Nov 7, 2011

the 65 hour work week

The summer before my senior year of college, I interned for breakthrough collaborative. The program places college students as teachers to low-income middle school students. The experience is a post in itself for another time. For the moment, I wanted to point out one story:

My master teacher at the time whose name was Ned. After our initial meeting, the interns stuck around for the remainder of the day while master teachers typically made their exit within the hour. Their role was minimal; ours was intensive. My master teacher, though, did not take that cue.

He was fixing up a classroom when I saw him, giving attention to every small detail of the class. He hung up fishes by string, each with a various math symbol with an accompanying definition. He paid special consideration to even their color and their placement in the room. Meticulous. I was impressed.

"Geez, you work hard. You're the last master teacher here!"

"It's part of the job," he said.


On a typical day, I step onto campus at 7:30am and do not leave til 5:30pm (10 hours). I work for an extra two while at home. On Sundays, I spend a good chunk of time grading and planning for the week (5 hours). In total:

12 hour day x 5 weekdays = 60 hours
5 hour day x 1 Sunday = 5 hours

A 65 hour work week -_-


I do appreciate the summers where zero work is a realistic option. 65 hours is a lot though. I question it's sustainability, and I wonder about the shortcuts veterans've discovered to lessen the workload.

It is up-and-down. I do put in less work some weekends and less work some weeknights. (I know for damn sure my Friday nights are free of teaching thoughts!) Some months are better than others (Sept/Oct/Nov are intense!). And, some years are better than other's too (last year my count was likely in the low 50's range). Maybe it's common knowledge that the workload of a teacher is atypical from other professions, but, until this past weekend, I've never quantified the hours I put into the job. Thus, this post.


[Just another vent for another night.]

1 comment:

Ben said...

When at Breakthrough with you, I calculated that we were getting paid around $2.50 per hour given all the extra time we put in off the clock. Teachers like you don't get enough recognition or respect from the others making 4 times as much and working half the hours.