Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The tyranny of arrogance....

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I would like to speak of teachers, time, expectations, and arrogance. This is not a rant post, nor a whine post... but a description of the reality.

In going through our school's in-service training the beginning of this school year, we instructors are once again being told about all the great new things we will be doing. New directives, new forms to fill out and file, new style lesson plans to create, new.... stuff. All this is in addition to what we had to do previously, and most often has little to do with our real job of teaching technical trades to young students.

What is sorely lacking is any indication we will be given time to do the new work, create the new plans and file the new forms. If instructors directed students to perform task work for grading without allowing lab time to complete it, we would be punished. If the school does it to us.... it's par for the course.

"Well, use some of your preparation time!"

Uh.... what is this 'preparation time' you speak of?

Allow me to break down the 'prep time' we have. Instructors must be in the saddle by 7:45 each morning, and students begin arriving before 8am. We have students till 2:35 each day, usually longer. Doing prep work while students are with us is not only impossible, but just plain wrong. Our official school day ends at 3:20. This means optimally we will have about 45 minutes a day prep time.

But.... we have mandatory after class meetings. Faculty meetings, center meetings, committee meetings, IEP meetings.... it works out to at least one a week, but usually more. That means we can count on three hours a week of prep time. In those three hours we must:
  • Write daily detailed lesson plans to be filed
  • Prepare Power Point presentations and hand outs
  • Contact parents
  • Contact potential and current employers
  • Grade tests, quiz's, and homework
  • Enter daily work ethic, task, and theory grades into the computer system
  • Write detailed discipline referrals
  • Write weekly objective plans to be filed
  • Prepare class demonstrations
  • Track and order supplies and tools with a cumbersome process
  • Make our next days copies
  • Repair tools and equipment
  • and a host of other duties.......
Obviously all this adds up to way more than three hours a week. The thing is, we instructors know this and accept it as part of our job. It's part of being a professional.

When does it get done? We come in early, stay late, work weekends, and work over the summer. None of this is contracted time, and none is paid for. We know this, and just deal with it in order to have the career we love.

Where does the tyranny of arrogance come in? Clearly every single additional task we are given comes directly from our own personal time. It must.... as the prep time we officially have is laughably inadequate. The arrogance comes into play when we are given more and more tasks to accomplish... and no time to do them in. No one asks us if we are willing to give up one more evening, or one more Sunday a month. The extra work is just heaped on with the command "Get it done, and 'no time' is never an excuse".

I was asked what I thought of today's introduction to new time sucking demands... and I replied "I think it's interesting, but it seems a silly way to spend the day when the school clearly doesn't expect us to do any of this stuff........". The response "What do you mean?" My reply: "There was no mention of where the time required to do all this work is coming from, and you know our days are already overfilled, so clearly the school does not plan on investing in the time we would need to do the work, and therefor does not plan on us actually doing any of this stuff".

Stone..... cold..... silence.


1 comment:

D.W. Drang said...

I understand (from Michele Malkin, I think) that this year you get to indoctrinate the little darlings to agitate to get Mom and Dad to OBEY the Census Taker...