Returning to work after becoming a parent

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Loves the beach, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Jun 29, 2014

    I am now the parent of an almost two-month-old, and I will be returning to work in August to my job as a full-time elementary school teacher. What are some helpful tips that have helped you to be a great teacher and parent without looking your mind? :lol:

    Some helpful background info. about me:

    I must return and work full time due to financial reasons.

    I am a perfectionist as far as organization goes. I must have some organization or I will really stress out.

    I have a 40 minute commute.

    My mother in law will care for baby and has offered to clean my house on occasion. :wub:

    My big concern is that I never can finish grading and lesson planning at school, no matter how much I try. I have a 40 minute planning period, but that is also my restroom break and I usually have a meeting to attend.

    I either stay until 5 or 6 at school to ensure I have my lessons ready and papers graded....or I take it home and stay up late.

    I always spend Sunday doing these things regardless.

    My principal requires extremely detailed lesson plans.

    I don't grade every assignment.

    I DON'T want to spend as much time as I do on lesson planning and grading as I do now. I hate doing this at home and on weekends.
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 29, 2014

    Don't have any kids myself (although my husband and 3 cats tend to be a handful at times :p ), but after I started teaching 8 classes I had to change how I did things. It is great that you don't grade everything! But see if you can cut back even more. For example, instead of me grading each step as they complete an activity, I monitor their work doing the classroom time, then grade the packet at the end of the lesson. Also, you might want to choose simpler assignments to grade- maybe fewer questions to answer, etc. I even have my husband help grade assignments on ones that are easy to answer (fill-in's, numbering, etc).
     
  4. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    3 cats! Me, too BioAngel! I love them so much. They can be a handful; you are right about that!
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I have one night a week where my husband handles dinner (he always does daycare since it's closer to where he works), and I stay as late as necessary to get everything done. Make a really good lesson plan template so you can copy/ paste as much stuff as possible (routine things you do each week). Invest in a good crock pot.
     
  6. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Thank you. These are all really great ideas. Maybe I need to start a new thread on Crock Pot recipes!
     
  7. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    What are the students doing while you grade? Are they in class at that time?
     
  8. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Can you work on grading and/or planning during any down time the students have? Like, during recess or during a time when they are silently reading?

    I won't mention lunch....everyone needs at least thirty minutes a day without grading and/or planning! :) What about planning as a group in PLC? The school I am going to work at this fall plans together one day a week. They each stay two hours after school gets out on Thursdays and get all of their planning done for the week.

    Even if you can't do it together, is it something that you could take one night a week to do? Even if you are at home (in case you don't want to stay at school that late.) Whoever said to use a good lesson plan template, I totally agree with that. You could probably copy and paste so much stuff and just tweak it to match the skill that you're teaching.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't really know what you could do to make your planning and grading go more quickly. I teach high school, so the things that I do probably wouldn't work for you. Some of the things I do are grading assignments for one or two specific skills and ignoring the rest (except for the most egregious errors), cutting down the length of graded assignments when I'm grading holistically (maybe only 4 composition sentences instead of 8 or 10), using bubble sheets for assessing basic skills whenever possible, grading some assignments while students are working, using a standardized lesson plan template and just copying/pasting as necessary, and eliminating or severely limiting any special projects or activities that require a lot of extra prep time on my part.

    However you decide to do it, you have got to do it. You can't spend the bulk of your evenings and half your weekend at school or focused on school things. At least, I can't. I made the decision to always leave school within 15-30 minutes of my contract time and to totally, completely leave school stuff at school, both physically and mentally. My kid deserves to have my full attention while we're together. When I look back on my life, I want to know that I did the right thing for my kid, and to me the right thing includes spending time as a family. I'm not going to get any special prize for throwing myself into my job at the expense of my family.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The biggest thing I found that helps me with planning is having a weekly template. It lays out for me Monday through Friday in the order of lessons, and it already has all the parts down. A few words in each box, and I'm set to go.

    Also, I find it easier to do everything electronically. Putting my planbook on the computer lets me move things around quickly (so if something comes up and I don't teach Friday's math lesson, a quick copy/paste and it becomes Monday's lesson.
    Putting my gradebook on the computer lets me quickly average things... we do 4-3-2-1, so I just set everything out of 100, and color-code it in Excel. If I go down the line and a kid is all or mostly green, their report card is a 4. If it's mostly yellow, then it's a 3. Mostly red, a two.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Great suggestions so far, I will add a few:

    Find a planning buddy, my team split up planning this year (we still collaborate and plan together but one person is responsible for typing each subject into the longer plans) and it was amazing! For one thing, I could spend a lot more time finding better resources for the learning objective and I felt we all covered things more in-depth than ever before. We all emailed it to each other and adjusted gins here and there to meet our class, but it was a huge relief for all of us!


    Plan your clothes for the week on Sunday and pack your bags/lunch the night before. Anything that can go in the car the night before, put it there.

    What grade do you teach? I can walk around with a stamp and stamp papers that are 95% or better correct as they finish and then only look closely at a handful of papers in a stack. If it's and older grade you can choose 5 problems in math and grade those instead of grading all of it. You can have the kids use a Crain or marker to circle those problems so you can find them easily.

    One thing I do every summer is start making double batches of casserole type meals and prep crockpot meals. I prefer to do it where I make a double batch and we eat one that night and freeze one, but you can also spend a day or weekend filling up the freezer so you have some dinners ready to go when school starts.

    I would also pick one afternoon where you finish up grading and prep for the next week or unit and have your husband plan on taking over baby/cooking duty that afternoon. That doesn't mean staying until 6, but maybe an extra hour.
     
  12. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I'm in the same situation! My baby is 7 weeks old and I have to go back to work when he's 12.5 weeks. I also have a 40 minute commute, but we're looking to move closer. I don't want to spend that much more time away from him. Luckily I have quite a bit more plan time than I've ever had at my new job. I'm planning to do all of my work at school. I'm mostly worried about being able to emotionally handle being away from him.
     
  13. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I agree with what others have said--will your hubby take a night to give you a break?
     
  14. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Far, I've found that I'm so busy during the day, I don't have time to focus on what my own kids are doing.
     
  15. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    In the end, what is the most important? That is what I asked myself when I went back to work after I had my second child. The answer was my family. After realizing that, the other choices became comparatively easier. You do a great job with the time you have, but do not short your family. They are, after all, the reason you are working. I greatly cut back on the things I brought home because that cut into the time that should, by rights, belong to my children.
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I don't grade work while students are in the classroom, so this is something I would do during a prep or before/after school time. I will do "quick checks" where I will glance over an assignment, check 1 or 2 problems randomly, and put a grade on if the assignment was completed/shows effort. :)
     

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