HELP!!! Overwhelmed first year teacher!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by meldmitch, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. meldmitch

    meldmitch New Member

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    Dec 29, 2009

    I am a brand new teacher in a very small rural school, teaching junior and senior high math and science. I love the fact that my class sizes are small, but have been completely overwhelmed by the amount of prep needed for seven unique classes per day. We have completely overhauled science this year, so I am basically starting from scratch with no previous unit plans to follow. I teach 7 out of 8periods per day, and each class is completely different.

    So, my question goes out to those who teach in schools that are medium to large in size (but would love to hear from anyone):
    1. How many "different" subjects do you teach every day?
    2. How does this reflect the amount of time you spend preparing lesson plans?
    3. Does the repetition of teaching the same subject multiple times a day present its own unique challenges?

    I'd appreciate any comments or insight! Thanks in advance for helping out a "newbie"!
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 29, 2009

    WOW!!! 7 preps is a LOT of work. You have my sympathies. The first year of teaching is hard to begin with, but to have to teach so many different preps with no old lessons to fall back on, that's tough. Is there anybody in your school who can help you? Maybe somebody who has taught one of your preps in the past (the math ones, anyway) can give you some old lessons that you can work with.

    Failing that, search the internet for canned lessons that you can alter to suit your needs. I normally don't advocate for those types of lessons, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Canned lessons don't usually meet your exact needs, but they can provide a good starting point and help reduce the amount of work you need to do.

    Also, the community here is really supportive. Don't hesitate to ask for help. Good luck with the rest of the year. :)
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  5. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Dec 29, 2009

    Your post brought back long-repressed memories of my first year teaching. I taught 7th - 12th grade science and health in a small rural school. It was hard, but I didn't know any better. It did condition me though, and after my first year, anytime I had to had to teach the same thing all day long I was bored.

    To answer your questions -

    1. I usually taught 2 different classes (occasionally 3, in a pinch). I always volunteered for the split schedules, because I didn't like doing the same thing all day long.

    2. The length of time I spent preparing lesson plans really varied from subject to subject. When I was teaching something completely new to me, I spent much more time than a class I was experienced in. I spent most of my time time in middle school science, and after a few years I had sort of a sixth sense about what I could do and not do.

    3. Repeating the same thing over and over is boring; especially when giving a test or something like that. Also each class is different and students have different needs, so even the though basic plan is the same, you have to be able to modify it on the fly to make it work for each class and each child.

    I have TONS of resources for science (a few for math.) If there is anything I can do to help, don't hesitate to ask.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  7. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Dec 29, 2009

    I'm with mmswm, you have my sympathies! When we were on austerity five years ago, I taught four different classes and wanted to shoot myself repeatedly as I was so ridiculously busy with prep work so I can only imagine what you're going through especially first year teaching!

    This year, I'm teaching three classes but since two are the same subject (different level), it's a bit easier. I've always been teaching World History so that class is very each for me now. I'm constantly changing U.S. though.

    I don't like teaching one course 6 times a day because it gets boring, but it's certainly easy the first few years.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 29, 2009

    Ooooops: didn't mean my Website-dump to come across as lack of sympathy.

    I'm hoping that there's something in that steaming heap that meldmitch will find useful.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 29, 2009

    :lol: tg. I felt bad when I saw your post for failing to provide any specific help. Between the two of us, we covered all the bases.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2009

    I teach in a rural school (each graduating class has about 60 students). I have 3 preps for 7 classes, the most I know anyone has is 4 preps for 7 classes.

    I usually don't mind the repetition during the day, might be a bit much if I had only 1 prep.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2009

    I've had up to 4 different preps in a given year; you have my sympathies.

    Are you by any chance teaching high school Algebra or Geometry? If so, PM me your email address and I'll send you a ton of stuff!
     
  12. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Dec 29, 2009

    Wow, that is a lot of preps!

    I teach on a block schedule so am very lucky and have just two preps. I teach one class twice and another class once. Each block is 80 minutes and I have a 40 minute study hall that I monitor on the opposite side of my lunch. I've never taught the same class more than twice in a term so that's not enough to get repetitive.

    I hope some of the resources suggested will help you out.
     
  13. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Dec 30, 2009

    As was mentioned before, that is a lot of preps for anyone.

    In teaching, you start at the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on, it does get better. The best leaps forward come with every break as you have time to re-evaluate and adjust.

    My biggest suggestion is to avoid re-inventing the wheel. I don't love our books and like to ad lib when I have the time. However, I have a teacher edition and a set of resource books with lessons already planned for all my texts. When my back is against the wall, I go with what the text book has already laid out.

    Start with the resources you have and build up from there.


    In a small and well behaved class (especially an honors class), you can just pull out the instructions for a lab and ask the kids to help you figure it out. Tell them, here's what the book says and I'm having trouble making it work....can you guys help me figure this one out? It's a really fun way to teach, but you have to have students who are mature enough to actually try to figure it out.
     
