About Paula Kay Glass

Paula has a Masters degree in education with an emphasis on child development and child behavior. She has been an educator for 22 years. She founded a private elementary school in 2003 and is now working through the Moore Public School District in Moore, Oklahoma as a special education teacher. Paula is also a contributing writer to The Huffington Post and has a children's book published. Paula has three grown children and resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. You can contact her at glass foundations@sbcglobal.net or paulaglass@moorepublicschools.com.

teachersdeskrgbOK. Can I just rant a minute? I totally understand that teachers are people too. We have normal lives that involve doctor’s appointments, our own sick kids, funerals and professional development conferences during the school day. I get this.

But what about that ONE teacher who we all know that seems to have unending amounts of personal time off and is gone more times during the week than he or she is in the classroom?  And I’m not talking about the emergency time off that is sometimes needed for extensive illnesses or family grieving. I’m talking about the teacher who takes off for random, non-emergency reasons. All. The. Time.

What about the students? What about the rest of the team of teachers who is left to pick up the slack?

It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of teachers in this day and age that seem to be ‘punching a clock.’ How does this idea come to pass? How do some teachers take on the mentality of only working a six-hour day, aren’t available to students before or after school, don’t take home any outside work, feel as if their absence in the classroom is not going to affect the learning of their students, but still manage to get high marks on evaluations and are not brought up on the carpet by administration? I would never be able to live with myself if I had this attitude toward teaching.

I have had several students in the past few years mention teachers to me and how the consistent absence of the teachers several times a week for several weeks during each semester affects not only the way the students looks at the class, but also the frustration the students have about not understanding the material and how not understanding the material is affecting their grade in the class which in turn affects their overall GPA. My response to them is always, “Have you told your parents?” Some students shrug as if that is a moot point, but I have had others who have said that yes, parents were aware and have contacted administration about it. “And?” I ask, probably a bit too eager to hear the answer, the sadistic part of me wanting to hear juicy details about how administration was jumping right on that and contacting school board members. Yeah, right. The students usually roll their eyes and relay that administration told the parents, “if teachers have the time off available, there is nothing that can be done.” Shaking my head.

The legalistic-teacher part of me looks at how policy is applied to students, but not to teachers. Even if students have excessive “excused absences” they are at risk of receiving an ‘Incomplete’ on grade reports, but if teachers miss excessively, what happens to them? Most district teacher unions will support their teachers even if they miss excessively, if they have accumulated the time off, and some will even allow continually ‘docking’ of pay if the teacher doesn’t have accumulated time off, but is in good standing. Good standing? With excessive absences? Could someone please define that?

The emotional-teacher part of me looks at excessive absences of teachers and laments about how the students are missing out on important learning time. Unfortunately a lot of times substitutes aren’t able to answer questions over an assignment made in the absence of a teacher which allows the student to fall further behind in the class.

The verbal-teacher part of me really just wants to tell teachers like this what they can do with their irresponsibility to the profession. But I digress.

How can we establish the importance of learning, the importance of an education, in our students when there are some people in the profession who obviously don’t view any of it as very important? Is the profession of teaching starting to be viewed overall as unimportant by not only non-teachers, but by people in the profession in your area as well?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email