This week felt like my job got in the way of my work because of required extra meetings, a growing trend in my school. On Tuesday, we had a 40-minute department meeting and a 75-minute PLC meeting. This started before school, followed by shortened periods. On Wednesday, I was assigned to a 45-minute technology training session. This was during one of my non-class periods. My Thursday schedule included a 10-minute meeting with our department chair about my goals for the year, also scheduled during one of my non-class periods.
This was not an atypical week. All of these extra meetings are allowed by our contract. Although the importance of some of these meetings is debatable, for the sake of argument, let’s say all of them have some value. The problem for me arose when I found it difficult to get my work done: responding to student work, contacting parents and counselors regarding students, preparing materials for upcoming units, etc.
I’m interested in how other teachers and school cultures think about the time of the school day when we’re not in class. Are these “free” periods? How do you spend that time? How frequently is your non-class time scheduled for you by your employer? Does your employer have expectations for how you spend that time? Do you change your expectations of what you can accomplish when your non-class time is filled by things you can’t control? In your opinion, what is the ideal way for a school culture to consider a teacher’s non-class time during a school day?
Thanks for your input.
Cross-posted in slightly different form on English Companion Ning.