From Dolphus Raymond of Bel Air:
Beginning today, Bel Air High School teachers are now required to “swipe” into school prior to the beginning of the school day at 7 am. The new system is the result of a parent complaint regarding a teacher who was not ready to receive his/her child at 7 for extra help.
The new swipe system is the latest measure in the school system’s degradation of teachers. Teachers who have embraced pay cuts, changing standards of evaluation, and increasing class sizes have for years been expected to work, eat, and even use the restroom by the bell, the first bell ringing at 7:22. For teachers who arrive at 7:06 but leave at 5:30, well after the 2:20 dismissal time, the measure is ill-conceived and insulting, and comes at a time when teacher morale is at an all time low. Many ask how is there money to pay for the technology necessary to implement the swipe system, but not enough money to allow for classes fewer than 30 teenagers?
In what other profession can someone walk in at the beginning of the day to be seen without an appointment? However, now, teachers are no longer “professionals” in Harford County. They are merely scapegoats for failing standards and a lack of student success, and cannot be trusted to arrive on time.
Dolphus Raymond, Bel Air
While teachers are insanely underpaid – even with the 2.5 month vacation in the middle of the year – this issue is minor and is merely a measure of accountability. If a teacher says he or she will be there at 7 to help a student in need, be there. If they can’t make it by 7 every day, don’t offer the help.
I’m pretty sure high school teachers are supposed to be at school by 7 am anyway so I don’t really see why it’s a huge deal.
I think the whole swipe system is a poor use of tax payer money in this economy. Was having teachers take attendance and keep track of the students in their classes really such a big deal before? Most remotely competent teachers have assigned seats for classes and after the first couple weeks know all of their students by name and face which makes taking attendance fairly quick and easy (and I’m sure they still do that even with the swipe system so what’s the point of it?)
Angelique Scharine says
I agree that a teacher shouldn’t volunteer to help – if they cannot be there. However, it seems to me that ALL teachers are being asked to swipe in. I agree with the author – while accountability is fine, the way teachers are treated is wrong. Teachers are professionals – they should be treated and paid as such. It seems that we want to pay and treat them like McDonald’s employees. Granted, I know that our budgets are tight and I don’t want to pay higher taxes, but the least we could do would be to step back and let teachers do their jobs. Oh, and yes, not begrudging raises and higher salaries for teachers would be a plus too.
Seriously? Is this a real letter to the editor or a spoof?
Welcome to the real world. As long as you get to work on time to do your job you won’t have a problem. Plus, it doesn’t sound like they are making you “swipe out” when you leave — just “swipe in” before 7am. Seems like a good idea to me.
In any other profession, if you cannot arrive to work on time, you will be let go. I hate to tell you, but that is how the rest of the world operates.
In any other job you are not expected to stay up to 4 hours after your release time, take work home nightly/on holidays, take a 20 minute lunch, respond calmly when teenagers tell you to f off, only go to the bathroom between classes, etc…but teaching is not “any other job.” I believe the writer is not refering to hours late, but rather a matter of minutes. It is a matter of respect given to professionals. Teachers are not paid hourly, therefore provided they arrive before their duties start, I don’t believe these babysitting measures are necessary, especially since no other school in the system is doing this. I hate to tell you Dave, but this is how schools operate.
Jarrettsville Mom says
Sadly as a “salaried employee” in the corporate world we also have to swipe in and not swipe out and we to have to stay to complete work past our work day (8 hours.) We to have to come in on weekends, holidays and take work home because as “salaried” employees we are not paid by the hour but by performance and if by chance, and sadly it happens many times, we do what it necessary to complete the job. We are accountable just as teachers are.
I did have a situation two years ago when because of an illness my child missed a test, upon her return to school she came home that evening with a note for her teacher stating that she would have to be at school at 6:30am to make up the test or take a zero. I had to take vacation time in order to take her to school only to wait until 7:15 for the teacher to show up. Her explaination was that she has two children to get ready and time gets away. Needless to say we had quite a conversation concerning accountability.
