How are your classes assigned?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mathemagician, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Jun 4, 2012

    At the school where I student taught, the new teachers got all low track classes while the experienced teachers got all the regular and honors/AP track classes. This is the case in a few other schools where I interviewed as well.

    Fortunately in the school where I will be working next year, the new teachers get all regular track classes and the experienced teachers get the honors/AP, but they also get the low track classes. I find this much more balanced and fair especially as it doesn't make sense to give the kids who need the most help the newest teachers.

    In any event, how are classes assigned in your school? How much input do you have?
     
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  3. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2012

    Ours are fairly simple - we have two teachers per subject per grade level. If someone leaves or is nonrenrewed, you can request to move to a different level or to switch to the other teacher's schedule. The actual schedule of classes, however, remains the same.
     
  4. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 4, 2012

    Our principal assigns the classes.
     
  5. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    We develop rosters for the next year by using data and teacher observations (who shouldn't be with whom). It's a great system if our principal would leave it the way we put it.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Personally, I've seen it done two different ways:

    School #1: We met together with our "Pink and Blue Cards." There was a pink or blue card for each student that listed their academic level and behavior level (1= well behaved 5= nightmare student).

    We made an envelope for each teacher in the next grade level (for example, if there were five 7th grade teachers, there'd be five envelopes with a teacher name on each envelope).

    Then, we'd try to evenly distribute the behavior problems amongst the teachers and while keeping an even number of high, medium, and low students in each class.

    Finally, after we'd go through the envelopes and seperate kids who couldn't get along with each other or who we knew wouldn't work well with a certain teacher.

    This process often took several days. In the end, though, we felt that every student ended up with the right teacher and that each teacher was assigned a pretty even class (not too many high or low kids and an equal number of behavior issues).

    School #2: The principal "randomly" placed students. Somehow, though, his favorite teachers ended up with the cream of the crop and his least favorites were given the worst of the worst.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jun 4, 2012

    At my old and current school, who teaches what is determined by the Department in conjunction with the AP for Academics and the Principal. Generally, the divide between honors/AP classes and regular/lower level was even. However, some teachers are not strong teachers in AP courses and others are not strong teachers in lower classes. Teachers were placed where they could excel and the students could learn.
     
  8. Lionteacher

    Lionteacher Companion

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    Jun 4, 2012

    I submit recommendations for the 6th grade home room splits and the middle school teachers make the 7 & 8 grade splits. PreK through 5th grade there is only 1 classroom so there is no dividing. I do sometimes wish we could split them because it would be beneficial for some students to be away from others.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In my department it's very easy: The person who speaks French gets the French classes, the person who speaks Latin gets the Latin classes, and so on. When it comes to Spanish, where there are lots of classes and several teachers, the Spanish teachers get together and collectively decide who would be best at teaching what. We give our recommendations/preferences to admin, who usually does what we want.

    In other, larger departments, the department chair has a lot of pull. The DC usually asks people for their input or to provide a "wish list" of classes. The DC uses that info to create a tentative schedule for each teacher and then gives that schedule to admin. Admin usually, but not always, implements that schedule.

    My list of complaints about my school has been growing daily over the past year or two, but the master schedule is one thing that I think we do well. It is the only thing that is truly collaborative and where I really believe that we have a chance to provide our own input.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'll add that it's not true that the seasoned teachers get the better/upper/honors classes and the newbie teachers get the crap classes at my school. In fact, it's often opposite, especially in Math and English, where we have been trying to do a better job preparing our students for their proficiencies. Many of our best Math teachers have been teaching freshmen Algebra this year.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 4, 2012

    In the traditional schools in my district it seems to be very much based on seniority, with the older teachers getting their preferred levels, whatever that may be. Once you start teaching something, you tend to be stuck there. In my school there are only 3 or 4 teachers per subject, and we don't track, so each department is allowed to divide the grade levels up mostly how we wish.

    Sometimes our enrollment drives decisions though. We will have less than 5 freshen next year, so most of those classes won't even be offered in a traditional setting. So as the usual English I teacher (but primarily the Eng III teacher) that means I'll take on an extra section of II-IV depending on where I can best lighten the load.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  12. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jun 4, 2012

    Administration decides based on what the staff requests.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Kids who receive services are put in clusters. Teachers place their names on several incoming clusters and the CST dept decides which cluster you get.
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Ours is similar to these. We have two teachers per subject level. In English, the teacher with the most experience gets 11th/12th reg and Honors. The other teacher gets 9th/10th reg and Honors. The rest of the subjects are pretty well split. It's been this way since I've worked there. The principal then assigns classes based on enrollment in particular grade levels.
     
  15. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jun 4, 2012

    I work on creating the master schedule in our district (with the administrators) because of my tech. background, so I end up seeing the entire process.

    It's a process that upsets many in our district unfortunately, but here... classes are assigned entirely by admin. Teachers essentially get no input because our schedule is driven entirely by enrollment (in a school that is RAPIDLY growing) and a shrinking budget. Now, teachers are always assigned in their areas of certification of course, but not always into their area of preference. Seniority has little to no bearing on it.

    That said, the admin also usually knows the specialty and preference of each teacher, and tries to match that whenever possible. We rarely have a teacher who is stuck with NO classes they wanted. But in general, teacher input is minimal.
     
