Education

Should Teachers Have To Punch In And Out Every Day?

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

Teachers in multiple North Carolina school systems must punch in and out through a time clock system, according to a Monday report.

Former North Carolina teacher Chris Gilbert conducted a qualitative study surveying four teachers in a district that compels teachers to clock in and out of work using the digital payroll system TimeKeeper, reported The Washington Post.

“When I first heard about it…I felt disempowered and felt like I was not viewed as a professional. Now I just accept it and move on, but feel resentful,” said one unnamed teacher Gilbert interviewed.

Such a sentiment fits into a trend of the deprofessionalization of North Carolina teachers through lower wages and the degradation of their health insurance plans and job benefits, Gilbert suggested. The former teacher argues these changes drive would-be teachers into the private sector.

Teachers Gilbert interviewed also associated time clock implementation with distrust.

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“There have been multiple conversations [among colleagues] with themes of teachers constantly feeling a lack of trust by administration and state rules/laws,” said another unnamed teacher. “This just reinforces that theme…I feel less trusted.”

Another teacher stated that the utility seemed to indicate that teachers needed to be “closely monitored.”

Since teachers punch in and out when they enter and leave the school building, lawmakers could more easily misrepresent hours spent working by teachers and use time clock figures to justify lower wages, Gilbert claims.

“In a state where teachers’ salaries persistently lag the national average, and where more than half of all public educators work an additional job to make ends meet, mandates must be issued with care,” said the former educator. “If we believe that attracting and retaining talented educators is truly important, we must ensure that educational policies and practices promote trust, respect and professionalism. Requiring salaried, professional educators to punch a time clock ultimately undermines this goal.”

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