Monday, November 1, 2010

Stuff Teachers Like #1- The Short Work Week

This week is “Stuff Teacher’s Like” week on Teaching Underground.  We know the idea is “borrowed” from several other sites that have perfected the “Stuff____Like” model, but we haven’t seen anything out there from teachers.  So, in no particular order, here it is.

Do any other teachers out there have a three-day work week this week?  Many schools around the country serve as polling places for elections, so Election Day has become a de facto holiday in many districts.  Monday is a workday, and Tuesday is often a “trade-off” day, which means we’ve spent two evenings at school for conferences so it counts as a work day.

Short workweeks often mean we still work, but students are gone.  This is great for many reasons.  I enjoy the “rolling chair” hallway races.  When kids are at school, principals frown on teachers riding their desk chairs through the halls, but when the kids are gone, all bets are off.  If you walk around the building on a workday, you can also usually find a pick-up game of “trash can” basketball if you look hard enough. 

Another perk of teacher workdays-- the ability to use the bathroom whenever you get the urge.  You don’t have to time your potty breaks for the seven-minute break between classes.  We also take advantage of the ability to go out to lunch and take more than twenty-three minutes to eat.

In all seriousness, a great benefit of workdays is the time afforded to converse with other adults in our profession.  Workdays give us time to catch up and sometimes even get ahead.  The break of daily instruction gives teachers the chance to look back and reflect while planning ahead for our students.

So what do you enjoy about the short work week?


  1. I have actually given some thought to a school calendar that includes every Wednesday being a teacher workday. Of course it means a longer school year, but I think it might be worth the trade off since teachers would have more time to plan and "catch up".

    However, the Wednesday workday would have to be a "work day" and not a "staff development day". Perhaps there could be some expceptions for staff development like two hours of every third Wednesday could be use for staff development.

    Also that Wednesday could maybe sometimes be used by teachers as a remedial day for some students or as a field trip day.

    Again, I realize it would extend the school year, but there would still be at least a full month of vacation in the summer and I think it would relieve a lot of stress us teachers feel since we always seem to be on a high-speed treadmill during the school year.

    Perhaps also it would lessen the degree of burnout and we'd not have as many people quitting the profession in the first five years?

  2. That's an interesting idea. I'm not sure if I would go for every Wednesday, but the mid-week break would prevent the temptation of taking a long weekend, and once you adjusted to the schedule it would alleviate much stress.