  16. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Jun 4, 2012

    it's easy for us since there's only 3 in our math department. We each play to our strengths. One teacher works really well with freshmen, so he takes the freshmen algebra, our department chair loves stats, so she takes stats and I love pre calc so I take pre calc, and then the DC and I split whats left since we each have open sections.

    I'm the least senior of the three of us, but one could say I have the "best" schedule
     
  17. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 4, 2012

    We create pink and blue cards for our kids that we taught this year. We rank the kids based on academics and the principal balances the classes the best she can with equal amounts of high, medium, and low kids taking behavior into consideration. We also make suggestions on kids who shouldn't be together, which kids might do better with certain teachers, etc. She works really hard to make it fair.
     
  18. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    I love this discussion. I took over as chairperson this year and have implemented a newer system for next year. Currently, seniority and favoritism determined who taught what. Given that it's the history department and four years is required for graduation, the department has many courses and electives. Naturally, competition to teach the AP's and electives is fierce.

    Nevertheless, I met with the department numerous times this semester to let them know ahead of time what my plans were. My new system was simple: I looked at who has the specific requirements for specific classes, as well as results. So, for next year, there will be many changes for the AP courses. While the passing rates are high, few kids have been scoring 4's or 5's so I'm adding a less experienced teacher to teach one course next year because I know she has attended AP seminars; took AP courses in high school; and student taught an AP course. She will be paired with the more experienced teacher. Ultimately, I want the teachers in my department to all have taught World History I & II, U.S. History & Gov't, and an elective of their choice over the next 5 years. Keeps the courses fresh, and the staff on its feet.
     
  19. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Jun 4, 2012

    At two of the schools I taught at, the staff was given questionnaires which asked what you wanted to teach. It was already understood who taught the AP classes (the native speaking teacher from a Spanish speaking country, the department head, the teachers who had been there the longest) and you were really just picking from what was left over. But we had a freshmen center, so new teachers weren't being burnt out on the lower levels.

    At my current school, the assistant principal creates the master schedule, usually without our input although this year, we sent him a preferred master schedule and he followed it with only a few tweaks. The reason he doesn't ask our input is because we have one teacher who has been there longer than all of the rest of us and back when they used to ask what we wanted to teach, she created such a fuss if she didn't get the exact schedule she wanted that they decided that you would teach what we give you. Without going into details, she tried to create a fuss again this year and they gave her the most preps and all the low level classes. She was outraged because in her words she's been there the longest and should get the distinguished classes not the low level classes with all the dumba--es; the new teachers should have to do that kind of grunt work until they've "earned" their stripes.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 5, 2012


    Sorry for the hijack, but it's so good to see you back!
     
  21. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I'm sure a lot of schools do this but it is such a disservice to our students to have inexperienced teachers work with students that really need help mastering basic skills and content knowledge. There's a lot of pressure for teachers to get their students to do well on AP exams~ and I get that~ but I don't think this model of assigning courses is fair by any means.

    This is how it should be done~ newbie teachers getting classrooms where there aren't too many students that will need extra attention, while more experienced teachers can help AP classes and low track students. :thumb:

    I teach grades 3 to 6 so its done by homeroom. We do try to created balanced homerooms where students who have difficulty with writing will be placed together and students who have issues with math will be placed together-- that way the teacher can change up their lessons based on the needs of the class and individual students. Since I teach science, I don't really modify my lessons depending on what class I'm teaching-- I will, however, change up how I grade based on what I know the child is capable of doing/improving on.
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 5, 2012

    This
     
  23. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Our department head assigns classes.

    The honors and AP classes are usually only given to teachers with seniority. There is one teacher for H. Algebra, H. Geometry, AP Calc, etc. Next year, I have a section of honors geometry, but only because there are more students taking honors geo next year and he needed someone willing to teach geo. I don't mind this, because it's not like the newest teachers are stuck with the "bad" classes. (However, there isn't really a "bad" class at my school.) We have an AE (Accelerated Enriched) level, which is honestly a bit harder than honors classes at most public schools. (Our honors classes are extremely difficult.) So newer teachers get assigned a mix of AE and CP classes, which is fine. However, no teacher has only Honors/AE classes or only CP classes. No teacher will only have to teach geometry, even though few people in my department actually want to teach geometry. There's always a good balance, even though teachers with seniority get to choose more.

    I like the system. I actually prefer teaching CP classes, so I might still request to teach some CP classes after I get seniority.
     
  24. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Jun 6, 2012

    Here class composition is decided before the kids start school at 3 years old. At my school the office gives the two initial teachers lists based on alphabetical order, but then they switch it around to balance boys and girls, foreign-background students (who often don't yet speak the language,) twins, and whatever other information they might have. Then the two class groups remain stable through 6th grade (on very rare occasions, a student may be moved to a different group after the initial assignment has been made.)

    As for the teachers, we loop for two years with the same group, so that 1st and 2nd are with the same teacher, then 3rd and 4th a different teacher, then 5th and 6th another teacher. Once a teacher has finished a loop, he/she can choose to move to a different level if there is an opening (based on seniority.) At the beginning of each 2-year cycle, the teacher with more seniority chooses either group A or group B.

    Obviously this method has its advantages and disadvantages, but the worst is when one group turns out to be a really bad mix personality- and academic-wise, but they are stuck with each other until they graduate...

    In secondary it's different, but I'm not sure how it works.
     

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