Friday a colleague and I had a conversation about working over the weekend. The gist is that she stresses over the job and the workload and often works many hours at home to keep up with grading, planning, and finding instructional materials. (While our district does a good job of providing a text, online programs, and supplemental resources, often we have to fill the gaps between the resources, student need, and the standards of mathematics as tested.)

Friday afternoon she stopped in my room to show me, “See? I am taking nothing with me. I might wish I had Saturday morning, but I’ll know I cannot come back to get anything.”

I congratulated her, wrapped up my work, and left not soon thereafter.

Go home, teachers. The work will wait.

From England, we get the report that their teachers work 9,000,000 unpaid, extra hours every week for an average of 12.1 hours per teacher.

GOT teacher is not surprised as he puts in a 50 hour plus workweek every week, not counting the unpaid hours spent in professional development, summer orientation, and other off-campus professional activities. (These hours do not include writing posts for this blog in case you’re asking.)

The complaints that teachers get the summer off are laughable. Your average teacher is working 2,200 to 2,400 hours a year in contrast to the ordinary worker who puts in 2,080 hours a year (including vacations.)

If that teacher work time is compressed into 42 weeks out of the year, the teacher still has put in more than a full year of work. Why are they begrudged the other ten weeks?

Notice we are not talking contract hours. GOT’s contract calls for him to be on campus between the hours of 7:50 AM and 3:10 PM; seven and one third hours a day for thirty-seven and two-thirds hours each week.

Every teacher knows the job takes more time. We are professionals. We are hired to accomplish specified objectives, in general the education of our students, for a specified salary and benefits. The contract only establishes how much time we must be at the school.

As professionals, we must determine how much more time is needed to accomplish those objectives and where we will spend that time. Young mothers often want to leave immediately taking work with them because they need to get their children from child care. They put the extra hours in at home as they also attend to their family responsibilities.

GOT is older as is his colleague. We don’t have young families to take care of. We put in the extra time at campus. When it comes time to end the workday, we need to go home without taking work with us.

As professionals, we must set boundaries. We must practice self-care. We need downtime, too. The Teacher Voice blog has a good post about post-traumatic stress disorder and how it is affecting teachers from the stress of difficult students, toxic colleagues, and abusive administration.

GOT has found that he does not need to worry about undone grading or lesson planning when he leaves Friday afternoon. At 6 AM Monday morning, he is back at his desk and able to catch up before the school day begins.

You can, too, teachers. Go home.

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