Reintroduced ‘Teachers’ Bill of Rights’ includes new effort to give teachers planning, break time

VIDEO: Reintroduced “Teachers’ Bill of Rights” includes new effort to give teachers planning

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State legislators want to make sure every teacher has at least 30 minutes to themselves each day, however some remain skeptical on how that could be implemented and enforced.

Currently, resource time for teachers is on a district by district basis.

If H.4753 passes, classroom teachers and full-time librarians across the state would be entitled to at least a half hour of daily planning away from their students to work with other teachers or on their own.

“There’s honestly just not enough hours in the day during the school day to sometimes get everything completed,” said Susan Faulds, a middle school teacher in the Charleston County School District.

She said she’s glad the district already allots time during week for lesson planning and collaborating with coworkers. But she hopes a bill like this could help other teachers in the state who might not have that resource.

"I think it's a great idea that they really are trying to set the time aside specifically for teachers," Faulds said. "Knowing that people are listening and wanting to give us that time is very hopeful."

State house representatives pre-filed a new version of the “Teachers’ Bill of Rights” which was embedded in sweeping education reform efforts that passed the house last year. But it is still sitting in the senate and has yet to becomes law. That’s why representatives wanted to file the bill of rights separately and include this new measure for each teacher to take a daily break.

Jennifer Schultz, an elementary school teacher in the Berkeley County School District, said she’s lucky administration gives her 45 minutes of planning time within her school day. However, much of that time gets eaten up when well-intentioned meetings end up hurting, rather than helping.

"The main issue is with meetings that take away for our planning," Schultz said.

Schultz said the new bill needs to be clearer on the extent of interruptions allowed during the proposed open half hour.

"We also need that time to kind of get ourselves together because we’re on all day" Schultz said.

State house representative and co-sponsor, Con Chellis, said the section of the bill is "intentionally vague" to give districts more flexibility.

“We still want you to have the flexibility of being able to do it within district guidelines and how that is best suited for each district as to when and how they do that and how they implement that,” Chellis said. “But at the end of the day, the teachers do need the break.”

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