I'm so sick of spending Sundays at school!!!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by DrivingPigeon, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I seriously HATE coming in on Sundays. I'm so sick of it! It's either stay late on Fridays or come in on Sundays. I've tried since week 1 to plan and prep everything for the following week during my prep times during the week, but it's just impossible.

    I hate having only 1 day to my weekend. Yesterday I had plans and was gone all day. This morning I woke up at 10, drove an hour home, ate lunch, showered, got ready, and came to school. It's 6:30 and I still have to finish my plans, get materials ready, run off copies, and finish my classroom newsletter. I have nothing left in me today. :( I just want to go home, eat dinner, enjoy some time with my boyfriend, and go to bed early. Nothing would make me more happy right now. Instead, I'll probably be here until 10, only be back 10 hours later. I feel like I never get a break. :(

    Alright, I'd better shut up and finish my plans. Thanks for listening!
     
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  3. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Feb 22, 2009

    :hugs::hugs::hugs::hugs::hugs::hugs:

    It'll get easier next year. Promise :)
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2009

    Why is it taking so long to plan?

    Is is possible for you to spend like 30 minutes per day throughout the week? Maybe spreading it out a little will make it more manageable.
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I would rather stay late on Friday than go in on a weekend... We are not allowed in our school over the weekends, so I have no choice but to get things ready by Friday and I do go in early on Monday to finish my photocopying. I did Fly Lady for Teachers with other AtoZers for a couple of months and it really helped me get organized.http://www.freewebs.com/nnowlin/Teacher%20Control%20Journal.pdf

    I do find that getting organized improves with every year that I teach! I still haven't mastered the clean desk look but I have totally cut down on my piles on it -- I only have 2 little ones now:p.
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 22, 2009

    Awwww... It's tough but it will get better.

    This is my fourth year teaching and my first year where I haven't brought anything home to work on and the latest that I've stayed at school was 4:30. I also haven't gone in on the weekend since my first year.

    I get as much stuff done before the school day (I get there an hour early) and during (while students are working independently). I also store all of my activities/lesson plans in files by themes and holidays so that I just have to pull them out.

    It'll get better!!!
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 22, 2009

    Sounds like you're doing A LOT--- maybe there are a few things you could cut out? I'm taking it easy on myself as much as possible through this school year. I'm honestly doing the minimum I will allow myself to get away with. Planning for 2 hours every Sunday and then as needed through out the week.

    I know next year a lot of this will finally be done and even through out the summer I'm going to be tackling my curriculum one unit at a time to prep. So even if you can't cut back this year, next year will get easier, third year even better, by your fourth you'll probably have most things down and ready to go.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2009

    When I was in my first year, I picked one day a week (usually a Thur) where I would stay as late as it would take me to finish my planning and getting everything together. That first year I planned with 2 other kinder teachers during lunch so that one day after school was normally getting stuff together for the next week.
     
  9. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I'm feeling the same way...only we aren't able to go in on weekends, but I'm staying soooo late every night and then working on stuff at home most of Sunday.

    This weekend I tried to do everything I needed to when I got home Friday night, but I was so exhausted.

    I'm only student teaching, but it scares me to see how long my teacher spends at school. If I get there half an hour before kids (7:20 ish) and work through my lunch, I am mentally fried by 4:30 or 5. We usually stay till somewhere between 5-6, and I feel like by that point I'm not even being that productive- I'm too tired and hungry to be doing anything!

    This Saturday I didn't even get dressed. I just sat around and watched tv, I was too tired to even think about leaving my house...
     
  10. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I used to stay late in the beginning when I first started teaching. I would be there till 5ish everynight in the beginning.
    I use my preps, lunches and any free minute I can to prep for the following week.

    Trust me it does get easier. Try not to go in on Sunday.
     
  11. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I do this almost every Saturday:eek:.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I do too, at least when I'm not in class (for my ESL certification).

