I was recently working with a group of special education teachers at an alternative school. My purpose, to help them better organize their instructional day to make them more effective and increase student performance. Of course this was going to require a little extra time in the short run, as they learned to plan differently. But in the long run, even if no time were saved (very unlikely), their stress level would be dramatically reduced. You would have thought that I personally slapped every one of them. They immediately started in with, “Our kids are tough. We have to individualize. We have too many preps. We have too much paper work. We have families. We have lives, etc, etc.” All true, yet not a bit of it matters. If you are a teacher, to do your job well, you will work about 60 hours a week. How you spend that 60 hours depends on what setting you are in, but the hours remain constant. See the chart below:

Secondary Elementary Alternative
Teaching 36 36 36
Planning 6 8 9
Grading 12 10 4
Meetings & Duties 6 6 11

If you don’t like the mix, switch settings. If you don’t like the hours, you have to ask yourself, “Is teaching my avocation, or my vocation?” If it is your avocation, the hours are just part of the price you pay to do something that you love and that matters. If it is your vocation, there are easier ways to make a living, and in many cases the pay is better. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…

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