Day/Schedule in the Life of a Teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by WannaBMe, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. WannaBMe

    WannaBMe Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2016

    Hey everyone, it's me again.
    I'd really love to know what an average day in the life of a teacher would look like.

    To be precise, special education but hey, I could always end up teaching another category so please reply!!
    How many hours does paperwork/grading take up in your day, in the very beginning of your career and now, what times of day you prefer doing this, when are you able to go on social media or read a book for enjoyment, etc.

    Since my last thread I have felt much more enthusiastic about teaching. I was able to get a chance to see what nurses do (since I also felt a hunch for that) and I don't think it is for me. I'm soon to be shadowing some teachers anyway but please tell me about your day, what you do on average, etc. :)

    -WannaBMe
     
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  3. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2016

    I'm a resource teacher, so my day looks very different from self contained special ed or gen ed. I have groups in and out of my room all day.

    I get to school around 7:15. School starts at 8. I use those 45 minutes in the morning to make copies, work on IEPs or other paperwork, and drink lots of coffee. One day a week I have morning duty helping out with buses.
    8-8:30 3rd Math (small group)
    8:30-9 4th grade reading (inclusion)
    9-9:45 4th grade reading (small group)
    9:45-10:30 3rd grade reading (small group)
    10:30-11:00 4th grade math (small group)
    11:00-11:30 Planning/Lunch
    11:30-12:00 Lunch Bunch/Social skills group
    12:00-12:30 5th grade Math (small group)
    12:30-1:00 5th grade reading (one-on-one)
    1:00-1:30 5th grade reading (one-on-one)
    1:30-2:15 Homework support/testing- sometimes kids come to my room for homework support. Other times I push into a class to help with a lesson or help with review, or other days I take a group to my room to provide a small group setting/read aloud for a test.
    2:15-2:30 Dismissal Duty
    2:30-3:15 We are only required to stay until 3:15. Some days manage to leave around then. Other days I stay until 4 ish, if I have a lot of paperwork or an IEP meeting after school. A few times a month we have professional development or departmental meetings, and those usually last until 4:30 or 5. I would say on average I make it home around 4.

    Overall I really enjoy my schedule. I have a lot of variety, and most days I am home at a pretty reasonable time. I don't typically have to take a lot of work home because I try to use my planning/before/after school time wisely. If I do "work" at home, it's usually browsing for lesson ideas or activities. But mainly I spend my evening on leisure activities. Or laundry. I tend to have lots of that...
     
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  4. WannaBMe

    WannaBMe Rookie

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    Wow, that sounds amazing! Tbh the timing and stuff sounds like how I viewed my day would go. Do special education teachers with self contained classrooms, do they have it harder with the paperwork you think? Or with good time management it's doable?

    Thanks so much cupcake for your input. Lol now I'm definitely gonna consider being a SERT :)

    -WannaBMe
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Feb 24, 2016

    :toofunny:I actually laughed out loud when I read your question was about special ed. I'm not laughing at you... or your question... just the idea that there is such a thing as a typical day in special ed. There is not.

    In special ed, you get meetings, para absences, student behavior, random admin requests, etc., and all of those things throw off your schedule. The only thing that was ever consistent with my day at my last school was that it was unpredictable. My new school is somewhat more predictable, but I'm not case managing nor do I work with paras anymore. Those two things are killer.

    The amount of paperwork you do is really dependent on your district's expectations, not what type of classroom you teach. For example, my last school required all special ed teachers to case manage, and I had up to 24 students at one point. At my current school, I don't case manage, and I only have 10 students for whom I'm involved in writing an IEP.

