25. Wednesday Afternoons

When you were a child, you saw your teacher teach. You knew, on some level, that your teacher did other things, too, but it probably wasn’t foremost in your mind. Your teacher was already in school when you got there, and stayed after you left, so you may have thought, at first, that she/he lived there. It may have been something you needed to think. It made the world easier to understand.
Later, perhaps, you learned that your teacher had a life – perhaps had a family, had an apartment or house, went shopping – did the kinds of things your parents did. You may have seen him/her at a supermarket, and felt disoriented at first. Who’s minding the classroom? The days after you saw this adult at supermarkets or soccer games, you probably saw her/him somewhat differently.
But your teacher also did something you may never have thought about as a child; he/she planned the day. This may have involved writing lesson plans, hunting for materials, getting books out of the library, putting up bulletin boards, writing letters, looking at the work you did, taking courses, meeting with other teachers,…any teacher reading this can probably add plenty of items to the list.
As a teacher in Wellesley, I appreciated any recognition you grown children gave us for the time, thought, and energy we put into planning and teaching. The PTO set aside some extra money for teachers to buy supplementary materials. You volunteered some of your own time, thought, and energy to help make school all it could be. You worked with your child(ren) to reinforce the learning that happened (we hope) in school.
And at sometimes great inconvenience to yourself, you set aside Wednesday afternoons as a time for us to plan. For some of you, this was simply a welcome chance to spend some extra time with your child(ren). But for many of you, this was an added strain on your time, energy, and money budgets. No matter how Wednesday afternoon affects you, please know that teachers spend the time finding ways to make school more meaningful for your child. This may involve grade-level meetings, workshops, conferences with you, or time to hunt for materials, write lesson plans, etc. It is valuable time.
Amherst teachers also use Wednesday afternoons as preparation/meeting/conference times. If there is ever a movement to challenge this, I’ll help create a Committee for the Twenty-first Century, and fight for the Wednesday afternoon preparation time.

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