Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

On School #31 It’s Not Working Overtime

I love this horoscope my sister, San, sent to me. It is so apropos.

“Working overtime again? If you weren’t asked to and it’s not absolutely necessary, why not call it a day early — which for you means leaving on time. Give yourself a break. You’re due.”

If you are a teacher who loves her job, it’s not really working overtime when you work until 5:00 or 6:00 P.M. at school preparing lessons, making learning games, or sharing ideas with fellow workaholic, I mean dedicated, teachers. It’s not really working overtime when you work at home snuggled up on the couch until 10:00 or 11:00 or 12:00 A.M correcting papers or surfing the computer for new, fun ways to present learning phonics or dreaming up new lessons to make learning addition and subtraction facts easier.

If you are a teacher who loves her job, you might be like me and forget to take your class to specials like art, music, library, or to the gym for physical education. You might be so wrapped up in your science or social studies lesson that the time just slips by. You and your class might be so engulfed in reading and discussing Charlotte’s Web or singing Chika Chika Boom Boom or I’m a Little Teapot, or writing a friendly letter to the principal to tell of all the wonderful activities you do in first or third grade. You might be so focused on entering a new page of poems on the Wiki … and you have to get it done so the kids can read them to their parents at home that night after dinner. But, if you are a teacher who loves her job, one thing you do NOT do is leave at 3:30 – because that would seem like half a day.

When you love teaching, as I do/did … no, still do – even though I am freshly retired, then leaving early at 3:30 … is just not going to happen. I’m not working overtime. I am following a dream … following my passion … making kids happy.

(Clip Art compliments of


October 20, 2011 - Posted by | On School | , , , , , , ,


  1. It would be great to have a job that I loved that much; actually I once did, but now it is but a memory.

    Comment by Sanner | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. graciouswolfpe reblogged this on educationisphysical and commented: What does “overtime” mean for a teacher? It’s not in our vocabulary, the day does not end when the students are gone.

    Comment by graciouswolfpe | October 26, 2011 | Reply

    • You are so right. “The day does not end when the students are gone.” A teacher’s day does not even end when the teacher walks out of the door. I only wish folks would understand. They see teachers leaving at 3:30 and having summers off, but they don’t know of the many, many hours that we put in, and not on “overtime” pay, in our homes – on our OWN time – correcting papers, designing lessons, writing reports, and completing various bureaucratic paperwork. They don’t realize that the salary is not comparable to other professions and that countless teachers must work one or more jobs beyond teaching to meet their bills. Summers are not OFF for many teachers who work in summer school, department stores, or in restaurants. Folks just don’t seem to understand. I wish they would

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 26, 2011 | Reply

  3. Donna, you hit the nail on the head. The problem that may exist in creating this “idea” that teachers have so much time off is likely the fact that there are just some teachers out there that aren’t doing their job and leaving the school before students have even gotten the chance to grab their stuff and head on home! There is a lack of accountability in some cases and I suppose the bad stands out more than the good, although the good generally is more present than the bad. Hopefully with new and upcoming teachers, we could make a difference and truly allow people to understand the profession better.

    After all, there will always be some who share the notion that “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” What a bunch of rubbish! Shaping the future generation is hardly the responsibility given to someone who “can’t”.

    Comment by Nicholas Stratigopz (@GraciousWolf_PE) | October 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Once again, I agree with you. As in any profession there are the very dedicated and there are those who are there for a paycheck and that is all. One might be able to get away with that misguided thinking in some jobs, but teaching requires so much more. Morally … it requires more. As teachers we are responsible for our world’s greatest natural resource – our children! The future of our world is in our hands through the education if its next generation.
      Some countries revere their teachers, hold them in the greatest esteem. I don’t know how it is where you reside, but here in my state, teachers are being relegated to the lowest of the low by our state government. It’s sad. It was not always this way.
      Pension benefits and salaries are being challenged. If we will not pay teachers what they are worth, how can we attract quality teachers? College students will choose more provocative professions – ones that pay adequately for the services rendered. I hope folks wake up to the seriousness of the teaching situation before it is too late. You, as a new teacher, can and hopefully, will make a difference.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 27, 2011 | Reply

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