When Will It Be Enough?

Monday and Tuesday I was lucky enough to be able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the school. Don't be jealous. 

Friday I worked eleven hours or so. Monday I worked eleven hours. Tuesday I worked thirteen hours. Today I worked ten hours. If I truly worked a 40 hour week I could leave after six hours tomorrow BUT let's be real here.

Before I go any further let me say this: I LOVE my job. 
Hands down I know I am in the right profession. 
I adore my students...well most of them. 
I couldn't be more suited to teach my subjects. 
And my room is the jam.

And here is where you are probably saying:

There are certain things that college/alternative program don't prepare you for when you are planning to enter the field of education.

The most important lesson that I would have liked to have been told early on is:
it won't be enough.

Work 50 hours in a week, it wont be enough, 60 might have been better in order to get your word wall just perfect.
Have engaging content, it won't be enough, why aren't your students competing in competitions.
Have a greatly managed classroom, it won't be enough, didn't you notice that one student chewing gum.
Show up on your own free will to committee meetings after school, it won't be enough, take on a task or responsibility for this committee during your 'free time'. 

The list could really go on and on, but this post does in fact have a point.

Here is a little background information to help my story:

one. I teach three preps, that means I write three lesson plans a week by myself. Our lesson plan format is 5 pages long and is checked every Friday by our appraiser.

two. On average I teach about 150 kids a semester. If I enter one grade a day for students that is nearly 750 grades I have to enter a week.

three. In a given week I have about 5 hours of planning time, to make phone calls and prepare lesson plans and such. It is never enough, I generally get to school an hour early and stay an hour or two later in order to make sure I can at least have my weekends free.

Occasionally I will get positive feedback from my administration but the overarching theme I see is it isn't enough.

Let's take a core teacher, for example our math teacher for 7th grade:

one. Said teacher teaches one prep. Has CRM's, YI's, district lesson plans and a team of teachers at the school to plan with. 

two. All of our 6th and 7th grade students have block math this year, so they have about 90 students per teacher. 

three. A math teacher will never be pulled to substitute a class so they are secured at least 6 hours of planning time. Plus most of our campus PLC's benefit the core.

four. They of course have to deal with state accountability scores, so that is a lot of pressure.

Reality check: there are positives and negatives with each position. Really with every position in life. 

Here is where the story gets interesting, I promised I had a point.

Monday we had our PLC (professional learning community) and oddly I was the only one required to go at my time slot. Since I am on a random 6th grade time slot and all of the elective teachers are on another...way to isolate me further.

In the PLC I was told that we will be doing a campus wide Numerical Fluency program and elective teachers would need to assist. 

In a students math class they would be completing a one page activity every day. 
Then the math teacher would send them to an assigned elective teacher.
The elective teacher would then grade each paper.
Record the grades in a googledoc.
Then locate the next page if the student passed and staple all of it together.If the student failed they would be retaking the same page, but of course there needs to be a fresh copy.
The elective teacher needed to have all of this done and back to the math teacher by the next math class period.
Oh, and there are a 100 questions on each activity.
And good luck reading the handwriting of students who you don't even know.
Repeat the whole process the next day. And the day after...

Don't get me wrong I think the idea of the program is great: students need to have these basic addition and subtraction type skills in order to ever pass our state test.

But why in the hell do I need to be a grader. It took the average elective teacher 70 minutes to complete this activity yesterday, when we should have been preparing for back to school night.

I feel like our administration is basically giving all elective teachers the middle finger and saying what you do here isn't enough. Your classes and you aren't important. Your family and personal lives aren't important. BUT our core teachers need to be rested and focused on their classrooms. 

It's bad enough that the students know that they do not have to pass electives in order to move to the next grade level but for the administrators to say that basically we are second class citizens at the school makes me feel like I am just an over paid babysitter.

I really have kept so many of my opinions to myself regarding the way elective teachers are treated at my school but this whole math crap is the straw that broke the camels back, if you will.

I feel like my options are this:

one. Don't do it and see what happens. There is no reasonable way this can hurt my PDA's and is this even in my contract. 
two. Do it and allow my disdain for my school to fester and grow. Completely healthy.
three. Speak up, to who I don't know, and allow myself to be made the example of.

At what point am I allowed to say that as a teacher, not an elective teacher, I am handling (pretty darn well might I add) the same amount, students and workload as any other teacher in this school and that IS ENOUGH!

What I would love to know is do other teachers deal with this, its never enough, mentality? 
Am I the only one talking about it? Or is my school just a special kind of crazy?

I apologize for the Debbie Downer rant of a post today but I needed to get it off my chest before I went crazy.

- The Babbling Box! 


  1. Option #1- Fuck em. Don't do it. When they do come to you to complain- remember all of the good points you made today in your post. Give it to em! That sounds awful. I can imagine it wouldn't be a very good feeling either.. Under appreciated, over looked, taken advantage of.. It all sounds like total bullshit to me. I'm not a teacher, so I don't know if this is typical at other schools. But.. I would certainly stand up for yourself in this case. Enough is enough. HA.

  2. I've only ever been a core teacher (who has had up to 7 different preps in one year, I might add) and I can attest that I always feel that same way. Honestly, I think the entire education system is designed to make us feel that way so we never get complacent. There's always room for more. This is why special education students can't fail... how can we possibly ever say we've done "everything" to help them? I just wish more people would understand that this is the reality of teaching and stop treating ALL OF US like glorified babysitters.

  3. I teach 5th grade, all subjects, and feel this way. I'm on every committee and team known to mankind. I am constantly planning, emailing, working stuff out in my head and it's never enough. I've been doing this 16 years and it hasn't always felt like this much pressure. I blame the government and standardized testing. Everyone that makes decisions and laws about teaching should have to spend one year...current times...in a classroom to see what we go through. Chin up!