Monday, August 22, 2011

Teacher Workdays

I'm waving at my teacher friends as they drive past my house on the way to work today. Hi, ho, hi ho, it's off to work they go. Work it is, even though it's a teacher work day with no students today or tomorrow...or Wednesday. There were optional work days last week when the teachers could come in, or not, and count the days as paid vacation days.

Things weren't always that way.

The early teachers I've written about for the last two years would never have dreamed of the teacher workday concept. What a luxury! Imagine getting paid for what they did anyway. In the 1940's, the first day of school was the first day for everyone, teachers and students, with no extra preparation days. Walk in the door with them, kind of thinking. Instead the teachers appeared a day or two before school opened, unpaid.

In the fifties, the state allotted two paid work days, one in the fall to prepare and the other in the spring after the last day of school to finish reports. Gradually the number increased and now the teachers have ten workdays, full of institutes and teacher meetings and grade level conferences and training and finally going into the classroom to put on the final touches for a promising new year.

Students in this county come Thursday and their teachers will be fully prepared in a ready-or-or-not kind of way. That's the day a group of us former teachers will drive past the school on the way to eat breakfast together. We will honk the horn in a symbolic gesture, but our teacher friends will be so busy, they'll never hear it.

It's sort of sad, though, for those of us who thrived on being in the classroom. We get over it, when we drive back home and see the classes standing in the heat having their first required fire drill.

Catch of the day,



  1. Well said! It's truly a different era. When I was in fourth grade, I got it into my head that my teacher memorized the night before what she'd say the next day - I thought she was a genius for being able to do that - later, when the light dawned, I still thought she was a genius!

  2. It never fails to amaze me what goes on in the heads of the students.

  3. you have learned so much during you research! There's a book in this... right?

  4. Hi Carol,
    You bet there's a book in this! I've been fascinated with Pilot Mountain School since I began this project and oh, the stories I've caught. I can't wait to share them with the world.