Boundary Issues

When is enough enough?
 
As teachers, we are expected to help each of our students succeed. Many teachers are willing to go above and beyond the school day to tutor students after school, to help with homework, to head up a club, to provide extra curricular activities, to meet before and after school with parents, to participate in professional committees, to pay for supplies out of pocket, and the list goes on....
 
But then there are other expectations that maybe shouldn't be expectations at all. Call 14 students every week for the next three weeks from 6:30 to 7:00 P.M to "catch them reading" (in honor of reading month)? Attend the soup dinner in the school gym with your family (for no discernible purpose)? Host and attend "Reading night" from 6 to 7:30 PM? Attend fundraisers on a Saturday? Where do you draw the line?
 
My line is very clear: if it doesn't have a direct impact on my students' achievement, then I don't want to do it. Sometimes, I am pressured to do things anyway. But should I be?
 
Other professions seem to set their limits and live by them. You wouldn't expect a grocery store manager to ask all of his employees to stay for two hours after closing to help with inventory just because they should be committed to this establishment and to the customers that shop here. And you wouldn't expect a restaurant manager to require all of his employees to eat dinner there twice a week just because they should be committed to this establishment.
 
Some days I just think teachers are awesome because they are willing to do anything for their students. Other times, I think we are the biggest suckers out there for letting other people take advantage of our helpful nature. Three days ago, at a parent-teacher conference, the parents of my sixth grader with Down Syndrome asked her classroom teacher if she could babysit her this weekend! "Oh, you have plans with your daughters? That's okay, she can just go along with whatever you're doing!"
 
But maybe that's a post for another day....

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It can get out of control. And it's worse in a high school with games and dances. But you have to balance with your personal life and the
"above and beyond". All jobs have a little of that,but ours seems to abound in it.
Balance. Tough to find, harder to keep.

tom said...

that post above should have had a name and url. here it is.

Anonymous said...

It seems interesting that when you don't participate as much in those activities, you are judged to not be committed enough to your job and students. You can work hard, show student achievement, and still it may not be enough to satisfy everyone.
J

Anonymous said...

Whoa

Anonymous said...

Administators apparently can't spell B-O-U-N-D-A-R-I-E-S. Brenda

Anonymous said...

Most ALL the activities you listed would be a very good fit for the parents of these kids!! And one doesn't have to be a professional to do them as a parent!! Just involved with your kid!

Angela said...

LOVE this post! I've featured it in this month's accolades at The Cornerstone:

http://thecornerstoneforteachers.blogspot.com/2009/03/cornerstone-accolades-march-2009.html

Stella said...

I've spent the afternoon, printing out signs for our school May day event tomorrow. Where I will sit and face painting all afternoon. It's going to be wet, it's going to be cold and we won't make anything like as much as last year. But the usual fools will turn out as we always do.
We don't expect (or want) the staff to come to everything, but a cake, a bottle of wine, an idea for a stall even if you can't run it would really be appreciated.
Think of it as unpaid overtime, every professional has to do it. And look at this way the parents and possibly the head will note your contribution, my partners boss doesn't see evenings and weekends spent at his computer.

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Wow. That's insane! And you're right on. Your job needs to have limits, no matter how worthy the cause.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Teachers are saints. I was astounded at the long hours they work when Emily began school.

Her Kdgn. Teacher was there 7 to 7 or LATER every night!

You guys don't make enough and when in the world will people pay you better instead of just saying it?

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