Saturday, September 14, 2013

Teacher's Children and Balancing Work at School

It has been a busy week this week with homecoming descending on our school district.  While homecoming is a fun event for students of all ages, it is a bit draining for teachers because it is extra difficult to try to keep students on task.  That is why I waited to comment on the recent hubbub in the Sioux Falls district.

It seems that the district is wondering if the children of teachers should be allowed in the classroom.
School district officials are worried about liability, and the school board is considering a policy that would ban teachers from the practice during the hours they're on duty - from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
The policy would allow staffers to bring their children with them to school on weekends and at night, and during emergencies.
What surprised me (I don't know why) is the reaction of so many people that don't really understand what teachers do.  Most of the comments surrounding the Sioux Falls issue that were opposed to allowing teachers and their offspring hang out with them while they are on "business hours" is that they can't bring their children to work with them.

My problem with the possible proposal is that many teachers end up working hours very different then the prescribed hours and that the children being in the school are not considered to be any problems.
Teachers who attended the meeting said they’ve had no issues with their children joining them after school is dismissed, and many even help out around the building by sorting papers, adding address labels to mailers or collecting books. That time with their parents also gives kids a quiet time and place to do homework or read, some said.
“Oftentimes, we do stay later with our children there. ... I will stay much later than if I had her in day care,” said Jessica Mulhair, a special education teacher at Oscar Howe. 
So you have a situation where no one is seems to really be complaining and it allows workers to stay longer.  

I have two boys, very active boys, and they hang out with me when I am at school working from time to time.  Usually they come in the evening when I will have debate practice with students, help with volleyball games, or do some extra work.  The students on my debate team have a blast with the boys around.  Now when they see them at games, the kids love to come up to them and say hi!  Now Sioux Falls claims that the policy does not include time served at the building before 7:30 or after 4:00, but if the issue is liability then wouldn't a student in the building at 4:05 be just as big as a liability issue?  

To me this seems to be another issue of a solution looking for a potential problem.  For those of you that wish you could have your children with you, ask yourself if that is practical for a child to be that environment.  If it is not practical, then stop complaining about it.  You are comparing apples and oranges.  If it could be practical, then maybe you should ask.  As a child my sisters and I would often go down and visit dad at work at the grain elevator he managed.  We even spent much of a day down there if babysitting was not available.  He taught me about actual uses for geometry in his business, about needing to be able to calculate area and convert the information into figuring out how much chemical would be needed to spray a field.  It was dusty, it was dirty, it was nice to have that opportunity.


  1. I commented on this at Madville Times, and I want to reiterate - People! Leave the teachers alone! They are wisely taking advantage of an opportunity of their worksite. It saves them a few bucks, allows them to spend more time at work, increases parent/child interaction opportunities, increases teacher/student interaction opportunities, etc.

    Negatives: Uh, some people are jealous about that benefit, have personal issues about teachers and/or schools, are simply very unpleasant, etc. Therefore, they'll complain about anything.

    Let me repeat, Leave the teacher's alone!
    Find something constructive to do.

  2. Thanks Deb. To often we worry about tearing others down instead of building them up and supporting others.