    I guess if you're looking for more detail, I can say this: Expect to be busy ALL day, often unexpectedly during your plan time and/or lunch. Expect to rearrange your schedule if you have a para who is out without a sub (or who has a bad sub). It is admittedly nice to have your schedule broken up, similar to how cupcake described it... You have more opportunity to use the bathroom, for one. However, unlike gen ed teachers, it's rare that you can assign independent work to your students. It's almost all direct instruction, which can be tiring. If you don't work with students who have behavior issues, your day may be more predictable, but if you have students with behavior plans, you might be called to go intervene with them at any time... even if you are in the middle of teaching a lesson or eating your lunch. You'll likely work with multiple grade levels, teaching everything from reading to writing to math to social skills. You may be teaching skill-based lessons, or you might be asked to adapt the grade-level content. It really depends on your school's philosophy. You'll almost certainly have to stay late or bring work home in order to get your IEPs and related paperwork finished. You'll have just as much lesson planning and prep as a gen ed teacher, but you'll have to do IEP and sped paperwork on top of that, with no additional time built into your day. To balance it out, you might get in a few extra minutes first thing in the morning or at the end of the day while your students are checking in with their homeroom teachers, but you might not, especially if you teach self-contained. You might also get extra time on the days that your students have field trips or class parties with their homerooms, but it's highly unlikely that you'll have this extra time built in. There will also be days where you have one or even multiple meetings that disrupt your instructional schedule.

    Again, it's hard to tell you what's typical, because there is no typical... but that's not a bad thing, if that's your thing. Some people really enjoy the unpredictability. It helps to know that going into it though.
     
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  6. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2016

    I'm in my second year of teaching. I teach high school English at a VERY small school, though last year I taught 8th grade as well. I arrive at work by 7:45 and usually need to make a few copies/write the agenda on the board before the bell rings. Some mornings I haven't done as much work the afternoon before and I'm scrambling to get everything done, but I don't usually opt to arrive any earlier.

    I have two morning classes before my conference (free period.) I try to spend that 45 minutes grading or printing/copying materials for my remaining classes in the day, but I usually have two or three students wander into my room for help on essays/college work/etc. If students don't steal my prep. time, this is when my principal will visit to talk about observations, upcoming events, etc. It depends on the day whether I get anything done. Today I moved all my textbooks from one location to another and covered my classroom library shelves with poster board. Lol.

    We have 15 minutes of RTI before the students have an hour recess/lunch. I sometimes make phone calls during lunch. I have 30 minutes of lunch duty twice a week. After that, it's 12:00 and I have three afternoon classes left. Even as a new teacher, I leave by 3:00 most days because I work during that lunch time. I print out a copy of everything I need for the next day before going. I do still work at home a fair amount, especially over breaks. I plan everything at home! I bring home stacks of papers to grade sometimes. I still get to read about an hour a night after I finish all my television shows. I try to get to bed by 10. Nice, right?

    Last year was a different story. It was hectic! I hadn't learned organizational skills yet. I was brand new and scheduled between two buildings: the high school and the elementary. I arrived at 6 most days and didn't get out until 4:30. I had a lot of students with IEPs and was constantly attending meetings during the school day. It was frustrating because for every meeting I attended, I needed to prepare for both the meeting and the sub. who would be covering my class.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 24, 2016

    I teach 4th grade...and you don't want to know my schedule. Ha - I'm probably the picture perfect example of the schedule not to follow (I rarely get here after 7:15am, and rarely leave before 7pm...). :confused:
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Feb 24, 2016

    Your sped schedule will be entirely dependent on your caseload and context. There really is not typical day, but I can generally count on these activities:

    7:30am - Arrive at school. Prep for the day making copies, answering emails, etc.

    8:00am - Breakfast with the kid I mentor in our school mentoring program. I have to chase him to actual class before announcements are over.

    8:10am - Reading Class 1. This is my biggest class of 14. 7th/8th mix. I have a mixed roster with everything from ODD to autism to LD. My aide is always late because of outside duty. :dizzy: I quickly pass out recess passes to volunteers who want to come tutor the 6th graders for PBIS points.

    9:10am - Reading Class 2. 6th grade. Only 10 students and one grade...but actually harder than the bigger 7/8 class because, well, 6th grade. :whistle: Someone usually cries about some drama that's not at all related to academics. My ED kid responds to every assignment with a curse word, but then aces the exit ticket because he's super smart.

