SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Great news for elementary school teachers in South Carolina. They are now guaranteed 30 minutes during their workday to take care of the things they need to do, without having to worry about teaching or supervising children during that time.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun, kids keep you on your toes,” said Michelle Monroe, a fifth-grade teacher at Cooley Springs-Fingerville Elementary in Chesnee.
She said she tries to make each moment for her students count.
“We’re definitely busy from the first bell to the last bell and everywhere in between,” said Monroe.
She said shaping the minds of young children is a full-time job, with a lot of off-the-clock work.
“Like today I’m here during the summer, on my last week off, trying to get my room ready just so everything will be perfect when the kids do come back to school,” she said.
Going from teaching fourth to fifth grade, Monroe said she will utilize her break time.
“So, I’ll probably, definitely need my 30 minutes of planning to make sure I know the fifth-grade curriculums because it will be something new,” said the teacher.
Principal Stephanie Blanton said this new law will help all of her staff.
“This is an opportunity for them to use that time, unencumbered, to do what they need to do for themselves and for their students,” she said
The law was passed in 2022, with this school year being the first one the 30-minute breaks are required for the K-5 full-time teachers. The 2023-2024 is the first school year this policy is being required, because school boards needed to adopt by July 1, 2023.
“Our teachers either have 30 minutes during their instructional day or 30 minutes at the end of their instructional day, during their work hours,” stated Blanton.
“I think everybody could use a 30-minute break, especially elementary school teachers. So, I think it will be awesome to have that guaranteed time built into your day,” said Monroe.
Everyone at Cooley Springs is ready to step in and help.
“If you ever needed a break, the school that I work at helps each other out. So, if you need to use the restroom, there’s always somebody there that will relieve you,” said Monroe.
Blanton said having half an hour will help teachers make sure their students are successful from their first day of school to their first day of summer.
“They pour their heart and lives into our kids, so the least we could do is respect their time and make sure they have the resources they need to be successful,” she said.
The school year starts for Cooley Springs on August 14 and although teachers are excited for their 30 minutes, they tell 7NEWS they are even more excited to welcome their students back.
For more on the law, click here.