Elementary: How much plan time would you like?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Koriemo, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I was curious how much planning time during the school day that would let you feel as though you had enough. By planning time I mean time during your contract hours that you are not with your class. Do you feel like having more planning time would make you a better teacher?

    My school (a private school) is restructuring the elementary school in order to give teachers more time to get things done like lesson planning and grading.
     
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  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    YES, I feel like more planning time would make me a better teacher. Honestly, I would love for an early release time every Friday to have 2 hours to work. Or, longer school days Monday-Thursday, and work time on Friday. Having a 30 or 45 minute prep time during the day is not enough time to get a lot done. By the time I get my resource books out, open my lesson plans up, and start planning, it's time to go pick my class up. I would love longer periods of time to write thoughtful, meaningful lesson plans.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I would imagine all teachers, at all grade levels, would believe they could be better teachers with more planning time.
     
  5. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    I agree, I think all teachers would probably say more planning time would be helpful. I have a crazy long "to-do" list and spent 7 hours at school today (on our Fall Break) to get things done that there isn't time to do during the week. Ideally, I would like 45 minutes/day for planning. A district near me does early release day on 1 friday a month for teachers to have work time. It's not allowed to be used as PD or for meetings. Students leave at 12 and teachers have a few hours to get things done. I think that's also a great option.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    At least as much time as the secondary teachers. We get half the planning time as teachers in high school, and we are planning anywhere from 2-4 times as many preps.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    don't assume that to be true agdamity. I get less planning now in high school than when I was a long-term sub in elementary school. Same district. Then I had fifteen minutes before kids showed up, 1.75 hours in the middle of the day (included my lunch though) while the para took the kids to lunch, recess and specials, and 30 minutes after school. Paras took the kids to buses and there were no after-school tutoring/activities.

    I imagine this is something that varies from school to school, district to district. Here high school teachers get six hours of planning time per week. Four 90 minute periods. Most teachers have two or three preps, with each prep requiring 90 minutes worth of instruction/activities per day. All teachers are required to advise at least one club and have tutoring twice a week after school. And we have anywhere from 3-5 times as many students. Many times our planning periods are covering other classes whereas other grades would be able to get subs to teach when a teacher is absent.

    Having a big block of time is nice and quite convenient. But that's our only time. You can't count the time before school and immediately after school as prep time because of our other responsibilities (clubs and tutoring).
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I was being specific to my district. It high school teachers are block scheduled with 3 classes a day and one 90 minute prep. At the elementary level, I get 45 minutes a day. I apologize if I wasn't specific enough. To answer the OP's question, I would personally want equal planning time if it was an option.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :agreed:
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    While I spend hoards of time here outside of the school day, I feel as though we have plenty where I am at, between the specialists (seven 30 minute blocks throughout the week - a couple more than other schools because students eat lunch in the classroom...and I use part of that time as some instructional time), recesses students have, and the before/after school time. Honestly, despite being unbelievably busy, I secretly wish for more instructional time quite often.
     
  11. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I have 45 minutes a day. No time would really be "enough" so I'm thankful for the 45 I have. I rarely actually sit down and type my plans at school. Actually I never do this. When I'm in the classroom I'm getting other stuff done: cleaning, paperwork, making charts, organizing papers, preparing for lessons, etc. It would be nice to have maybe 30 minutes before and after school of paid time since I'm always at least 30 minutes early and stay at least 30 minutes after getting stuff done. It'd be nice to be paid for that time, without taking away from precious time with my students.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I have 30 minutes before students arrive in the morning, 40 minutes while kids are at specials and an hour duty free lunch. I don't use it all for planning but it's generally enough.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I go in about an hour before, and I am usually there an hour after, but I have no real prep during the day. I have no where to go to have prep, since my classroom is used by a specials class, and that is where my computer lives. More time where I am displaced would not benefit me. Give me a quiet room with my own computer, and things would be looking up. With my time that I give, most of the "have to" stuff gets done, but in truth, I need quiet in my own office and on my own computer to do my lesson plans. It is when I reflect, and that is hard to do when you are constantly worrying about hitting the heaviest traffic, what's for dinner, and where is that sheet I had notes on. Honestly, I would like some time at school to grade papers, record grades, get to the copy machine, work on resources - but my lesson plans are going to still happen at home, because it is where I think the best, with most of my reference material at my fingertips.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    How much time would I like? Enough time to actually plan out all my lessons, develop all the practice activities to go with the lessons, grade, enter grades into my gradebook, fill out all the necessary paperwork, plan for the required meetings, and communicate regularly with parents. How much do I actually get? Significantly less than that.
     
