed: 1000%

    I agree with with the whole post, but especially the bolded!
     
  32. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    All I've gotta say is THANK GOODNESS for contracted hours! Last year was my fifth year teaching 2nd grade. I felt like a well-oiled machine because I knew what to teach, how to teach it, and always got great results. I only worked my contracted hours last year. However, my first few years teaching 2nd grade, I worked myself so hard to the point that I was working 7 days a week in my classroom. It was ugly.

    Now that I'll be teaching a different grade-level this year, I'm sure I'll be working long before and long after my contracted hours. I'm okay with that, though. I definitely won't be going to my classroom on Saturday and Sunday, though! No way!
     
  33. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Great thread.

    If I only worked my contracted hours, I would never be prepared. I do all my lesson planning on Sundays, and it takes a good 2-4 hours to complete. Other than that, I would be okay, because I don't do much outside of that. I don't coach or run any clubs (at least not yet), but I do tutor after school (of course this is something separate, so that still doesn't count).

    Everything else, as far as grading and prepping, is done during my preps. I know I am very lucky in this regard because I see the amount of time that other teachers on this forum put into it. I simply don't put much extra time. There is always, of course, the occasional activities that do require extra time, like our Christmas performance.
     
  34. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I'm in a similar position to YoungTeacherGuy. I've been teaching English III for 15 years, so I do a lot of tweaking now more than anything. There are times when I teach an entirely new unit or a new novel, and I have to spend a great deal of time getting prepared for that, but for the most part I don't work much beyond my contract hours.

    I will say that when I was on a traditional campus and had 150+ students I spent a lot of time GRADING at home. Now, I only have about 30 students and I can get most of it done at school. The exception is when I'm grading major papers.

    (Note: I have a 90 min. prep each day. That helps!)
     
  35. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I have said for the past couple of years that they need to change contracted hours time to be more like 45 hours a week. Not actually pay us more, but put it in the contract that that is the time we work so that we can actually be recognized for working that time. 4 Day school week with longer days for students and teachers. Day 5 is teachers only and that is when all of the extra stuff would get done. It would take listing it out as a 45 hour week, but atleast we would get recognized for the time we put in.
     
  36. Proud2BATeacher

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    If school material is removed from the school, that teacher could be reported to the union.

    I worked in a private school when the public school district went from work to rule to being on strike. Teachers were being reported on and they were fined and written up (put in their permanent files and their names were written in the union's newspaper that went out to all of the members in our province) by the union.

    Our support staff when on strike a few years ago (each department including librarians, school assistants, secretaries) took turns not going to work and picketing) and the teachers were asked to support them by not doing their job. The principal asked us to answer the phone in the office when the secretary was not there --- when the union was mentioned, she backtracked and then told us that we can answer the phone "only if we wanted to b/c it would help her and our families out a lot".
     
  37. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    We do not have a union like that in this state. I don't believe that would ever happen, though it would be nice if we had something that strong that could actually make a significant impact.
     
  38. eddygirl

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    I'm in a Catholic school that prides itself on the educational experience it provides. If we did not work beyond contracted hours, I think our enrollment would eventually drop off because we would only be able to provide the "basics." Just thinking of all the time I spend during out-of-school hours grading essays alone is daunting, not to mention the time I spend on lesson planning and other grading. I only know of one colleague who says she does not do schoolwork at home, but she comes in at 6:00 A.M (we start at 8:00) every morning to work on grading, and she grades through her planning and most of her lunch.

    My sister and daughter are elementary school teachers, and I know they put in even more hours than me. They have to change their environment more often, spend more time calling and e-mailing parents, and they both have to collaborate with colleagues when planning lessons.

    I guess I just find it frustrating when non-teachers assume that our jobs are "cushy" because they think our school day ends when the kids go home, and we're so lucky to have summers and holidays off. If they only realized how much of our work gets done outside school hours, they might be very surprised.
     
  39. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    For those of you that have actually done this- how did it turn out? I'm really curious. I would imagine at my school people would totally be "sneaking around" and doing the extra work anyway- haha! They'd just take things home with them rather than staying at school to do them. If you've done this at your school, did people actually "stick with it" and what was it like?

    I think for me, the type of lessons I do would have to look a lot different. Not only do I teach up to 15 different lessons a day, but I also have to do all the IEP/RtI paperwork and prepare for meetings. If I absolutely couldn't work outside of contracted time, I'd have to plan very straight forward lessons that didn't take a lot of effort to prepare for, and I'd have to make sure that the kids were doing more independent work, because I'd have to work on paperwork or planning for future lessons while they were in my room. Being an intervention teacher, I almost never have students just doing independent work as most of the time that's not an intervention! I feel like I'd have to give them "busy work". I think I do a good job of not spending endless hours at school though...past the first few months when I started getting things figured out, I'd say I spent no more than 90 minutes after school working on things most of the time, unless something big/special that I had to plan for was coming up.

    Thinking while I'm typing though, our contract hours actually do contain extra minutes at the beginning and end of the school day, so it's not like I would only be working the exact hours the kids are there. Our contracted hours are 7:30-3:30, and kids are there from 7:50-2:50. So really, if I was smart during those times, I wouldn't have to cut out that much during the day. I didn't realize that some teachers actually didn't have an 8 hour contracted day until some people mentioned it here on the boards. Even though students are only at school for 7 hours, I'm expected to be at school 8 hours each day.
     
  40. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    I am not sure if anyone has said this (too tired to read all replies - sorry).

    1. I don't think I would have time to do all my marking.!!!
    2. First thing to cross of the list would be time to fix displays and work around the room. - welcome boring plain room.
     

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