Just heard another news story about teacher absence on Mondays and Fridays...... 1. "The article on teacher absenteeism brought back some memories. As a school superintendent in Ohio, I tried to get it in the negotiated contract that teacher absenteeism on Mondays and Fridays would not be greater than for the other days of the week. There were days when there were so many teachers absent on a Monday or a Friday that you could not get a substitute because they had all been already hired. The interesting part about their article is that there was a lot written about the problems caused by teacher absenteeism, but not much about the causes for it, and why it is higher on Monday and Friday. The answer is stress. The more stress teachers experience the higher the absenteeism rate. What causes stress? There are many factors: demands from the administration, declining test scores, disagreements with other faculty members, etc. However, one of the leading causes of stress is the need to control the students. It is not uncommon for a teacher to have to correct students 150 times a day. That means that a teacher has to stop teaching and correct a student every 2-3 minutes. Having to stop teaching, correct a student, and restart teaching is a lot of stress. This constant interruption of the learning process, whether caused by students misbehavior or other interruptions also reduces test scores leading to even greater stress and teacher absenteeism." Why are teachers absent on Mondays and Fridays? A retired school chief offers his theory and solution. | Get Schooled 2. This issue has never gone away...and never will, because it is based on human nature, and that is inflexible. 3. A solution that has never been tried...nor posed, as far as I know....is to use the motivation as a tool to get what we want from the education system. 4. What do we want? a. Learning of subject matter by students. b. Self-motivation and initiative. c. And less stress for the teacher. 5. The plan: a. Regular and ongoing testing of student.... ...with the reward for excellence, proof of learning:....students determine how much time must be spent in class or in school. Those who need less schooling.....get same. So...rather than relying on extrinsic reward, the report card, an intrinsic reward: being the master of one's own life. b. Students who train themselves to be self-learners won't have to be 'disciplined' to remain and be bored. It will be a real goal, not a manufactured one. c. Classes will, effectively be smaller, and those who need personal attention will get more of same. In the business world, many are allowed to set their own schedule....where do they get the training for that? How about school? Worried about custodianship of students? Give them age-appropriate options: gym, playtime, gameroom, library....lunchroom; I'm sure administrations can be creative. And, you don't need licensed teachers for most of these. BTW....this system is one of the great advantages of home-schooling. And home-schooled kids do just fine on tests, and in college. 6. The key is recognizing the importance of good tests. a. Teaching to the test is deplored in education circles, although that complaint is easily answered: if the test faithfully mirrors the skills and knowledge set out in the standards, then preparing ones pupils to ace such a test is an honorable mission! From Troublemaker, by Chester E. Finn, Jr. Former Assistant Secretary of Education under President Reagan. A real reward for real learning.