FRAMINGHAM – The teachers at Woodrow Wilson School are under an incredible amount of stress and pressure this year with the new mandate regarding the completion of individual lesson planners.
We have been provided with incredibly detailed lesson plan templates that must be completed by each teacher by Monday morning at 9 a.m.
The model planner that we were given as an example of the work that we should be submitting is 13 pages long. We then have to have the following week’s 13-page planner mostly completed by our Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday “Team Time.” We have been given little to no time to actually write our plans during “Team Time.”
It is impossible for us to complete these 13-page planners and prepare the materials that we will need to teach our lessons; to create the visuals and supports for our students who do not yet speak English; to create, score, and enter data from assessments; to communicate with parents; to answer emails; to write curriculum when the district has not provided us with one; it is impossible for us to complete all of these required duties within the 165 minutes of prep time that we have each week. And none of the above duties
can be completed during the school day because we have students in front of us, whom we are teaching, managing, for whom we are differentiating instruction, working with 1:1 or in small groups, whom we are assessing.
This means that the bulk of the work that we are required to perform has to be done outside of our contractual hours: before school starts, during lunch, after school, nights, weekends.
Teachers at Woodrow Wilson are spending an additional 6-14 hours per week this fall in order to complete these planners and be ready to teach.
We don’t have time to care for our own families and homes. Teachers are in tears on a regular basis about this unrealistic workload and some are actively seeking employment in other districts.
For some reason, it has come to be expected that teachers will work outside of their contractual hours, that we will perform unpaid labor.
Is it because teaching is traditionally a majority female occupation, because women perform the majority of the unpaid labor that enables our society to function?
Do we expect other municipal employees to work beyond their contractual day without giving them overtime pay? Why do we expect this of teachers?
This year this unfair expectation seems more like a mandate, that we must perform unpaid labor for the City of Framingham.
We have a right to have families and to take care of our families.
We have a right to know when our work day will begin and end and to be fully compensated for all of the labor we perform.
It is not acceptable to continue to demand that teachers sacrifice our free time, our home lives, our time with our families and loved ones and not then compensate us for it.
We are at the breaking point and we need things to change.