    10:10am - Prep. But not really, because my school is overcrowded and a teacher uses my room to teach Social Studies. He is not very effective, so the same children I just taught peacefully end up screaming and throwing things. I stay in the room as an anchor and try to scarf down my lunch because actual lunch is spent tutoring.

    11:10am - Writing Class. 6th/7th mix. Wide range of abilities, so I usually do a warm-up all together and do 2 mini-lessons to 2 separate groups. My aide is inevitably pulled for recess duty because someone is absent.

    12:10pm - Lunch. I pull kids for tutoring.

    12:55pm - Reading Class 3. Only 5 kids, so this is nice. All 7th and one 6th grader who I thought might see the 7th graders as role models. We get through things quicker and I have more time for conferencing, unless my 6th grader is off the wall busy. He is unmedicated and has difficulty focusing. This class also has a 7th grader who transferred in at Christmas not knowing letters. Also, no aide this period despite having self-contained kids. FML.

    1:55pm - Reading Class 5. Ten kids in 6th/7th. This is my creative class who is very motivated by the arts. I have to play some music to keep everyone calm because someone thought it was okay to give the SPED kids their hardest subject the last period of the day. They are tired, but they persevere! One student constantly makes sexual noises and touches other kids. DCFS doesn't think this is a "thing." Aide is 50/50. Usually she's pulled to cover for a class.

    2:55pm - Former students wander in to try to avoid dismissing with homeroom. Same with breakfast kid.

    3:00pm - Dismissal. On days I have class, I leave right away and go to school until 8. On "off" days I am there until 5pm doing plans, cleaning, IEPs, etc. Some kids wander in for extra help or to talk and I don't get anything done. I find it really hard to do a thorough job on IEPs during the day, so most of them I do on weekends. A good one takes me about 3 hours.

    I'm always shopping for my kids or thinking about my kids, but I've been trying much harder to have balance. I keep a very routine life where I do things on certain days to make everything work. (And it still doesn't)
     
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  9. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Feb 25, 2016

    Yeah, after reading Bella's reply I feel like I should note that that's my "typical" day- it doesn't always go according to plan! Sometimes I miss groups because of special events, class parties, field trips, another of my students having a meltdown, testing, and a variety of other things. I try to make the best of it and go with the flow, though. If I wind up with some extra free time, I just try to use it to my advantage and get more done!

    In a self contained class, I would imagine that there are some things that are harder and some things that are easier paperwork wise. Self contained teachers have fewer students, so that's fewer IEPs they have to write. But the kids in self contained classes often have additional goals related to daily living/self care skills, so that's more goals to have to take data on. The students in self contained classes also are with you all day. Our self contained teacher technically have a "planning period" but it often winds up being spent helping to supervise their kids in PE or Art or Music or what have you because they need more support. Because of that, I think it would be hard to get as much work done during the school day.
     
  10. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Feb 27, 2016

    Agreed. I teach self-contained and I get a "planning period"maybe once every few weeks. I currently have a student that I've went through 6 paras for because his behaviors are so intense, so I have to go with him whenever he leaves my room, put him on the bus everyday, etc. I have a caseload of 15 and I'm not at my max. I get to school at 6am and leave around 3-4pm each day. I usually don't have time for paperwork/writing IEPs while at school, so all of that is done in the evenings/weekends.
     
  11. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Feb 27, 2016

    6:30 am- wake up
    8:00 am-4:00 pm- regret my life choices
    4:00 pm-7:00 pm- second job
    7:00 pm- bedtime- wine.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2016

    :toofunny:
     
  13. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Feb 27, 2016

    Not in SpEd, but here's my schedule for preschool :)

    6:10am - Wake up (I know it's an odd time.. But DH wakes up at 6 so I can't use our tiny bathroom anyway!)
    7:09am - Get in car to drive to work (I just like odd times I guess. But if it's after 7:10, I consider myself late!)
    7:30am - Arrive at work, prepare for the day
    8:00am - Kids arrive, "change of custody" from bus monitors, head to bathrooms
    8:20am - Breakfast
    8:45am - Circle Time
    9:10am - Centers
    10:15am - Story Time
    10:30am - Gross Motor Play
    11:00am - Snack
    11:15am - Dismissal, put kids on busses.
    11:30am - 12:20pm - Lunch Break for Teachers!
    12:30pm - 4:00pm - Repeat morning schedule with PM class in slightly different order, and lunch replaces breakfast
    4:15pm - Head for home!

