Weekly Reflection: invisible work

Over the last two weeks of school holidays I have watched my twitter feed light up with hashtags from barious conferences and hui happening around the country: #ignition2013, #NAPPNZ13, #byod13 #tfchch13. It’s a sign of the  New Zealand teaching workforce learning and sharing together.

That’s just the tip of a rather large iceburg. Up down the country there were teachers toiling away in their schools making resources, catching up on marking, photocopying, designing wall displays.

There’s often a fine line to be tread with holidays. Teachers sometimes have to put up with dark mutterings about how we get 12 weeks of holidays a year. It can easy to cast to take the role of a martyr, listing the hours of holidays spent working on that massive ‘to do’ list.

We all know the spiel.

We know those who start the spiel don’t actually care.

So we shut up because really who wants to listen to a teacher whine about how incredibly difficult the job is.

Nevertheless I can’t help but wonder why it is we seek to minimize the invisible work that teachers do to keep their classrooms afloat.

If I were a cynic, I would say it is because teachers go against accepted wisdom of our modern society that people will only work hard if there are cash incentives involved.

Call back days not withstanding, teachers don’t have to come to school in holidays. There are no billable hours, nor bonuses for doing that little better extra.

In fact teachers will often end up paying out of their own pockets for classroom supplies, a conference or a pair of shoes for their students.

Teachers do so not for recognition or a cash rewards but because they want to make their classrooms better places for students to learn.

They do so for the joy of it.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Reflection: invisible work

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  1. I got tired very quickly of feeling like I had to justify the non-contact weeks we have. So now whenever anyone starts on the ’12 weeks of holidays, works 9-3′ spiel I smile sweetly and say – hey, want my holidays? Do my job. Amazing what a turn around that brings, often accompanied with stutters and exclamations of how they could never… Exactly.

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  2. I agree – we do so for the joy, the love, the satisfaction. I no longer bother to respond to people that make those kinds of comments. What frustrates me is when some colleagues make negative comments about my behind the scenes and after hours work. Disappointing.

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