My wife had a parent who she chased down with phone calls all December about her kid making up a test. The kid had 3 appointments which he did not show for. Finally on the 23rd of December the mother calls and asks my wife to be there on the 24th to provide the make-up when my wife informed the mother that she was not availible that day and the child would be taking a zero at that point the mother called the superintendents office!
us marine says
I have a job that requires me to be on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, I have bullets flying over my head, and landmines below my feet, Im exposed to nuclear biological and chemical warfare, In a foxhole for days, weeks, and months, I do not complain i do my job, this is what i agreed to, If im Late i can be in a court martial, If i complain i can be in violation of the ucmj, I work in temps below zero and above 100 degrees, sometimes i work days without sleep, all of theese requirements plus many more duties for less the 26,000 a year
US Marine, thank you for your service
And you said it, you signed up that it, Teachers did not sign up for this. I do feel for the teacher that is 5 minutes late but stays an extra 2 hours after school grading and lesson planning and does not get paid or noticed for it. All the administration will see is that the person was 5 minutes late, not the 120 minutes of unpaid overtime. Just wondering, was any teacher late today?
i agree says
the swipe card system is probably Kronos and will soon be used for hourly employees and if they leave early then the pay will be deducted from there pay checks, example if an employee leaves one hour early they loose one hours worth of pay now multiply that by 50 other people in the system now thats some real savings per week. If you come to work on time you wont have to worry about a thing. This may also be a good tool to use to really show how many hours employees spend in the building. example if you spend 50 hours a week x 52 weeks the extra hours may support the argument that you need more employees. or a better way to do things. Be careful though alot of companies out there are using Pro Rep type of system that tracks productivity and quality, and overall results, this really wouldnt apply to the school system but could be used to track how much is done once time studies are established. For those who come in late this will be a tool to get rid of you and now they would have the proper identification to do so. In a regular business if you clock in one minute late your late and after 4 or 5 lates a year your gone period. Most companies provide a half an hour lunch break, however the time starts from the time u punch out, does not include bathroom time, or time it takes to get your lunch or stand in line so in reality u have about 15 min to eat and get back to work. A good rule of thumb is if your scheduled to work at 8:00 am get there at 730 am. if your day ends at 4:00 leave at 415 youll be fine. Ive noticed school staff and teachers work many hours off the clock as well as teachers and staff, not show up for months of work at a time, ive seen some come in almost daily late, and leave early. It will be hard to track comp time, vacation time, sick time, FMLA, STD (short term disability) LTD unless thats coded, and then you have to have someone enter and verify those codes. then you get into Paid planned Paid unplanned unpaid planned unpaid unplanned days. I think over all this may bust a few bad apples however for the most part this is only a tool to eliminate staff and or teachers. Most companies if you are on workmans comp or extended sick leave they follow you with a private investagtor and if your not sick or hurt your fired and loose your benefits (you can still get cobra) for 18 months
We are all assuming that the teacher planned on recieving this kid at 7 AM for extra help.
If the swipe equipment is installed, then they might as well have each student swipe in and out each day so attendance can be electronically tracked, freeing up instruction and admin time. Principals should be swiping too since they frequently leave the buildings, like at BAMS, to smoke. For that matter – Tomback needs to be swiping so we can be sure he is earning his ridiculous pay.
Common Sense says
They are having the students swipe in a this school.
Yes, all students swipe daily. I then receive an auto-e-mail that tells me the exact minute she entered the school and was marked “present”. I like it, but it does seem the money could have been used better somewhere else.
Tax payer- again says
This swipe card is not an insult. It is a waste of funds, tho, as the boe budget is so top heavy that if teachers really are as underpaid as some of these articles imply, why don’t they go elsewhere? The 5% raise proposed for boe employees is not acceptable to me.
I have not had a raise in over 7 years, and many of my friends and business associates are in the same place. The fact that teachers and school employees are blessed big time to receive health care, vacation, et al, is accented by several factors. If the raises and the budget are increased, not only will property owners feel the pinch, prop. taxes will rise, but, the costs involved in all parts of life will be effected. Right now is not the best time for many folks, and the budget needs to be reduced not made larger.
Teachers do work hard. Most employees do. That’s how America became great. When the budget is under control, then discuss a raise.
A Citizen says
Tax Payer Again–
Teachers are contracted to work 190 days. That does not include the winter or spring break or summer. In effect, we are PAID for absolutely NO vacation time. That is a HUGE misconception the general public has.
As far as swipping in, I think the main point he was making is that the school system gets bent out of shape if you come in 3 minutes late but no one seems to care if you stay 2 hours after school. He is saying it usually works out that the vast majority of teachers (yes, there are crappy ones out there) put in MORE hours than they are paid for. Making them swipe in will only encourage teachers to leave at 2:15 or whatever time they are contracted to be there. The more the public and the administration keeps treating teachers like they are “hired help” the LESS they are actually going to get. I am seeing that first hand at my school this year. Parents and tax payers (teachers are also tax payers remember…) might want to think about that…
Phil Dirt says
A Citizen said: “Teachers are contracted to work 190 days. That does not include the winter or spring break or summer. In effect, we are PAID for absolutely NO vacation time.”
No, if you consider teaching a full-time job, you are paid an annual salary. If you work 190 days, then you have 70 days of paid vacation/holidays (5 days per week for 52 weeks equals 260 working days in a year). Or are you tellng me that teaching is a part time job? You can’t have it both ways.
