Recently, we have come here to talk with you about time and safety for elementary teachers.
We appreciate the additional forums provided by Superintendent Ritter: Superintendents Council and the recent Meet and Confer meetings between the district and TVEA. We also appreciate Jodi McClay coming to our sites to listen to our concerns. These meeting have been productive. BUT NOW it’s time to do something!
In politics 1 email or 1 phone call to a congressional office represents the same voice as 5000 constituents. We are many voices here tonight and the data I have represents our collective voices!
The documentation I’m going to give you is from a recent survey of TVEA Elementary Teachers. We had a 51% participation rate.
***Here’s what we found:
- 89% indicated that a reduction of PLC meetings to 2 times a month is a more than favorable option…giving teachers 1 additional hour of prep time every two weeks.
- 93% indicated that staff meetings can be reduced to 1 time a month because staff development take place on the PD days and colleague communication during PLC. Adding another hour per month.
- There is a very strong indication (77%) that would support a reduction in the Prof. Dev Wednesdays.
- And, our survey had a question regarding adverse behaviors in the classroom. 85% of those surveyed indicated that their site is experiencing increased adverse behaviors in general education classes as well as an increase in behaviors in SDC.
What we have is strong, overwhelming data for more time for planning and prepping in our day. More importantly, we are asking for something that doesn’t cost the district money:
To give elementary teachers at the minimum 1 more hour every two weeks to plan/prepare/do paperwork would be huge.
To adjust our prep hours like this would be a gesture on administration’s part with a 100% return.
It would show that you’re listening to teachers and it would show that you understand our situation.
*Treat us like the professionals we are and let use decide if we need to meet for those extra 2 times a month.
One of the most significant data pieces we collected from teachers was a question about how many hours outside of contracted time he/she spends on grading/planning/prepping.
The highest percentages were 15-20 hours per week outside of contracted time.
I had a quote too long to read from a retired teacher basically lamenting the time she had spent outside contracted time away from her family because she did not have time in the day to complete the many tasks of teaching. She said, teachers need to leave at the end of the day and leave what couldn’t be accomplished in the contracted hours.
It doesn’t seem like you understand that our day is full of so MUCH more than teaching students. We need time to complete all the components of our job.
If we have the TIME to finish our work at work, WE will be better teachers all the way around…in the classroom, with our colleagues, and more importantly with our family.
…Here’s what a Retired teacher (not our district) had to say to us recently:
“I wish I had all of the hours I spent (over contractual time), back. All of those extra hours that I would stay at school until 6 or 7 in the evening, all of the time I put in to make that “perfect” unit, lesson, project, and environment. I wish I had left school at my contracted time, corrected less papers, planned simpler lessons, and gone home and spent those hours with my daughter.
Your job is to teach students the curriculum, love them, and pass them on. Your own kids, your families, your friendships, yourselves…THOSE are the people that need your time. Not just what time you have left. The years fly by. You’ll wonder where the time went… So get out of that classroom and get back into your own life!
– retired teacher