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Ameri Ameri is offline
 
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Prep/plan time
Old 09-12-2015, 06:15 AM
 
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I am battling with finding enough prep time to stay on top of planning and grading. The school I currently work at has teachers doing duty 3 times per day. Before school duty in the morning, lunch duty with the kids (we eat lunch with the kids and go out with them to recess, our team gives each other restroom breaks during this time) and then an after school duty too.

We do have a 30 minute special every day where at least once a week we are summoned for a meeting. This leaves very little time for grading and planning.

Anyone else work/has worked in a similar school culture and have any tips/tricks or shortcuts?


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Old 09-12-2015, 06:28 AM
 
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We don't have duty every day and we do get a duty free lunch (which I refuse to work through), but we don't get a special every day of the week. This year I actually have 4 days with a 45 minute block of time for planning, but one is our collaboration that our IC comes to (so no work done). After you get your kids over to where they are supposed to be (why is it specials teachers don't pick up kids or walk them back to their classes?) and leave a few minutes early to pick them up, plus take a minute to go to the bathroom and wash your hands, the time left is much shorter. There is just no way that any of us can get all of our grading done during the day, much less have time to get planning done, too.

Mine gets done before school or after school.
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3 times?
Old 09-12-2015, 06:29 AM
 
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You have my sympathy.

Can you partner with another grade level and rotate the duties more?
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Prep time
Old 09-12-2015, 06:29 AM
 
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Something's wrong here. Our contract mandates a 45 minute duty free lunch period. We rotate yard duty so we each do it once a week.

Frankly, I think the Dept of Labor states every working person must have a duty free break.

Go to your Union or school board with this.
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:59 AM
 
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Sounds a little like we are/used to be. First, is there any way you can rotate duties? Afternoon carpool is set up by admin, so all of us have it (well, except specials ), and the weeks are broken up so we get a break from it. We based morning duty on the carpool duty; if you have carpool, you don't have morning duty. Re lunch/recess, we talked to our P about how many people were required for coverage, then set up a rotating schedule. This way, nobody has three duties a day. (I've done that--it's exhausting.) Everyone knows when they need to work, the coverage is done, and everyone has some down time.

Second, no way you're gonna get much done during a 30-minute special. So you're stuck there. You'll just have to work after school or at night or on weekends. Sorry. We do it too.

Re union, why does everyone assume everyone else has a union? Nice idea, but more states are right-to-work than not, and the numbers are growing. Is it right? Well, probably not. But it means people just don't have a union to turn to. Re duty-free lunch, I'm betting that's not required for professional (non-hourly) employees.


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On grading
Old 09-12-2015, 08:07 AM
 
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Forgot to add: On grading, do you have to grade everything? Can you quickly scan papers to see who gets it and who doesn't for reteaching purposes? Can you check homework or classwork papers together, collect them and send them home? Can you (ahem) throw 'em in the trash once you finish the practice and know everyone's got the concept?
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Yes
Old 09-12-2015, 09:02 AM
 
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I have been wondering the same about prep. I work in a big district, have taught for 10 years and have my Masters. My husband is only working part time now (college) and my kids actually qualify for free and reduced lunch. Sad. So- I have a part time job because we need it! If we are expected to spend all of our time instructing and no planning time, when is it to get done? This is a ligit question I have been asking. I can't do it all night - I have kids and work another job. When do people do it? Sometimes it feels like you have to have a very successful spouse or no kids to be a teacher.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:16 AM
 
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I feel for you. At both of my previous schools, we had NO specials. We taught all specials (art, PE, music, etc.) and were with our kids all day except our duty free lunch (30 minutes, but we had to wait for them to get seated, so it ended up being 15-20 minutes). We had recess duties and meetings after school. So our free time was *usually* before school (unless additional meetings were scheduled) or after meetings after school (which was after contracted time). We also had no textbooks or other curriculum-- we had standards and we figured out how to teach them without help of texts. That makes for a lot of additional planning, imo. I planned around themes and incorporated the standards. I used literature, made my own worksheets/practice sheets, and we did a lot of hands-on learning. I was in this situation while teaching K, 1, 4, and 5.

