“Wacky Wednesday” is just another school day in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. Elementary school used to let out at noon on Wednesday to give teachers time to discuss new teaching strategies and plan lessons. Children played at school or went home.
In response to parents’ complaints, the Laramie County School District 2 board voted for a conventional schedule.
In other countries, teachers have much more time to collaborate, reports the National Staff Development Council. Only 20 percent of U.S. teachers’ time is spent on working with colleagues and improving their teaching skills.
In most European and Asian countries, meanwhile, teacher training is commonly part of the regular school week. Teachers in those countries typically spend less than half of their working time teaching, according to the council’s report. Yet the students in many of those countries, who spend less time in class than American students, outscore their American counterparts in math and science, the report said.
Laramie County educators credit the weekly in-school training led by a master teacher with higher reading and math scores in the district.
Giving teachers time for training and collaboration isn’t all that wacky. Wednesday was a short day — but not as short as in Pine Bluffs — when my daughter was in Palo Alto schools. A volunteer-lead enrichment program — sports, music, art, computer time — would have been helpful for working parents, but we coped without it.