    I actually jump into my pjs the minute I get home. From Friday PM through Monday AM, I like to live in my pjs on the couch reading a book or watching stuff I've DVRed through the week.

    :yawn: I'm sort of a lazy bum. :)
     
  13. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Feb 22, 2009

    My first year I stayed until 11 many nights and went in on Saturdays and Sundays. I feel that I was productive while I was there, but I was creating everything from scratch and it just took time. Kindergarten is a different animal, isn't it?

    Over the years I weaned myself down. Now I won't even consider going in on a weekend, although I do some plans at home on Sunday evening.
     
  14. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I can't believe it is possible to go into a school over the weekend. I'd rather not do that. I think I'd lose my sanity if I went it over the weekend.
     
  15. SocWkr-Tchr

    SocWkr-Tchr Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2009

    I'm also a new teacher (just started in Jan.). I get at my school every morning at 7:00 am (contract time doesn't start until 8:00) and I leave at contract time, or maybe 15 minutes later. For me an extended day is much better than coming in on the weekends. I have come into the school a few weekends, but not often. Also my school provides a lap top, so I bring that home every weekend and sometimes will do bits of work at home.

    But I really try to leave Friday with a "rough draft" of how the week will look.

    You have to have time for yourself!! I believe this 100%. If you're not getting time to yourself and living a personal life, then you're going to be burnt out soon.
     
  16. sharart

    sharart Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2009

    We have to "vent" to each other...teachers are perfect ya know!

    I hate to tell you, but it does not get any better...I have been teaching since 1976...the load just gets heavier...but, hang in there, I'm trying to think of something "noble" to say...only, "just hang in there" comes to mine...:)

    Sharart


     
  17. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Feb 23, 2009

    I'm also working ridiculous hours, I feel your pain. I think you're lucky to be able to get in school on the weekends, though. I would loooove that.
     
  18. hopefulnovice

    hopefulnovice Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2009

    I think most first year teachers experience that. I usually stay till 5 pm every day and come a couple Sundays a month. It must get better, next year you'll have some lesson plans (assuming you're teaching the same subject/s) to use as the backbone. Unfortunately, we have to suffer during the first year. That's just how it is.
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. :) I made it through. To answer some of your questions, it takes me abuot 3-4 hours to plan for the next week. Prepping is another story. I do have a parent come in every Tuesday for 1 hour to help me prep, too. I have cut back A LOT with how much work I have for myself. Like someone else said, kindergarten is a different animal! The prep work never ends!
     
  20. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    Feb 23, 2009

    WOAH....why the heck are you going in on Sunday? I do work at home on Sunday, but not much. You're going to burn out quickly if you keep up this pace.

    Can your teammates share lessons with you? Can you make copies before you go home?

    I've pretty much started to eliminate making copies...too much paper. Do you have to make so many?
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Well, for the sharing lessons part, we're supposed to just follow our Harcourt Storytown curriculum, which the other K teachers do, so they wouldn't really have anything to share. I don't really like it, which is why I usually have so much planning to do. The curriculum involves a lot of worksheets, and most of the material is just too easy for my kids, because I have a pretty high class. Plus, it's just boring! The lessons are like this: "Tell the children you are going to play a game called 'guess the word.' Read the following sets of words and have them guess which one does not rhyme." First of all, reading lists of words to them week after week is SO boring. Plus, rhyming is one of the first steps for phonemic awareness, and most of my kids are reading at an end of kindergarten level. So, I spend a lot of time coming up with more hands-on language arts lessons that are more beneficial to my students' needs.

    As for the copies, I don't really make too many. It depends on the week. Most of the copies that I make from week-to-week are to replenish my literacy centers. We're also "limited" to 5 copies per day (yeah, right), so I make them on weekends when no one is there. I don't think it really matters, though, since I see most teachers going WAY over their limit.