Talk about a HUGE misconception!
I Left says
Now who is misrepresenting? 260 days would be working every weekday, every holiday and never taking any of your paid vacation time. A private sector employee of equivalent education to a teacher would have at least 2 weeks paid vacation, and you can factor about 5 more days for national holidays. All of a sudden, your 260 is down to 245. It’s still more, but private sector jobs don’t often hire you with the caveat that you get an advanced degree within a certain amount of time just to keep the same job you were hired to do.
Teaching isn’t a part time job. I am fairly curious about something, however. For all of these people who have issues with teachers, why don’t you do the job? From what you’ve been arguing, teachers make tons of cash, get benefits that put yours to shame, have such an EASY job with months and months of time to go on vacation after vacation, and you think it’s a job where it’s impossible to be fired.
I’m curious to see the responses here. Let’s reverse the old “if you don’t like it, then quit” question–If you think it’s such a grand life, why don’t you do it?
I don’t believe you will get much of a response. It is easy to make generalized statements when you really don’t understand the issues or know what you are talking about. A common occurrence among those that are always bashing teachers. The problem is not with the vast majority of classroom teachers but rather those educrats at the federal, state and local level that are actually harming schools. Also let us not forget the politicians that jump on teachers for self serving purposes, pass laws that interfere with and undermine our school systems, and do harm to the education of our children. Isn’t it amazing that the more “oversight” we get from these people the worst our school systems seen to get.
decoy dude says
It is contractual. What is so hard?
i agree says
i agree with you if you havent had a pay raise in 7 years quit! find another job
I don’t see what big deal is.If you are coming to work on time you have nothing to concern yourself with.It works this way in a lot of jobs. The employees that complain are usually the ones who were taking advantage of NOT being required to “clock in”. Many times when dropping my son off at school I have seen teachers arriving as the school buses are dropping off. You knew what your job entailed when you decided to become a teacher.Many teachers choose to stay late or take work home with them.This is nothing new.I know a few who do not like to do that so they utilize their planning time wisely so they do not have to.It’s funny how you can speak to 2 different teachers and get 2 completely different points of view.
your right says
on planning days many teachers use there time wisely, some are doing nothing in there classroom other then conversating over this weekends football game, or watching oprah, and then say they dont have enough time, if you manage your time youll be fine, if you prepare for work youll be fine, if you come to work early you will be fine. I see teachers come in late all the time thats unacceptable, they need to be acountable just like the students they teach
There are 14 grammatical errors in your response, not to mention the run on sentences. You discredit your point by abusing the English language. Perhaps if teachers had a bit more respect and prestige in our society, one would have taught you the difference between “there” and “their”, “then” and “than”, etc. Spend a planning day or any day with a teacher and you might see that your assumption that all teachers do is watch Oprah is false. Some might. Most do not. If teachers come in extremely late, than that is unacceptable. Just like your misuse of the English language.
Your Right…or perhaps you meant “you’re right”…you are actually very mistaken.
I am not going to dispute that teaching is not a full time job, however I do know multiple teachers who work extra jobs to make up for the lack of income and not being paid a early salary.
yearly, my mistake
Swiping in to your job is not degradation, it’s accounting. I think the money could have been better spent, but that’s another conversation. It’s kind of funny, but I can’t think of any job I’ve ever had (temporarty or career) where someone didn’t track or record my hours either with a swipe system or computer log in. I’ve worked jobs that required continued education, where I didn’t get breaks while on the clock or had a 30 minute lunch and was expected to get to work as soon as I entered the building. I didn’t complain because that was job I was offered and accepted. What exactly is the problem? Sadly employees who are really offended by having to swipe in are probably the same employees who made the system necessary.
Is BAHS the only school where this is required of teachers? If so, that is grossly unfair. If you are going to institute an attendance tracking system for teachers, it should apply to all teachers through the county as well as all other school based employees from the top down. Has anyone even asked the teacher in question for a reason for the lateness that day? Was a child ill? Did daycare opened late that day? Was there an accident on the way to work? Did he/she stop to pick up donuts for homeroom? Was the teacher in the building copying papers or in their assigned “teacher planning area”? There are a million different reasons for this to have happened. Has anyone asked or has the administration just taken the easy way out– a group spanking.
Very simple solution. If you feel that you need to have a computer system to check in on people to make sure that they are doing their jobs. DON’T HIRE THAT PERSON. You must hire profesionals and than treat them as profesionals.
Now that I think back to it when I taught in PG county I was required to sign in at the office on arrival with time and sign out when I left. The difference was that it was on a list of typed names and not computerized.