Do specials teachers teach less classes?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    In my district, it seems like specials teachers have more preps than regular ed or special ed teachers. Whenever I sub for a regular ed teacher, I have one prep and a 30-45 minute lunch period. When I sub for a specials teacher, I have several blocks of free time. Her schedule for all days has these extra blocks of free time. Do schools give specials teachers extra responsibilities? I'm assuming computer teachers may be responsible for school-wide technology issues. Ex. I'm subbing for a computer teacher today and my schedule has a 1.5 hour lunch and two 45 minute preps and no duty today. I have noticed the same thing when I subbed for the art teacher. I subbed on a day when she had one prep but her schedule had 3 preps on other days. It seems like this district needs to have specials teachers do recess duty since teachers have a 25 minute lunch when they have duty!
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    It's possible? Do they have an ABC... schedule? If so they could have extra duties on days you don't sub for them. I have to say I love subbing for music because while my schedule is ''busy'' it's really not. I just play the same DVD multiple times a day. It gets boring... and I have to go to the bathroom a lot... but it's easy money. If I'm swamped with grad work I'll sub there so I can have an easy day.
    :D
     
  4. CherryOak

    CherryOak Rookie

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    Oh wow, what a schedule. At the schools I sub for, specials have the same time commitments as gen eds.
     
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  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    All teachers in our school have exactly the same number of teaching minutes each week.
     
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  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    They could combine both jobs (middle school and elem computer teacher) and this job would have 2-3 preps a day. As a sub, I am getting pulled for caf duty but I still have 2 preps. There are some days where this teacher teaches only 2 classes a day! Maybe specials teachers are part time employees but the classes start at the beginning of the day and go until the end with long breaks in the middle!
     
  7. Kat.

    Kat. Rookie

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    This was the first year that the specials teachers had the same schedule as us because kindergarten didn't have specials until now. Specials teachers had their 30 minute lunch, planning time, and an extra block of time, but that block is now being used for kindergarten.

    They also cover all the morning duty - gen ed teachers get the afternoon duty.
     
  8. Al Bean

    Al Bean Rookie

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    Hi there. Music teacher here.


    Please consider that a specials schedule is often SEVERLY altered on substitute days. Here's a few examples of how:

    1. We often cannot get an actual substitute that is willing to do ANYTHING in our content area. When I am at school, my students would NEVER be watching a movie. I only have 45 minutes a week 36 times a year to cover 50+ state standards per grade level. This means I am on 100% of every class period. It's not planning, but regular teachers do have times like guided/silent reading, testing, morning work, snack, and etc to catch up on emails.
    2. Our extra responsibilities are often cancelled because you are there. When I have a sub, afterschool ensembles, private lessons, and chorus, which fill up some of that "extra time" are all cancelled because we know a substitute will not be able to provide the instruction. They only cover my 6 daily class periods to give the teacher their state mandated planning.
    3. We swap duty days with other team members to accommodate you. I know the names of all 500 children in my school, as the rest of the specials team does. This makes us uniquely capable on things like bus and lunch duty. We always swap because if a sub was covering all those kids without knowing them, it would be a discipline nightmare.
    4. I can't speak for other specials, but music teachers especially work an insane amount of unpaid hours. I'm not talking about planning and grading, as we all do. I'm talking about actual face to face minutes with children. I am never compensated for my 7 yearly afterschool performances I coordinate organize and supervise. I am never compensated for running the afterschool ensembles I am expected to lead by the county. I am never compensated for weekend trips to competitions or all county chorus events.

    Hope this helps elaborate.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A specialist I know has double classes. She might have what looks like an extra prep period on her schedule, but that's because she has two Kindergarten classes at the same time, instead of spreading them out across two periods.
     
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  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yes, this.

    What a sub sees on a sub day is not necessary how things actually are the rest of the time.
     
