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....