A clever idea provided by the New Jersey Education Association:

Frank McCulley and 106 of his colleagues converged on the Deptford Mall food court, took a seat and for two hours did in public something usually done in private. They graded papers, wrote lesson plans, and created instructional materials. McCulley, a physics teacher at Delsea Regional High School, cooked up the idea with chemistry teacher Tina Dare.

Working for a solid two hours, no one got all the work done.

“Tina and I were talking about how the public has this notion that teachers work short hours,” McCulley said. “They have no idea of the time we put in grading papers or prepping for class outside the normal school day.”

A 2008 NJEA poll of members revealed that more than 20 percent of teachers spend more than 20 hours beyond the contracted day on schoolwork.  Seventy-five percent report that they work at least six to 10 hours beyond the contracted day in a typical week.

McCulley and Dare decided the best way to let the public know all they do was to move their grading and prepping from the kitchen table to a table at the food court. At their tables, members from Salem and Gloucester counties set up tent cards inviting passers-by to “Ask me what I’m doing.”

“You go, sister! Grade those papers,” a shopper called out to Lori Bathurst who teaches at Chestnut Ridge Middle School in Washington Township.

“They’re not home washing dishes. They’re out here together grading papers, and I think that’s great,” another shopper told Mary Ellen Covely, a teacher from W.C.K. Walls School in Pitman.

See the You Tube video here.

See Deptford Mall Grade-In for more photo’s.

Check out the NJEA website for the full article.

Dora