Even before Senate Bill 5 put a spotlight on teacher pay and benefits, people in Ohio and across the country were discussing how much teachers really work—and whether they’re in it just for the summer vacations.
This week, StateImpact Ohio has been looking at just how much Ohio teachers really do work, especially compared to other professionals.Earlier this week, we looked at national data on how much time teachers spend working (Teachers Work Fewer Hours than Other Professionals (And We’re Not Counting Summer Vacations)). Yesterday we looked at how one experienced teacher–Ohio’s Teacher of the Year–spent one work day (Twelve Hours in an Ohio Middle School And Other Ways to Make a Living).
Today we feature an interview with a first-year teacher. Meet Kate Dove.
Dove, 26, is the daughter of Ohio Teacher of the Year Tim Dove. Like her father, she teaches in a middle school in the Worthington school district near Columbus.
Kate Dove said she usually works beyond the seven and three-quarter hour work day required in her contract and rarely sits at her desk during the day. “It’s more of a holding place than an actual desk,” she said.
And she’s learned by experience that footwear is key. What shoes does she wear to work? “Flats,” she said. “Something flat and supportive.”
On Monday evening, we asked Kate to describe her work day to us.
Dove arrives earlier than usual to rearrange some of the furniture in her classroom to make her classes run more efficiently.
Students arrive. Dove checks that they did their homework and sends the lunch count to the office.
First block of language arts instruction. Dove works with small groups of students in turn, focusing on different types of sentences, while other students work on reading assignments in groups.
About half of Dove’s students leave to attend band practice. Dove helps the remaining students finish missing assignments, correct past assignments and complete math work online.
Dove’s students go to art class. Dove finishes writing a test that her team of teachers will be giving later this month then talks through the test with other teachers. She prepares for her next class, finishes some grading and enters grade before checking her mailbox and picking up her students from art class.
Second block of language arts class. Dove works with different groups of students, again teaching about different types of sentences.
Dove returns papers and explains the correction marks on them. Then the class transitions to the next subject.
10:55 a.m – noon
Math class. After a review of last week’s content, Dove teaches students how to divide large numbers into other large numbers. Students work on workbook exercises as Kate helps students by ones or twos. After five minutes of clean-up, students head to lunch.
Dove eats a microwave meal while grading papers with another teacher then walks her students from recess.
Silent reading time. Students read at their desks while Dove reads a grade-level book she’s considering assigning to students later in the semester.
Computer lab. Kate reviews essay formatting rules then students write essays on an assigned topic. She checks their work and makes sure they’re on-task.
Vocabulary lessons. Dove runs a team-based game that teaches students new vocabulary words.
Review time. Dove and her students discuss what they’ve done today and make sure homework assignments are written down. Students pack up and head out.
Dove hunts down another staff member and discuss a student’s makeup work then prepares her classroom for the next day’s classes. Then she spends about two hours grading student work before heading home. She’ll do another 20-30 minutes of work at home, tweaking lesson plans for later in the week.