Teachers need secretaries

As I mentioned in last week’s blog about my field trip: teachers need secretaries.

One of my friends who saw me through the dark and stormy days of my first year teaching declared this after seeing me lug pounds of paper around in hopes of grading and making parent phone calls during a Sunday afternoon NFL game that she’d invited me to view at her house, and I have been in full support of the idea ever since.

Here are just a few things that secretaries could take care of for us:

  • Grade students’ papers
  • Enter their grades into our paper and/or online grade books
  • Aggregate data from our various district and school systems
  • Receive and return parent phone calls
  • Make copies
  • Cut, tape, glue, sort, and otherwise prepare class materials
  • Update our data walls and trackers
  • Complete the endless worksheets we are assigned: lesson plans, test reflections, field trip paperwork, lesson plans, data digs, documentation of services for students in the special education program, failure reports, tutoring plans, tutoring rosters, tutoring sign-in sheets, lesson plans, conference registrations, professional development requests…(I’m sure that there are more, but these are just some that I’ve worked on recently)
  • Decorate our rooms
  • Cover up said decorations during testing time
  • Rearrange our desks
  • Make seating charts
  • Update our websites and various parent communication portals
  • Create supply lists and organize our cabinets

This would keep them busy for at least 40 hours a week – maybe longer.

So what would teachers be left with, you ask?

Well, we’d still be the ones teaching. You know, using our degrees and training as they were intended. Our secretaries wouldn’t need to be certified in education. We would still be responsible for designing and executing the lessons, giving meaningful feedback on projects and written work, conducting tutoring sessions, reporting to our duty posts, walking our students to and from lunch and/or specials, coordinating with other teachers/librarians/aides on co-teaching/special projects/events, and attending various meetings/trainings/professional development, all while building relationships with students and stakeholders. We would still have our online modules to complete for testing and compliance; we would still proctor standardized tests; we would still research and create materials and screen videos to be shown in class. We would participate in school spirit activities and sponsor after-school clubs and plan for showcases, performances, and competitions.

In summary, we would be able to complete more of the things on our to-do lists rather than leaving each day knowing that most of our tasks have yet to be finished.

Hm…the more I type in this post, the more I am convinced that I am doing the work of two or more people.

But how would we pay for it? There’s the rub. I don’t think that teachers can afford to take pay cuts, so we would have to find a new source of funding. However, I would be willing to offer someone compensation if they truly would provide that assistance to me – if not every day, at least a few days a week. I couldn’t pay much, but I bet a capable college student would love an internship, right?

Until we figure out the revenue source, I guess I’d better go grade some more papers.

In the meantime…what else do you think secretaries could help us out with?


B T Bubble Sheet


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