Valuing Teachers’ Time

I spent six hours at an AP English conference last Friday. Six long hours. We scored essays: rhetorical analysis. For six hours. It’s not that I don’t like scoring essays. I do. I love it (well, kind of), especially when the essays belong to my own students,  and especially when my students show me evidence of some skill we’ve focused on in class. These essays did neither. They were random essays pulled by the College Board to serve as the sample anchor essays. I get that AP English teachers need to learn how to score essays. I get that the anchors are a good starting place. I didn’t get why the conference sponsors didn’t gauge the room: First time AP teachers here? What about experienced over here?

I fear I rant. But here’s the thing:  so much time is wasted when those in charge don’t consider their audience.

Like at the beginning of last week for campus PD. We learned about Accountable Talk–something the campus has focused on explicitly for the past three years. Admin might have polled the room, asking questions about our levels of comfort with the talk moves, instead of continuing with a presentation that only a few new teachers in the room had never heard. No wonder there is grumbling.

I keep hearing about valuing teachers. But I rarely hear about valuing teachers’ time.

I was out of my classroom three days last week. Fortunately, I have a competent sub who will deliver the lessons and hold my students accountable. But still, I haven’t been there. I’ve given an AP mock exam; I’ve scored 120 essays; I’ve attended a conference where I grabbed and clung to just one good idea. i have 40 AP English students who will benefit from my last three days. I have 105 other students, freshmen and sophomores, who will not. So, I wonder has my time been well spent?

And I’ll think about this when I present to teachers. I’ll think about this when I commit to attend trainings.

I know the best use of my time is in my classroom with my students.




One thought on “Valuing Teachers’ Time

  1. Gary Anderson October 7, 2013 at 4:51 am Reply

    I get this one loud and clear. There is a huge difference between saying “We value teachers” and showing that respect by structuring professional development time in ways that are efficient, differentiated, and meaningful.

    My bugaboo along this line is unnecessary meetings. So much can happen without everyone in the room at the same time. Only certain kinds of activities require everyone’s simultaneous presence. But no. It’s easier for admin to turn everything upside down and drag everyone together when it’s actually counter-productive to both the organizational goal and the “We value teachers” ethos.

    What it really comes down to is authentic empathy, a valuable interpersonal skill.


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