From a piece I read earlier, from a non-teacher lucky enough to have a teacher-spouse. It struck a chord with me.
In my twenties I bought into that myth. It was not rare for me to work 60 and 70 hour weeks. It was a life that gave the appearance of fulfilling but was very one dimensional You see, when you work those kinds of hours you don’t do anything else. You don’t interact with friends and family. You don’t travel. You don’t read books and you don’t play music. Its go to work, eat, sleep and prepare to go to work. Work has got such a hold on you that even when your body is not at work, your mind remains. (from Dad Gone Wild)
I can tell you that 60 to 70 hours a week is not out of the ordinary for teachers. Not just fresh young teachers in their twenties full of energy and eager to dive in, but experienced teachers in their thirties and forties with many years behind them. Teachers with families, obligations and interests outside of their jobs are sacrificing all of those to satisfy the call for “accountability” and “college and career ready” from policymakers that know darn well that careers are dwindling and the most collegy thing out there is massive student load debt. Experienced teachers who still have to suffer the inane nonsense about banker’s hours and summers off…and still put in time on top of work to coach, organize clubs, and do everything they can to provide a safe place to learn-and often for some of the most difficult and dangerous kids. Kids that likely won’t get the services they need if in a school lacking the necessary funds. Kids that often aren’t as welcomed into the awesome “public” charter choices being lauded and loosely regulated/monitored by policymakers and education officials.
“Dad Gone Wild” writes later on in that blog entry:
I prefer a school that puts as much stock in the unmeasurable and prepares kids for life. That means introducing children to things that give life depth, be it the arts, athletics, industrial arts, literature or any of the other things we can’t measure. I believe in schools that celebrate the effort as much as the excellence.
Well said, Dad.