In a discussion board for my Using Technology to Enhance Learning class I made a proposal (on March 18th this year) based on teachers having a scarcity of time and the fact that teachers are underpaid partially because they are they are only paid for 9 months out of the year and they have to figure out summer employment if they want to keep working for the other three months.
If all of the preceding premises are true, wouldn’t it be great if teachers could get paid over the summer to take classes on new learning theories and new technologies where the assignments would consist of the teachers developing plans and ideas of how to integrate that new knowledge into their teaching.
Among the many responses I got that really interested me was this one from a teacher in Corning, New York named Micheal Simons:
I taught for two months in New Zealand at the end of my student teaching in 2000…
They operate on a GREAT schedule – I apologize that I can’t remember all of it:
They don’t have a “summer” (agricultural) vacation, first of all. Christmas (during the summer, down there!) vacation is the longest time off from school, I believe, and is approx. 5 weeks or so. Then, they return for 9 weeks, then are off for 3, then on for 9, and so on – YEAR ROUND.
I think that schedule is simply fantastic – a great balance, and it gives teachers 45-day chunks (with no days off, I think) in which to plan units, lessons, etc.
With a schedule like that, then, I can see teachers getting what [David] was suggesting – we’d have 3 week chunks during which we could get more training, go to a lengthy conference, work toward identifying “best practices,” and more!
I wonder if anyone else has any thoughts about such an idea now that the class is over.