What is the "Teacher Life" like?

Discussion in 'High School' started by Efit1986, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Efit1986

    Efit1986 Rookie

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    Feb 7, 2017

    I am making a career switch and hope to become a high school English teacher.

    I am curious as to what the "teacher life" is like.

    For example, are you required to do lesson plans for the entire week and hand them in to be approved before you teach them?
    What 'homework' does the teacher have to do?
    How do you enter grades?
    I am 30 years old and I went to a small private elementary and high school in NY. The teachers would handwrite lesson plans and grades and give them to principal. I am now up for a high school English position in a public school in California! Big change!

    What does a teachers schedule look like?
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Feb 8, 2017

    Some things vary widely depending on your school. Some admins want to see lesson plans, sometimes it's your dept. head, or you plan together with your PLC, or sometimes no one looks at your plans except at evaluation time. You want to be more than a week ahead though. . . You plot your units for the quarter/semester/year, then fully plan one unit at a time, figuring in time to tweak plans if your class derails.

    Teacher homework is planning (including DI plans), grading, making copies, doing bulletin boards, filling out IEP paperwork, figuring out who needs what level RTI, calling parents, updating your class website, sometimes literal homework from your PD stuff, and a lot of meetings. It's also nice if you can attend the occasional school event; it's a good way to support your relationship with the kids.

    Most schools these days use computerized gradebooks that the students/parents can access from home. That's great, until you have a parent contacting you every single day about their child's grade. I personally hate Skyward with a burning hot passion, but some people like it. There's other programs out there too. Most of the teachers I know keep paper records too, just to be safe.

    There's a couple other things you ought to consider about the teacher lifestyle *before* you commit. There are conduct codes, social media clauses, and sometimes political clauses by which you need to be willing to abide. You'll need to be careful about what you do when your students might see, even if it's totally legal stuff. You don't want students gossiping, or worse, taking pics of your skimpy swimwear at the city pool for example, or you on a date with your SO. If you live in a big enough city, you're fine, but otherwise you need to set a good example for your students in and out of school.
     
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  4. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    Feb 8, 2017

    I can only speak for me and my school:

    1) We are not required to submit lesson plans for approval; instead, we have to post plans for the upcoming week on our school webpages by the Friday of each week. The principals supposedly check our websites to assess our lesson plans. I've never received any feedback (positive or negative) regarding mine.

    2) It is extremely rare that I work outside of contract hours (7:40am to 3:40pm). The only "homework" I ever do is to improve a unit that I feel is lacking or work on extracurricular academic events. Most of the time I can get these things slowly completed in my planning period, which is 45 minutes a day.

    3) We have an online grade book we submit grades in.
     
  5. Committed2DaProfession

    Committed2DaProfession Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2017

    Answers will vary wildly from district to district and state to state. We use gradespeed , so I use that for grades AND to leave notes for parents. We are required to enter at least 2 grades for each student every week. I also am required to submit lessons every Friday for the following week. They aren't really graded or anything, but instructional coaches and administrators want to know that they are being done. Also , I work outside of "contract hours" on a daily basis...usually something like 8a-6pm. I don't mind doing it because I use this time after school to grade and set up the next day's lesson. I am also the chess coach so I let the students in to get game time in. I also get nothing done at home lol. Hope this helps.
     
  6. miss-m

    miss-m Cohort

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    Mar 26, 2017

    Are you required to do lesson plans for the entire week and hand them in to be approved before you teach them?
    My P requires all plans to be posted in the school google drive by 9AM on Monday morning, however I have never received any feedback or approval for them. My grade level team plans together on overall units, but our weekly plans often look different (at least for things like writing, science, and SS). Math and our read alouds are usually close to the same - we have a curriculum for math and we share read aloud plans.

    What 'homework' does the teacher have to do?
    Planning is my 'homework' along with any extra prep I feel I need to do over the weekend. Mostly I do printing and copying and whatnot on Monday or after school for the next day. Since this is my first year, I also have the occasional mandatory meeting to attend and that has a reflection log I have to fill out for the end of the year to get my professional cert.

    How do you enter grades?
    Very quickly on the last day of the quarter. :lol:
    In all seriousness... my team plans out which assignments will be in our online gradebook for report cards and we use a 4 point standards-based scale for grades. Since I teach 2nd grade I don't put too much energy into it - I don't stress about grades because frankly I don't think they matter too much at this age.

    What does a teachers schedule look like?
    This depends on the teacher. My schedule varies wildly from week to week - I ALWAYS do my planning on Saturday morning at my favorite coffee shop; I rarely get anything done during my plan times during the week because I'm just too exhausted from the day to focus (my plan time is at the very end of the day). If I REALLY focus I can get some work done after school, but usually that time is spent cleaning up my room. Some days I arrive extra early and leave at 4:30, some days I arrive later and stay until 6:00. Most days I arrive around 7:45 and leave around 5:00. However, I'm also single and don't have family commitments; I have a couple nights a week that I have to be places but my time is pretty much my own, which is obviously not the case for many teachers. I have time to put more energy into teaching because there's not much else I have going on.
     
  7. Clay Morgan

    Clay Morgan Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2017

    are you required to do lesson plans for the entire week and hand them in to be approved before you teach them?
    The only time I've been asked to provide lesson plans is prior to my observation focused on planning. We do have to submit fairly detailed unit plans quarterly.

