Monday, January 13, 2014

Does it matter? I'm a work-to-rule guy.

You know how students ask "Why do I need to learn this?" or "When am I ever going to use this?"

Well I think it is time teachers start asking "Is my extra effort going to matter?"

I enjoy reading math blogs I really do, but while I read them there is this little voice in the back of my head that screams "That's more work!" It isn't true for every post, and I'm not a numbers guy but if we compare time adding posts to time saving posts I bet the ratio is 10:1. And still I wonder, does it matter? For so long teachers have been told "Everything you do makes a difference!" but I'm starting to doubt it. I'm starting to think that was just a phrase invented to keep wages low.

I'm going to work to rule for as long as I can make it. I'm going to make a point to focus hard on teaching 7:10 am - 2:20 pm Monday through Friday and then at 2:21 I will go home, go exercise, go play video games, go on reddit and waste an evening, go do something not teaching.

Wait, say that again, you're going to work just during the time you are paid to work?
Yes, I'm going to try to keep it to the contract hours, yeah I might go over from time to time, every profession has that, so its not a hard deadline where my brain will shut down at 2:20 but I am going to try my best to do it.

So you will just suck at teaching?
I don't want to suck at my job, I just want to make sure the extra effort that I put in is worth it. How do you value time? One could break my salary down to an hourly rate but can you transfer that to a 'knowledge rate'. How does an extra hour of planning influence my students? I'm starting to put less and less stock into that rate, if any.

But won't somebody think of the children?
Let me bring renewed energy to contract time. What if every time I show up to work it had been 15-16 hours since I was last here? Wouldn't that be nice? I waste so much time during the day because I'm tired of students, I'm tired of emails, I'm tired of correcting papers or making reviews. A side effect to this plan and a hope of mine is that I will work harder during the time I am at school.

So you are lazy?
Yes I am. That hasn't changed since I was in high school that won't change probably forever so that's not why I'm going down this road. I want to find out if I can be good (or at least be where I am prework-to-rule) at teaching while only staying within the confines of the time I'm paid to teach.

Oh so you are a revolutionary? A martyr trying to show the trials and tribulations of teaching and how we don't get paid enough?
Work to rule has been something discussed at the lunch table if our teacher contract doesn't get resolved but it is just lunch room talk, that has nothing to do with this. Nor does our salary. I think I'm paid enough considering I work nine months a year(Would I mind a raise now and then, sure.) I have never worked a weekend or a holiday, nor many of the days surrounding them.  If I need to take off I can do it. My benefits are good, my boss/admin is all in all supportive and my students' parents aren't jerks. I complain here and there because I'm human but when your biggest complaint is your winter break was only 11 days long instead of 15 you've got it pretty good.

So what now?
I can't tell you how long it will last or how it will go. I will update this blog as time passes and I find out the holes in my plot. I'll post here on the pro's the cons, what I'm doing with my extra time, what I'm struggling with, how students react and I think the most interesting will be how my peers view it.

My biggest philosophy here is that time does not equal student success. I''ll let you know if that philosophy changes.

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