how many different preps is too many?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Pisces, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    I interviewed for a position at a large public school but it turns out, it's teaching four different preps. (In other words, I'd be assigned 5 classes to teach and four of the classes are different from each other.) I have never taught any of these classes before. I was reassured that there are specialists available to help teachers out but I am still very concerned.
    What are your thoughts?
     
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  3. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Comrade

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    I think this is a personal thing. If they are all brand new though, that might be really tough. I always have at least 4 preps, I've had as many as 6. Are any of them remotely related--meaning you can overlap some things? Also, is there curriculum already created for some of them? Textbooks? If you are starting from scratch on everything, I might hesitate. It may also depend on your experience. As a brand new teacher, not sure if you are, there's so much you have to learn that is not the actual content, so having multiple preps can be really tough. Is it a difficult district, or are you working with kids with lots of behavior issues. I personally get bored with just 1 prep, but I've also been doing this for 20 years.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I’ve taught as many as 5 preps. It’s a lot of work, but with good organizational skills it can be fairly easily managed. I agree with the concerns about what materials you would have access to.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    One year I taught four different grade levels between two schools. It was tough, but I did it.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    As others have said. It depends. It depends on what resources you have access to, what their expectations are for paperwork for the preps (15 page lesson plans vs a 1 page plan) and how they expect the class to be run. How knowledgeable you are about the subjects. It is a lot harder to prep for a course for which you are not familiar than one that you know well. If you have to prepare tons of materials in addition to the plan, it changes how many preps you can handle.

    Also, a lot depends on you. How stressed to you get? How comfortable are you just keeping one step ahead in many of the classes because unless you are provided canned curriculum where it is laid out for you, you will be just keeping ahead for the first year.
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    It depends. I usually have 4, but they've been the same 4 for the past 5 years. None are testing subjects or AP or anything, so I can basically do what I want.

    My husband last year had four, and it was way too much. Two were testing subjects, one was AP. This coming year he only has 3. I think he will be much happier.

    Also, find out what requirements are for things like: turning in written lesson plans, other work outside of teaching, other paperwork requirements. Also find out how many students you would have, how much parent contact is expected and how it would be documented, and how many grades you are expected to take weekly. I've always said if they suddenly start making us turn in detailed lesson plans for every day I'll demand to have at most 2 preps. With all of the parent contacts and grading I have to do for my almost 200 students, plus clubs I'm expected to sponsor, it would be way too much with 4 preps.
     
  8. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    All four preps are classes I've never taught before. One of them I don't feel I have the background to teach (it's an elective involving video game design). Two of those 4 are AP classes. 25+ kids / class.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Have you had the training to teach the AP classes? Is the district going to pay for you to get the training in both courses this summer? Are they going to pay for you to get training in video game design? No? Then I'd look for a different job.
     
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  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Last year was my first year at secondary as a special education teacher. I had four preps. I'm actually much more worried about my schedule for next year. I only have three preps, but one is for a class that I am catastrophically ill-equipped to teach. There quite literally is no class my school offers as a special education class that I have less business teaching.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Will you be team teaching with a content-certified teacher? We have three different special ed programs: self-contained students are taught a completely modified curriculum and are not on a diploma track. They do go to regular classes for PE, art, music, etc. as they are capable and comfortable.

    Then there's inclusion. Those core classes are co-taught by a special ed teacher and a content teacher, and are blended classes.

    Then, many kids don't need an inclusion teacher in the room. They get pulled out to have tests read aloud or other accommodations, and usually have one class period a day with their IEP holder in order to talk about missing assignments, work on homework, etc.

    None of our special ed teachers have to teach content they are not familiar with.
     
  12. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    In my career I’ve had 1 prep to 4 preps. I find 1 prep very boring because I’m not pushed in any way. 2 preps is where I am at my best. I can cope with 3 preps and still have a decent work life balance. This year I have 4 preps, 2 of which I have never taught before. I am basically run off my feet every single day. The first 3 months of the school year was mentally and physically exhausting and there just weren’t enough hours in a day. I don’t think I would ever do 4 preps again, because the quality of the teaching suffers. I know I’m not at my best pedagogy wise because I have no time to plan really great lessons and I’m more impatient with the kids because I’m just exhausted. It’s slightly better now but I’m ready for the year to be over and I have 6 months to go. Yikes.
    I take my hat off to those who have more than 4 preps. I don’t know how the heck you do it.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    That's just it... it's not content, it's that missing assignments, working on homework, etc class. We're supposed to work on building organization skills, and I'm pretty uniquely unqualified to do that because my own organizational skills are uniquely awful. When I told one of my teammates my schedule, she seriously laughed for a minute straight then asked me what my real schedule was. Content anywhere isn't a problem... I'm certified in music, mathematics, middle school science, social studies, and English... but organization? Disaster waiting to happe .
     
  14. OhioTeacher216

    OhioTeacher216 Rookie

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    When I first started teaching at the high school level I had three different preps-- mind you, as a special education teacher with no formal training in reading, biology, and math, it was a bit of struggle just to get going. Once I took the time and reviewed the curriculum, it was fine. Since I was a long-term sub, I came in and picked up where I thought it was best.

    In middle school, I was a lead teacher for a resource room ELA and inclusion for math and social studies. The math teacher prepped by himself (long story- we did not get along well), but I prepped my ELA class and social studies with the ELA/SS teacher. It worked out wonderfully.

    When I was transferred to elementary school, I had a resource room math for fourth and fifth grade and inclusion language arts between two different teachers. That was a doozy, especially when you are walking into new curriculum. I was then strictly inclusion for the past two years and assisted in prepping all subject areas with my co-teachers. We had a great co-teaching model so prepping with them was very fun and I learned a lot.
     
  15. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    More than two preps is too many. Three is doable but more than that is insanity. It's a moot point now though. I was not selected for the position, anyway. *shrug*
     

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