    This is the general schedule, but it doesn't always happen this way! Once a month, we have a lady that comes in to teach the kids about nutrition, and a librarian that comes in to read the kids (both lasts about half an hour). Earlier this week we had a Black History Month Program that obviously affected most of the day. Sometimes lead teachers have meetings so assistants will take over. Throw in IEP meetings, dental/vision/hearing screenings, etc.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 28, 2016

    I'm a general ed teacher. What I see/hear about with our special ed teachers is widely varied.

    We have some self-contained teachers, some that provide resource for a period or two and some that are co-teachers in general ed classrooms.

    One self-contained teacher has four assistants. She doesn't have a planning period. But she has plenty of time to shop online, do her taxes!, schedule IEP meetings (she only has six kids on her roll) during the day, and always leaves as soon as the buses roll out. Another self-contained teacher is similar. She never stays until our mandated time, insists on scheduling IEP meetings during class periods because she isn't willing to come in before classes start or stay after dismissal, has two assistants for her caseload of eight students. She has a part-time job in the evenings and is very involved in her church. She proudly proclaims that she never does school work after hours.

    A third self-contained teacher actually teaches one subject a day while some of her students go to gym. Not sure if that actually makes her self-contained? Maybe a hybrid? She has two assistants and has to develop lesson plans for that class. She comes in at the normal time and typically leaves when the rest of us do. She does all of her casework during the school day.

    We have four other sped teachers on staff. Some of them rotate minding/babysitting our behavior students while they're in a resource room. Some of them are assigned co-teaching periods where they are responsible for developing lesson plans for the entire class, not just the sped students in the room. Some act as paras when they are co-teaching. These teachers all get planning periods and lunch times. Depending upon their semester, they may or may not have work to do after hours.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    For myself, I typically arrive at school 45 minutes before first period starts. I make any last minute changes to my daily plans, make any resulting copies, put plans on the board and decompress until 30 minutes before class.

    at that time (7:30) I typically have a meeting to attend. Either an IEP meeting, a parent conference, a meeting with another staff member. Bell rings and I have hall duty.

    8:00 - 9:30 teach class. I am not a teacher that has a lot of down time during the period. I am up lecturing, demonstrating, monitoring or checking work for the whole period. I get attendance in about half the time (oops!).

    9:30 - planning period. I have sooo much to do during this time, but seldom get it all done. I usually grade papers, make plans for the next few days, prepare labs, clean up from labs, have more meetings, cover someone else's class, laminate/cut stuff for activities, create new assignments/assessments, escort students from other classes to the office/nurse/etc., go to the bathroom!, prepare for club meetings, deliver assignments to resource/ISS rooms, do misc. paperwork (recommendations, evaluation sheets, referrals, etc.).

    11:00 lunch duty or tutoring
    11:30 my lunch (we have actually had duty-free lunches for the past two years!)

    12:00 - 3:00 teach classes.

    3:00 - more meetings. Either full staff meetings, trainings for upcoming standardized tests, IEP/504, or parent conferences. Typically I have 2 before-school meetings and 3 afternoon meetings each week.

    4:00 - if I have to pick up my own child from an activity (about 2/3 times a month) I leave. Otherwise I am still in a meeting or I'm continuing my planning period work.

    I leave school anywhere from 4:40 (try to beat the traffic) to 6:30. If I leave at 6:30 I don't do anything else during the evening - I'm done. About 2 nights a week I give 2 hours to the school either grading, prepping or planning. On Sundays I give about 3 hours.

    I'd say that about 20% of my hallway colleagues do this though. Most teachers show videos during the class period (without stopping them and explaining parts) and give "research" assignments using the laptops (which they don't monitor the use so we end up with lots of broken laptops) so the kids can sit still while they grade and plan. They get to go home at 4:00, though, while I'm still working on the stuff they got done with kids in the class.
     