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  11. Cesmusicmom

    Cesmusicmom New Member

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    We have 1200 students at my school with 3 full time music teachers. (3 PE/2art) We RARELY make our subs sit through the same dvd 6 periods in a row. With a ton of standards and an EOC at the end of the year that all students must take, there is no time for dilly-dallying. If there is an open period in our schedule it is to go into the classroom for Tier 1 or 2 support. If not we are scrambling around to get things done for the more than ten performances we put on each year, it's nice to take a breather at the copy machine after all three of us had double classes. (40 kids X 3).
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I think your schedule is more typical of specials in most schools since you teach 6 classes a day (which is a lot!) Over here, the specials teachers teach 2-4 classes a day. (Only one class each.) Today I have 4 classes and it's a really light day. I have 2 preps (beginning and end of the day) and I was supposed to have a 1.5 hour long lunch before I got pulled to duty. (It's possible that they get pulled to duty a lot!) This teacher has recess duty as often as regular ed teachers and did not write any other duties on her (personal) schedule. I'm with the computer teacher and she is basically using her extra time as a prep. I get that she has technology responsibilities but she teaches at most 2 classes a day. Today she actually has no students and only has lunch duty. I feel like regular classroom teachers have extra duties that they aren't given time to do as well. At this school, teachers have recess duty half the time and I think that it would be more fair if specials teachers covered it. I've been to several schools in this district where specials teachers have this extra planning time. There is only 1 town I've subbed in where specials teachers have the same prep since they are assigned as aides to other classes if they have extra time.
     
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  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is it a small school? I mean, the specialists can only work with the number of students they have and the schedule they've been given. Do you think it's better to just not have specialists because they might not have as many classes as other teachers? I assure you that if admin is on top of things, those specialists are doing just as much work as the classroom teachers, even if the schedule appears to suggest otherwise.
     
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  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    It is a medium sized school that combines elementary and middle school. It just seems weird that there is a middle school computer teacher and an elementary school computer teacher. Looking at their schedules, it seems like if you combined their jobs, you would still have 2-3 preps a day. The middle school has no classes at all on 2 out of 6 days and teaches at most 3 classes
    on the other days. I'm not sure if this teacher is part time but she has no class today and she is in school so it seems like she is full time.

    I have a lot of respect of specials teachers but it seems to me like the reg ed teachers aren't getting fair treatment in this school. I think they at least deserve not to have lunch or recess duty so they can have a 45 minute lunch.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Our technology specialist has no regularly assigned classes - ever. But he's one of the busiest people in the school. He wouldn't get a sub because the sub wouldn't be able to fulfill his duties. That doesn't mean that his job isn't worthwhile or that he isn't working as hard. He's always updating software so that teachers can use technology with students. He's also available to come into a classroom and teach a lesson at a teacher's request. What he does in his office may look like "prep" to someone else, and it probably is "prep". But it's not prep for himself, it's prep to help someone else. Just because you can't see the work they are doing doesn't mean that they don't have an equal amount of valuable work to do.
     
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  16. Al Bean

    Al Bean Rookie

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    I understand what you're saying but you also must consider altering the specials schedule frequently involves altering it for EVERYONE on the specials team to make things work. If a music teacher is covering k-8 in middle and es, they really should be getting 8 preps a week to cover for the 8 unique and developmentally different lessons they need to create, in addition to assessing and grading their literal hundreds of students. It would be even more if they are teaching both instrumental and vocal music. This is BEFORE the extras like special ensembles and performances, just curriculum.

    I'd have to see the schedule to know for sure, but altering this schedule could cause devasting effects that lead other special teachers to seek other employment and make the position almost impossible to fill by a qualified professional.
     
  17. Al Bean

    Al Bean Rookie

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    Honestly I just reject this whole attitude; you have no idea how often we hear it in our line of work. It makes it so incredibly difficult to get any respect from teachers, parents, and students.

    If they want more prep time, they should've gone to school to be a computer resource teacher if that's the job they wanted. In my school ALL tech duries (including 1:1 iPads) are covered in this position that should really be a wholly separate one in the county budget. It's just apples and oranges.

    Additionally, I know when I don't make a sub day as easy as humanly possible they just ignore my plan and get a video from the library. People are very scared when they see the words art music and pe (if all of my 5 year olds can sing the song, I promise you can too). I have had trouble in the past when I include actually musically valuable plans securing substitutes at all. This results in either the whole specials team being slighted (your classes are split and sent to them disrupting the other specials instruction all day, regardless of if those students have already seen that lesson or if the teacher has enough materials) or your special being cancelled which is unfair to the classroom teacher AND students. Thus, we have learned as a team to simplify our sub days as much as possible to ensure that we get coverage AT ALL.

