Recently, I came across this funny infographic from Facebook. I don’t know who made this but it actually somehow define how we spend our time as teachers. Percentages may vary but the bulk on how we spend so much time in school is actually true.
Now, why do teachers spend so much time in school?
Required hours. First and foremost, for public school teachers like me, we are actually required to teach 6 hours a day. That is our contact time with our students. Then, we are given 2 hours to do our paperwork and other school-related activities. That means we are to spend 8 hours in school per day. In my case, for example, our school follows a double-shift schedule. I hold classes in the morning starting from 6:00 AM to 12:00 NN. Then, I have 12:NN to 2:00 PM to do other things. Then I am supposed to go home at 2:00 PM. While an afternoon teacher comes to school at 10:00 AM then he or she begins her class at 12:00 NN and then, the teacher goes home at 6:00 PM. The 8-hour schedule is the same with private school teachers, based on my experience working in a private institution for 4 years.
The paperwork. Now, here comes the paperwork. As I said earlier, we are given two hours to do other things beyond teaching and most often than not, we use those hours to work on some documents and forms that we need to submit. However, with the number of documents and forms that we are required to accomplish from time to time, the hours intended for it is not enough. When this thing happens, the teacher either extends her time in school or brings the paperwork at home where he/she will continue doing it. From school forms to narrative reports to matrices to documentations, you name it, we work on it!
Not just paperwork. You see, teachers like me don’t only teach and write. We also plan, create, implement, document, and report co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. And because we are not allowed to disrupt classes to implement these activities due to the so-called time on task, we conduct these activities after class hours. For example, if a teacher handles the Supreme Pupil Government, he or she cannot just pull-out students from their classes anytime to do some activities. The teacher will either have to do the activities after classes or on Saturdays. Believe me, I spend a lot of Saturdays in school for these extra-curricular activities. Another good example is when we are asked to be involved in community activities such as Coastal cleanup, blood donation, etc.
Programs, programs, programs. Going back to the number of hours required for us to stay in school, it is never, never, never enough. Aside from paperwork and extra-curricular activities, there are also so many programs that eat our time. One very good example is a reading remediation program. It actually depends on the school on how they go about it but from my experience and observation, this includes a remedial time with pupils at risk which happens after classes. For example, if my class is at 6:00 AM to 12:00 NN, I will then have my remedial sessions at 12:00NN or 1:00 PM. Then, I do my paperwork afterward… again either extending my hours in school or doing it at home.
School evaluations and validations. When somebody is set to visit the school for an evaluation or validation, then we prepare for it. That includes preparing our documents and forms and general cleaning of our school. Depending on what is to be evaluated, we prepare EVERYTHING for it.
A teacher’s day is always a long day. Teaching is a time-consuming profession and it’s year-round. That is why, if there is a person who is very resilient, patient, and dedicated, that would be a teacher. We apologize for our shortcomings but we are just doing what we got ourselves into. And may our efforts be appreciated by the people whom we love.
Salute to all teachers out there!