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  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    We are contracted to arrive at school by 8:00, but I try to arrive between 7:30 and 7:45. Morning duties begin at 8:15 (drop off, hall monitors, etc.) Kids begin going through breakfast line then as well. Pledge is at 8:30 followed by announcements, and classes begin at 8:45. I have plan time 8:45-9:15 and then meet different groups for 30 minutes each until 11:45. I have lunchroom duty from 11:55-12:25, and I get to eat 12:25-12:55. Then from 1:00-3:30 I meet with groups again in 30 minute chunks. At 3:40 I help dismiss kindergarten. The rest of the school dismisses at 3:45. Teachers are free to go at 4:15 unless we have a staff meeting. That can go until 5:00.

    Wednesday's are different because students are dismissed at 2:15 and teachers stay until 5:00. This is generally when teachers plan collaboratively, but sometimes we have IEP meetings or other things going on. My duty times are all the same, but classes meet for only 20 minutes. After lunch on Wednesdays teachers at different levels rotate their collaboration meetings (different from planning) to brainstorm interventions for students. Once a month we have something called pack time to teach social skills with multi-grade level groups.

    I teach ELL as a specialist, so I don't have a lot of papers to grade, but I do help with standardized testing of students on my caseload. This rearranges my regular class schedule during the testing seasons. I don't have to take much work home, but I do surf the web quite a bit looking for different lesson ideas and reading passages.
     
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  17. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I mean this in the most respectful way 2nd... Are you close enough with these teachers, either as friends or colleagues, to know what the ins and outs of their day - at home and at school - looks like?

    In my last school, we had a major image problem with gen ed teachers thinking that our special ed teachers didn't work very hard. This couldn't have been further from the truth. Just because a sped teacher was sitting at the computer working on paperwork one time when a gen ed teacher walked by while a para did some teaching with a students didn't mean that the sped teacher wasn't also taking hours of work home on evenings and weekends. It also didn't mean that they never did any teaching. The fact that they had plan time and lunch built into their schedule didn't mean that they always got it. Looks can be deceiving. I would hate for another teacher to attempt to describe my day to a third party. There are often a lot of things going on under the surface that an outsider looking in cannot see. Of course there are lazy teachers who try to get away with things, but before implying that someone who has a job different from yours isn't working hard or has it easy, take a moment to realize that you can't possibly know everything that is going on in their classroom or what they do when they get home.

    The "you" and "yours" in the previous paragraph wasn't directed at you directly, 2nd. I just meant it as a general "you". Perhaps you know the teachers you described very well, and you know this to be true about them. Maybe you don't know them well and still happen to be correct about their work habits. I just hope that, in general, teachers can acknowledge that what we see of our colleagues from our perspective is often very different than what is actually taking place.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 28, 2016

    In my past life as a special Ed teacher who primarily pushed in, my schedule looked something like...

    8:40-9:05 morning duty
    9:05-9:30 morning tutoring or social skills practice
    9:30-10:30 5th grade math
    10:30-11:30 6th grade math
    11:30-12:00 6th grade intervention time
    12:00-1:30 5th grade language arts
    1:30-3:00 6th grade language arts
    3:00-3:30 lunch
    3:30-3:45 helping students prepare for dismissal
    3:45-4:05 afternoon duty

    If I ever had planning time, it was only a couple minutes at a time. I usually came to school early and stayed late. My teachers were always willing to do meetings before school.
     
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  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Thank you for asking, instead of just assuming. Yes, I do know these teachers well enough to make these statements. They openly share this with us all. Except for the shopping and taxes bit - then they are just openly sharing the common printer!

    I think if you re-read my statement you'd see that I said that some of the sped teachers do lesson plans and prep just like the rest of the teachers at school. Which means that some of them do work after normal hours.
     
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  20. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 28, 2016

    Schools days are different, but here's a typical weekend day for me.

