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THE DUTIES OF THE TEACHER (b) NON-TEACHING DUTIES

The things teachers do that are not directly related to the teaching process are, indeed, many and are a cause of some concern to administrators and to teachers themselves. There are attendance records to be kept; if they are not approached in the proper spirit they are likely to become a considerable chore. A careful accounting is necessary, however, in the gigantic business of public education. Supplies and equipment must be looked after also and inventories kept as well as new materials requisitioned. Parents too must be apprised of the progress of their children. No completely satisfactory type of report has as yet been found; and in many communities school people, with frequent parental co-operation, are stuc ng how to improve report cards which have varied from the formal letter-grading cards of yesteryear to personal letters and oral conferences with parents. All of this takes a considerable amount of any teacher’s time.

CARE OF THE CLASSROOM

Then, too, the room which the teacher uses must be kept in good condition. This may range from the actual janitorial service performed in the old one-teacher, one-room school to the rearranging of furniture, pictures, bulletin boards, and the like in a school with superior custodial service. An attractively arranged classroom is an asset to any school and for this the teacher should gladly accept a major responsibility.Many schools have banking or thrift systems in which the children are encouraged to make regular deposits. However, the teacher must oversee the operation of the program and accept considerable responsibility for an accurate accounting.Then in nearly all secondary schools there are homerooms, with programs to be planned and carried out and frequently there are study halls to be supervised and hall duties to be looked after. Now, too, that transportation to and from school is becoming such an important part of education,.. teachers are frequently assigned duties in connection therewith. Children need to have directed activities until their bus is ready for them and when they get to school early in the morning. On occasion, some teachers are expected to ride on transportation vehicles and exercise some direction and control over discipline en route. Generally, though, this latter function is in the hands of the bus driver.

In both elementary and high schools there are extracurricular activities to be directed or sponsored. Of course, these are more varied for the secondary school, but the elementary teachers also have traffic patrols to work with and citizenship clubs and the like for which responsibility must be assumed. Everyone of these may be justified and thoroughly worth while, yet they do take a significant part of the teacher’s time.

Some definite idea of the distribution of the typical teacher’s time may be seen in figures compiled by the Research Division of the National Education Association after questionnaires had been received from approximately 2200 teachers both elementary and secondary in large and small schools. An adaptation of the data presented shows the following picture:

There is a very considerable feeling at the present time that the teaching load must be lightened and more relaxation provide during the day. The tendency in the high school has been to have more and more of the so-called extra class activities on school time through the use of an activity period.In the elementary school the modern self-contained classroom seems to have accentuated the problem. Here the teacher is with the children constantly from the time they arrive. in the morning until they leave at the end of the day. Not only is he with them in the classroom but usually he directs their activities on the playground and eats lunch with them as well. There are many who feel very strongly that by some methods, not yet clearly determined, ways must be found for the teacher to be free from responsibility for his children for at least short periods during the day.

Every modem school should provide an attractive. lounge or teacher’s room for women and for men where some relaxation may be found when time permits. In many instances these rooms are furnished by the board of education. In other situations the parent-teacher association has found this to be a worth-while project.

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