Saturday, February 10, 2007

Working Six Days a Week

Am I the only one?

I spend almost every Saturday morning in my classroom working. If we're going away somewhere for the weekend or are going to be otherwise occupied, I practically kill myself getting caught up during the week before, and still, I generally feel behind all the next week.

Today I spent five hours working, from 9 AM to 2 PM. Admittedly, two and a half of those hours were spent writing progress reports, which were supposed to be done already, but last week was our Read-a-thon and I spent all my extra time entering everybody's minutes spent reading into an Excel file. Most weeks, I just work until noon or so.

I'm sure some teachers in the US work on weeknights to finish work in their classrooms, but our generator goes off at 4 PM and I usually head home shortly after that. On Saturdays, the generator is run between 8 and 12, so today I worked a couple of hours without lights or fans.

I don't work on Sundays. I have to have at least one day off.

Before somebody asks, no, this isn't my first year of teaching, or my second, or even my tenth. It is only my second year teaching this particular subject, and I did change the way I do lots of things this year. Even so, I can't imagine getting everything done during the week. On Saturdays I have time to clean up the accumulation of the week's junk, put back all the classroom library books that didn't get reshelved, catch up on grading of late work, do my lesson plans for the coming week, take inventory of the supplies I need, get my copies done. When could I do all of that otherwise?

So, teachers who are reading this - do you work in your classroom on weekends?

7 comments:

Myles Dolphin said...

Sometimes! I teach ESL here in Montreal and I work Saturday mornings, once in a while.
-Myles.

MissDe said...

I did last year. When I lived in TECWIL I did almost every Saturday, mostly because of the generator situation.

Now, I stay late at school 2-3 nights a week, usually 2 hours or so after the normal leaving time.

When I'm grading essays or some kind of writing I take it home and spend all of either Sat. or Sunday afternoon doing that.

I have to say that the stress of never being finished is one of the reasons I'm leaving teaching. Most of the time you can't just stop thinking about it, you know?

Ruth said...

Bridget, absolutely. Sometimes I think about a nice desk job. You know, you go home at the end of the day and leave your work there.

With teaching, it feels as though you work ALL the time and still never get caught up.

Ruth said...

Oh, and I should say that I take grading home every day. I don't always actually DO it, but I always have it in my bag, mocking me...

Tricia said...

I'm not a teacher (but many of my neighbors are :^), but: I wonder about that mythical "nice desk job." What exactly are those? Something like clerical or receptionist, where you really do walk away from your job when you leave the office? Because I certainly take work home most nights (but like you said, sometimes it just stays in the bag...). All the jobs I've had where I could walk away at the end of the day, were basically "grunt work" jobs or short-term jobs where i wasn't much invested in the work, so I've always wondered what fields allow for that kind of lifestyle...

Ruth said...

Hi Tricia,

You're probably exactly right - it's just some kind of fantasy. :-) I have had a couple of jobs that approached that, but they were mostly temporary summer jobs. Certainly most jobs with any kind of responsibility or seniority require some kind of working at home or thinking about working at home. While I always enjoyed the stress-free summer jobs, I doubt I'd be satisfied with that long-term.

Tricia said...

By the way, to more directly answer your question: my neighbor the 5th grade teacher pulls the occasional weekend hours in his classroom, stays after school about an hour most days, does some work at night, and does classroom setup/cleanup kinds of stuff in the week before and after the school year. His wife is a high school French teacher, and I'm less sure about her after hours work load! I should ask her some time...