Monday, March 28, 2005

They Do it to Themselves

It seems that there are those who freak out about work. They go in early, stay late and try to 'accomplish' a lot by working LONG hours. Why do they do this? I do not know.

For example, every school I've ever worked at has the teachers that are there by 6 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m. Our work hours are 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. (A dream by most standards!). Sure, you have to put in the occasional long day and work until 4-5 p.m. but it shouldn't be that often. I always wonder what those 'early-in' and 'late-out' people are doing?!? I could be wrong but it seems they think that the more hours they dedicate to work then the higher the return in achievement. I don't think so.

I know my subject (science) and I know the theories of education and how to teach. I've been doing it for 8 years now. By this time if I haven't figured out how to do it and do it efficiently (plan lessons, deliver lessons and activities and assess student understanding) then I should choose another profession! So what ARE the 'early-ins' and 'late-outs' doing? It is a mystery to me!

I know at least some of my colleagues agree with me.

Occasionally, we'll go and have a glass of wine in the late afternoon and chat about the folks who are still at school doing grades or something or other. Again, it's not rocket science to give a test, grade it and enter it into a computer. Case in point, my wine drinking colleagues and I spend about 1-2 hours on entering grades and comments on report cards. Afterwards we go and celebrate with some Merlot. The next day we hear our fellow teachers talking about how they were up until 1 a.m. working on reports. We ask ourselves why and wonder what could possibly take so long. Do we care any less? Are our reports any less professional? Are we not as concerned about our student learning? So far the answer seems to be a resounding 'NO!' (according to parent conferences, yearly reviews etc.) We are somehow just more efficient, more laid back and easy going towards our work.

It's also funny to note that those who spend enormous amounts of time on their lessons and grades also seem to have more trouble with student's behaviour, administrators and parents. Could it be that an uptight attitude towards their work spills over in an uptight attitude towards their colleagues, students and boss?

Anyway, enough about that, it's time for me to go and get another cup of coffee. Time to do what I do best, enjoy life and have a cup of Joe!



AJ said...

Fighting Themselves
Yes... Ive encountered these people too. I guess you could call them anti-Taoists. Whereas a good hobopoet strives to get the most done with the least effort (wu wei); these folks seem to strive to get the least done with the most effort.

Actually, I saw a lot of this approach in Korea. The people worked insane hours.. but very little got done during that time.

By the way, have you noticed that these folks love to draw attention to all the time/work they do? Maybe its some sort of martyr complex????

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more. I just found the site, though the Athens, GA Flagpole, and I am enjoying it. I also teach, and wonder what my fellow faculty are doing in their rooms all that time. I leave when the students leave. My wife, dog, bike, books and life demand their equal time.

I think that one of the factors is how much a person values their personal time. If a person knows all they are going to do is go home, zonk in front of a TV, and go to bed, staying at work may feel like a more gratifying form of existence. These people need to find other things around which to base their lives. Teaching is much more of a lifestyle and belief system than many other punch-the-clock jobs, but it is not everything. If there is no balance, the person is not living a full life.

D. Smallwood said...

I see some of those people at my job, too. I think some of them really have no other life outside of work. Others are just so attached to their computer and the fast internet connection that they need extra time at work just to fit in all the fucking around they want to do!