    Sleep in until 9/10 am sometimes (this is only normally Sunday since my hubby wakes up early on Saturday for his job). Run errands, do personal life stuff, or do something fun with my husband until around 4 pm.

    Then I start working again. I'll work from 4 pm until 9 pm on Sundays to catch up on weekend stuff or stuff I didn't have a chance to finish up on Friday.

    Today I spent those 5 hours:
    - Lesson planning- I set up a lesson online for my 5th grade class and created a whole new lesson (using the help of 2-3 lessons found online) that will take a few days to teach - created assessment tools, the actual hands on activities, homework assignments, and student note packet, found technology activities and resources that students will use. Created an answer key for the homework I'm going over with my 5th graders. My 6th grade lesson for tomorrow was already created last week, but that would have added more time if I didn't have it ready yet.
    - Grading - graded about 4 sets of papers today, checked through what is still missing from my students.
    - Emails - catch up on student emails about homework, set up a concert practice schedule (this is an extra job that I do with a stipend), email teachers, email my P about some students, email a few parents about missing work/behaviors.
    - Printed out attendance sheets from last week to file in my attendance binder, wrote notes about students, reminders, etc.
    - Packed up everything that I need to bring to school tomorrow.

    This is typical for me on a Sunday, even after teaching for 7.5 years. I find that once I sit down and get started it is not so bad, but getting started is hard for me on the weekends.

    School days - I'm normally teaching from 8:30 until 11:15 and again 12:15 - 2:50 with very few breaks beacuse of my teaching load. I run a morning club that meets twice a week and an afternoon club that meets on Thursdays. I stay late on Wednesdays for faculty meetings and after lab days when I have messy activities if my students cannot help me with cleaning. I spend my time after work running errands, cleaning up my apartment, grading, or lesson planning.

    I still find time around 9pm to get off the computer, take a shower, pick out my clothes, and read a good book (reading is a must for me). I'm in bed around 10 - 10:20 pm and am up by 6:45 to repeat.

    To be honest, the way that I work, from September until June I have no life. I picked up an art hobby just recently because of how teacher focused I've become. I do find time to hang out with friends, but that's mostly on a Friday evening or Saturday if my husband gets out of work early. To help balance it out, I try to veg out completely during holidays breaks if I can get away with not working.

    Some days it is all just too much ... other days it's no big deal. Just last week I was anxious and upset about teaching ... today I'm excited to try out a new lesson tomorrow and can see myself doing this for much longer.
     
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  21. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Feb 29, 2016

    I wanted to throw another consideration in there- some resource teachers as well as some specialists in my district use scripted intervention programs for the core of their instruction. I use one with several of my groups in reading and a modified/supplemented version of a scripted math program too. While this has some drawbacks (in my mind), one pro is that it does cut down on planning quite a bit! So that may be one reason that some special ed teachers have less "at home" work to do, particularly if they are lucky enough (like I am) to have planning during the school day....well, on typical days. :)
     
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  22. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Feb 29, 2016

    Agreed! That's often one of the reasons I stick up for those programs when others knock scripted programs. Not only do they cut down on planning and prep work and keep you and the students in a routine, but they are evidence-based too!
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 29, 2016

    Slight digression, but I always have kind of a problem with the whole evidence-based program spiel. In my experience, it seems like anytime one of these evidence-based programs doesn't work well, the answer always seems to be that it just isn't being implemented to fidelity, and the evidence of it working always seems to come from absolute dream scenarios. Oh, you aren't having success with such and such program? Well you need to implement it to fidelity! What's that, you don't have a 90 minute block of time 5 days a week solely dedicated to running this program with exactly the number of students we had in our test runs? Well no wonder it isn't working!

    If any of those programs actually made the sorts of gains they always promise to make, those sorts of programs wouldn't continue to get developed and published regularly.
     
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  24. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Mar 1, 2016

    I agree with both of you! On the one hand, I do appreciate the reduced planning and the familiar routine that comes from using a scripted program. And I do think that some of them are effective in some situations. For example, my kids have made tons of growth with the reading program we are using this year. For them, it works, and if it is effective I'm happy to keep doing it. I'm not naive enough to think that it will work for every single kid I will ever work with, though, and if it doesn't work I'm not going to blame myself for not using it to fidelity. Sometimes that's just not possible.

