6 preps! Advice badly needed

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Who has had to do 6 preps? How does someone handle this?? Most of the content I know. Some I will need to refresh my memory but to prepare for 6 different classes feels daunting. Last year, I landed a job 8 days before the start of school. At least I have over 50 days to prepare this time!
     
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  3. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    How different are they from each other? Are they different grade levels or honors/regular versions of the same class?

    I think routines are essential if you have a lot of preps so you are just plugging in different content to the same basic lesson plan. Try to focus on 1-2 different classes a week that you do extra for.
    Rotate your tests or big projects among your preps so that you aren't overwhelmed with tons of grading all at once. Figure out how you want to grade homework. One of my high school math teachers would go over any questions we had from the homework and then would assign two of the problems for us to answer and turn in for a grade. I actually hated it as a student bc it felt like she'd inevitably choose the problems I'd have wrong. But as a teacher I can understand how it kept us accountable without giving her tons to grade.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
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  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I teach elementary, but once you add in all the small groups, I plan 10 lessons a day, on average. Spread out your planning over the week--pick one or two preps to plan on Monday, same for Tuesday, etc. I tend to plan the easiest preps first, like spelling and science earlier in the week, and leave the preps where much might need to be adjusted, such as writing for later in the week.

    I would also suggest you see which preps you have taught before and reuse what you can do you can focus on the areas that are new.
     
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  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The most I've taught at a time was five, including one AP. It was hard. Very hard. The keys are to get and stay organized and to stay on top of your grading. Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it as much as possible.
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    What classes are you teaching? Are they vastly different or do they have some similarities?
     
  7. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    6 math classes. One for each grade from 7th - 12th. The only class I haven't taught is Algebra II w/trig so I'll have to brush up on the topics. The rest are 7th and 8th which I taught my very 1st year teaching. Alg I and IA will be similar. Formal geometry (with proofs) I taught last year and regular geometry will be easier than formal. So it's really not the content. It's just how to plan for so many classes!
     
  8. mrsf70

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    I taught 4 levels of math and a religion class for years. It was stressful...to say the least. I couldn't do the amount of hands-on or investigation lessons that I am able to do now with only 2 preps. There is just no way to prepare between classes. Keep it simple for each class. Do your students have access to technology, ie laptops or ipads? Desmos is a fantastic tool. I am using summer to figure out where I can integrate it more into my curriculum. Good luck!
     
  9. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I've taught 5 or 6 preps all 8 years. Organization is the biggest thing. I have a binder for each class (now, I did not when I started). Daily schedule for each class: what I'm going to cover and especially reminders for due dates, forms that need to be turned in, etc.

    I know some teachers make copies each morning. I make all my copies once a week.

    I love teaching a lot of different preps. One big advantage is that you can assign big projects (for me essays) at different dates. So, instead of being hit with 120 essays. I get 30.
     
  10. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I'm doing Language Arts, 2 sections of Math, 1 section of SS, 2 different intervention groups, and an advisory. I definitely am struggling and have 0 advice. Following your thread for next year tips!
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    For me at least it's not necessarily the lesson planning that takes so much time. It's the grading! At the secondary level, most teachers have at least a hundred students, sometimes two hundred or more, and those kids are producing a lot of work that often requires a close eye when it comes to grading. Even a fast grader can easily spend 10-15 minutes grading a single essay.
     
  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Yep! It is something I am familiar with. Last year longer commute but 5 preps. So I know what it's gonna feel like. I just have more days to get ahead of the game. Even answering textbook questions early will help!
     
  13. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Oh, I know. I began my career as a middle school English teacher--150 essays due at once was tough!
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Did you know this job required you do prep for six different classes when you accepted it? I'm so confused as to why you would accept it along with such a long commute when the commute was why you weren't interested in staying at your previous job for the long haul.
     
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  15. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Yes, I knew it was 6 preps. Upon reflection, it wasn't the commute that bothered me. It was really my failure at being a good teacher with my classes. Lack of classroom management was the root cause of my non-renewal. I know the P didn't say that but that's my gut feeling. And he said no parent complaints? I don't believe that either. In essence, last year was bad. This year, I'll try harder to establish rules, procedures, expectations, etc.... This upcoming year is probably my do-or-die year. Back-to-back-to-back non-renewals is probably a death sentence anywhere.
     
  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Why and how?
     
  17. mathteachertobe

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    How big is the school? Are you the only math teacher, or are you being given the overflow class at each grade level?
     
