Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anti Teacher Argument #1 Teachers Have a 9 to 3 Workday

Welcome to my blog.

I seek not to argue, to inflame, or to whine.  I seek only to present information that you may not be aware of.  Factual information.  Information that should be given to the public so that can form educated opinions of Ontario Elementary Teachers and their plight.

It is clear right now that Ontario Elementary Teachers are not winning in the "court of public opinion."

They are losing badly.  

"Teachers get paid too much."   "Teachers are lazy."  "Teachers get 3 months off."  "Teachers are hurting our children by not offering extracurricular activities." "Teachers don't teach the proper skills."

These are the popular opinions of the day; opinions that are resulting in the overwhelming public support of Bill 115, a bill which significantly effects teachers, both economically, and emotionally.

But is the public coming to an informed decision or have they been misled by the political agendas of news organizations?

Are teachers really overpaid, underworked and lazy?

Despite what the media may have you believe the facts suggest otherwise. 

This blog entry will focus on the argument that teachers work only a 9 am to 3 pm day, an idea that has been expressed as a "truth" by a significant number of individuals in the comment sections of both the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun.  

Also by my father, two uncles, five close friends, my entire hockey team, family doctor, plumber, and local waitresses.

Here's what they don't know......

1. Elementary teachers have to write IEP's (Individual Education Plans).  They cannot write these in class.   They have to write these 2 times a year.  Each IEP takes around 2 hours to write.  Sometimes more.  Sometimes less.  For argument sake, lets say 1 hour.  Most teachers have 10 IEP's to write.  Some have 60 (if they teach gifted).

So the math on this would be 1 hour x 10 students x 2 times a year = 20 hours

2. Elementary teachers have to write 2 report cards and 1 progress report.  Again, class time is not provided.  Most classes have 30 students at minimum.  Each report card takes a minimum of 2 hours to write.  

Looking at the math again that means  2 hours x 30 students x 3 occasions = 120 hours

3. Elementary teachers have to conduct reading assessments like DRA or Casi. These are not be used for evaluation (marking) purposes.  They have to do these twice a year and imput the results into an online data base.  There are 8 questions with 4 being paragraphed written responses. At the very minimum it takes 1.5 hours to mark and input the results. 

Here is the math:  twice a year x 30 students x 1.5 hours = 90 hours.

These three tasks add up to 230 hours of work that teachers perform outside of their "teaching time."

Given the fact that there are 188 teaching days in the year,   230 divided by 188 = 1.22.

That means that these three tasks alone, add at the very minimum, 1 hour to a teachers day.

1 extra hour a day BEFORE you calculate other "outside of teaching time" tasks such as staff meetings, marking, assignment creation etc.

Lets do the math on those......

4.  Staff Meetings:  9 full staff meetings a year x 1 hour = 9 hours  (these are held after school)

5. Marking:  lets say a teacher spends 1 minute a day (per child) marking.  So with 30 students that would be 30 minutes per day.  We all know this is a ridiculously small (and unrealistic) number because most teachers give out more than 1 assessment/assignment per child, per day.  

Sure some people might say that the teacher does the marking in class, while their students are working, but we all know this is not the case.  If you don't believe us, drop by a classroom and see if the teacher has time to do this.

Back to the math:  1/2 of an hour x 188 school days = 99 hours


6.  Assignment creation and preparation.  Should we estimate 1 minute per child again?  When we consider photocopying, ordering of materials, organizing of lessons, checking of computer technology, getting the supplies ready, practicing of lessons etc. this seems like a safe bet.

Math:  1 minute x 30 students = 1/2 of an hour x 188 days = 99 hours.

#4 + #5 + #6 = 196 hours.  196 divided by 188 gives us about 1 hour a day again.

So that's an average of 2 extra hours a day that is not part of the "9 to 3" teaching day.

Which means we are up to a "9 to 5" job now.  

A very important fact to consider in the blog entries to follow.

Of course, school doesn't start at 9 a.m.  It starts on average at 8:50 and goes to 3:10 or so. 

So the job is really 8:50 to 5:10.....  

Which is more than the typical "9 to 5" job that we like to think is the norm....