  15. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I would love more time. I have 40 min a day plus an extra 25 min 1x a week. I get little done by the time I drop the kids off, use the ladies room, etc....
    I would love to have release time with larger chunks of time for planning. We have some early release days during the year, but they are usually filled with meetings that just make my head spin. I'd rather be teaching or doing real plans.
    2ndtimearound, 6 90 min planning periods?! That would be wonderful! I know HS and elementary school days are set up differently, but if you teach 4 classes, you plan 4 lessons, correct? As an elementary teacher I plan the following for each DAY:
    1 literacy mini lesson
    1word work mini lesson
    1writing lesson
    1math lesson
    1science or social studies lesson
    4-5 guided reading group lessons
    1 lesson per week for my teaching assistant to teach in small group.
    Yes, I have less students, but elementary teachers plan for many more "things" I think my 40 min a day is totally unequal to what some HS teachers have.
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Here's one thing I'd like to correct... you have 3-5 times as many students... but that's because you (usually) only have a student for one class. I may only have 25 students, but Billy the math student, Billy the writing student, Billy the science student, Billy the reader, Billy the Social Studies student, etc., all require different knowledge of the student, different grading, etc... even if if IS all the same student.
     
  17. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    My contract time gives me 30 minutes before the kids come in, and 40 minutes of planning time while kids are at resource classes 3 days a week. I would LOVE it if they went to resource for 50 minutes everyday.

    I come in an hour early and usually stay two hours late, plus at least 3 hours on the weekend.
     
  18. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I get 55 minutes a day when my students are in specials. But I have to meet with my grade level EVERY single day. And we never get anything done because we're constantly interrupted. I don't get any time at all by myself to plan. It's getting frustrating.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    well, yes and no. You can say that you are planning all of those things. But then I could also break down my day too. One lesson isn't just one lesson any more than your collective language arts is just one lesson. I have to fill the class periods and keep the kids engaged just as you do. I just have my different "things" in the same subject.

    And, no, I don't get six 90 minute periods per week. I hope I didn't type that earlier! I get 4 90 minute periods.

    I think you might be discounting the impact of so many students. I won't argue with you, but I will tell you that if I had half as many students as I do, I could get by with substantially less planning time.
     
  20. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I am not discounting the number of students at all. That is a lot to keep track of and a lot of kids to know. You do however only know them for that one subject area while I need to know mine on many different levels.
    Just as your lessons break down to many components, so do mine.
    I promise I am not looking to argue with you. I tend to get very sensitive about this because so many of the HS teachers in my district are given a lot more planning time and things in our contract are geared towards and favor their schedule.

    It is what it is....right? :dizzy:
     
  21. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    This may sound crazy... but I think 2 hours a day would be appropriate. Not that I have any hope of that happening.

    US teachers spend way more contract time teaching when compared to other countries.
     
  22. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Thanks for all of the replies!

    I actually feel like I get TOO MUCH planning time. This is because of scheduling, they created one big class instead of giving me two smaller classes like they usually would.

    So I have 45 minutes before school (3 days a week we have meetings though), two 45 minute periods during the day, a study hall supervision (with only 12 students), and 40 minutes after school.

    I jump at the opportunity to take care of school related things that they need volunteers for (like promoting the College Fair) because I have that extra planning period.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that it's more than knowing a kid across several different subjects. One of the challenges that high school teachers face is that we only get to know our kid in a single subject, so we have to work a lot harder to get to know them and their needs. Furthermore, when we have to call home, we are calling 200 homes, instead of 25 or 30. When we are grading papers, they are multiple pages per student--potentially 2,000 pages worth of grading for a single assignment. There are a million other examples I could give, but my point is just that it's not as black and white as lots of students and minimal lesson planning versus few students and extensive lesson planning.
     
  24. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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  25. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    That is not the worst problem to have :) I had a position once where I felt like I had too much planning time, when I worked abroad. However, I would easily, easily choose to do it again, rather than not have enough time!
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    More than zero would be nice.

    I get two 20 minute recesses. My lunch is about 45 minutes.

    If the kids are at school and they have a teacher, that teacher is me.

    But the recesses are eaten up by other things. Once I take care of student issues (kids who have to go to the office, parents to call, etc) it seldom leaves any time long enough to actually DO anything. Same for lunch.

    I would gladly stay an hour longer each day if it meant another teacher would take my class for a hour each day.

    We also have zero time to conference with student in spite of the fact that we have to give loads of individual one-on-one tests.
     
  27. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I really don't think it is simple to compare teaching high school and elementary school. Although high school teachers may plan less, we also do teach 5 lessons a day. Although I do plan 3 lessons a day, since each class is different, we are teaching 5 lessons per day. In addition, just because we have more students, it does not give high school teachers an excuse not to know our students on many levels, we just have more of them that we need to get to know. In addition, since it's hard for high school teachers to give individual help during class, many high school teachers in my school stay after school and come before school for to tutor students.

    I think the job of an elementary school teacher is extremely difficult, and I do think it's unfair for elementary school teachers to have less planning time. I don't think it's fair to say that one job is easier than the other.
     
  28. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    I feel like I can't complain. I get 2 thirty-minute plannings each day, as our kids have 2 Specials a day. I'm in a private school.
     

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