During our foray out to California, we had the opportunity to visit my sister's work. She is currently a project manager for Adobe. We had lunch in the cafe there (cheap because it is subsidized by Adobe and it was delicious) and checked out her work area. The building was open and inviting. She worked from home one of the days we were there and modified her hours to spend time with us on the other days. It was great.
It got me thinking, again, about life in education. This blog post considering treating students the way Google treats engineers just added fuel to the flame. I think the idea of 20% time for students is brilliant. But it also got me thinking about 20% time for teachers and a whole host of other wonderful perks.
I would love a subsidized, yummy lunch. I would love time to work on things I value as an educator. I would love more flexible hours. But, again, I'd be happy if people better understood the realities of teaching.
I took my laptop to California with me. My mother gave me a hard time about taking it, saying that she was sure I could survive a week without it and I certainly didn't need one more thing to carry (traveling with a four year old and an eight month old). She was especially shocked I was taking it when she realized that after the vacation I would be out of my classroom because a student teacher is taking over for four weeks. If I didn't have lessons to plan, what on earth would I need my laptop for? She is frequently surprised that I need to do so much planning now that I am in my tenth year. Why can't I just use what I did in previous years?
I don't want to suggest that my mother doesn't respect what I do. She does. Immensely. She does a lot to help me have enough time to do what I feel I need to do to be a good teacher. And she has listened to me for ten years talk about work. If she still doesn't really get it, I have little hope that anyone else will.
This sounds like complaining and I don't mean that to be true. I love my job. I love my school. I even love my school district. (The state I have less love for, but it's not too bad either.) But, I know how hard teachers work, how much of themselves they put into their jobs, and how important it all is. I'd like for families, politicians, and others to realize as well.