Teachers in New Jersey first had the idea, and it has spread around the country, including to Connecticut.
The idea: A group of teachers gathers in a public space to grade papers and do the preparation they normally work on at home. Grade-ins have been a big hit among teachers and the public. Earlier this month, on a bright, sunny Saturday, a group of teachers gathered at Rotary Park in Putnam.
Eva Hulme, a sixth grade English, math and social studies teacher at Pomfret Community School said, ‘What we’re doing here today at Rotary Park is what we would be doing on any given Saturday. I think it’s nice to show people that our workload extends well beyond the school day.’
Merry Burke, who teachers French and handles a student exchange program with Senegal at Woodstock Academy, said she spends four hours each weekday night correcting papers and planning for class and five to six hours more on the weekends.
In May teachers in several locations around Connecticut held grade-ins at the food courts of local malls. The Hartford Courant covered a grade-in that took place in Manchester.
A teacher for 25 years in Bloomfield, Mary Kay Rendock… works between 8 and 11 p.m. each night in her kitchen and uses Sundays for planning.
‘I think over the years I’ve made [the extra time] manageable. The whole thing is figuring out where to get it done,’ said Rendock, who teaches fifth-grade math and science at Carmen Arace Intermediate School. Rendock said that she has even brought work to a dentist appointment.
She said she believes the grade-in is a good way to create awareness of her profession’s demands.
‘There’s a lot of people who think that teachers work only Monday through Friday, 7 to 3,’ she said. ‘Unless they’re in direct contact with a teacher, they don’t get it.’
Below are videos from grade-ins in Hawaii and New Jersey. Click here for more photos from the Putnam grade-in.