How many preps?

Discussion in 'High School' started by lbm33, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. lbm33

    lbm33 Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2010

    I am a relatively new (3rd year) English teacher who is wondering what is NORMAL in terms of numbers of preps for high school teachers (specifically English).

    Right now I have 4 preps for each day (5 classes total). Is this as unusual as I think it is? I am very overwhelmed by the lesson planning and feeling as if I often have to let one thing slip in order to plan well for another.

    So, first of all...is this at all normal? Second of all, does anyone have advice for how to deal with this situation? It is hard to feel on top of your game when you are torn in so many directions. :dizzy:
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Sep 22, 2010

    This year I have 4 preps, last year three, one year I had only 1 (yuck) and my first year teaching I had 5. I really don't think there is a "normal" number of preps.

    My first two years teaching was at a large school (over 2000 students) and it was common practice to load up the newer teachers with the "left-over" preps hence I had 5 preps. Kinda unfair I think for new teachers but excepted practice in that building.

    At my present school where I am starting my 16th year, the common practice is to do the opposite for our new teachers. Our admin and guidance try to keep new teachers to two or less preps.

    As far as advice, organization is key. What worked for me my first two year with 5 preps that I had never taught before was to try to plan each prep at least two weeks in advance. So, on Monday I would plan two weeks for prep A, Tuesday prep B, Wednesday prep C, etc... Take a break over the weekend and until Wednesday of the next week and then start over. This worked for me because I felt a sense of accomplishment each day, eventually got a few days off from planning and could keep my head straight.

    Good luck
     
  4. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Sep 22, 2010

    I currently have three preps. Last year I had four. The year before that I had four. There doesn't seem to be a "normal", but four wouldn't be outrageous or unusual at my school at all.
     
  5. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2010

    I teach 6 classes with 3 preps. My 1st year teaching, I had 5 classes and 5 preps. I also was head coach of one sport and assistant coach of another. I also had a husband and 3 small children at home. It was a rough year and almost my last.
     
  6. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    YIKES - :eek:

    I'll bet everything seems like cake after that year
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2010

    Most of the English teachers at my school have two or three preps.

    I'm not an English teacher, but I have four preps, one of which is AP. Last year I had five preps, including AP.

    The French teacher has four preps this year, as does one of the Spanish teachers. The other two Spanish teachers each have three preps, I think.

    It can be tricky to have so many preps, for sure, so staying organized and on top of work is essential.
     
  8. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    Sep 23, 2010

    I have 4.
    2-3 is about the norm. Luckily, only one of the preps I have this year is new to me, so it hasn't been that hard to adjust.

    I agree with INTeacher's idea: take time to plan out a couple weeks for 1 class and then another chunk of time to plan out a couple weeks for another class. Best of luck to you!
     
  9. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2010

    We run on block schedules and most teachers have 2 preps. A few have three, but 2 is definitely the norm. But again, we only have 5 blocks in a day of which 3 are teaching blocks and the other 2 are either prep-time, lunch, or duty.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2010

    I've always had 3, this year I have 4. One English teacher in my building has 4, the other 3.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2010

    We have between two and three preps. I most of us then have about two to three preps. This year at my school only certain teachers teach honors, so some teachers only have honors classes while others only have CP. We have decided to do this after years of dealing with teachers who don't want to design a different work load for honors or give essays.


    Most teachers only teach two different courses, sometimes a third if they teach an elective.
     
  12. kmj

    kmj New Member

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    Sep 23, 2010

    I've had 2-3 preps in the past, and 3 this year. Four sounds like a lot to me, especially for a brand new teacher. At my last school, most people had 2-3 preps - at this school is 2-3 as well - 4 or more per teacher is the exception. :( Good luck!
     
  13. Navigator

    Navigator Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2010

    I have 2 preps, and I've rarely had more than 3.

    My wife, who is a first-year teacher, has 4: one social studies class and three levels of Latin. She's the most organized person I know, and while that quality is helping her keep her head above water, she's still struggling. She's managing a little better week by week, but she has a hard time seeing that.

    I can sympathize with anyone who's carrying a heavy load like hers!
     
  14. jaded

    jaded Rookie

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    Oct 1, 2010

    I have 3 different preps (teach 3 different courses). I'm a new teacher so it's been a lot of work, but I expected that. It would be kind of nice to have 2 of the same course, but at the same time I'm grateful that I'm getting experience in 3 different subject areas (all 3 of my preps are not just different classes but entirely different departments!). (I might end up eating my words on the grateful part one week when I'm all stressed trying to prepare for all 3 very different courses :p but in general I'm glad I'm having the opportunity to be a part of different departments.)
     
  15. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I have 3. In my district, it's in the contract they can't give you more than 3 unless you approve it first.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I've had up to 4. I've also changed preps mid year, or added to my classes, when necessary.

    This year I have 2 (well, technically 3) preps.

    Fewer than 2 is simply too boring. A few years ago I had only one-- I taught 7th grade math all day long. By the time I hit my last class I was ready to pull my hair out.
     
  17. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I have only 1 this year... it's actually kind of boring. I've had as many as 3.
     
  18. kfhsdramaqueen

    kfhsdramaqueen Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2010

    I have four

    I ahve four this year - AP, English 12, Theatre I & Theatre II. My first year I had five - Music Appreciation, ESL, Theatre, Speech, English 10. I was also choir director and band assistant. I've always had at least 2, but usually 3.

