Reading the notes from a recent Superintendent's Advisory Committee was a bit of a frustrating experience for me. Our district has struggled with levels of high school courses to offer. In the past few years we cut back to just having general courses and advanced courses (AP or IB). We dumped honors courses because that way students would take the advanced courses rather than settle for honors.
Anyway, the district is adding those honors courses back in. The superintendent was careful to be sure it was clear that this would not add cost because the demand is there for these courses. His one area of concern? Teacher workload with multiple preps.
As an elementary school teacher this really drove me batty. If there is any serious concern about teacher workload then someone should be talking to us.
I believe that high school teachers work hard. I just don't believe that people, even people in education, truly have a clue what a day in an elementary school is like.
When I taught high school, I normally had three preps and thought nothing of it. The one year I taught the same class five times a day, I almost went nuts from the boredom.
However, when I spent some time working in a Kindergarten classroom (as a tech specialist), I learned what hard work was all about. To me it almost seemed as if the teachers had 15-20 preps since they were working with the individual child far more than we did in the upper grades.
If I were running the show (like anyone would let that happen :-), K-3 teachers would get a pay differential long before any of us teaching high school math and science.
I think the biggest difference is that a high school teacher will have 10 or so big assignments (multi-paragraph/section/presentation etc) in the semester. Multiply that by the 200 or so kids they have.
In elementary we have 2-3 small (1 paragraph or less) every DAY. Then multiply those numbers by 25-32 (depending on class size) and add them all together. Heaven forbid we don't keep up, or we'll be DROWNING in papers.
Tim, thank you. I was worried that high school teachers would be offended and I truly did not intend that. I know that the amount of grading is significantly more at that level and the job is far from easy.
Jamie, I try not to do math like that regarding this job...it's way to intimidating and exhausting to consider! The grading at the high school level is insane. Of course, the assessing at the elementary level is nothing to sneeze at either - it just looks a bit different.
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