  14. meldmitch

    meldmitch New Member

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    Thanks for the advice and links to resources! I am definitely in survival mode this first year, and it's always good to know that what I'm experiencing is "normal". I'm hanging in there, but, in the future may look for jobs with a bit fewer preps :)
     
  15. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I can help with science lessons. I teach physical science and physics right now but I have also taught chemistry for the past 10 years so I also have lots of stuff on that. PM me what subjects you are teaching and an e-mail address and I will send you science stuff.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I wouldn't say what you're experiencing is normal. You've got a LOT more to deal with than most first year teachers. If you're surviving, then you're way ahead of what a lot of people would do if they were in your shoes. Heck, I'm not sure I could survive what you described and still have my hair and my sanity at the end of the year. Hats off to you!
     
  17. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I just wanted you to know you're not alone. This is my second year and I have 7 preps as well. Last year, my first year, I had 6. I teach in a small private school and, like you, I have to prepare for 7 completely different classes. I teach middle school but feel like an elementary school teacher!

    I feel like there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done. Always. I'm constantly taking work home with me and working on the weekends. My husband gets so frustrated with me, but with seven different classes to prepare for (4 of which I didn't teach last year) I don't have time for anything else. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that one day, I'll be teaching at a public school with less classes to teach, more benefits and better pay! Until then, I'll just continue pulling my hair out!
     
  18. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Hang in there!

    I teach in a high school of 120 students. I am responsible for 5 preps throughout the school year, and I can tell you that it does get better with time.

    My first year was rough, I'm not going to lie. But so was my second year. And my third year now. Because each year I am constantly revising and scrapping what worked and fine-tuning what didn't. It's a never-ending job, but what keeps me going is the belief that I will eventually get there to that perfect place where everything is in order.

    Don't be afraid to use the book. You have a ridiculous workload. But don't use that as excuse to slack off and refuse to be innovative.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 2, 2010

    meldmiitch,

    I sent you some PMs with Algebra info. But your PM box is full.

    Let me know your email address if you want-- I can send you more.

    Alice
     
  20. newexperiences

    newexperiences Rookie

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    I have one subject- EFL in grades 1-12. At one point I had a 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 9th all in one year. Although it was all English, I had to teach different things to diffferent grades. But I tried to reuse material or concepts if they were relevant. Like for instance, if you are teaching science, what themes can you do with every grade level AT THE SAME TIME. Just an example- volcanos- with the middle schoolers you might do some basics, and with the highschoolers you would go into tectonic plates, etc. Try as much as you can to teach a similar theme around the same time. Or with physics you teach the basics of mechanics and gravity, which can be done in 8th grade, as well as highschool, just the last one is much more complicated.

    I thought I had it rough teaching 3 or 4 different grade levels with huge age gaps, but what you are doing sounds much more difficult.

    Do you use a text book? That will help a lot with the preparations!
     
  21. sagerunner

    sagerunner New Member

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    Feb 9, 2010

    Answers

    1. How many "different" subjects do you teach every day?
    2 Science and Grammar

    2. How does this reflect the amount of time you spend preparing lesson plans?
    I only teach 1 grammar class so its no big deal

    3. Does the repetition of teaching the same subject multiple times a day present its own unique challenges?

    Yes, I used to teach just science and it was somewhat boring
     
  22. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Feb 9, 2010

    I've got five different preps for the five periods I teach (out of a seven period day.) I've been teaching a LONG time and can handle it, though my hubby, also a teacher, with two preps, in another school, can't believe the amount of prep time I have to take (I write 5 tests a week, plus make-ups, for example; he writes two!) But that's the way it is, so I do it, with an occasional break for AtoZ (smile!) I grade and check papers through break and lunch, and have my classes so structured that during tests I have grading time, too. I can use most of my plans from last year, since thank goodness I have the same books - the worst year I can remember was the year I had five preps and four new books!!! But I've never had seven preps, and only had three as a first year teacher. As others have said, hang in there, and you WILL make it - June will come and you'll heave a sigh of amazement and pride that you did it! And nothing, NOTHING will ever scare you again (very big grin!)
     
  23. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 9, 2010

    Just wanted to offer some encouragement--you can make it through! My first year (teaching at a small parochial school), I taught everything for 5th grade (including art, music, and computers) and directed the 5-8 grade choir. I had about a 5-10 minute break when the kids were out at recess. I have no idea how I did it, but I did--and you can do it! I know this can be a tough stretch of the year, but hang in there...
     
  24. Football fan

    Football fan Rookie

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    Interested in some info on Algebra and Geometry

    Hello, I am interested in some info on Special Education ideas Algebra and Geometry if you wouldn't mind sharing. I would really appreciate it. :)
     

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