A New School Calendar 1:37 p.m. 2004-11-28

I have come up with the perfect work schedule for teachers. While my friend, Pam, advocates the 4-day work week, with a 3-day weekend, I have something a little more radical in mind: 5 days on and 5 days off - sort of like an oil rig worker!

Here's why: In a typical 5 day work week at school, I will get up at 5:30 or 6:00, put on clothes, walk the dog, get in the car and drive 30-35 minutes to school. I will either have morning duty and/or will write the day's plan on the board. Then, the kids come in!

I have my students for 90 minute blocks, and my 1st and 2nd period group is pretty mellow - thank goodness, because, despite my early rising, I am not a morning person!

I then have a 90 minute break to: plan lessons, grade papers, take care of any loose ends for lesson plans, make copies, put on make-up, eat breakfast, make parent phone calls - and do anything else pressing that comes up. Often I do not make it to make-up and breakfast. Also, I have to admit that I do a lot of parent calls "in the moment" - meaning at the moment a student pisses me off! Either that, or I do calls from my cell phone on the way home from school.

I am supposed to go to lunch with my students, but sometimes I stay in the room and eat while planning and checking e-mail. Last week, I had a surprise visit from a concerned parent and did not eat. NO, this does NOT add up to lost weight....

My last block is now down to 5 students - as two have gone up for tribunal (one expelled) and another was found to be in the wrong district. Still, they can be a handful. Funny how the smaller classes are the most talky.

After school, I may have a faculty meeting, department meeting, or committee meeting. Sometimes, I just relish the quiet and sit there! My commmute home can be anywhere from 40-90 minutes, and when I get home, the last thing I want to do is cook - but I certainly do want to eat!!!!

Okay, with the 5 day on and 5 day off plan, I would do all of that - gladly - because then I would have 5 days off! Here is why 5 days is the minimum that should be alotted:

Day One: I am a useless, weary blob, with only enough energy to get up at noon, and shuffle to the computer to check e-mail. I may be able to get myself out of the house for sushi or a movie, but I prefer to lounge around and maybe order a pizza...

Day Two: I start thinking of all of the things I need to get done at home. I manage to run a few errands, and am fairly active. You might even get me to leave the house to go see other people. But you will probably not get me out of my sweats (especially now that they look like pants and have pockets!!!). Often, this is the day I shower. ;-)

Day Three: Some more stuff gets done - clothes are picked up out of laundry baskets and folded and actually put away. Then, I go out and drive around, checking out thrift and hobby stores for new things to do. I go out to eat with friends. One day, I may even have people over to my house again!

Day Four: I get up and take the dog on an adventure outside of our neighborhood. I start a new project, and finish up others. I have time to work on my website. I may clean up the house a bit (although I am still lobbying for someone else - husband or maid - to do that!). I am finally fully relaxed and feel like life is back in balance again.

Day Five: This is the day that I prepare to meet the new week. I make casseroles for dinner. I prepare and package 5 different breakfast and lunch combinations for school. I bake a cake. I might even be motivated to do some yard work. Interestingly enough, I do not dread the coming school week, because I have had plenty of time to wind down.

I don't know if this calendar will ever be adopted, but I think that there would be a lot of happier teachers around if it were.

Oh, what about those kids running around with nothing to do all week? I have a plan. Either make them go to school, and have them do drill and practice work supervised by teaching assistants.

OR - hire only teaching teams where one teacher would teach for five days, and the other would teach for five days...

Isn't that perfect?

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Tiedyefor 2003