Shortcuts... hmm. I did a lot of planning on my own time, to be honest. I got to school early to prepare supplies, or tried to leave with them prepared at home. I never graded daily homework, but I always spot checked it while students did morning work (routine was to open hw and have it on desk while doing morning work and I took attendance and checked hw while they worked). I retaught concepts where students had a lot of difficulty (as evidenced by my spot checks). It was also easy to see who got credit for having done hw and who just filled in blanks or "pretended" to do hw (e.g., random numbers, no work for math hw, sentences that didn't match for la hw).

I have always been one of those teachers who never sits down at my desk if kids are in the room. So I am always monitoring in some way, however, if the kids were working on groups and I was circulating, I got a lot of ideas about how to teach the next concept or what to teach while I was walking around listening to the kids work. I would jot those down. So I did a lot of my "thinking" work while monitoring kids.

In terms of prepping materials, I had the kids do a lot of that. The more they did, the better off we all were. For example, when I taught K, my colleagues were cutting out the shapes for the students to put together, and I had the kids trace and cut heir own shapes. The results were way cooler, imo, although not as "neat" looking. I tried to make prepping materials part of the teaching process whenever it made sense. It saved me a lot of time.

I tried not to let grading stack up. Honestly, the hardest part of the older grades was grading essays and other longer writing. It took a lot of time and energy.

btw, in both districts, I had a union, but it didn't give us something different regarding prep time. Our contracts were not violated, it was what it was.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:17 AM
 
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There's a catch for us with duty free lunch...negotiated agreement states 40 min, duty free lunch...however, if there is nobody to cover lunch recess, kids go back to class. Of course we do lunch recess duty and get $11 per hour to do so. Recess is 20 min. I have lunch duty every other day. 30 min plan everyday. Do what I can at home. 6th year in kinder and this is first year I'm feeling on top of things. Not sure this helps. Do the best you can with the time you have. DON'T neglect yourself or family, life is too short!!! Good luck!
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Somewhat, but things are changing.
Old 09-12-2015, 09:44 AM
 
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We were having duty before school, double duty days for recess, and after school duty. Plus we don't have personal plan time one day a week because that's our team plan time. We are not allowed to grade or work on lesson plans during that time. I was having a terrible time keeping up. But we've worked it out so that we only have duty every third morning before school. The rest is the same, though. We have way less plan time than ever before, thanks to all of budget cuts. We've lost our classroom paras, so we have no help with grading, catching kids up who are behind, or help with bulletin boards.
At least we have duty free lunch.


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We have been pretty much stripped of
Old 09-12-2015, 11:00 AM
 
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our planning time too in the last couple of yrs. I do a lot in the early morning. 1 way I cut corners is I wander around the room when kids are doing independent work. I get the majority of it checked then. Also, if someone does not get it, I can catch it b4 they practice it wrong. Another way is I get kids to help whenever possible. ( There are usually a couple of kids who are able to help w/ lots of things.. from stapling to peer tutoring . I do not do some of the fun projects I used to due to lack of planning time. I'd like to, but I need to have a life too. So..I pick special projects carefully. 1 shortcut may sound like a waste of time, but I start getting the kids ready to go home 15 mins early..lol It gives them time to straighten their stuff up. That way when they leave, I am not straightening desks, coat racks, or picking crap up off the floors. I have always had them pick up, but am more picky the less time I have. I have no clue how you could handle another job! You must be Super Woman!
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:31 AM
 
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I'm in shock over what I'm hearing.

I would not be able to go somewhere else and be a teacher from what I'm hearing about the lack of prep, planning, and lunch time and how much duty time you also have.

And here I was pissed off about having 3 weeks of afternoon duty straight, instead of getting a break.

