Next year: 80+ kids, 2 PE teachers...how to pull it off

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by PEteacher07, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Next year there will just be me (starting my 4th year) and my assistant (many years of experience) teaching P.E. Our other full time teacher has taken another position at a private school and since the school district is trying to cut corners to save money, we are not getting any sort of replacement. If he had not left, my assistant would have been moved into a classroom situation so we were going to be down one person one way or another. Our smallest classes will be 5th grade with 65 and 3rd grade with 70. Our 1st and 2nd grade classes are in the low 80's and our 4th grade class has about 90 kids. Kindergarten will probably be 80 or so and I have a class of 20 pre-k children.

    Our old principal never really stood up for and defended us or the previous teacher (she didn't like him and its one of the reasons why she left.) There is a new principal at our school and there haven't been many issues thus far. We have to pick up and drop off every grade level everyday. All 500 children from my school see me everyday. It makes it hard b/c we have absolutely no transition time to set up for the next grade level b/c we are busy dropping off one grade and picking up the next grade level. The teachers don't have to do anything but line them up at the door. At other schools in our district, the teachers drop off and pick up their kids.

    From 3 to 2 may sound minor but it is not what either of us want. If we have a student who needs to go to the nurse and needs to be walked in the school building, that means one of us has to leave the gym and leave the other teacher with upwards of 90 children by herself. We don't have a nurse every day so many times it's up to us to do first aid and stuff when she isn't there. They discourage us from sending in kids by themselves to the building for safety reasons (our gym is not attached to the school) and also, many doors to the school are locked for safety reasons. Both of us have key's but the locks are difficult to open by a child and I wouldn't let a child take my keys anyway since they could cost a lot of money to replace.

    There were many times in the last three years that we didn't get a sub for one of us if we were gone, and we made it worked b/c 2 people can pull it off, but it isn't easy. What will happen next year if one of us is absent and we don't get a sub? One teacher can not watch over our large classes. Neither of us miss school that often, but it does happen. We are only human.

    Discipline and monitoring will also be another concern. It was hard enough to see situations with 3 of us there and now we will be down to two people. I am thinking about making it a rule that both bathroom doors will be propped open at all times so that we monitor them easier. Our bathrooms are in a small foyer at the entrance of our gym so it is easy for kids to slip in and out of them without us seeing them. (We only want one person at a time in the restroom b/c girls like to go in there and talk or mess around.)

    Basically, I am looking for suggestions and topics to sit and talk to my principal about. I want to go in with some ideas b/c I always find it annoying when someone comes to me with concerns but doesn't have a plan action to address them. Both my assistant and I feel that he needs to know our thoughts and can maybe help us come up with a plan to make this work. An elementary school with 500 children and upwards of 90 kids in a class should not have one teacher and one aid heading the class. It isn't in their best interest and ours either, but its the situation we are in and we will find some way to make it work. :unsure:
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I can't believe the number of students you are expected to work with at one time! How are you able to do any kind of skill development or evaluation? I don't mind teaching Phys Ed, but I am envisioning the possibility of chaos!

    Our classes are rarely combined for Phys Ed. If they are, it only happens with our primary classes, so there would be no more than 40 students with 2 teachers. Our Phys Ed teacher this year has had co-op students from the high school work with her for much of the year. She has also had student teachers and co-op college students. Are any of these a possibility for you? They would help your ratio while providing the students with a placement.
     
  4. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I would play the legality of it all card. I was expected to supervise 77 children on an excursion with 4 teacher aides and parent volunteers (to a place where literally hundreds of other school students were attending). I would have been the only qualified teacher and therefore legally responsible for the chidlren should an incident have occurred. I made it clear to the DP that I was not happy to carry that responsibility, that I thought the ratio of teacher to children was too high and perhaps therefore illegal, and that I would not be held responsible should anything happen.

    In your case, point out your concerns, the problems with only 2 adults supervising, the scenarios of 'what if' and the repercussions of an incident happening when the administration had been prewarned. Make your concerns in writing and pass them on to your union.

    It is not your responsibility to fix the problem of finding adequate teacher supervision - that is up to administration.

    If you go along with what they are planning, you will burn out and they (the administration) won't change anything because you appear to be coping. This needs to be fixed immediately.
     
