Teacher workload and the 4x4 block

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Miss Madame, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. Miss Madame

    Miss Madame New Member

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    Jun 20, 2009

    Does anyone know of a book, article, or guru that addresses the topic of the appropriate number of teacher preps on the 4x4 block?

    I teach three 90-minute classes a day and having to teach three different courses really spreads my prep time thin, thus limiting by ability to really prepare the best lessons possible for my students. I've been fighting this battle with my administrators for 12 years now, and I am hoping that some strong research will help my cause. Please help!
     
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  3. ANGRY AL

    ANGRY AL Companion

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    Jun 20, 2009

    If you find anything, let me know, too! We get a 27-minute prep on a 4-block schedule.
     
  4. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Wow. I will have a full 90 minutes prep each day. At my school, teachers have no duty assignments.
     
  5. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jun 20, 2009

    I'm not sure there is much you can do.... I have on a block as well, but the A/B block. That said, I also teach four completely different classes with a 90 minute prep. Last year, on "B" days, each period was a different class.

    I struggled with it at first, and ultimately, wasn't terribly happy with the results. Thus I'm spending a good chunk of the summer creating PowerPoints, editing unit plans, finding primary source readings, etc. I want to have as much ready as I can, so that I don't drown again during the school year.

    It sucks, but it's common I think. There are several teachers in my building that have 5, or even 6, different classes per semester with each class period being a different course.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jun 20, 2009

    I feel for you all, the most preps any of my teachers has is three, and often times two of them are the same course at different levels.
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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  8. Miss Madame

    Miss Madame New Member

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    Jun 23, 2009

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the perspective.
     
  9. 88tuner

    88tuner Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2009

    Prep

    Many states have a minimum requirement for teachers. You might check your state law. I teach 4x4 as well and have no planning time. That's by my choice however. I was able to add a 4th jazz band by doing this.
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Unless you have something in your contract regarding the number of preps you have, I don't think you have a case. And in all the years I have been on bargaining committees looking at contracts from all over the US, I have never seen anything contractual about number of preps a teacher could be assigned. You should also check with your contract to make sure you are getting all your prep minutes stated in your contract. In my district, elementary teachers are really shafted for their prep time because their minutes are scattered throughout the day - 20 minutes here, 10 minutes here where as secondary teachers we are used to getting our entire prep minutes at one time.

    My first two years teaching, I had 5 preps - US History, World History, Geography, Government on a traditional schedule. So I had 50 minutes to prep for 5 classes. It is hard, but I don't think you will find any sympathetic admin to your cause. I was told a long time ago, be careful what you add to your license because at some time they will make you teach those courses.
     
  11. azure

    azure Companion

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    Jul 8, 2009

    Another mom and I fought desperately to keep block scheduling out of our high schools. Unfortunately our school board tends to try the next fad that comes down the pike. Fortunately it only lasted one year and then went back to 7-period day. Kids have more instructional time in each class under a 7-period day.

    Our teachers were not properly trained to do block scheduling. They weren't covering the same amount of material. They'd give the lesson, then give the rest of the time for homework. So they were not covering 2 days worth of material as they should have been. Kids loved it because they had no homework.
     
  12. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Well, honestly, I've found that you really just CAN'T cover 2 days worth of material most of the time. I teach history, and for me, it simply isn't logical to do so, nor do my students have the attention span for it. If I tried to do 2 lessons in 1 day, the 2nd lesson would be less effective because over half the class would be "done" by then. I use the extra time for reinforcement activities, research projects, or reading books/articles.

    Thus, I cover dramatically less material than I did on the traditional. For my World History classes, I've found I cover approximately one unit less than before, each semester. I've also found I move "faster". Each unit is now in 6 day chunks... 5 days for content, 1 day for a test. That amounts generally to two week units, with a test every two weeks. All of my units were 2 weeks previously really, but those 2 weeks would have been 10 instructional days instead of 5/6. Bleh.
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 8, 2009

    Ron, you are exactly right. We've found that our curriculum is cut by nearly 1/3 on the 4x4 schedule.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    We didn't find that much of a dramatic cut of curriculm. We covered about one less unit per course.To me it wasn't a huge deal if the freshman got to the French Rev.
     
  15. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Jul 9, 2009

    I see this a lot at my school, where we have 4x4. Shame
     
  16. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Jul 9, 2009

    I agree 100%. I actually like a lot about 4X4 scheduling, but this is one thing that bugs me. I feel like it creates a bad perception among the students. They have this perception that they're constantly being tested, but it's just because I like to give a study guide at least 2 classes before a test....and each unit is only 4-5 content days. So, we'll have a test, then two classes (not days-classes) later I'm already giving out another study guide!
     
  17. Miss Madame

    Miss Madame New Member

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    Jul 10, 2009

    I think what I will do is make a big push for our school to go the A/B block schedule. That way, teachers with three course preps would at least have fewer class periods per week to plan for, thus increasing planning time for everyone.
     

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