    Classroom teachers should be working with the union to advocate for what's best for themselves and their students, not fighting over scraps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  18. kellzy

    kellzy Companion

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    Our specials teachers had to fight for Prep time. In fact, they seem to have more to do. They bounce between 2-3 schools depending on the special teacher. They have to see all the students at all their schools each week. I'm sure there are days when they might have less to do because school schedules prevent them from seeing as many classes, but they also don't have a regular lunch schedule, never get recess breaks, and some days they have zero time to get the next lesson ready between the classes showing up literally back to back.
     
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  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Jun 13, 2017

    I was a sub who could teach music, and I did, a lot. When you can do the job, you would be surprised how the day fills up. Our MS teachers also taught at the ES, taught vocal and instrumental, ran jazz band, choir, and wind ensemble before and after school, ran the school play, and had more duties than most teachers, but they would trade them off when subs were present, since they were getting a stipend for them, and they never felt that was fair for the subs. As my son went through HS, it becomes even more apparent how many things the music teachers have on their plates. It doesn't matter if there is a stipend for Marching Band, or Wind Ensemble, or Jazz Band, or the Christmas parade, or the Graduation band and choir - they are terribly time consuming. My experience is that there are usually projects going on in both music and computers that those teachers don't put on the sub's schedule simply to keep it simple, since these projects may be the culmination of longer periods of study and learning.

    What a sub sees is only as much as the person out is willing to spell out in the plans. I wouldn't take that as a definitive guide as to their total duties.
     
  20. cnowmos

    cnowmos New Member

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    You don't necessarily know if this teacher's contract is a half time or .75 contract or something like that and he/she is being paid accordingly. Or if he/she has other duties that a sub would be unable to cover or wouldn't be necessary for them to cover...ex. technology coordinator, small group pullout musical instrument lessons, etc. I agree it doesn't seem like the teacher's day is scheduled efficiently, but there might be reasons for that you're not aware of...for example, maybe specials need to be at particular times during the day because they have to also coordinate with schedules for basic skills teachers or reading/math specialists who work with multiple grade levels, special needs teachers, or other teachers who co-teach with the classroom teachers, or pull-outs like speech or O/T, and have to schedule specials for classes that include those kids so that they work around those other teachers' schedules. Who knows what the situation is. I know our schedule is very precise and we can't switch things around willy-nilly (like having teachers trade times or come during my prep) because it messes up the schedules of the other teachers that work with the students in each homeroom. We also have some basic skills teachers who are not scheduled to come in for the full day, the are contracted as part time but it's more than half time, so when they are out the sub is scheduled for the full day...the office just pulls the subs to cover other teachers' classes when we are short on subs (which is almost every day) or has them help with office duties during any free periods the sub might have. Subs are not contracted to get a prep. I'm surpised the school is using your time so inefficiently and is not giving you something else to do during those preps.

    My schedule (1-5 music and chorus) involves teaching six 40-minute classes a day, a daily 34-minute lunch duty, daily 15 minute AM recess duty, and I have one 40 minute prep and one 30 minute lunch each day...same prep/lunch minutes as the classroom teachers, and similar if not same student contact time, but they don't have duties every day. Also, the past few years I've had chorus class as part of my schedule, but before that it was held during the students' recess period (3x a week--our school day was also about half an hour shorter back then). On days that I was absent, chorus practice would just be cancelled because there was no point in having the students stay in from recess to watch a movie or something. (We only have one music-certified sub who could handle sight reading music and teach the same or similar lesson to what I normally would do if I was there...if I don't know who I'm going to get, it is better for the sub and for classroom management issues if I just leave a video or a worksheet. I've left more active lessons for subs a few times and walked in on a lesson after getting back from a field trip and the kids were just all over the place, and the teacher was not in control of the classroom, which is a concern when there is lots of expensive equipment in the classroom. Unless I am able to specifically request a sub and know that sub has good classroom management skills, a quiet movie or worksheet is usually the safest bet.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    It seems like the middle school teacher also has other duties with helping other teachers with technology. I didn't mean to offend anyone. It just seemed weird that all of the specials teachers I've subbed for in this district just didn't have that many classes so I felt like the schedules were not designed efficiently. For example, a health teacher I subbed for had about 4 classes a day and I don't see what other responsibilities a health teacher would have that a classroom teacher wouldn't. It is possible that these teachers are part time but why would their classes start in the morning and end at the end of the day?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017

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