    I know it will be better next year, since I'll have everything done. Plus, I'll have my smartboard, which will cut way down on cutting and laminating.
     
  22. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    Have you talked to your P/AP about this? Are they aware that you are not following the structured curriculum provided by your district? I am not familiar with Harcourt Storytown, but I know that Harcourt is a pretty reputable textbook publisher. I can't fathom that they have created a product that has no educational value to your students. I mean, if your P/AP are on board with this, than more power to you - but I would hate to see you expend all this energy to reinvent the wheel - especially when you have a wheel right there in your classroom - ready to go.

    Also, you mentioned that some of the material in the StoryTime curriculum is boring. Is it boring to the kids, or is it boring to you? Even if it drives you up the wall - it is very likely to be very engaging - and educational to your kids. I know when I subbed K for a month, I hated Calendar Math. I thought it was so boring and stupid. But, I put a smile on my face, and got the kids excited about it - because that daily repitition is critical for their development in K.

    Good Luck!
     
  23. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    I would think that following any text to the letter would be boring to the kids. Why do work sheets when you can use more engaging methods of teaching. I can't imagine there are many schools that are insistant that teachers follow a "paint by numbers" type of teaching which is what this program sounds like. If I was given a program like this I would assume that it was a starting point and that as long as I was teaching the state standards that it was okay (but then that is the way things go at my school :) )
     
  24. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    Believe it or not, there are. I think it varies from district to district and state to state. I know in my area, our Ks work off of a specific curriculum - and the days are pretty much planned out in advance for the teacher.


    Also, I agree with you that going strictly by the book is not always best, but I think there are some intermediate steps in between following the curriculum verbatim and completely throwing the curriculum out the window, and inventing one's own curriculum from scratch.
     
  25. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Trust me. It's WAY easier to start from scratch than to try to make Storytown interesting.
     
  26. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    My principal trusts me to make educated decisions about my students' needs. There are other schools in the districts, and many other teachers at my school, who don't follow the curriculum very closely (or at all). I was told that last year the district chose Storytown, even though the teachers preferred another curriculum. I didn't say it has NO educational value-I just said that my students this year are pretty high, so many of the activities are way too easy for them. None of the first grade teachers use Storytown, because they, too, feel it is way too easy for their students.

    I have spent a lot of time, and money, on other teaching resources and books that include more engaging activities. Kindergarten is so demanding for children of such a young age, so I find activities that are more play-based for them.

    For example, the book will have a lesson on vowels for phonemic awareness. For five days straight the lesson is, "Think aloud. Say, 'I am going to say three words. Listen to the middle sound in each word: bet, neck, set. All of these words have /e/ in the middle.' Have children repeat each set of words and name the sound in the middle." That is directly from the text. Then, it lists SIXTEEN sets of three words to read aloud. I'm sorry, but that is not only a snoozer for them, but it puts me to sleep, as well. I've tried reading the words with an animated voice, spelling them on index cards for them to hold, etc.

    So, I have a collection of resource books with more exciting activities. For example, on day one we might play "Race to the top" where each child has a graph with the vowels listed across the bottom and numbers on the side. I will read a word out loud and they have to color in the graph for the sound they hear in the word. They get so excited predicting which one will reach the top first, and the entire time they are comparing the data ("E only needs 4 more to catch up to A!").

    The next day they might wear a picture card on yarn around their necks. They have to roll the ball to someone whose picture contains the same vowel as the picture around their neck.

    Tomorrow we are working on word families, and I'm giving them different words on cards. They have to find the other members of their family, read all of the words, and tell everyone which family they are in.

    So, this is why my planning takes so long. I'm not saying I'm "super-teacher" or that I don't understand why I have to spend every Sunday at school. I just want to do what I feel is best for my students-activities that will challenge and engage them-even if the prep is more than just reading from the teacher manual and running off copy after copy of worksheets. Also, I do use the curriculum-just not in its entirety. Some weeks I find the activities to be very beneficial and I might follow most of them. Other weeks I don't use it at all.

