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too many special events


Senior Member
How many times is your teaching schedule disrupted for special events? (excluding mandatory holidays and religious holidays that are under no one's control) Over the past two months of school, we have had so many administration-generated assemblies, parties, and non-essential half days that we have not had one single uninterrupted week.

Keep in mind that this is a special ed school and that the kids are with us partially because they are not as adaptable. They take longer than the average child to follow a routine, and tend to forget what they're taught unless it's reviewed consistently every day.

So, to me, it doesn't seem smart to cancel a whole day of classes for Halloween. Or to lose at least one class period every day during Red Ribbon Week.

I also dislike the message that it sends kids -- that of all the things we do at school, actual time in the classroom is the least important. And I resent having these assemblies called "fun" events, as if normal classroom time isn't fun. Kids have enough of a hard time motivating themselves to tackle projects that require them to delay gratification and put in a lot of effort. They certainly won't learn to enjoy it if there is no consistency and no opportunity to see a project through to fruition.

At the same time, we are constantly being given more things to squeeze into the school day. Ten minutes of typing practice every day. Extra sight words on top of what they're already getting in small group reading instruction. Perfunctory diversity education that consists of reading a few picture books and sampling food (not at all what I'd consider an honest attempt to teach appreciation for another culture). This all takes time, and as it is, we don't have enough.

I should also mention that we're starting to get complaints from parents -- about all the interruptions, yes, but also about us teachers! They are noticing that their children aren't getting enough consistency and assuming that it is OUR fault.



Senior Member

A former school of mine went throught this yearly drama. Teachers started documenting lost teaching time and submitting it to administration monthly. Most teachers sent times without being asked so it was effective. When everyone saw the hours lost monthly it made an impression. Good luck.


Keystone Cops - but not funny.

It was like the Keystone Cops - but not funny
11-19-2005, 08:08 PM #5


(Sorry, for some reason this was attached to the wrong post)
We have the same problem with non-stop non-academic priorities. We are a Catholic School and sometimes we get carried away with the religious events. At the end of last month they were in chruch TWICE on day and then at a long all school Mass two days later. I conduct the school choir, and no one seems to understand that learning music takes more than a day. I was given the music for the Mass two days before (when we were learning the stuff for the other services..) The singers and I had to take class time to rehearse- so that was more time lost.

However, my big gripe is the non-stop classroom interruptions. Last week I was doing a chemistry demonstration with a fifth grade class. I was creating an oxygen rich environment with yeast and hydrogen peroxide and that oxygen does not last very long at all once the reaction starts. The phone rang. I answered it. (the reaction fizzled out while I was on the phone.) I went back - did it again. Phone rang again. Student answered this time - but the office insisted they needed me (they didn't.) I answered the call. (The reaction fizzled again.) Went back - did it again. The intercom crackles and someone from another office starts talking to me. I am trying to talk to them - talk to the students and keep things going so I can do the demonstration. (the reaction fizzles again.) I do it again. A loud knock on the door and an eighth grader walks in with papers I "need to look at now." I tell him I will have to look at them later and he says "Mrs. M. needs you do sign up for this now, so she can type the schedule during her free period.) I stop, read paper, fill in requested info and (yes, you guessed it - the reaction fizzled again.) By now, I only have enough peroxide to try it once more - the kids are laughing and making comments because I lost them after the second phone call. Luckily - the thing came together and was quite spectacular. However, the period was now over, so there was no time for them to fill out response papers or to discuss observations.
I had to do it again the following day, but by then it had lost its punch because they knew how it was going to end. I used 90 minutes for a demonstration that should have taken fifteen at the most - and that had nothing to do with student misbehavior or lack of attention. I honestly don't think adminstration understands that any distraction sends you back to square one. I'm not sure they really understand that the kids are doing anything except copying the dictionary. And they wonder why the kids are performing badly.


Senior Member
that sounds terrible!

I really think that if administrations do not act as though learning is important, it sends a message to students. Obviously the paperwork or assembly or whatever HAS to be more important than what we're doing in the room, or else they wouldn't interrupt! How demoralizing.

Other teachers can be guilty of this too. I was up in front of the room giving a lesson when another teacher entered the room to have a conversation looked at me. She looked at the kids, looked at me, and then said, "Are you busy?" No, hon, I'm just standing up here waving my arms to increase the air circulation in the room... sheesh!

We should be able to say, "Sorry, but I'm teaching now. I'll be happy to get back to you later." Period.


Senior Member
You're right

I think you're absolutely right that there is just too much going on besides learning. I live in Louisiana and teach at a private school. We already have to make up days that we lost due to hurricanes Rita and Katrina, yet we keep getting out at noon for various activities and stopping class for assemblies. While it's nice to not have to teach at those times, I feel stressed because I keep getting farther and farther behind!