There's been a lot of talk lately putting down the teaching profession. Not only do we get summers, weekends, and a couple of weeks at Christmas off, but test scores are dropping and our kids aren't learning anything.
A month or so ago a friend of mine inferred that I don't work full time because I'm home by 3 every day.
I guess she doesn't know about the days that I stay at school until 3:30 and then have to rush to get home by 4 to get my kids off the bus. (And I'm there by 7 am every day.)
I guess she doesn't know about my 23 minute lunch period which is the only free time I have all day (as she talks about reading a book at her hour-long lunch).
I guess she doesn't know that I can spend 5 hours on a Sunday afternoon grading papers. And still have planning to do for the rest of the week.
I guess she doesn't know that I sit with my computer every night trying to find new/better/more interesting ways to teach my kids.
I guess she doesn't know that I am about to totally reorganize my whole curriculum to fit the CCSS. And not only reorganize it but reinvent it too. Chances are slim that we'll have many resources to pull from that fit our immediate needs.
I guess she doesn't know that I spent hundreds of my own dollars to travel to TMC12 this summer. And I'll probably spend hundreds more this coming summer to repeat that experience.
I guess she doesn't know that I spent oodles of money and too many hours at a non-air conditioned school this summer to redo my classroom.
I guess she doesn't know that as I'm spending this extra money on my classroom and professional development opportunities, my salary has been frozen for a couple of years.
I guess she doesn't know that I'm basically available for my kids 18 hours a day through email, twitter, and schoology (our online environment).
I guess she doesn't know that I've spent close to $100 this year on various things that the kids are selling at school to help support their activities.
I guess that she doesn't know that when I take a day off (whether it be for a personal day, sick day, or because I have sick kids) it's more work preparing for a substitute teacher than it is to actually be there myself. Calling in isn't the end of it. (Last year I actually took my girl with an ear infection into school because there were some things I had to be there to do to prepare for a sub. And then we went to the doctor.)
I'm not a complainer. I love what I do. I just wish people could respect that and think about what goes on behind the scenes so that their kids are successful and learn.
ETA: From a comment I received on fb when I posted a link to this...
Unfortunately, even though this is all SOOO true, sometimes non-teachers just don't get it. You didn't even mention the fact that our salaries (even considering summers off) are not equal to other professions with equal amount of education. Or the fact that the legislators who have not been in a classroom other than as a student, keep changing the laws and requirements for everything. And like you- not complaning.....we HAVE to love what we do or we wouldn't be doing it. My husband always asks me why I don't get grading and lesson plans finished at school. Well.......that is when we make parent phone calls, go to IEP meetings and a million other distractions!