    Even so, I still hate spending Sundays at school!!! (Wow, I can't believe I wrote so much!!!)
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    :lol: :hugs: A K teacher that understands Storytown! Thanks!

    P.S: If you read my above post you'll see that I didn't completely throw out the curriculum and start from scratch. If I did that I would be going INSANE right now!
     
  28. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I don't really understand things like this. Do they really follow it day-by-day? How are they meeting the needs of their students by always doing the same thing? Is that assuming that the needs are exactly the same from year-to-year?
     
  29. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I feel the same exact way. No one curriculum can be what's best for any given child, let alone a whole group. If a district expects it, so be it, but it's just not good teaching to follow the script day in and day out.

    I use Storytown as a jumping off point, too. Okay, they want us to cover story elements and medial sounds today? I use my own story (unless I really love theirs) that ties into science or social studies and cover the elements. Then I make sure to teach medial sounds, also. I also follow their sight word sequence but supplement with my own. And I follow the order of introducing the letters. But, you're right, I am not going to follow their stuff page by page. Way too much sit time and not nearly enough individualization. And their centers are awful, IMO. Wouldn't hold my students' attention for more than 30 seconds. I haven't even opened the shrink wrap on the center cards in two years. But I looked around at my own class this morning during literacy stations and saw them 100% engaged for half an hour independently counting syllables in words (in our write around the room station), putting together silly rhyming sentences at our game station, spelling CVC words and other games at computers, writing 3, 4, or more sentences at our writing station, and drawing story events at listening.

    See, I went on and on, too. All that to say, I'm right there with you. And it does take time. But it's worth it.
     
  30. MrsOrion

    MrsOrion Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2009

    I know how that feels. It stinks!
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    That's exactly what I do.

    The center cards crack me up. Most of them are SO boring!

    I also am not a fan of their "leveled" books. Have you noticed that the books are leveled in a really odd way? For example, some of them are considered "B-D." I'm sorry, but that is a pretty wide range! When I was trying to prepare books to start guided reading this year, my literacy specialist looked at those books and said, "Please, DO NOT use these books with your kids!" I think that says a lot.
     
  32. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    Pidgeon,

    I hope you didn't take offense at my post, because none was certainly meant! I just got the impression from your earlier post that all of your K teachers were following the curriculum, and you were off doing your own thing, which in my District is a huge, huge no no.

    I think that it is fantastic that your admins are so supportive to trust you to do what you know how to do - which is teach. And it sounds like you have a lot of good ideas!

    But, yeah, my district is incredibly strict about the curriculum. I have literally walked into a K classroom on a Tuesday, opened up the Basal, and picked up exactly where I left off the day before - when I was in a totally different classroom at a school across town.
     
  33. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    I think there is a difference between curriculum and content. The curriculum (i.e. the standards) should be taught consistently across a district. However, how teachers choose to do that (content) needs to be based on their individual learners.

    Just my 2 cents on that dialogue :)
     
  34. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 24, 2009

    That's kinda scary to tell you the truth-- I just kept thinking to myself... well what if kids wanted to discuss something a bit longer or asked an off-topic question that they really found interesting or that they didn't understand a lesson as well as they ought to. :confused:

    In my school we have two teachers for 5th grade humanities. One of them is 2 weeks behind the other because of how detailed she goes into the work. And for some reason the students that have that teacher are doing such a better job in science... even if having a lot of difficult children.

    I just can't imagine working at a school like that--- ya I get exhausted from having to tweak my curriculum to match the needs of my students, but I know they'll be better science students for it.
     
  35. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Feb 25, 2009

    Yikes, that is strict! I think in my district the only reason they want you to follow the curriculum is because they paid so much money for it. :rolleyes:

    And, no, I didn't take offense to your other post. I just tend to ramble when defending my point sometimes!
     

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