Covering classes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by silverspoon65, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Are you ever asked to cover classes for other teachers during your planning period? I HATE this.

    At my last school, we had a 90 minute planning period but our contract said we had to have at least 45 minutes. So they could ask us to cover for up to half the period. If they gave me enough notice, I didn't really mind. I still had plenty of time to get stuff done.

    The past two years at my current job, we had a 45 minute plan and a 45 minute "duty" which was covering study hall. So normally for that duty, once the kids were situated, I could do some light planning or grading, so I still had a little time to get some things done. So if someone asked for me to cover during my plan, it was annoying, but I still had a little time in the day to plan. There is no contracted planning time.

    This year, however, because of budget cuts, we are teaching 7 periods and just have our 45 min plan - no light duty period. So it's not annoying - it downright makes me angry that I was asked to cover a class already this year. My plan isn't until 7th period, which means I have taught 6 classes without a break - and then I don't even get that. And there are so many rules and restrictions regarding turn around times for grades, all the paperwork we have to do, etc.

    I think I am going to ask my union rep if I can say no.
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    At my old school, you could be asked to cover up to two, and then it was optional paid.

    At this school, I'm not sure how it works yet, but I was already asked to cover someone on my prep.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    If we are asked to cover someone else's class, it is paid time. So it doesn't happen that often.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We are sometimes asked to cover in an emergency situation, like when we are short subs. Our admin is very good about paying us back the time as seen as they can--usually within a day or two.
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    We definitely don't get paid back time or money, and it's definitely not an emergency - the other teacher has a meeting and it's at the end of next week, so it's all planned.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We have a daily "on call" period. That's the period when you can (and frequently are) asked to cover for someone who is out. We don't have subs; all our coverages are internal.

    So if you don't get a sub, it's an extra free period, in addition to your lunch and your prep period.
     
  8. mmemarcotte

    mmemarcotte Rookie

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    I teach french immersion, so it's imperative that I cover someone's class. I have a 40 minute prep period, but my kids have 60 minutes of english, so i have to do kindergarten coverage daily. it is NOT my favorite part of the day.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I cover the first five-ten minutes of a teacher's class every time I have prep. She does the morning prayer over the PA so I go over and hang out with the kids, take attendance, lunch count, etc... And then make sure they're respectful during prayer. I don't mind at all. I would be irritated to give up my whole 80 minute prep though.
     
  10. FunTwoTeach

    FunTwoTeach Rookie

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    We can't be forced to do it at all. If we cover a class we get paid for it, I think $28 per 55 min period. It generally doesn't happen except on days when a lot of teachers take off, near 3 day weekends, etc. Our sub list is full so they don't have trouble getting anyone.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    We have to do it from time to time because of sub shortages. Normally it's only for half of the class period.

    My team actually prefers to have a "no sub" plan in place for ourselves. Each one of us divided our kids among other team members. We preferred to each take a few kids and keep them with us rather than have them with a dozen different people over the course of a day.

    We can't do that this year, though. We all have 34-38 kids in a class, so there isn't any place to put anyone else!
     
  12. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    We did this at my old school. We got paid in comp time, though. That way, if we had to leave early for a doctor's appointment or something, we could use the time we earned from subbing and not have to dip into our sick days. There were always 4-5 of us with the same planning period, though, so if it really wasn't a good day to give up our prep time, we could say no. I had to sub less than 10 times per year.
     
  13. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I'm not a high school teacher, but I never remember any of my own high school teachers covering other teachers' classes. We always had enough substitutes. I definitely would say something if you're not getting any break at all and not being paid for it.
     
  14. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    We are asked to cover classes if there is a shortage of substitute teachers for the day. I generally dislike covering, since I have to give up my prep time, but I will do it if they are desperate for help. We get paid an hour of homebound rate for each period we cover, so some people always volunteer to do it.
     
  15. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Am I the only school that asks teachers to give up ALL their planning time to cover and doesn't not compensate them in some way, with time or money?
     
  16. MissAnt

    MissAnt Comrade

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    I'm in elementary but my school does not compensate.

    Often I feel as though my job is not as important because I'm a learning support teacher. Last year I was asked to cover classes during times I was providing pull out instruction. When I said no I was looked at like I had two heads. They wanted me to cover a class from 7:45 - 9:30 as though I was doing nothing during that time.

    I don't mind covering when it fits into my schedule but often it doesn't and it's insulting.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We are often short on subs. (Our school has a bad rep, so many subs don't accept jobs there.) When that happens, it's not unusual to get a call from the main office asking if we can cover a class. The expectation is that we cover the entire period, and we do get paid. I don't mind occasionally giving up my own prep period to cover someone else's class, but I get really resentful when I get called all the time, and usually to cover the same classes. I feel like, I do my best to ensure that I have a sub for days when I'll be out, even if it's a last-minute thing, but putting it into the sub system ASAP. Why can't these other teachers, who always seem to be taking days off, work things out like I do? It's frustrating to feel like I'm always doing someone else's job.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    We have two planned "on call" periods per 6-day cycle that we get to choose at the beginning of the school year. We must plan to sub for those classes-- sometimes we have a heads up and other times we fill in as an emergency sub.

    Sometimes there is no teacher "on call" (for whatever reason) and an e-mail will go out stating we need coverage. Whoever emails back fist saying they can do it will cover it. At my school, there usually is never a problem with teachers covering for other teachers-- the community sorta expects it of each other as an act of love.