    That's where I see the flip side gr3teacher mentioned. There are some programs that just aren't feasible for me to use because I lack those 90 minutes of time 5 days per week, and apparently if I can't do it this way it will never be effective....or so I'm told.

    That's also why I mentioned that I use a modified/supplemented version of the math program. I like a lot of aspects of it, but I found it wasn't helping my kiddos make as much progress as I would have hoped. I've found other resources to fill in the gaps, and so far it's going pretty well. I'm lucky that we aren't forced to use the programs with 100% fidelity. It would be a disservice to the kids to make them keep doing something that wasn't helping them just for the sake of saying we were using "research based" methods.
     
  25. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Mar 1, 2016

    So, I am going to agree AND disagree.

    I agree that it's really tough to find the time required to implement these programs with fidelity, and, in the regular school setting, we just don't usually find that kind of time... and, administrators act shocked when you can't take a program that requires 45-90 minutes per day and make it work in 30 minutes three times per week. Very frustrating to be sure!

    On the other hand, I just went to a Wilson workshop last week, and I'm sold. Totally sold. No, I know it won't work for ALL kids, but there are many who it will work for, if only it is implemented with fidelity, as they say. The problem is that these programs were not designed with the tight school schedule in mind... They were just designed to work! It's up to the school to make the schedule appropriate, and, since most administrators don't get it and don't allow for proper implementation, it doesn't work. That's why you have so many certified tutors bringing in the money after school hours and seeing success. They do publish new programs from time-to-time, but I'm going to disagree that it's because the previous ones don't work. It's because someone can change a few things, add a few new "cool" materials, call it a new idea, and make some money off of it. It's still the same research backing it up.

    So, yeah, try to implement it in the tight school schedule, and you're not as likely to see success - at least not as quickly. But don't blame the program. Blame the administrators who won't give the students the time that they need to learn to read (or whatever skill we might be using a program for). Some of these programs have been around for a very long time, and it's not because they haven't helped students make significant gains when implemented with fidelity. The trainer at the workshop I attended was very realistic and basically said, "Here's what is required. I know most of you don't have that kind of time. It will still work (for the students it was designed for, not all students!). It will just take longer. That's the fact of the matter."
     
  26. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 3, 2016

    I'm A science teacher
    7:00 am drop baby at day care
    7:35 get to school check email and get my cart ready ( I don't have a classroom of my own instead I share with two other teachers who have classrooms)
    7:45 go into classroom; sign into computer and set up the morning announcements. Write science log and daily agenda on board and let English Learner class in
    7:50 -9:30 teach my class
    9:30-11:15 prep . I grade, set up labs, get stuff for my taste to do and plan
    11:15- 12:55 I teach science to a class with 1/3 special needs kids (504 or Ieps) with a paradigmatic
    12:55- 1:25 duty-free lunch
    1:26-3:05 I teach regular science block
    3:05-4:00ish I call parents or grade or enter in grades or set up labs on a second cart.
    4:00-4:30 I drive home
    4:30-6:00 play with, bath and feed baby and then put her to bed and or cook dinner if hubby is playing with baby
    6:00-8:30 I do what I want read, tv, crochet
    8:30 shower and bed
     
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  27. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 3, 2016

    Sorry stupid autocorrect
     
  28. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2016

    I teach a "specials" subject in the elementary grades, and every day my schedule is different.
    Here's my Friday schedule:
    7:45 - Time we have to arrive, I usually get there by 7:00 or 7:15
    8:15-8:45 Prep
    8:45-9:30 Third grade
    9:30-10:15 First grade
    10:15-10:30 breath for a moment, make copies, etc.
    10:30-11:15 Second grade
    11:15-12:15 - lunch - I usually have double duty (lunch and recess) during this time & try to grab food and eat it with the students.
    12:15-1:00 - prep (or grab my lunch if I couldn't get it during duties)
    1:00-1:45 Fifth grade
    1:45-2:15 Fourth grade
    2:15-3:00 Fifth grade (different section)
    3:15 dismissal
    3:15-4:15 Prep for next week - this is contracted time, and many days I stay until 5:00 or 5:30 or tutor, etc. during this time. There are meetings almost every day for something, but usually no meetings on Friday
     
