Saturday, July 01, 2006

School's Over! Or Is It?

At 2:45 pm on June 28th I walked out of my school to enjoy the summer off. Let's see I don't have to report back to my school until August 31st. A whole two months! However, there is this nasty program called summer school and unfortunatly, I am teaching in it. Yes summer school is voluntary but when the cost of living in NYC metro area is 5.1%, the rent controlled apartments went up 4.25%, and the next teacher raise is only 3.15%. I must volunteer if I am to pay my bills and send my children through college.

When do I start summer school? June 29th, yes the day after regular school ended! Not even one day off between the two. For the many of you teachers who have not experienced the joy of summer school teaching. Let's just say it's known as "blood money" as it drains you like no other job in the school system. What is it like teaching summer school? Let me explain by going step by step into the joys of summer school teaching.

First, you get per sesson pay, about $38 per hour which is equal to a 2nd year teacher salary and a pay rate much lower than the average summer school teacher makes during the year.

Second, most summer school classrooms are not air conditioned and you must work in hot & humid classrooms and scream over the noisy industrial fans that DOE provides us with. Some teachers actually have to shut off the fan so they can be heard by the students!

Third, In the high schools you teach three back-to-back 90 minute periods with only a 5 minute break between each class. Need to go to the bathroom? Forget-about-it, you don't have the time plus god forbid an administrator leaves his/her air conditioned office and sees you away from the class. A letter-to-the-file will certainly be issued and you can't even grieve it!

Fourth, classroom supplies are usually not available and even copying paper is scarce. You want to photocopy something? Good luck in finding a working copying machine that teachers can use.
Experienced summer school teachers know to bring their own supplies and hope they last.

Fifth, class size limitations are thrown out the door in summer school. I once had 52 students in one of my classes. They were sitting on the window sills, the floor, and even the lab desk. Hopefully, after they get their July metro card 25% of them won't show up again and the class sizes drop into the low 30s.

Sixth, since the administration is unfamilar with the summer school teachers they will do as little as possible to help you with disruptive students. Further, they get pissed off that they must leave their air conditioned office to listen to your complaint and if they do take the student out of your class that day, you can bet the student will be back tomorrow.

Finally, the last day of summer school is August 18th and that gives you 12 days to have a vacation since all teachers report on August 31st. Yes to all you unbelieving teachers I said Thursday August 31st. Thanks Randi.

Do you really want to teacher summer school? Only if you are really desperate for the money.

9 comments:

happychyck said...

From my own experiences, your post speaks absolute truth. It's all about the $$. The sessions I've taught were only 3 weeks long, but classes were 4 hours long. These are the kids who can't hack it during a regulary class period! OY! But as much as I needed they money, they needed the credit. We all suffered through.

NYC Educator said...

Your characterization is perfect, I'm afraid. I taught two summers for the board of ed., and then found a summer job for CUNY that I've done for maybe 18 of the last 20 years.

Klein gave us the August workday, and CUNY extended my program by one week, so I quit. I was in the teacher lounge when I called my boss. She asked if the reason was just the time.

I told her "Actually, it's been my ambition to stop working summers for 20 years."

I got applause.

no_slappz said...

Chaz,
Based on your comments about the misery of teaching summer school immediately after the end of an oppressive standard school year, your criticisms of burnout among Charter School teachers looks a little lame.

jonathan said...

Tell 'em Chaz. And tell 'em this too: if they can afford to forego the $$, they should just let it go.

jd2718

Chaz said...

no slappz:

Let me make this clear to you. I WORK SUMMER SCHOOL BECAUSE I NEED THE MONEY!!!!!!

Yes, I do worry about burnout but I'm smart enough not to work in my home school and see the same faces. I am requested to work summer school by the Principal of another high school because of my ability in getting his students to pass the Regents! New faces, a supportive administration, and the respect they show me makes it somewhat tolerable.

Finally, I volunteer for summer school and add to my pay. On the other hand many teachers are required to work the extra time for less pay then a public school teacher gets and the teacher turnover in the Charter system is the "dirty little secret" they don't tell you about.

Chaz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Whoa, summer school. No no no no no way.

Poor you. Really.

Pissed Off said...

A few years ago I got suckered into subbing for a day in a high school. The trip, with traffic, took me almost an hour. The classes were very large and were not airconditioned. The kids were great. They were preparing for a regents and really appreciated how much I was doing to help them. The administration, on the other hand, left much to be desired. Instead of praise for the work I was doing, I was reprimanded for not telling a kid to remove his hat. Needless to say, I never went back!

Chaz said...

pissed off:

Bad administrators in summer school are the worst. That is why I go to this school every year because they appreciate me. They provide me with supplies, handle correctly discipline issues, and most importantly they treat me with respect. Otherwise, I would find it quite intolerable.