And we haven't even gotten into extracurricular activities yet.   That's for another time.


So based on these 6 "extra's" alone, teachers are working a regular work day like the rest of the population.


So why hasn't the Toronto Sun or Toronto Star published this information?


Where is the headline that reads "Teachers Work Regular Workday?"





















14 comments:

  1. Because the rest of the world has moved on. They work harder and longer than they used to in jobs that have less benefits, no wage increases and a higher expectation of contribution. As well workers in those environments are expected to bring increased worth to their positions each year and help the organization grow or risk losing their jobs and jeopardizing their careers.

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  2. They haven't reported it because they're liberally biased sources, and that's why they also report that there were 5,000 at the Education rally on Aug. 28th when there were in fact 15-20,000 present.

    I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said here, but please don't exaggerate. It's very hard for people to take "facts" seriously when they're exaggerated. "Most classes have 30 students at minimum." No, they don't. Primary classes are capped, so they can NOT have 30 at minimum. A grade 3 class can have no more than 23 students. Further, I am a 1-8 rotary Prep and French teacher. I haven't had a class stay over 30 beyond mid-September since 2010, and the only reason that one was so high was because the school pulled the 4s from the 3/4 and added them to the 4/5 for French so that they wouldn't need to hire another French teacher for one period. Please check your facts. It's just as bad for us to exaggerate our working conditions as it is for the Sun and the Star to under report them.

    Also, please proof-read before you hit publish. A well-written rant comes across much more effectively than does a poorly-written one.

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    Replies
    1. Nit picking a blog entry written by a fellow teacher is not exactly the show of solidarity we are looking for as a profession. Further, as a Grade One teacher in a large city it is true that our classes are capped UNTIL reorganization in September. After that, there is NO CAP. I'm not sure what size school you are in but for most larger schools, the class sizes reported here are quite accurate. Let's work together to support each other rather than feed into the negativity we already feel from those outside our profession.

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  3. I am going to disagree with the previous comment only from the perspective of a secondary teacher - we regularly have classes of between 28 and 32 students. I recognize that the blog is from the pov of the elementary teachers but most of your points are directly relevant to us in the secondary system, too.
    Loving the blog!

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  4. Neal- I wonder what you mean by "higher expectation of contribution?" We have "Addition Qualification" courses that, granted, are not mandatory, but as the population in our schools has decreased many teachers are broadening their qualifications specifically to hold on to their position within a school. In the past 6 years I've spent my summers learning about philosophy, world religions, Native music, journalism, and photography- all so that we could offer a broad range of courses to our students. If that hasn't brought increased worth to my position and our school as a whole, I don't know what more I could have done.

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  5. I would also point out that the many extra-curricular activities that are run by teachers could be considered to be on par with the 'value added' work in other industries.

    Many workers are online and on their smart phones for much of the evening after work. So are teachers. Check the time stamps on the emails I send out replying to student questions, not to mention the posts on my website that allow students to get caught up on assignments, notes and missed work as well as plan ahead for future classes.

    And lastly, I object to the 'my job sucks so your's should too' argument. Is the workplace landscape changing? Yes. Does that mean we shouldn't fight for our constitutional rights that the government is determined to deny us? No.

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  6. Well said Miss Ferguson, well said.

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  7. Great job! I would have to agree about class sizes. Maybe use 25? Also check the math on your report card time. 2x30x3 is 180 not 120. Thanks for taking time to write it all.

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  8. Sorry, I have not read one single news article from any canadian newspaper on this issues. I have not actually heard from any anti-teacher person. I have only read stuff on FB from teachers in my family and of my friends and I still believe they are wrong.

    Why? Because - the teachers keep comparing themselves to most blue collar workers. I think thats an easy mistake to make, because teachers are one of the only white collar professions that are actually unionized.

    When i say they compare themselves, it comes in the form of "teachers are the only ones who work extra hours and dont get paid for it!! unfair!". Guess what teachers? You are NEGLECTING about half of the canadian population. I am an environmental engineer, working in consulting. I get paid a far less salary than most teachers, despite the fact that i am working my ass off protecting your drinking water and making sure you still have a nice place to live. I work, on average, well over 60 hours a week, only 40 of which i get paid for. I cannot bank time. I get 3 weeks of vacation a year and 3 sick days. THAT IS IT.

