Sunday, October 11, 2015
Evacuation Day - commemorates the British evacuation of Boston during the Revolution.
Teacher work days and early release days are plentiful here, too. the saving grace here is that a private company partnered with the school system to provide before and after school care at a number of the public school sites, and they provide a place for kids to go on such days and most snow days.
The schools in general still think that everyone has a stay-at-home mom. In addition to the early release days, my town gives early release days for conferences--6 a year, even though the teachers accommodate those who can't come between 1-4 by giving conferences at off times. Some years, we've had up to 13 early release days for either professional development or conferences, in addition to a couple of full days for professional development. My town also observes one day for Yom Kippur and two days for Rosh Hashanah, although there are plenty of Jewish folks who say they don't observe the second day (some of it might be driven by teachers who would like to observe both). We also get Good Friday.
Normally, in 41 weeks that my kids are in school (in MA), there are only 15-17 weeks where we have 5 full days, and that isn't even touching the snow days, which I understand can't be scheduled. I'd love it if there was just a bit more synchronization with the calendars.
Thankfully, my kid is still in daycare but I honestly don't know how we will handle the crazy half days that loom in the future. Someone could make a killing on that kind of day care service.
I don't even have children, and the early release days in the public schools bug me when I see students getting off the school bus before noon. I teach those kids when they get to college, and I can tell you, they need all the full days in school they can get!
I take leave to differ. IU Bloomington holds classes on Labor Day, as does Manchester College (in Manchester, Indiana), both for the same reason. Both schools have a large number of first-time-in-the-family college students from small towns (or farms). They discovered that a significant percentage of first-year students were not coming back from being home for Labor Day. So...no Labor Day holiday. At both schools, it significantly reduced that factor as an attrition factor. (The lack of a Labor Day holiday was true at least into the early 2000s and is still true today so far as I know.)
Incidentally, the way to avoid students disappearing during Labor Day weekend and not coming back is to start school after Labor Day. You may still lose them at Thanksgiving or Winter break, of course.
The reason this is done is generally so you can have department meetings/trainings with all of the teachers present, since it's generally impossible to schedule a school such that there is no math class second period so all the math teachers can meet together, and third period is the English prep, and so forth. Also, sometimes we'll meet cross-group (9th grade teachers meet to talk about 9th graders, 10th with 10th graders, and so on) so it really does need to be a time everyone's not teaching.
We don't have the college-level luxury of only teaching maybe 10 hours a week and thus being able to have department meetings at some time or other that classes aren't offered in that department, or at least when most people are free, without it being obvious to students and parents. Think of those early release/late start days as like the "protected meeting time" that some colleges have where there's a specific 2 hour block on Fridays or something when there are no classes scheduled. It's just that because we're stuck being babysitters as well as teaching content, more people notice when we need to do it than when you do.
And while I sympathize with your view that it must be easier for people who have "only 10 hours of instruction" to complete in a given week there's a lot more prep work both before and after those hours that goes into a college class and most professors with that load are also doing research which takes a not inconsiderable amount of time (50+ hours weekly) in addition. It can be very difficult to have time for faculty to meet because of their obligations outside the classroom. My department solved that problem by not scheduling classes from 1:30-2:30 on Thursdays so we had time to meet but not every group has that luxury.
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I find this interesting, because child care costs are similar where I work, and work out to less than the budget my school board gets per child for a far longer amount of babysitting.
People bitch endlessly about how public school is too expensive, teachers are overpaid, etc — and yet the per child cost of child care (without instruction, sports, music, etc.) is greater than the per child cost of public education. How is it that the school system is "too expensive" when it is providing a superior product at a cheaper price?
My school system gets six PA/PD days a year, two weeks at Christmas and a week in the spring, plus stat holidays. 32 sounds like a huge amount. And we have parents who drop their kids off on PA days, leaving us to provide childcare for them anyway. (And we don't get to charge $90 per kid.)
while I sympathize with your view that it must be easier for people who have "only 10 hours of instruction" to complete in a given week there's a lot more prep work both before and after those hours that goes into a college class
In terms of comparing college to school, I've taught at both and my weekly workload is far higher at a public school than it was at a community college. Less prep work per classroom hour, but because I don't have the time for it not because it isn't needed. (A class of 30 can have 10 special needs students in it who are mandated to have modified programs, which means I'm really preparing 11 lessons per period. Which is impossible, but it's what I'm supposed to do.) Add in coaching, running clubs, contacting parents, and all the stuff that wasn't required at college but is expected in a public school, and I'm pulling close to 60 hours a week.
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