There are those upset with teachers for not continuing extra-curricular activities, concluding that those who want to be considered professional need to to do so. Let us follow this logic. Is your doctor any less professional because they refuse to make volunteer house calls after office hours? Is your lawyer any less professional because they won't give you free legal advice well after they should be home? How about that mechanic, less professional if they don't come over and fix your car for free on a Sunday afternoon. Why are teachers less professional if they don't give of their own free time? What about those teachers that are like many of us, doing volunteer service away from our jobs. Any less professional?
So why has volunteering at schools become the professional standard for teachers? What it has become is the dumping ground for our society. They have had to take on what society no longer is prepared to do. We are told that, without teachers volunteering, kids will not play sports, get hefty scholarships, exercise, participate in theatre, experience camp-outs, graduation parties, cruises, trips overseas, or visits to the parliament buildings. Many businesses will go broke if a teacher doesn't give up his weekend away from his family. Many kids will go hungry and have no clothing to wear if teachers don't volunteer. These use to be jobs of parents and other community volunteers.
Maybe we should rethink this volunteer gig. Instead of demanding that teachers give countless hours outside of teaching we should thank them for the time they do volunteer for us. While the government has chosen to demonize these people maybe society should just be thankful for what we get, be feeling guilty to be expecting more, and then expect more from ourselves. Volunteer service does not define a teacher as a professional – any more than it defines the rest of us - this is their way to give back to society as members of our community – and giving back to society is not the sole domain of teachers. You and I could do the same. What are you doing after school on Friday or this weekend? Want to look after 30 kids?