The Friday evening before school starts in Burbank a strange ritual can be detected at all elementary schools: parents lined up to peer over class rosters posted on windows in order to locate their children’s names and their new teachers. At least elementary kids find out a few days beforehand. In middle school, students don’t find out who their teachers are until the morning of the first day.
Such a short timeframe applies to teachers as well who barely find out their teaching schedule a few days prior to the school year with a proviso that it still may change.
For 23 years I have had to hold my breath all summer until I get the mailing at home with the piece of paper showing what I will be teaching. This is a ritual that needs to change.
Ideally, teachers should be told by the end of the prior school year what they will be teaching so that they can work on their own during the summer preparing lesson plans, especially if they are teaching a new course or using a new textbook. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen.
Instead, teachers return to work a couple of days before students do. Yet even those two days are tightly controlled allowing teachers barely a couple of hours of free time to get copies made, organize their room, etc.
Just another example of quantity over quality in our public schools.
Brian Crosby is a teacher at Hoover High School and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.