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Thursday, May 26, 2011


We lost four days due to a tornado here in Vilonia; on top of the five snow days.

The tornado days were waived by the state.

For the students.

Recently, the district rolled out the plan devised so that faculty and staff could be paid our entire contract.

We have to come two more days after students leave. From 7:30 to 4:00. That will make up 16 hours. We'll write a one page essay about something, anything, we've done at school. For that we get 2 more hours. Then we'll pick up 6 hours of PD on our own, which won't count toward the 60 required for next year. Then the district can pay us our entire contract.

It's professional hoop jumping, at best.

And as anyone can imagine, it's made the natives just a little restless.

And some of us, as you can also imagine, have decided to quit.

And you might think I mean to say that some teachers have decided not to return next year. But that's not what I'm saying at all. I mean some of them have quit this year. And I'm not saying they are no longer coming to school; they are.

But they've quit.

It's videos and video games. It's basketball and softball games between classes. Walks in the nature trail.

And I don't want to be a hard ass about this. I'm 54 years old and this is my 30th year in the classroom. I know tired. I know burned out. Some days I want to quit too.

But we're a 90-90 school. We get 90 minutes a day for 90 days with our students. Of course, we lose a few class periods to pep rallies, student council speeches, and, well, tornadoes.

Do we have more concepts and curricular activities in which to engage our students than we have time for, or do we have more time with students than we know what to do with?

A few years ago, a lady in our district, whose son was my student, shared with me one of my greatest compliments. "Mom," he said to her, "every day I go to school Mr. Rush has something he wants to teach me."

Thank God for summer breaks.

Let us teach until it comes.


Joan said...

Last week my kids kept asking me, "Are we doing anything next week? Are we just going to have lazy days?" Silly kids! I told them I get paid to teach, not babysit. But the tornado changed that and my kids got a few extra days off.

Anonymous said...

Mike - as a preservice teacher in the English Education program it's hard to hear that our careers are basically "professional hoop jumping, at best." And the part of you blog describing what the teachers had to do in order to fulfill their contract is also a disappointment.

What's even more depressing is that your fellow co-workers decided to quit because they had to put in a little extra work for full pay. What does this say for current teachers in the field? What does this say to those that have yet to enter into the field? On one hand I have observed numerous teachers who, everyday, give an arm and a leg to see their students learn in the best way possible. But then there are those teachers who babysit", do not value student learning, and bust out when they are asked to stay an extra 2 days.

While it seems that teachers often receive an unfair amount of money for the work that they do, teachers should want to become teachers for honest reasons. Almost every education student knows that they are headed into a profession that doesn't give great pay and requires more work after hours than another career. So why go into the field and then quit over a few make-up day discrepancies? Today's students need teachers who are passionate about them and the work they are doing. It is good to hear, at least, that you didn't make a fit and quit. All hope is not lost!

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Mike's book montage

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Book of Ruth
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st-Century Classroom
Teacher Man: A Memoir
Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
Schools That Work: America's Most Innovative Public Education Programs
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
A Death in Belmont
The Tipping Point
The Bible: A Biography
Magical Thinking: True Stories
Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High
Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
I Feel Bad About My Neck
The Shack

Mike's favorite books »