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ilovetoteach!'s Message:

I am a first year third grade teacher who has substituted for the past 4 years after being in the workforce for 20 years. I am a single mom of a 5 year old who has just started Kindergarten.... most of the time I have no idea where to even begin there is so much to do!!! Its like when I see the top, more is piled on and down I go!!! I knew there would be lots of extra work but this is just crazy!!! I am having the worst time trying to balance everything.... sigh

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
teacherinWA 11-25-2011 01:34 AM

A teacher who noticed I was overwhelmed with correcting papers told me it is my choice to give them that much work that needs to be corrected. Which is true. I have cut down because I figure if I just correct their work and we don't go through it probably isn't helping. If they are getting everything correct all the time it is too easy and I need to challenge them more.

I have decided that instead of just giving out worksheets and correcting them myself I would correct them with the class - that way we could go over our mistakes together and talk about the various strategies that we used. This works really well with math and I find it helps students. Plus they love coming up and sharing their thinking and teaching how they solved the problem.

Another thing I sometimes do is have a copy or two of the answer sheet and as students finish they can check their answers. This works well and sometimes I let some students check each others work or work together. They work in pairs or groups and it really helps when they can explain what they are doing to students that are having difficulty.

It does get easier and you learn new tricks and wonder how did I survive without that???
I love teaching third grade because they are starting to take on more responsibility for their own learning.

Just remember teaching is like anything else. The more you practice the better you get.

Emmy 11-23-2011 08:50 PM

I'm not a new teacher but after decades of teaching the biggest issue with me was timely paper grading.

The person who suggested that the kids grade their own homework had a great idea.

One thing that might help you with filing is to have a hanging folder for each subject you teach. Our third grade only has spelling, reading, english, and math on their report cards. So you would have four hanging files that are easy to get too. When you have extra papers at the end of the day, put them in the correct folder to file later. The reason that you separate them into subjects is to make it easier if you need to find something.

Some teachers leave papers, markers, pencils, etc. all over the room as they teach. If you are like that, it would take a lot of time at the end of the day to straighten up. Have a procedure where a student is in charge of bringing all the papers to your desk at the end of the day. Another student could be in charge of markers being in the right place.

Have a check off sheet so that you can check off the students who have turned in the paper so that you know who you need to collect a paper from at the end of the day.

Have a tray that is designated LATE WORK. Never let that get mixed up with the regular papers that you are grading. You can take home sets of papers to grade, but the LATE WORK is best done at school because it takes longer to grade.

Have student folders to put graded work in so that it is easy to pass out on Thursday if you do Thursday Folders.

Another set of files that you need is a hanging file folder for each story in your anthology.

Have a file for each month. For instance December is coming up. In your file, you'd have things such as special art activities, worksheets, copies of Christmas party notes, Poem about December, Christmas, etc.

I had a gingerbread file, an angel file, a calendar of important observances.

For Feb. Black History Month, Valentines etc.

You have to have a place to put everything or it will continue to overwhelm you. Scissors have a special place, gluesticks have a special place. You always know where to get things.

I'm really good at organizing, so if you would like to have help on any certain thing, just contact me. reademmy # (no spaces)

HSAMeier 11-09-2011 07:14 PM

I am a first year teacher, but in 1st grade. I just got into a routine, and then my administration staff turned our schedules upside down (literally) and we are getting new math curriculum. (After I went and spent hours searching for the curriculum I currently have.) Here are a few things that have helped me:

-I literally spent this past weekend copying, laminating, and other things to get ahead so I can focus on other things. I try to give an entire weekend a month to nothing but school work.
-My school has an after school program, so I have the older kids come to my room to grade homework/worksheets, sharpen pencils, put mail in mailboxes, etc. I have them do little things that are mindless and it lets me focus on other important things.
-I have made a weekly and monthly checklist, so that I remember everything that needs to be done (Change helpers, book-in-a-bag, hang word wall words, change calendar, etc) I have found that no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember it all yet.
-USE ANYONE THAT IS WILLING TO HELP! My boyfriend, best friend, and mom offer to help sometimes and I NEVER turn them down! I can have them cut things out, copy, file papers, etc.

Hope this helps some!

TERRAW 11-09-2011 02:55 AM

I too struggle with the marking and keeping up to date with paperwork. I seem to have so much of it and I shuffle it and tidy then go looking for something. I wish there was someone to come and sort me out and organise me. I am usually a very organised person but I get into a fluster with distractions and students and things go down hill and I can't find anything.

bteacher35 10-29-2011 05:57 PM

Last year was my first year ( I teach 3rd grade)...I had a 1st grader and baby at home too .

I don't know what your procedures are, but I know I almost burried myself in homework last year! I fixed that by having the kids grade their own HW...they circle the problems they get wrong and then I collect it to do a quick check for people who need small group or individual attention. Then put it all in a basket for my paper passers to put in the student mailboxes.

I also copied some experienced teachers and assigned my kids numbers (even in a school with high mobility this worked)...The numbers made it easy to put everything in ABC order...then file it. I can even call numbers and have the students drop the papers in their own file. It doesn't take much time at all-they figure out the order quickly and learn to anticipate their turn.

ilovetoteach! 10-17-2011 05:00 PM

Lists ... I try but somehow they seem to get buried in a pile somewhere....
I also am trying to figure everything out... my mentor helps...sort of.. it just feels like I am always two steps behind. My paper management at this moment is piles all over the floor of my living room!! Yikes!!! I was just saying that I need to get a filing system going. I knew this first year wasnt going to be easy but this is just plain crazy!! My normal bedtime is somewhere between 1 and 2 am. I also have a class who is , putting it nicely, very talkative!! so they are hard to get under control and then when I have them , most lose focus after about 10 min so to get anything done is a challange within itself. I LOVE my job but its a bit much most of the time.....

teacherwriter 10-15-2011 03:49 PM

I also teach third, and it's my first year. I am swamped. I work all the time--no down time at all. My biggest problem is paper management. I can't get papers graded quickly enough, and I don't have time to file things. I'm also struggling with a somewhat dysfunctional team and a mentor who doesn't have time to advise. I always feel like I'm scrambling to get things done. I hope I'm doing OK, but there's this little voice that nags about how rocky things are and it makes me worry about contract nonrenewal. Nobody's said a thing about that, but... Sigh...

CmonkE 10-10-2011 01:03 AM

I also teach third grade. There is a TON of things to do. Third is especially difficult since it is the first grade of testing. Take things ONE thing at a time. Make lists and begin with the most important thing. When your done, cross it off. You will feel such a sense of accomplishment to see things slowly being crossed off your list. I often try to multi-task and work on several things (when i get really overwhelmed) and my BF has to remind me one thing at a time. I also add things such as 'relax', 'cook dinner', 'do laundry' because these are things that need to be done too that often get put on the back burner (especially relaxing)

ilovetoteach! 10-09-2011 06:11 PM

I am a first year third grade teacher who has substituted for the past 4 years after being in the workforce for 20 years. I am a single mom of a 5 year old who has just started Kindergarten.... most of the time I have no idea where to even begin there is so much to do!!! Its like when I see the top, more is piled on and down I go!!! I knew there would be lots of extra work but this is just crazy!!! I am having the worst time trying to balance everything.... sigh

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