  5. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2008

    That's the situation in our school. The only difference is that we never had 3 teachers for P.E. It's always been two.

    I don't know how they do it. Well actually I do. Someone else mentioned skill development. At our school they pretty much just run around on the playground every dry, semi-warm day. On wet, cold days they play basketball or watch a movie. Sad, huh?
     
  6. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I would definitely ask about changing the drop off/pick up duty. Unless it somehow interferes with the teacher's required prep time, there is no reason for the classroom teacher to not do this. I mean they should at the very least be able to do the drop off. Other than Middle School, where the kids would get themselves there, I have never heard of the teachers not dropping off and picking up for specials.

    As far as the bathroom issue of kids sneaking off, maybe make it a rule that anyone who goes to the bathroom without asking has to sit out gym for the day, or the next time they have gym. Or they have to walk laps the whole gym period instead of doing whatever fun activity you have (that way you're not taking away the physical activity, you're just making them do something less fun).

    Do you have a union? If so, look into what your contract says of maximum number of students in your class. Even if you are allowed up to 45 or so, that means you HAVE to have a sub if your aid is absent.

    Best wishes to you!! Is finding a new school an option for you or not really? Sounds to me like this is not the best work environment at all. I commend you for doing your best to make it work.
     
  7. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I worked in a school with 2 PE teacher and 1 assistant. They saw 3-4 classes at a time. Our students went to gym 2-3 times a week (dependent on the number of students we had that year -- my last year there we had 1800 students). Our kg. students did not have Specials. Our PE teachers also got a spare every day. Teachers walked and picked up their class from PE.
     
  8. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Those are high numbers of students! You would think you were in Utah! Our district doesn't have PE teachers. We have one slot a week, maybe two, where we teach PE. If I had a PE teacher I would definitely walk my class down and pick them up. You don't have time for that! Good Luck!
     
  9. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I would look into having teachers drop their students off at the gym and picking them up. There is NO reason why they cannot do this and it seems odd that you have to be running around the campus all day losing YOUR instructional time.

    Is P.E. the only specials class for the students at your school since you meet with every student each day?

    Is there any way you can divide the P.E. class up so that if there are 80 kids, you take 40 and your assistant takes 40? That way it's a little bit more managable?

    And I would use MsMar's suggestion about having students do laps around the gym if they choose to not follow your rules. That would hopefully reduce any misbehaving because I know I wouldn't want to walk laps if that was my other option.

    I'm sorry that you're being treated like this. It's definitely not fair to you or your assistant.
     
  10. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2008

    We don't really do a lot of skill development in the older classes except for developing sport skills, teamwork, proper social interaction, etc. My goal is to get the kids in the gym and get them moving and having fun and sweating. If a kid has left my gym and they aren't sweating, then they didn't work very hard!

    We do have kids from our local college who are PE majors who come and observe, but they only come for a semester at a time and maybe once a week for a few hours at a time. I had a girl come this spring and she helped with my Pre-K and my 1st grade classes. She was a great help and I think she learned a lot too.

    Here is my issue. Someone went down to central office this spring and said that if the school district wanted to cut down on money spent (we are really short on money next year), then taking aides out of the gyms would be a quick way to save money. This last December, we got a call saying that our other teacher was being transferred to another school. The only way he stayed is that he had some parents who know people and they called downtown and demanded that he not be moved. So he got to stay. Now, he is the teacher who is moving to another district next year anyway. Truth be said...I have a family member in central office and I have never asked her, but I think the only reason why it initially wasn't me who was moved was because she said something. My coworker has many more years of experience then I do so it should have been me. I am extremely grateful for her. I know she had something to do with me getting this job, and she helped me keep this job b/c she knows how much I love what I do. My coworker was always more concerned with talking on his cell phone, showing up late and leaving when he wanted to instead of doing the job. My assistant and I were always organizing and doing everything. He was just along for the ride really...

    I DO NOT want to bring attention onto myself at this point. I am terrified to in fact. If I bring attention to myself, then who is to to say that the district won't start looking at me and moving me. At this point, I am willing to talk to my principal, but that is as far as I am going to go.


