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Education Blogger: Babysitting Buys More Pencils!?!

I'm a copywriter and a teacher. I got the word on Friday. We will be returning to school in August.

I’m glad to go back because the students I work with aren’t overly attentive in class let alone online.

Tell them to open a computer program, and they do. They don’t happen to open the program they’re supposed to, but they do open programs.

Many people swear by computers for each student. I might too, if they could all read, write, and know math first.

In a classroom, I can hold them a little more accountable. This is important when I work with students who neither read nor write well.

But this year, I’ll have an exacerbated problem. Many students don’t bother to bring pens, pencils, or paper. They bring uncharged computers to class and no chargers.

I’m not to have communal pens and pencils per the CDC. I can easily spend $50 a year on pencils alone when I do have pencils students can borrow.

I don’t mind donating an occasional pencil, but should I have to give them away every day? I watch students break pencils and pull out the erasers. Of course, the next student doesn’t want a pencil without an eraser. I’ve already bought 100 pencil top erasers to just give away.

If I locate a charger for a student computer, am I to disinfect it continually? I need to buy wipes for that, too?

I know many parents who treat teachers like babysitters. We’re not. I can reinforce the values your child has, but it takes you to instill them in the first place.

Do you teach your child to be on time to school or to the bus stop?

Do you expect your child to learn? Do you know what they do in class?

Grades are imperfect, but do you check them? I'm expected to update online grades a minimum of once a week. I give students time to check their scores in class. Why is it that so many parents call and email during the eleventh hour when the information has been there for weeks?

Do you make sure he has the utensils he needs? Most teachers will give a pen or pencil occasionally without a second thought. Thank yous are always appreciated. However, teach your child to be accountable. Will you think poorly of me this year if I ask for a quarter if they need a pen or pencil? It will be theirs until they lose or destroy it.

Communication is important. Do you talk to your child about her schedule and upcoming events? Mark your calendar, and ask your child which events are most important. If you have to pick and choose, be at the ones that matter.

Communication is also important with teachers. Did you give the school an email address you actually check? I don’t have a way to text you from the school. I don’t like to make an unplanned call because it might cause you trouble at work. I’ll only email if it’s stellar or dastardly. Emails work no matter the hour.

More than once, I’ve been called on the classroom phone during class. I’ve been screamed at and cursed. I’m at the front of a room filled with students. I can’t share personal information aloud. Of course, I sound cold. You’ve put me in a bad spot where I can say very little.

Email me. We can arrange a phone call or meeting.

Cell phones are fabulous. Ma Belle no longer decides how many extensions I can have and what is or is not long distance. Cell phones are not great in locker rooms and bathrooms. Cell phones playing music during instruction, not great.

Cell phones ringing and disturbing instruction hurt students. Remember the kid who always jiggled his leg and was so annoying? That vibrating table is just as bad. Phones are banned during important testing. ACT, SAT, insurance exams, SEC exams, the Bar exam, GRE, MCAT, and more all ban cell phones in the testing area.

Being able to do basic math in your head used to be common place. If you’re trying to decide if the snake you’re looking at is poisonous, you probably don’t have service anyway.

Teach your kids to use their phones responsibly. If a teacher asks all students to put away their phones and make sure they’re in silent mode, is that unreasonable? Students still have access to phones in an emergency. This is respect for rules; teach your kids respect.

You need to show respect as well. Many texts and calls are from parents to their students. How often did you talk to your parents during the school day? Maybe I'm harsh because I was a single working mom, but unless it was truly important, my kids paid the consequences when something was forgotten.

Your kid may be great at calculus. So, he pulls out his cell phone to watch Tik Tok. My kid’s math isn’t as strong, but he does keep his phone put away in class. However, my kid can’t help glancing over at your kid’s phone, and he’s not the only one. That one phone has reduced several students’ learning.

Everybody is not the same, but should they at least have the same opportunity to learn in the classroom?

School should be a place for your children to learn. If you send them prepared with some basic values and expectations for behavior and learning the world will become a better place.

BTW, if you just want me to babysit your children, think about this. Per a site about Hoboken, NJ, you should be paying me $16.50 an hr. per child. Another site said the average hourly rate was between $8-$12 hr. I’ve chosen $10 hr. to make life easy, but Hoboken keeps looking better.

I see students 36 weeks a year. That doesn’t include all the other stuff. (I’m an English teacher, and I wouldn’t normally say “stuff,” but none of the other words I could think of were polite.) Anyway, 36 weeks a year x 40 hours. That is 1,440 hours.

I typically teach smaller classes, so we’ll say I average 12 students an hour. 12 students times 1,440 hours equals 17,280.

Finally, 17,280 hours times $10 an hour equals $172,800 a year. Just so you know, if you pay me this, I’ll stop whining about buying so many pencils.

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