InClass

You’re probably wondering if you should be logging hours during your school break. Three educators weigh in. You’ve put in unpaid overtime during evenings, lunchtimes, and even on weekends. A teaching career means there is always one more lesson to plan, one more topic to research, and one more ne

Dec 19, 2017

You’re probably wondering if you should be logging hours during your school break. Three educators weigh in.




You’ve put in unpaid overtime during evenings, lunchtimes, and even on weekends. A teaching career means there is always one more lesson to plan, one more topic to research, and one more new book or article to read.

But is it a good idea to keep this momentum going over the holiday break?

Three seasoned educators who excel in work-life balance say it’s probably best for most teachers to step off the planning treadmill during the holidays.

But, if you must take the lesson plan book and a few projects home over break, make sure you limit the time you spend on work to just a day or so, advises Cave Creek Cactus Shadows High School English teacher Christine Porter Marsh, who was Arizona Teacher of the Year in 2016.

“Then enjoy your family and friends the rest of the time,” Marsh says.

Angela Philpot, a teacher of English language learners at Gilbert Desert Ridge Junior High, says she will stay as late as 11 p.m. a few days before the holidays to have uninterrupted planning time.

“Do as much as you can now so you don't have any work to do over the holidays,” says Philpot, who also is treasurer of the Arizona Education Association.

“I will stay very late for a night or two to get as much planning done as possible for our start in January. I truly believe teachers work so many hours during the school year and summer that winter break has to be reserved to re-energize our health and to revive our relationships with family and friends.”

Fountain Hills Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Sweeney says the balance between work and personal time “is different for everyone.”

It's always good to have some time to decompress and get away from the job but for some people, they look forward to using the extended time over winter break to engage in thoughtful planning for lessons, units, and projects for the coming semester,” he says.

One way teachers might decide whether to work over break or not is to consider how much work they assign students over break. Most teachers respect holiday breaks as a time for students to have fun with friends and family.

Why not give yourself the same gift of time?

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