19 Tasks Great Teachers Do

19 Tasks Great Teachers Do

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I certainly do my best to always be positive in all my articles and posts.  I find that being positive, hopeful and energetic is motivating and best for all.  However, there is occasionally something which creeps in like a smothering fog that challenges my ongoing optimism.  At this time of the year the media inevitably reports about how great teachers have it with their “excessive” holiday time and “generous” working hours.  For instance, take this quote which comes directly from one of my local newspapers who are commenting upon the fact that our teachers have been forced to take an unpaid day off to balance the district’s books:

People in the private sector consider themselves lucky to have a job.  And teachers whine about tacking on an extra unpaid day to their very generous Christmas vacation.”

They do have jobs.  And they’re well paid.  Is it too much to ask that they suck up one unpaid day and be grateful for what they have?” (Christina Blizzard.  Toronto Sun)

I would hazard a guess that if I researched the newspapers around the globe, I would find something similar in all of them.  I would also be certain to find the story about the teacher who gave up countless hours of their own time organizing food drives for charity buried neatly on the back page!  I am sorry if this comes across as cynical, however, I have seen this cycle too many times now.  Every year around Christmas time, spring break and the summer holidays the media begin their traditional teacher bashing.  So…to get away from the negative and get back onto the positive track…I have created a post which accurately specifies the multitude of tasks teachers perform each day.  This is by no means complete as every educator is different.  Nevertheless, it is designed to bring some balance to an agenda which always attacks our teachers just when they are about to get some rest and relaxation with their loved ones.

19 Tasks Great Teachers Do

1.  Teach their students within their classroom all day.

2. Spend countless hours preparing engaging lessons which will meet the needs of all their individual students.

3. Spend countless hours assessing, revising and evaluating the progress of their students.

4.  Spend countless hours ensuring all their students meet expectations, and create plans to help those who are struggling.

5.  Arrive at work early and stay late.

6.  Lunch?  What lunch?  Teachers give up before school time, after school time and their personal lunch time to run various teams and clubs designed to meet the needs of their students.

7.  Always communicating with parents through face to face discussions, phone calls, notes, etc…

8.  Attend Professional Development consistently to improve practice and model lifelong learning.

9.  Advocate for students on a consistent basis.

10. Give up their own weekend and holiday time so they can accompany their students on trips.

11.  Give up break and lunch time to provide extra help and support to students.

12.  Manage student conduct, and help students develop proper social skills and character traits.

13.  Ever increasing administrative tasks and paperwork.

14.  Providing first aid and bandaging cuts and scrapes on a daily basis.

15.  Providing moral support and a sympathetic ear to students and parents and trying to help whenever they can.

16.  Writing reference and recommendation letters for students.

17.  Unfortunately spending their own money and time better equipping their classrooms as they have to make up for budget shortfalls.

18.  Spending a good portion of the holidays preparing for upcoming terms and/or the new school year.

19.  Spending a good portion of the holidays upgrading skills and knowledge with new courses.

There you have it…19 tasks teacher spend their time on.  The list is by no means complete or exhaustive.  As a school Principal I see it each and every day.  So for all the detractors our there I would ask you to truly attempt to fully understand the teaching profession before passing judgement.  I am not overly optimistic the media will adhere to this advice as they know bashing teachers around the holidays appeals to a certain audience and always brings with it more sales.  However, I think we can reach out to the public in general and promote teaching as the most honorable of professions.  That way the “certain audience” will slowly disappear.  That is my hope and belief anyways…and one of the reasons I keep writing this blog!

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5 comments on “19 Tasks Great Teachers Do
  1. Kathy says:

    Teachers could track hours and document all of that for the taxpayers to see if we had even 5 minutes during the day in which we were not engaged with students, peers, administrators, or parents. It begins walking in the door and doesn’t stop until I turn off my phone at night. But! I have tried to estimate the average hours spent on each activity per week: lesson planning and preparation- 5 to 8 hrs.; clubs & student activities (such as attending concerts, plays, games) – 6 – 10 hrs; tutoring 4 hrs.; paperwork 3 hrs; grading & assessment 6 – 10 hrs.; teaching – 30 hrs.; meetings 1 – 4 hrs.; training – 1 – 4 hrs. Easy week = 56 hrs and no work on Saturday. Tough week = 73 hours. Really tough week = 73 hours plus a 12 hour day Saturday at an all day competition or tournament. I don’t think I’m special or unusual. There are plenty of teachers who work harder than I do.

    • Dean says:

      Thank you for the comment Kathy. I am afraid these are the things people never really choose to see. When I say people…I am referring primarily to the media. Keep up the great work!

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