God bless you all!
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A bit of the opposite
Old 09-12-2015, 11:42 AM
 
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I could use more instructional time with my students, especially my morning class. I have an hour planning block on Monday, Thursday and Friday. on Tuesday I have a two hour block and Wednesday and hour and a half. The problem is I am short instructional time with my a.m. fourth grade class.
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about 20 yrs ago..
Old 09-12-2015, 11:53 AM
 
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I actually was in the same boat as tgbwc...lol I remember wishing I had more instructional time w/ my afternoon (TTP's) group. Looking back..oh, how I miss those days and preps!....
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Couple of other ideas
Old 09-12-2015, 12:59 PM
 
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You didn't say how big your grade-level team is. If there are several of you, can you split the planning among the team members? For example, one person plans reading, one person plans math, etc. Obviously, this works only if everyone agrees to do it, if everyone's teaching/planning styles mesh, and if everyone meets deadlines. But that can save you time. Another idea is to look for already planned units on the Internet. (You can chew up a lot of time on the Internet, so be forewarned.) You'd be amazed what's out there in the way of lessons and units on various topics, and not just Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook either. If you're teaching novels for reading, take a look at learninglinks.com. You can buy complete units for tons of novels.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:08 PM
 
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See if state laws have requirements for so many minutes for planning. I'm also assuming this is a non union shop too.
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In case....
Old 09-12-2015, 04:47 PM
 
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some of you don't know...If you live in a right to work state, it basically means you have no rights at work. I live in a state that once had a strong teachers' union. In the mid 1980's we gave up our right to strike to have stronger collaboration rights with our board. Little by little they have whittled it down to basically nothing except insurance terms. The last 2 years I taught I didn't even bother to join the union since it didn't provide any services for classroom teachers. This is pretty simple..YOU GET WHAT YOU VOTE FOR. The Democratic party supports unions!!
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Where do you teach???
Old 09-12-2015, 05:20 PM
 
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I'm reading this in shock! Where on earth do you teach? Is it private/public/magnet? I've never had more than 30 or 45 min preps at the elementary level! Are they hiring? !

***this was for tgbwc
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Plan time
Old 09-12-2015, 05:44 PM
 
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I am a resource ELA teacher. I teach 1st - 5th grades. My entire school is given 1 hour plan each day. We all have duty once a week. Classroom teachers eat lunch with their students. I have 1 lunch duty each week rotated in one grade level. Duty schedule includes morning, lunch, recess, and dismissal.
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To Truman'sMom
Old 09-12-2015, 06:33 PM
 
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I'm in VA. Public school. In my district we are guaranteed a 30 minute duty free lunch. School board regulations require elementary teachers to have at least 300 minutes of planning a week, 240 of which are unencumbered. A minimum of 60 minutes can be used for CLT meetings.

My specials:
Monday 9:45-10:45, Tuesday 8:45-9:45 and 9:45-10:45, Wed 9:15-9:45 and 9:45-10:45, Thursday 9:45-10:45, Friday 10:45-11:45.

I can send you a list of vacancies. . I just counted 49 gen ed k-6 positions. My building has started off with a sub in a classroom.
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Interesting to see the differences
Old 09-13-2015, 08:33 AM
 
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Gen. Ed teachers are required to be in their room by 7:15 when students start trickling in. Virginia does not require employers to give breaks, so teachers eat lunch and do recess with their kids. They get a 45 min specials break a day for planning. They take the kids to the bus at the end of the day.

I am a special Ed teacher I have morning and afterschool duty, but in most days I have a duty free lunch. This is similar to the specials schedule, as well as specialist.
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Virginia
Old 09-13-2015, 08:39 AM
 
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I'm in Virginia and I know things can vary across the state. My brother works, and my parents worked, in different districts.

My one district's regulations are as I mentioned earlier. Duty free lunch is guaranteed as are a minimum of 300 minutes (240 unencumbered) per week. We do not have before or after school duties. I do take the kids and monitor recess. School board regs also limit the number and length of staff meetings.
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