  18. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Very small school. I'll be 1 of 2 math teachers. The other math teacher's been there forever.
     
  19. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Does the other teacher also teach 6 preps? What I'm getting at is do the two of you share any preps?
     
  20. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    He also has 6 preps. We'll share 7th and 8th grade math.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Wouldn't it make more sense for the same teacher to teach multiple sections of the same course? It would save a lot of prep time. What's the rationale for making both of you have six different preps? It seems weird to me.
     
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  22. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    It's a very small school. Only 400 residents in the town so classes are also small. I'm not sure about the scheduling.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Multiple preps are common at small schools. That's not the part that concerns me. I am much more concerned about the logic of you having several different preps because two teachers are teaching the same course. Why not give you both/allsections of Math 7 so that you could cut down the number of preps you have?
     
  24. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I might end up with the lower level 7th and 8th while the other teacher gets the more advanced ones?
     
  25. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    In your shoes, I would be very hesitant to suggest changes to the schedule. If the other math teacher seems collegial, I recommend you try to see if you can work together on planning your shared preps. Do not set this up as "looking for help" but rather lightening each of your loads. You have already acknowledged this is a high-stakes year for you, so if you can cultivate a strong relationship with him I see several potential benefits:
    1. It makes you more a part of the community.
    2. It shows you are collaborative and open-minded.
    3. It helps you see how this teacher structures his lessons. Many of your students will have had him, so it may help you get off on the right foot with them if there are some familiar structures in your classroom.

    I think you will need to be very organized, and make sure tests are spread out, not all falling in the same week. I wouldn't collect homework, but perhaps have a one or two question homework quiz once a week, open notes.

    Another thing to think about is that from reading your posts over the years, I have gotten the impression you generally have an "I Do, We Do, You Do" approach to math instruction. I think if you can have a hands-on activity lesson every week or two, especially for your younger students, it might serve you well.

    I hope you have a fantastic year!
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh I definitely agree that it's probably not a good idea to suggest schedule changes. I just think it's super weird. It doesn't make sense to me at all.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Or even have you teach all the Math 7s and the other teacher do the Math 8s. Why have both of you do both?
     
  28. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Before I was hired, the other math teacher was female. She taught 7th and 8th grade girls math and the other male teacher had boys. This is the missing element. I asked the P about that and he said the classes will be mixed up now.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Why did they do it that way? Were they just experimenting with single-sex classes?
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My daughter's elementary school did about 10 years ago; Lauren hated it. They started with gender-specific classes for the Arts, then tried for math and literacy as well. It only lasted a couple of years before they went back to mix-ed gender classes.
     
  31. Camel13

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    Totally following. I just was hired for science in a small school with six preps, and other than student teaching and subbing I have no teaching experience. I also have a hour and ten minute commute. I am quitting my five minute drive as a chemist because this is my passion and why I went to school three years ago to teach! I tend to take on a lot so I know I can do this!!! You can too! We can rock this. My goal is to develop a good relationship with my students. Set rules, but keep them short and simple. I am looking at the learning aspect and meeting the standards as "we are going to explore this together and make it fun". Think positive and take each day one at a time.
     
  32. TrademarkTer

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    Wow! I can't imagine doing six preps. I've never had more than two, and for the past two years, I've only had to do one. We don't even have six class periods we need to teach---only five. It does make sense given that it is a small school though. You may not be able to do as many fun activities with six preps as you would with one or two. If you need any help with lesson materials, you can feel free to PM me. I have taught algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2 before so I have a collection of files and would be happy to share stuff.
     
  33. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Even doing 2 preps was hard for me in my first year lol.
    Since then I've been able to get away teaching the same content even though they're different grade level (alt. ed, I have all kinds of grade levels in one class, now not that much, but first it was all mixed).

    This is what I would do:
    - have the same procedures for all classes
    - have the same routines and schedules for all classes. For example warm ups for all of them, reading or direct teaching of math for all of them, with different content. If you do lab, have all classes do lab (of course with science only) If you show a video, do it for all. Even for writing essays, it might not be a good idea to have all your classes write essays and then you're dying of grading, but for me I'd rather do that.
    - if you do powerpoints (I always do), by keeping the same schedule, you can create duplicates and just same the info, it's not like you're starting from scratch.

    The other teacher who have been there longer might not see it as collaborative or lightening each other's load, because he probably has it figured out. He might see it as you're trying to lighten your load and he gets nothing out of it. So I would just prepare to do it all on my own. Maybe approach him and feel him out, just in case he's ok with it.
     

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