Monday, March 06, 2006
The New Contract: One Month of Hell & Counting!!!
How much more can we take?
By Camille Johnson
Humanities and the Arts High School
Randi is not a real teacher, so she would not understand the enormous impact of what she gave away in our current contract. Because she accepted an extra 37 1/2 minutes small group instruction period and a plethora of other givebacks for mere pennies, we are now suffering the ill effects of it in the classroom on a daily basis.
In my single session high school, teachers are doing the mandated tutoring during period 1 which means that we start work at 8:05 A.M.
For the professional activity period, many teachers have still another small group instruction period. This then means that the teachers now have to teach their 5 regular periods per day with up to 34 students in each class plus the mandated 37.5 minute period and the professional assignment, thus making it an interminable 7 period instructional day when it was five under the expired agreement.
To add insult to injury after teaching an arduous 7 periods, teachers still have to stay twice per month after school for an 8th assigned period in the form of Faculty and Departmental conferences.
The law of diminishing returns is totally in full effect, because there is no energy left for teachers to reflect on their practice or even to check homework, quizzes, projects or tests. Consequently, a trailer-load of paper work lags behind which is a perfect recipe for hostility and burn out. A hard working, conscientious teacher who cares deeply about students no longer has sufficient energy left nor the time to devote to do necessary outreach.
Therefore, there is less of an opportunity for teachers to conference with students, correspond with parents or to plan innovative and more creative lessons because we are simply over exhausted. In addition, it will only get worse with the extended year as the 2006-07 school year will commence on the last day of August.