    Don't reinvent the wheel everyday. What works in one class may work in another, just with a different subject matter. Use the textbook resources if you have them as a starting point. And just plan! It's all you can do, and try not to become schizophrenic from changing thoughts every hour or so.
     
  19. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Oct 28, 2010

    I have six different class periods and five different preps. This is actually the first year I have taught the same class for two hours and it is pretty nice. I usually have six different preps and a 48 minute prep period.
     
  20. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Wow - what do you teach??
     
  21. UCFTeacher09

    UCFTeacher09 New Member

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I have 7 different preps for 7 class periods. I work at a very small school and it is definitely a lot of work!
     
  22. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I'm going to have either 5 or 6 preps once they get back to me with my final schedule. The nice thing is I'll have one regular 10th, one honors 10th, one regular 12th, and one honors 12th. So I will be able to do some similar things like for example both senior classes will read some Canterbury Tales. I will probably do some same tales and add on one or two more for my honors class. I may also have a speech class. I'm still waiting to hear on that.
     
  23. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    Jul 27, 2011

    The norm in my area seems to be 1 or 2.
     
  24. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I have 6 preps! 6 different courses...last year I had 5, i took on an extra class this year.
     
  25. RajRaturi

    RajRaturi Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I've got 3 preps. The number of preps don't annoy me as much as how they are spread out. Having to prep for one section of one class is annoying day after day, month after month.
     
  26. Outdoorz

    Outdoorz Rookie

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    Okay, so this may be a stupid question, but I am not familiar with the lingo and am not yet a teacher. What do you mean by "preps"? At first I thought it referred to a prep hour, in which I would assume more would be a good thing. But that's not what I'm seeing here. Could you please explain to me so I understand what you're talking about.

    Thanks and sorry for my ignorance.
     
  27. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Someone can probably describe it more succinctly but preps are the amount of different classes you teacher. For example I am teaching 8th grade, 10th regular, 10th honors, 12th regular, and 12th honors so I technically have 5 different classes and 5 preps though mine will have quite a bit of overlapping.
     
  28. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Yep, dgpiaffeteach is right, it's the number of courses you're teaching. "Prep" can also refer to your prep period(s).

    Our union contract limits us to 3 unless we sign off on more. My department chair tries to give everybody only two. Honors and Advanced of the same grade level is considered one prep though. I have 3 - IB junior English, regular junior Am Lit and Drama. 5 classes a day.
     
  29. Outdoorz

    Outdoorz Rookie

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    Thanks for the info dgpiaffeteach and dovian.
     
  30. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    I feel really silly because I thought they were referring to prep periods and I was like how long are their class periods. The norm isn't 1 or 2 then in my area but 6-7 classes to prepare for though some sometimes they have 2 sections of one class.
     
  31. BlaisePascal

    BlaisePascal Rookie

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    A/B Block scheduling (yuck) at our school here. The normal teacher load is 5 classes, though the "normal" number of preps varies. I'll have 3.5 preps this coming year (if you consider "Algebra I" as one prep and "Algebra I Honors" as half of a prep). :|
     
  32. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Our French teacher has five preps this year, six if you consider that she is also the coach of a spirit group that has a class period. Poor, poor child.
     
  33. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Last year, I had six different preps. All my classes were different with one planning period.
    This year, I feel like I can take a breath. For the first time in about 8 years, I have a class with two sections which means they share a prep so I will have only 5 preps a day.
     
  34. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    It states in our contract that we can have up to four preps. I have had three preps for the past several years. Two of my preps are actually the same class, but different levels, so there is some overlap there. I have always found it difficult to balance teaching multiple classes. It gets easier if you have the same classes for more than one year. For example, I have taught one class so many times that I don't need to give it as much attention in terms of my planning as compared to a new course I would be teaching. That's the easiest way that I have dealt with that.
     
  35. lb1

    lb1 Rookie

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    I have 5 preps. My one conference period is taken up by testing students and IEP meetings. Blah.
     
  36. phostoukosmou

    phostoukosmou New Member

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    It is my fourth year to teach high school English this year. I am being asked to teach 7 classes with 5 preps. I am also the head varsity football coach. How does this compare with the "average" teaching assignment?
     
  37. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I have two preps. But our periods are 1hour50 minutes long.
     
  38. iheartscience

    iheartscience Rookie

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    I have 4 preps. 4x4 schedule, so I have the same 4 classes every day for 90 minute classes for a semester. Planning 90 minutes a day for 4 different classes every single day gets overwhelming pretty quickly, I can't imagine 6 preps!
     
  39. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    When I taught high school, I had five preps between two schools.
    • 12th grade British literature
    • 11th grade American literature
    • 9th grade English
    • 7th grade reading
    • 7th grade health

    I wasn't even full time! I was a 7/10 employee.
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2013

    This year I only have 2: Algebra I Honors and Math SAT prep.

    My preps were changed over the summer. When school ended in June I was teaching 2 Geometry Honors, 2 Geometry regular track, and 1 Algebra I Honors.

    I've had as many as 4 different preps in one year.
     
  41. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Last year I had four. This year I only have three but one is being done from scratch.
     

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