Am I right to be irked that my daughter’s public school teachers have missed three days of school to go on a charity walk? Charity is fine, but I feel that this is being done at my child’s expense. After all, we’re talking about a professional demographic that enjoys three vacation months per year.
And I don’t care if the teachers have “personal days” as part of their CAFE package. To the extent that they have an obligation to these children — especially because they’re marching along with a rigid curriculum — I think it’s unconscionable for them to vanish for any reason but their own or a family member’s ill health. Realty check, please?
UPDATE: Thanks for all the interesting comments. A few responses: I agree with Heather that most teachers care but, even if the ones who care are human. Give any reasonable human an opening, and that person will take it. If your peers and administration will laud you more for an enjoyable three day hike for charity than for droning on through the math curriculum at school, which would you take? Only a very disciplined person, who feels a deep commitment to the children, would turn his or her back on the laurels of praise heaped on charity hikes. After all, except for the quietly disgrunted parents, there’s no downside.
Re inservice days: I’ve worked closely with private schools and never saw anything useful come out of those inservice days. Usually, they were used for (1) touchy-feely exercises to help the staff get to know each other, despite the fact that many of the staff members had worked together for decades; and (2) diversity training, a subject that irks me. I’m all for the exchange of practical information, but practicality was always low on the totem pole.
Heather, you’re right about the two months vacation during the summer, but the teachers in my community also get two weeks in winter and two weeks in spring, for a total of three months. That’s more than enough time for them to carry out their charitable objectives.
My father was a teacher many moons ago, when he earned less than a stocking clerk at a grocery store. He spent vacations doing any work he could get — tutoring, summer school, writing for newsletters, anything. The teachers in our community, for their nine months of work, earn as much as a well-paid legal secretary gets for a full year of work. That fact, too, makes me disdainful of their using classroom time to pursue their own interests.