I was at a workshop at the end of June and they shared a meme that I surprisingly hadn't seen before:
If you actually know me (i.e.. have followed my former blog for awhile or know me in person or through other social media venues), you know I'm pretty blunt. I'm not a sugar-coating kind of gal. It makes me wicked angry when people suggest teachers do not deserve these summer breaks. So let's clear this up with a bit of math, shall we?
My school district contract states that I get paid 30 hours per week. It even shows up on my pay stub (60 hours over two weeks). That's what I get paid for in terms of my salary. The amount of days I am paid for is usually 195. Sometimes it is a bit more or less depending on how the calendar falls that year, but that is the general amount. 195 contracted days (185 of those days are with students). 195 days times 6 hours per day equals 1,170 hours per school year that I am paid via contract.
With a few exceptions, I'm generally in my school from 7 am until 4 pm. Some days I stay longer or leave earlier but this is the average time frame I have kept for the last several years (really since my younger two kids began middle school; as a point of reference they will be in 10th and 11th grade for 2018-2019). That's 9 hours per day. I get paid for 6 (*note it is 6 hours because lunch and recess breaks should equal roughly one hour of the day that the students are there and those times are unpaid). So three free hours of work per day extra for a total of 15 overtime hours per week that are physically spent in my school building. That doesn't account for any work I may do at home. I generally do not work much at home except the first two weeks of school as I'm grading new assessments and getting to know my new class and during the end of a marking period. So all told, I just average it to about 45 hours per week because the extra hours I put in at the beginning of the year and during marking period ends are usually balanced out with personal days and such.
Using the same math as above, I average 1,755 hours physically in my school building (and this does not include the days before contract begins that I'm there on my own time setting up). If you divide 1,755 hours by a 6 hour school day, it equals 292 1/2 days. If you are keeping up, that's 195 days we are paid for, but I average the equivalent of 292.5 days based on the hours I actually spend at school. That's the equivalent of 97 1/2 days that I'm working for free. My summer this year (not counting the time I'll have spent in workshops and setting up my new classroom) is 9 weeks long. 9 weeks times 5 workdays is only 45 days. So even with that "summer off" I've still put in more time than I've had off when you look at the equivalent time. When you factor in the summer PD I've taken part in, my summer is really only 6 weeks long...so that adds even more to the deficit in terms of time I would be "owed" if I worked a job that paid overtime.
How many folks out in the general public do you think would be okay with working that much extra time and not getting compensated for it?
If you said "nobody" you are right. Nobody.
This is the first summer in four years that I haven't been taking doctoral level classes. That means this is the first summer in four years that I have actually had a true break. No classes, no papers to write, no deadlines to meet. Multiple days strung out in front of me without an agenda or to-do list. I'm not going to lie; it has been absolutely fabulous, but it also isn't the norm for most teachers.
For once, I'm able to read for pleasure (12 books since school got out if you're interested in knowing). I'm able to spend leisurely days with my own kids and husband. I'm able to spend time with my grandson without a paper deadline looming over me. I'm fortunate that I don't have to have a second job because of my husband's income...not all teachers have that luxury.
Before you think this is a big whine fest on how underpaid teachers are (and for sure I am not knocking my district; I don't have to work the extra time...my kids would still learn but I do it because this work matters to me and I want to be the best I can be for YOUR students), I simply want folks to understand. Teachers deserve this time off. How could we possibly be our best for every student if we are exhausted all of the time? How could we possibly be the best for our own children and spouses if we are exhausted all of the time? We can't. This is time we have more than earned and it'd be pretty amazing if most folks would finally get that.