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Yuma teachers take part in Saturday Grade-In
When bell rings each afternoon and students head home from school, their teachers still have work to do.
They often spend many hours after school and over the weekend grading the massive amount of papers their students have turned in and planning future lessons.
“We take work home with us and work after school during parent teacher conferences, fund-raisers, and do whatever we can to support our students and their efforts to get an education,” said Ricki Gribble, language arts teacher at Woodard Jr. High School.
Students and parents may not realize how much work goes into grading papers, Ricki added.
“I have nearly 200 students in my classes and that is a lot of papers to grade. Sometimes it means hours and hours of grading papers to make sure we are assessing our students in a fair manner so that they know where they are and where they need to improve.”
To show the public what teachers do when they aren't enriching the minds of students, about a dozen educators gathered together in the grassy area in front of Harkins Theater on Saturday afternoon to grade papers during the Yuma County Teacher Grade-In.
“These are teachers from the local community who are grading papers to basically show that our jobs do not end at the 3:30 p.m. bell,” Ricki explained.
“I think this is a real positive way of promoting our profession with all the negativity that is out there blaming the teachers for everything that is going wrong in our schools. We are the good guys and we are taking a beating right now.”
Some might assume “the homework fairy comes in and grades everything,” Eva Cervantes, fifth grade teacher at Pueblo Elementary, said with a laugh.
But in reality, “teachers are normally in their classrooms on the weekends or at home grading papers, and so we just decided to do it out in the open so everybody knows we do work weekends and rarely have individual time,” she added.
Unlike other nine-to-five jobs, teachers can't leave work at work.
“That is exactly true,” said Jim Gribble, sixth grade teacher at McGraw Elementary School and president of the Yuma Elementary Education Association.
“The other day I went through and had my papers graded, but just recording the grades from their papers into my grade book so they could be posted... took almost six hours.”
In addition, teachers may not have the luxury of taking a day off if they are sick, Jim added.
“There are many days that if you weren't feeling well, sometimes you wish you could stay home and be sick. But you realize that you have to be there for it. It is not like a regular job where you can leave it in your inbox and then get to it tomorrow. You can't put your whole classroom on hold.”
And, most teachers didn't become educators for the money, Jim said.
“It is definitely a calling because it is not for the pay. You are paid half to a fourth of what other professionals with the same kind of degree are paid.”