Many times over the last 20-plus summers, I have heard from many well-intentioned people that it must be nice to have a job that allows one to only work 10 months out of a year.
And most of those people do not understand what all is done outside of the classroom by teachers in order to maximize student achievement. Teaching is not a just walk into the classroom at 8, do a job, leave at 4, and leave it all at the school.
Not this teacher. Lots to do outside of a classroom at times not necessarily defined in the job description – if there actually is a job description out there that covers what we actually do.
Write a blog or some op-eds about conditions of the teaching profession and the state of public schools in North Carolina and one of the first counterarguments you will receive is that you only have to “work 10 months a year, but get paid for twelve. “
Yes, we might be what is termed “ten-month” employees, but we are 12 month educators. And to set the record straight, teachers are paid for ten months, some just spread it out over twelve month increments. (Furthermore, if we were hourly employees, then most of us would be able to collect a lot pay. It is not uncommon for teachers to to work 60 hour weeks – easily.)
One of the obviously overlooked aspects of this 10-month calendar is that it is a system that society has created, not teachers. If you want teachers to teach 12 months, then open schools for twelve months. Change the law about the number of days students have to be in school. Be willing to invest more tax money into keeping schools fully operational for that time.
There’s bus transportation, food, extracurriculars, etc. that must be resourced. If someone wants schools to be teaching students twelve months a year, then finance it.
One would also have to convince the tourism industry that having a vast majority of students go to school during prime travel and vacation months will have no bearing on the economy. The calendar as it stands today for traditional public schools is somewhat driven by the tourism industry.
What about those “year-round” schools? Well, they go the same number of days as traditional schools, but it’s just spread out over the entire year. Same with those teachers.
But to think that when school is not in “session,” teachers do not do anything professionally speaking is ludicrous. What many mistake is that that “eight weeks of vacation” is actually unemployment. Teachers have 10-month contracts. What one may call “vacation” is actually unpaid time that is spent getting renewed certification, professional development, or advanced degrees—all of which are paid with teachers’ own money that gets taxed by the state. Until recently, the only way teachers could get a pay increase is to fund their own advanced education. But even that is no longer the case because of a crusade led the current NCGA to eliminate advanced-degree pay increases.
And don’t even begin to quantify what coaches in any sport are doing as far as camps, workouts, summer leagues, and fundraising to get teams ready for the next year. And most every coach at any given high school is also a full-time teacher.
Yes, we might be 10-month “employees.”
But we are 12-month educators.