    I am not an anomaly. Thousands and thousands of canadians do as I do every day, and we have no union to whine for us. Nor can we walk out on our jobs, we would lose them and they would go to someone else. You have the luxury of being unionized and can exploit that for whatever you demand, we can't. It is not the newspapers informing public opinion, it is reading blogs and FB posts by teachers who claim that they are being disserviced by the government, to a lot of people who don't have nearly the benefits that teachers have.

    I know teaching isn't easy (I've done it). Of course you have to work more hours than whats on paper. Guess what? WE ALL DO. And your math just astounds the rest of us because if we crunched by numbers that way, you would see why so few people sympathize.

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  9. I agree that "my job sucks so yours should too" agruments are ridiculous. People who don't teach, have no idea what it is like. I don't claim to know what it's like to be an environmental engineer, because I've never been one. The fact is that teacher don't work 9 - 3 and ANY mildly education person would know that. I always go into teach at least an hour before the day starts and stay 90 minutes (or more) after the day ends. Then I spend HOURS every night preparing for the next day, creating lesson plans, researching new ideas and activities for students. Not only do I invest my time into my work, but I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year (thousands if you look at the 4 additional qualifications I've taken in the past 3 years) on school supplies for students, supplies for art projects, and resources for the classroom. So please save your impressions that teachers are basking in some over-paid/under-worked glorious profession. We love our jobs, they have challenges like everyone elses, and we deserve respect.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree that "my job sucks so yours should too" agruments are ridiculous. People who don't teach, have no idea what it is like. I don't claim to know what it's like to be an environmental engineer, because I've never been one. The fact is that teacher don't work 9 - 3 and ANY mildly education person would know that. I always go into teach at least an hour before the day starts and stay 90 minutes (or more) after the day ends. Then I spend HOURS every night preparing for the next day, creating lesson plans, researching new ideas and activities for students. Not only do I invest my time into my work, but I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year (thousands if you look at the 4 additional qualifications I've taken in the past 3 years) on school supplies for students, supplies for art projects, and resources for the classroom. So please save your impressions that teachers are basking in some over-paid/under-worked glorious profession. We love our jobs, they have challenges like everyone elses, and we deserve respect.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree that "my job sucks so yours should too" agruments are ridiculous. People who don't teach, have no idea what it is like. I don't claim to know what it's like to be an environmental engineer, because I've never been one. The fact is that teacher don't work 9 - 3 and ANY mildly education person would know that. I always go into teach at least an hour before the day starts and stay 90 minutes (or more) after the day ends. Then I spend HOURS every night preparing for the next day, creating lesson plans, researching new ideas and activities for students. Not only do I invest my time into my work, but I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year (thousands if you look at the 4 additional qualifications I've taken in the past 3 years) on school supplies for students, supplies for art projects, and resources for the classroom. So please save your impressions that teachers are basking in some over-paid/under-worked glorious profession. We love our jobs, they have challenges like everyone elses, and we deserve respect.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think there is one extremely important factor that everyone here has missed and it's our children. Every time there is a strike these children don't get the quality of learning they deserve these children are our future think about that without these teachers we are in trouble, who has the time to home school their children??? We need these's teachers to be happy. I'm not saying give teachers everything they want but why not allow them to be comfortable and enjoy the job because otherwise these children will know whether their teacher hates their job or not. Let's all stop worrying about ourselves and maybe think about the children a little more because they are the ones that are truly suffering in the end.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think there is one extremely important factor that everyone here has missed and it's our children. Every time there is a strike these children don't get the quality of learning they deserve these children are our future think about that without these teachers we are in trouble, who has the time to home school their children??? We need these's teachers to be happy. I'm not saying give teachers everything they want but why not allow them to be comfortable and enjoy the job because otherwise these children will know whether their teacher hates their job or not. Let's all stop worrying about ourselves and maybe think about the children a little more because they are the ones that are truly suffering in the end.

    ReplyDelete