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Hpylife Hpylife is offline
 
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Hpylife
 
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how do you do it all?
Old 03-11-2018, 03:07 PM
 
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So, after reflecting, I think my thoughts of starting my own preschool were kind of "the grass is greener" type of thinking. I love preschool, but I think my frustrations with second grade public school are making me think of leaving. I really cannot leave--benefits are too good right now (health care is primary reason)

I think my current problem is that I'm overwhelmed. I'm trying to reach out to other teachers,,,,,how do you do it all?

I currently teach second grade--love the school, admin, kids and coworkers. Problem is that I'm having a hard time handling all of the info/lesson planning.

I go in to work 2hrs before school, and I typically leave 1-2hrs after EVERY day..so that's putting in over 15-22+ extra hrs per week. Even with this extra time , I'm still not caught up with my plans each day. I cannot keep doing this. It's not healthy for my sanity , self care or my family life. I've tried to just cut back to one or two days that I stay late/go in early,and the work just piles up.

I am tired of hearing "well, get used to it, that's a teacher life"...not acceptable to me. There has to be a work/life balance or I am not going to keep up with this.

So, my questions are: how do you get all of your planning in each day for 6 lessons? ( I have 6 different subjects each day) Does some of it just get pushed off to the side? How do you learn and implement all of the things that you are expected to do for each lesson every day? How do you keep up with grading/paperwork/making copies? I am struggling with the time management and just swimming in a sea of "information" with regards to planning my lessons.

Looking for thoughts or advice.
thanks!!!


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Old 03-11-2018, 06:01 PM
 
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When my first child was born, I made the decision to try stick as closely as I could to contract hours. I taught second grade for several years and now I teach first. Below are some changes I made but of course every school situation is different.

First of all, I try to reduce the use of worksheets as much as possible. If you think about it, it takes time to find the right worksheet, xerox it, store it beforehand, look at it after / correct it, and then sort into cubbies or folders to be returned to students. Instead, I try to incorporate alternatives that require less time before and afterhand. I let parents know at the beginning of the year, not to expect many worksheets in their take home folder by including this in the parent presentation:
"We rarely use worksheets. All other practice work is done using writing paper, journals, whiteboards, iPads, Promethean board, games, manipulatives, read alouds, discussion, and songs."
I also send home a weekly newsletter to keep parents in the loop.

Second of all, I don't assign homework that needs to be collected/ corrected. I recommend reading for twenty minutes. Students record their reading on a log and keep it in the cover of their home folder. Each child has an assigned day every month to give a book talk to the class. Also, students are given a spelling list for upcoming spelling tests. We review in class, but this way parents can decide how they want to review at home with their child if needed. Nothing is collected. I save a lot of time with this homework routine.

One more thing that really helps is that I build in daily routines that cut down on lesson planning. For example, morning work everyday is the same routine so I don't have to write up and prep something new for each day. Everyday, my students sort their words ( We have different spelling groups based on Words their Way), raise their hand so I can match them up with someone who is done, then read aloud their words in each category to their partner, and finally read a book from their book pack quietly until after announcements.

I would say these are the top three ways that help me to have work/life balance as a teacher.
I also would highly recommend Angela Watson's 40 hour teacher work club for productivity and time management tips.
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:09 PM
 
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thanks so much for your thoughts and tips!!! I have cut homework--I only have reading time assigned and some math. I don't collect it. All work in class is 90% done using an index card for response , discussion as a group/partners or they have a composition notebook for each subject...My morning routine is also the same every morning.

What I am having trouble keeping up with is the actual lesson planning. For me, it takes a lot of time to figure out what to do for each lesson esp with math. We also have a new reading curriculum which is unfolding weekly, so that adds to the stress of learning it and planning/implementation. It's like I can't seem to catch up with planning.

I will check out the Angela Watson time management,,,I think I checked into that before, was that a membership that you had to pay? I do think time management is my biggest obstacle. Thank you so much for your thoughts and tips!!
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:00 PM
 
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Angela Watson's club does have a fee. My PTO reimbursed me because it counted as professional development. She also has a blog and podcast that is free.

We don't have a reading basal so I'm not much help in that regard. As for math plans, I usually go with our curriculum and supplement with extra activities I have done in the past. I prep materials needed for different lessons but I don't usually spend a lot of time writing things out...but my admin doesn't check lesson plans so I have that freedom.

I wish I could help more. By the way, how do you use index cards?
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:51 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice,,,
Index cards--I use the large one's for student responses to questions or prompts. They do a response at the beginning of the lesson in pencil-sort of a minute or two pre assessment of what they know, after the lesson they flip the card and do a response to the same prompt or question in pen, I collect them and can see any improvements or needs . I've also just used scrap paper , index cards can get expensive.


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split up the topics with your team
Old 03-24-2018, 11:31 AM
 
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I teach 2nd (5 years now) and my first several years we had 4 teachers. We split up the curriculum so not all of us did everything. We became experts in the fields of science, math, social studies, reading and writing. We picked what we wanted (or wanted to get good at) Granted the upper grades at our school actually rotate so teachers only have 2 subjects each, but this is the closest way to keep the continuity for the students and sanity of the teacher. Maybe this can help?
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:53 AM
 
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ThankaTchr--thank you for that reply. I have already mentioned the "expert" method, and it was shot down. Makes more sense to me, but the other grade level teachers did not like the idea. Thanks for the advice!At this point I've just decided to do bare minimum with my lessons. I hate that but it's saving my sanity.
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