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  29. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Mar 10, 2016

    6:45 ... Leave home
    7:45 ... Get to work
    8:00 - 9:30 ... Homeroom & Period 1
    9:30 - 10:40 ... Period 2
    10:40 - 11:50 ... Plan, but we meet 2 to 3 times a week for "Data Talks" and Team Meetings
    11:50-12:20 ... Lunch
    12:20 - 1:30 ... Period 3
    1:30 - 2:40 ... Period 4
    2:50 (3:00 at the latest) ... I race my co-workers to the parking lot unless I have a Union-negotiated contractual obligation to stay
    4:00 - 4:30 ... Get home

    Once I get home, I eat dinner, take a nap, watch tv and/or unwind. I don't do any work at home anymore unless it is a "MUST complete before tomorrow" task. If I can't get something done during my planning period; then I do it the next day.
     
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  30. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 10, 2016

    I'm a resource teacher. I agree with Bella's post on the first page. No two days are the same and certainly no two jobs are going to be the same. My dad is also a mild/moderate teacher, but in a different state and our jobs could not be more different. In my position I teach small groups all day. I share a para with the other sped teacher. I am extremely fortunate that my para is awesome and truly does lessen my workload rather than creating more work/stress for me. People think it's so great to have "help," but most of the time having paras creates a TON of extra work and stress.

    In my state sped teachers are case managers and in charge of academic testing for sped evaluations also. My current caseload is 28 and my kids are in K-3. When I started here, I was the only sped teacher and had almost 50 students K-6. Thankfully, now there are two of us. I teach on Tuesdays-Fridays. Monday is staffing day where we hold IEP and other meetings as well as test students. If asked, I suspect that 90% of gen ed teachers would claim that I get Mondays to "do paperwork." The truth is that most Mondays I don't have any planning period or lunch and am crazy busy all day.

    I currently teach 8-9 small groups per day, depending on the day. Even my "set" schedule (without any surprises) is different from day to day. I do like the variety of grade levels/students. Of course, some groups are easier than others. Right now my 2nd grade group has 5 out of 6 students with significant behavior issues. They were purposely separated when gen ed classes were created because they set each other off, but because they're all in sped I'm stuck with them in a small group all together with no good role models or "easy" kids to separate them with. On the other hand, my Kindergarten group has only 3 students and they are extremely well behaved and very eager to learn. If a student with a behavior plan has a meltdown during the day, I can get called in to help at any time, even if I'm in the middle of teaching. I hate that aspect of the job. Fortunately, my school got several more mental health staff members this year so this has been rare. In past years, it was a daily thing.

    When I was a new teacher I used to spend a couple of hours working after school and would come in for 8-9 hours on Sundays. I've gotten way more efficient over the years and now don't need to spend much time working after school at all. I use every minute I have at school to get work done. My teammates are always complaining that they have to work so late and they don't understand how I'm done so quickly, but they spend most of their time without kids at school chatting/socializing. You'd be amazed what you can get done with a few minutes. I don't use any scripted programs like the kinds mentioned earlier in the thread, but I do find that I often do the same types of activities over and over again. Routine is good for my students and this makes planning pretty easy. I spend a lot more time on paperwork than planning. A lot of sped teachers say the paperwork is what burns them out, but I honestly don't mind it much. TBH, the hardest part of the job for me is the kids. People underestimate how difficult it is to work with only the lowest kids all day long. Even in my well behaved groups, I have to teach something over and over and over again before my kids will start to make even a little bit of progress. Then sometimes when they finally learn something and I move on, they start to forget the previously learned thing when they begin focusing on something else. It's very emotionally draining.
     
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