    What 'homework' does the teacher have to do?
    None is required. For me, it consists of finishing lesson plans or grading. Maybe wrapping up some planning or playing around with apps/games I might want to try in class.

    How do you enter grades?
    We have an electronic system - Infinite Campus. Our district has three types of grades - Summative, Formative, and CCR. Parents and students can view the online grade book. I personally try to have my fully updated each week.

    What does a teachers schedule look like?
    This is where I'm lucky. I teach a class that is semester long. All my classes are the same, so I only have one prep. There are advantages and disadvantages to that.

    We do an A/B Block Schedule, so I have 3 classes each day that are 1h 15m to 1h 30m and one class that is 40 minutes. The 40 minute class meets daily, all others every other day.

    I have a planning period daily. There are meetings scheduled during those, and sometimes I'm asked to sub for a sick teacher (we have a severe shortage of subs). However, the subbing is extra pay, so I usually say yes.

    My school day is 7:05-2:05, and I'm required to be there 15m before and after. One day a week, I hang out a little longer for tutoring, if students need it. I would not say I put in an inordinate amount of extra time at home - it is mostly finishing up stuff I couldn't get done in planning and that is not a daily thing. As I said earlier, most of my "home time" is used either getting ahead or jus trying to improve myself as a teacher.
     
  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    Mar 29, 2017

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 29, 2017

    Lots of descriptions and examples are given already. I think every district is different and every person is different, not only from others, but they can differ from year to year.

    One thing to consider is that your first year will be somewhat overwhelming, you'll be very busy, constantly thinking about lesson plans, you'll be grading and planning. If you're somewhat struggling with classroom management, which is common for new teachers, you will be exhausted. What will save you? Your motivation to teach and the joy that you finally have your own classroom.
    After that, every year will be easier, you will find a way to do things in an easier way, save yourself from grading a lot, etc. As you get a better handle on your students, you will be less tired.
    You will figure out some things that work real well (procedures, rules, techniques, strategies, ways to handle things, anything) so there will be less trial and error.
     
  10. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 15, 2017

    Teacher life? Oh, it's glamorous, let me tell you! LOL!
    I've been teaching high school English for 15 years. Some days I dread it and go home and spend time trying to figure out how soon I can retire. Other days I love it and think I'll teach until they wheel me away in a pine box.

    As for lesson plans, that will depend on your district and/or administrators. I've been through a few principals now, and some required plans to be posted or submitted and others did not.

    In the beginning, you may have more 'homework' than your seasoned colleagues as you build your lessons and tweak things. But as a general rule, I believe in trying to leave school at school as much as possible. It's SO easy to take things home with you (even if it's just mentally and emotionally), and to me, that's what causes teacher burn-out. Work your butt off AT school so that you can leave it behind you in the evenings, on weekends, and during vacations. That said, I often do a lot of planning and revamping and such during the summer. 15 years in, and I'm still changing things up quite often and trying to find my "groove". But I LOVE that part. In fact, I'm making some changes for next year, and I get giddy scribbling down my new ideas and look forward to being able to spend as much time as I want planning and getting things ready for next school year!

    We do grades on Powerschool. It's pretty easy. Our students and their parents have access to the grades through the portal, so we are encouraged do keep our grades up-to-date. We're still required to send home paper progress reports too, for parents that don't have access to technology.

    Schedules will vary by district and school. Our required hours are 8am to 3:45pm. The school day is 8:30am to 3:25pm. On Wednesdays we have after school tutoring and are required to stay until 4:15pm. On Fridays our principal lets us leave "as soon as the bus exhaust clears the parking lot" (LOL). We are on a semester block schedule. Kids take four classes in the fall and four in the spring. Classes are 90 minutes each with a 10 minute morning break after first period, a 25 minute lunch before, during, or after third period (three lunches), and teachers get one 90-minute planning period (so we teach 3 sections per semester = 6 sections total for the year). We have a duty schedule with morning, break, lunch, and afternoon duties, including after school detention (ASD).

    Then there are the faculty meetings, department meetings, doing gates at athletic events, open house, freshman orientation, graduation, senior awards night, prom, student clubs that you can sponsor, and plenty of other random things in which teachers are strongly encouraged to participate.

    It's a great job if you work hard and keep your nose clean.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    May 16, 2017

    For example, are you required to do lesson plans for the entire week and hand them in to be approved before you teach them?
    We do a complete yearly curriculum map for the year and then weekly intentional questions. The curriculum map is available online. I do my questions weekly. Those are turned in.

    What 'homework' does the teacher have to do?
    Typically I take no work home. I stay after an extra hour or so a day or two a week, and sometimes I'll do things on Sunday afternoon. Most of the time not.

    How do you enter grades?
    We use an online grading program. I use a paper grade sheet that I designed myself to keep grades, and then I enter them online before I go home on Tuesdays and/or Fridays.

    What does a teachers schedule look like?
    I am at a small, rural middle school. I teach 8th grade ELA. I teach four core ELA classes, one supplemental reading class, and one advisory class, I have one planning period per day. It is scheduled for certain things to do each day, so it is not exactly free time. Our school starts the first of August, and we run through mid May. This year our scheduled last day was May 12.
     

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