Saturday, September 10, 2011

What's this about a teacher's short day?

There seems to be a misconception that a teacher has a short day because an official school day is usually 7 hours long.  Well, those 7 hours make up the students' day, but not the faculty's day.  I start my day at least 1/2 hour prior to the "official" start of school.  Actually, I have already checked my school email from home and dealt with some of the issues in them prior to leaving home.  I do not leave the school until about 45 minutes after the last bell.  I see students before school and after school to help them and to let them make up their tests and quizzes. 

Then, there is the grading.  Wednesday night was the open house for parents of current students to meet their children's teachers, so I really had no time to grade the homework I took up that day.  Hence, on Thursday night I stayed up an extra hour just to grade the waiting homework plus the quizzes I gave that day.  I plan for when I will grade work, so make up work is pushed to the end of my to-do list and may take some time for me to grade.  I usually do make up work on the weekends.

With the grading comes the responsibility of keeping an eye on which students need more than most.  I discovered in grading the quizzes that I have a student who will need extra effort on my part to help the student demonstrate the math skills he/she has learned.  That means more meetings with parents, the student, administration, etc. outside of the official school day.  Plus I need to make sure that that student's tests and quizzes allow the student to legitimately succeed.  I do not believe in false grades, but I do know that not everyone has good math logic abilities.  I'm so glad my art teachers didn't grade just on my ability to shade properly -- because I didn't shade at all usually -- but also included my best art skills, i.e. structure and form.  I try to remember that gift when teaching students who care and work hard to succeed.  They need to know that they have math skills, just not necessarily in the same way as their classmates.  St. Paul was right: we are all parts of the same body, but we each have different gifts to share in that common body. (My interpretation.)  Besides, nothing succeeds like personally-achieved success.  I have faith that this student will strive to achieve as much as possible in math when he/she knows what is possible.  I've seen it happen before.

After saying all that, I guess I lost track of my original subject, but I regained my incentive to be the best teacher I can be.

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