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The secret activities of teachers on early release days

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The secret activities of teachers on early release days

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Early release days are favored by most students who are able hang out with friends or take a nap, but no one really knows what teachers do on half days.

Most students assume that teachers enjoy time with their families and relax, but according to numerous sources, that is not the case. Teachers are constantly busy on half days, during and after school. Many educators have to alter their schedules in order to fit their curriculum into ER days, but teachers overall think they are necessary.

“I think [half days] are necessary. Sometimes I look on the calendar and see that it’s an ER day and it throws off my continuity, but they’re necessary,” Mike Hill said.

Hill is a social studies teacher at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. While early release days sometimes throw off his schedule, he and other teachers usually have a lesson or plan for the upcoming half day.

“On early release days, typically what will happen is students will come in my room, we’ll have a quiz, and I’ll teach a lesson. I treat an early release day in class like I would treat a ram day,” James Goldwasser said.

Goldwasser is another social studies teacher at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. His primary class is advanced placement microeconomics, which he has taught for many years. Compared to Goldwasser, Hill has a different half day schedule.

“Typically, [I] don’t have enough time do to a full out lecture or slide,” Hill said. “I can either cut it down substantially or use it as a ‘clean up day.’”

What occurs during school hours on ER days are much different to the after school hours. While the students go home, the teachers stay after school for professional development.  

“A lot of times on ER days they are earmarked as professional development for teachers. What we’ll do is meet as a faculty, usually in the multipurpose room, and we’ll receive some kind of training or guidance on a school based issues,” Hill said.

Goldwasser described a similar situation that occurs after school of ER days. He elaborated on activities that occur during professional development.

“Lately we’ve been working on DEI, which stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Goldwasser said.

While they aren’t the most convenient, ER days provide the necessary time for teachers to recuperate and be the best they can.

“I think it’s necessary for teachers to get together with their colleagues and to talk about best practices,” Hill said. “So not just being a teacher, but talking about being a better teacher.”

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