September 6, 2022

Mercedes Schneider: What teachers do on Labor Day

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Mercedes Schneider writes about how teachers spend this holiday. Reposted with permission. 

Wonder what teachers do on Labor Day, or on other holidays, for that matter?

The answer is that teachers work on Labor Day, or, if they want to have that particular day to themselves, they have already worked on the previous weekend, or on Friday before or after school (or both), or earlier in the week, to make room for having a holiday.

Some will go in early on the day after Labor Day to make up for taking a holiday as a holiday.

Many teachers begin their school year the day after Labor Day, and many of them have made similar adjustments, using their own, unpaid time to be ready to have students on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022.

The time allotted to us to set up classrooms and prepare for students is like an algebraic equation in which x is the paid time we have to prepare for z, what is necessary to be prepared:

z = x + “yeah, you know,”

where “yeah, you know” is however many additional, unpaid hours it takes.

Note that in our profession, the equation is never z = x.

In my case, our district started school a month ago, with teachers reporting August 1st and students, August 8th. So, I am a month into 2022-23. The way I handle my extra, unpaid-time contribution is by reporting to school an hour and a half earlier each day than the school day begins.

In other words, I put in six days for every five for which I am paid. Many of my colleagues district-wide do more.

But today, today for me is a holiday. I slept in and already took a nap because of exhaustion; I forced myself to take care of all responsibilities for my life (including school) in the days leading up to today so that I might purposefully rest– in order to put in an extra-long day Tuesday– for the usual school day plus Open House tomorrow evening.

I know I am running a marathon and must pace myself.

Happy Labor Day, teachers. I hope that you can squeeze in a nap.

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