    I'm sorry that that is your situation. Do they not have access to a cafeteria or gym when the weather is bad? To me, letting kids just run around with no structure is a sign of laziness that is assuming that they have the equipment to work with. :confused: My coworker and I have strategies and games that we use that can be done with 80+ kinder kids or my 92 then HIGHLY competitive 1st graders that will be 4th graders next fall. Sometimes they do have to take turns which cuts down on how many children are simultaneously running around, but if we can make it work, then anyone can make it work. My students get one free day a week on Friday's when they can choose what activities they want to play. If it isn't Friday, they don't get a free day.

    Our teachers are a little spoiled. The art, computer, music, and PE teachers all go and pick up and drop off students. It isn't that bad for the other specialists b/c their classrooms aren't far from the other classrooms. My gym is detached from the building, so yes it's a pain. I can GUARANTEE you if this is brought up the teachers will throw a fit b/c they are used to just lining their kids up at the door. The interesting thing is that it wouldn't be very difficult for most of our teachers b/c most of them have exterior doors so all they would have to do was watch their kids go to the gym. The only teachers without exterior doors that would need to walk their kids down would be Kindergarten (oh they would totally whine and moan if they had to do this) 3rd grade, and Pre-K (their assistant already walks them to the gym everyday anyway so it has been nice!)

    The kids come to PE everyday and they go to other specials like art, music, and computers at least once a week. I don't know the schedules for how this works, but they go to at least one or 2 specials a day I think besides ours. So including lunch, they have MULTIPLE conferences everyday and yet, I know they will start griping about this.


    We have done that in the past with two different activities and then switching half way through which gives the kids a chance to do different activities. The only issue is, if one child gets hurt and needs a visit to the nurse, then that screws everything up and the group has to be combined again b/c we can't leave the 40 kids all by themselves while one teacher walks the injured back in. With 3 of us, we could have a floater who could take care of an injured child while we continued to do our activities.

    Thanks. You know what's funny? I love my job very much. I set VERY high expectations on what I expect them to accomplish, and they can do it.

    I have 1st graders who can double dutch, Pre-K kids who can do a "criss-cross" with a jump rope, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders (boys and girls) who can do ungodly amounts of push-ups, 1st and 2nd graders who wake up early on Saturday mornings and run 2 mile races and finish competitively with children who are years older than they are or even beat them!

    So as you can see, we have done some really cool things with kids despite our situations and I will continue to do these things until they kick me out!!! I wouldn't even DREAM of looking at another district or another school. I love my kids too much and I have enjoyed seeing them everyday and watching them grow up and mature is just a joy.


    FYI, from what I understand Texas is a non-union state so our "union" can push for things to happen, but they can't make things happen. *This is what I understand but I could be wrong*
     
  11. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Even if your union doesn't seem to do much it doesn't hurt to talk to them.
     
  12. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    I don't want to talk to anyone besides my principal. Despite my situation, I don't want anyone looking at me or this program. I am not the only person in the school district going through this and bringing attention to myself could turn out badly. A lady at another school will be completely by herself next year. Her largest class is 60 kids. Her only outlet if something goes wrong is her cell phone to call the office for help. And she is in a title 1 school so its a pretty rough crowd.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2008

    Besides, Texas doesn't have a union.
     
  14. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Could you at least ask your principal for either a cell phone as you said this other teacher has, or a set of walkie-talkies to have the nurse, office personnel, or aide come out to assist the injured student? Sounds like a reasonable request.
     
  15. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Wow...I don't think I could imagine having that many kids at once. I'll never complain about my 23 again!

    I think the pp made a good suggestion about asking for walkie talkies. If you and your asst each have one along with either a school secretary, nurse, or security person, that could make things much easier on you.

    I think its really wrong that the teachers are so spoiled and don't pick up or drop off their kids. I do it for every special...our special teachers only have 5 mins between classes if they are lucky.

    I think it sounds like you are doing a lot of great things with your kids. Its also great to hear how much you love your kids and your job! I say keep doing what you are doing, but definitely look into walkie talkies. Good luck! If I come up with any other ideas, I'll def share them:)
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 29, 2008

    I'm sorry if somebody has already suggested this--- I didn't get a chance to read all the posts.

    Perhaps if your school is trying to cut costs, you could ask if perhaps parents would like to volunteer for one day a week to work with the students. I remember when I was young and my Mom would volunteer to work in the library every couple of days during the week to help out.
     

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