Nine o’clock Sunday morning a notification goes off on my cell phone. Amy, my wife, picks up my phone to see what the buzz was about while I was readying breakfast for our 3 children. Was it an emergency? Was it an invite for an outing during the day? Was it Grandma asking us to attend church with here? NO, a work colleague had sent our building staff a survey to take by Wednesday to plan a parent engagement night for our school. Amy threw my phone down on the table with disgust:”Why is your work ALWAYS budding into family time?” A teacher working at 9 AM on a Sunday morning? Yes, this is the teacher’s life. So much work that even the day of rest gets compromised to check things off the to do list.
Teachers are overload with work, left with little time to check things off their “to do” lists. Often when teachers find time they use it for much needed unwinding and family time than to dive into new needed tasks. Teachers show up for their days early and work late into the evenings focusing on lessons plans and feedback. We worry about our students and spend time focused on relationships. Our jobs are full of activity and stress. Kaye Wiggins writes that teaching is one of the top three stressful careers.
There is this SUPERTEACHER myth advocated by education reformers that many believe. If teachers just gave more time, students will achieve. How much time can educators give? Most educators have families that they need to have time to support. Educators are overloaded! It would be great if education was like many other professions, where time was flexible and work stayed at work.
To reform education, one might start by unloading the teachers, so they can FOCUS on their jobs of educating students.