wasting bandwidth since 1999

No Way To Run a Business

Chris, as he so often does, makes some excellent points in a recent post.

He’s concerned about the sustainability of a quality education system if it is completely dependent on teachers making “Herculean” efforts to get the job done by working nights and weekends year after year.

I want to celebrate every teacher who has made this job a calling. Thank you. But my concern is that this nation thinks that building an entire system around martyrdom is the way to go — that if you aren’t spending 80 hours a week and thousands of your own dollars, you can’t be an effective Title I school teacher. (And yes, I know that it’s not THAT much better in the wealthier districts.) We cannot build a national system on the idea that KIPP and TFA and the 60-70 hour work week is acceptable. It’s not.

I don’t think anyone who goes into this profession ever thinks that the job will be easy, whether you have high poverty kids or not.

And in all professions, beginners are expected to put in a lot of overtime during their first few years to establish themselves and learn the ropes (with the expectations of greater rewards later).

However, teaching is the only profession I can think of where the assumption is that the practitioner will do almost all planning, all paperwork, and all professional training outside of “normal” job hours.

Where practitioners are expected to pay the expenses for their own continuing education and often for materials to better serve their clients.

Can you name another profession, one that politicians and others have declared to be “essential” to our national well-being, that relies on Christmas wrap sales, computer donations, volunteers, and grants for sustainability?

I can’t

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t think of one either.

  2. I also thought Chris’s post was great. And just today as I worked with my undergraduates, i told them about the wonders of Dollar Tree for buying supplies. During my last few years in the classroom, I spent enough money in my classroom to take a tax deduction! And let’s not even talk about planning…my dissertation is on how teachers plan for the use of technology and what I’m hearing is that they really don’t have planning time since it often gets taken way for meetings, etc. As Chris says, good people in a bad system just doesn’t work.

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