Thursday, April 06, 2006

Big Pile of Money

"Teachers ...are unable to request the resource they need most: time." (

I feel like someone dropped a big pile of money on the Glen Oaks Campus and teachers are scrambling to grab their stack of it before someone else does. The premise behind comp time and letting teachers decide how it is doled out is that teachers would decide what is best for the students not what is best for the teachers. Comp-time is the DOE’s way of getting services in the building done from the teacher budget that was originally allocated for students. We are entrusted with the school culture. Once again we stand on the precipice of creating a teacher-centered school or a student-centered school. The pile of money (or comp-time) comes not magically from the heavens (as the Christian right might have you believe) but from a loop hole in the pockets of the students. What are we doing? If add up all the comp-time on the current ballot (less the hanging chads) it adds up to 7.1 teachers. Frankly seven fulltime teachers might be better for the building than 2 hr comp-time positions scattered amongst the staff.

Dismissing all comp-time

Better for teachers? NO
Better for teaching? YES

To shamelessly steal from James Carville (who looks very much like James Woolsey) once again:

“It’s the students stupid.”

I realize I'm being idealistic but I would love to hear what other teachers think.

see also: Teaching Montessori: Cohorts, Community, and Comp Time


Ms. Mayo said...

I have to think about this, but if writing is a tool for goes!

I guess it depends on what is happening during the comp time and what is happening during the class time.

You, Mr. Brown, have more hours in the day than most of us regular folk. If you want things to get done (in service of the students because I don't believe that most comp time is ultimately geared toward making the school run better for kids, whether that's creating agendas for SLCs, planning senior class trips, programming kids, running the TI, etc.), teachers need extra time to do that. Unless, of course, those jobs become part of the APs duties. The 2 hour electives that we offer, for the most part, seem to be stressful for the teachers (just ask Joan which classes new teachers struggle most with), and seen as less important by the kids (and not chosen which makes them fake electives).

In the case of the Writing Center, those 2 "comp time" hours would create a place for kids to come to get help with writing. That said, I guess if it doesn't get voted in, I'd still give it a try and teach a 2 hour writing elective!


W Brown said...


The point about the struggling purpose of the 2 hr elective was a huge overlook on my part. It is upsetting that so many teachers are having a tough time with that class.

Joan (new teacher mentor) should ask Nigel and administration for help around this topic during Summer PD.

I do not think that the problem gets solved with comp time though. Senority plays a big role in who recieves the time. How many of Joan's teachers would be helped by 2 hr comp time positions?


Ms. Mayo said...

First, to correct my last post, I meant that I DO believe that comp time positions are serving the students.

Next, I wasn't saying that comp time solves the elective issue. You just got me thinking about the 2 hour slots and how we need to revisit the way those go.

Anonymous said...

I like the new format.

Anonymous said...


Let me clear something up. I do NOT, repeat NOT, look like Carville. He has very squinty eyes and I have been told that my eyes are large with an almost doe-like innocence about them. So there!


Anonymous said...

Hey Woolsey,
I agree with Brown that you do have a resemblance to Carville but at the same time definitely have eyes with doe-like innocence makes you all the more better looking.

fswetten said...

Some people that have comp time positions couldn't do them if they were per session, due to other obligations such as family. Many of thoe people do a great job and many comp time positions certainly serve the students.

fswetten said...

Some people that have comp time positions couldn't do them if they were per session due to other obligations such as family. Many comp time positions do benefit the students and those that do them do them well. Are we just trying to be different to be different. I guess that differences of opinions are what keeps us unique.

fswetten said...

Again comp time positions can be beneficial and serve our students, those that do them do a great job and many of us couldn't do them if they were per session due to other obligations such as family. Are we just trying to be different just to be different. Oh well differences of opinions are what keep us unique. Love you all

Anonymous said...

Most comp time jobs are vital to the functioning of the school, and serve our students well.
If comp time positions were eliminated either these duties would fall on administrators who are already overworked (or over-passing the buck to others who are overworked), and could not possibly be performed adequately. The compensatory time positions at QHST allow staff members to give individualized attention to our students (also in the concept paper). Those who think comp time is harmful to a positive learning environment by decreasing teaching time need to visit schools where comp time has been eliminated. It looks something like this: the deans are custodians, there aren't any senior trips,yearbooks are pathetic publications, graduation rates are low, college planning consists of a three to five minute conversation one time senior year with the overwhelmed guidance counselor, no one has heard of academic intervention meetings, community-wide events, etc., and yet the staff is full of bright, enthusiastic teachers whose talents are being wasted. Most comp time positions enable staff members to engage with the student body in a meaningful way and provide relief and support to the rest of the staff and administrators.
Although I am a firm believer in compensatory time positions I also believe it is necessary to have a system of accountability and the amount of time assigned to the duties must be appropriate. At QHST neither accountability or abuse of alloted time seems to be an issue - this is the hardest working staff in the business!