    The only time I've gotten annoyed is when I am setting up for labs in the morning before homeroom and I get asked to cover for a homeroom teacher who hasn't gotten to school yet. It only annoys me because I plan ahead to come in early to set up labs and to avoid traffic-- don't these teachers know they should plan ahead to get here earlier if there's traffic on the road? If I absolutely cannot do it, I'll say "sorry but I have labs to set up for first period" and the teachers understand, but in 90% of the time I've been asked I will cover.
     
  19. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    We did this at my old school. We were supposed to get paid $10 for the period, but rarely did. They fired the teacher next door to me... while they were looking for a replacement, they often couldn't get a sub in. So they had me open my wall and had her kids sitting in the common area - and me teaching both 10th and 11th grades at the same time.
     
  20. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Don't get me wrong - in an emergency situation I don't mind being a team player. I just feel like the more they give us to do, the less time they give us to do it. we have contract negotiations this year and I am going to suggest we ask for contractual planning time.
     
  21. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    We only have one planning period a week--any other free period is used for tutoring, and subbing when needed. And if the need arose, a teacher might even be asked to sub during the planning period. We sub internally, except for absences of more than 4 days (and that is only if the district sends us a sub...)
     
  22. Southernese

    Southernese Rookie

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    I was never asked to cover another teacher's class, and I live in a non-union state. Judging from this thread, it looks my schools were in the minority.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm just in shock that people are saying they have 80-90 minute planning periods! Honestly, you should be so grateful that you get that to begin with; I've never heard of getting something so long. We get 40 minutes. I've never been asked to cover. Very rarely, we'll ask someone to cover for someone else for an IEP meeting, but that's an absolute last resort. I think we did it one time last year because we simply couldn't find anyone else and the principal had to be at the meeting as well.

    I often have teachers ask me if I can go into their classes and observe a student or give strategies and things like that, and when I have IEPs that are initals or re-evals I have to complete an observation. So I often end up giving up at least part of my planning to do things like that. On the other hand, I have a couple blocks a day where I see students 1:1. If that student is absent or the class is on a field trip or something, I get extra planning time there. So it somewhat balances out.
     
  24. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Elementary is obviously very different. At my last school we often had trouble getting subs late in the school year and at the last minute (we paid $75/day when other more centrally located districts were paying $90-$110). It was not uncommon for us to be asked to teach gym/music/art. Really they didn't even ask that we taught the subject. We could even show a video (I typically moved something "fun" or "active" from later in the week if possible to give the kids a break). We were supposed to get paid according to the sub rate for this but we rarely ever did. Not sure if my current district has a policy on this.
     
  25. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    This is the first school that I have taught at that does not sub in-house. It is really nice.
     
  26. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    If teachers are asked to give up prep to cover another class ( usually for shortage of subs). Then they get paid for it. This happpens rarely because all classrooms have at least one para assigned to them. Paras take the lead and are compensated.
     
  27. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    If they're on block scheduling, they get 80-90 minutes every other day. On the opposite day, there is no planning.
     
  28. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Wow that totally does not seem to be fair. One planning period a week? :eek:hmy: At my school if we have one planning period a DAY everybody is watching out for us and will step in if we need a quick break (bathroom run or coffee fill-up).
     
  29. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    We do not cover for other teachers, ever. Usually the coaches will cover or some of the support staff. In a worst case scenario they split a class up in which case groups of 4-5 students would go to another teacher's class (during instructional time) this can be disruptive but the students usually bring work or books with them to keep them busy.
     
  30. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    That's how ours is. I am lucky enough to have an 80 minute study hall on the opposite day and the kids are so good that it's really just a second planning period once I get them settled. The only difference of course being that I have to stay in the room and can't like go make copies and such. I usually grade and work on lesson plans.

    I would not be able to get everything done if I didn't have my planning period. I cannot imagine not having one and having to give one up.
     
  31. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Not necessarily. At my first job, and also where I student taught, we were on a 4x4 block (4 classes in fall, 4 classes in spring) and we got 90 minutes both semesters. As department chair, I got 2 90 minute preps, so I only taught half day. And I never had more than 2 preps, 25 kids in a class. I also had a union/admin situation where they knew that sometimes we had to work at home, but it was never officially stated or expected. And 2 weeks to turn around assignments. And we were not expected to do written lesson plans once tenured.

    Now I have more kids, more preps, less planning time, and what I do have isn't contract protected, so I am expected to use part of that time to cover. And the admin attitude is also that we should get over the fact that we have to work after hours - we knew that when we got into teaching. And we have half the turn around time required for returning assignments, and written daily lesson plans.

    :dizzy: So after 3 years, I am starting to adjust, but yeah, I do get annoyed when I am asked to cover another class.
     
  32. Hitchcock fan

    Hitchcock fan Companion

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    We used to split up our kids and put 5-6 with other teachers, too, but like you, our classes are too large for that now (although our largest is 32). We rarely get asked to cover; our school tends to pull paras for that instead. However, we were told last week that last year we spent $40,000 on subs so we should expect to "help each other out a little bit more." When that does happen, we try to split it up in 15-20 min. increments, so no one is totally stuck. Regardless, we all hate giving up our time. We don't get paid in any way - it's just expected that we be team players. That said, we all realize our turn to be out might be just around the bend, so we try not to grumble too loudly. :)
     
  33. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    The thing is, though - when teachers are happy in their work environment and not worked to death, they will take fewer sick days. You want to save some of that $40,000 on subs - give teachers less reason to need a sick day. And I don't just mean mental health days - that kind of stress is not good for your immune system.
     

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