Monday, October 15, 2007

Week Seven: It's a hard knock life

Teachers routinely work ten-hour days. A kindergartener teacher told me he was sometimes at school from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Ms. L is nearly always at school past 5:00. Now, I don't know if they're going about their jobs in an inefficient manner, or what, but I'm impressed anyway. Who else regularly works such long hours with little recompense? Bartenders?

The teachers also spend a lot of money on supplies out of their own pockets: photographs, extra lamination (at Brown, the laminating machine is only available once a week, and only the Gorgons in the supply room can use it on pain of being screeched at), print cartridges, and so on. There is a supply stipend, but it's never enough.

An elementary teacher shouldn't have to be in charge of twenty to thirty children without so much as a teacher's aide in the room. Considering the wide gap in achievement levels, this can be a logistical nightmare. (Happily for us, a student in Ms. L's class withdrew today, leaving her with a mere and very unusual sixteen first graders.)

The teachers at Brown are all required to do tutoring one or two days a week, on top of everything else they need to plan, coordinate, and set up. The tutoring sessions are vital, however; most kids could use a lot more one-on-one instruction time.

1 comment:

Churlita said...

You look at how much janitors get paid and it makes you wonder about our countries priorities.