Time management advice?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by JoanPD, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. JoanPD

    JoanPD Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2019

    I just found out what I'm teaching next year, and I have 5 separate preps to plan for. The school is doing block schedule this year, with four blocks each day. (I'll be teaching either 3 blocks each day, (will possibly have 2 blocks one of the days) and will sometimes have to supervise a study/hall or help supervise with the fourth block)

    I'm looking forward to it and would love some input and advice on time management for planning.

    I'll be teaching:

    Biology (9th/10th grade)

    Chemistry (11th grade)

    General Science (6th-8th grade)

    Health(11th)/Personal Finance (12th) (1/2 year each)

    Math (6th grade)
     
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  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2019

    Digitize everything and recycle old lesson plans. Adjust as needed, but don’t try to invent the proverbial wheel every year. Some of my colleagues — who are old-school — start from scratch every year and I just shake my head at their inefficiency. Why? Because it takes them hours and hours of planning every week and it only takes me like 5 minutes.

    In fact, my lesson plans are done for the entire year for my two AP Calc BC and one Calc 3 classes. The best part? The school year has barely started and I’m essentially done going forward, but I digress. The common spread is that I borrow from prior year’s lessons to streamline my planning such that it is essentially effortless.

    Another tip I have is to use yearly overviews to map out my lesson plans. What I do — to great effect — is that I lesson plan by UNIT and NOT days. For example, if I know that I have to spend two weeks on Taylor and Maclaurin series, then I can easily figure out how many days I should spend on each topic and how many days I need to allocate for formative or ongoing assessments, formal summative assessments, investigative tasks, etc. Don’t make the mistake of planning by day or by one week at a time without any sense of direction like some teachers do.

    It is significantly easier to plan out entire units like this: Spend X days to teach concepts A and B, Y days for review, Z day(s) to assess students’ mastery of A and B, then W days to teach concepts C and D, then U days for AP-practice questions, etc.

    In this way, I just made two weeks of lesson planning easily. Do you see?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  4. JoanPD

    JoanPD Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2019

    I'll definitely start doing that. This is my second year teaching, and my first year for over half of these preps. In addition, being such a small private school, I am the only high school/middle school science teacher.
     
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  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Aug 16, 2019

    Oof -- that's a lot. I also taught at a small school my first years, and I had six preps! I honestly really struggled at first. What helped me a lot was doing what futuremathsprof said above. Also, I had to learn to be OK with not always having perfect, amazing lessons every time for every class -- I would basically pick one class per week to plan something special for, and the others would be pretty straightforward in terms of planning. As FMP said, each time you reteach a class, you can reuse what you already did, and also keep adding more each year. It does get easier...
     
  6. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Aug 23, 2019

    I teach block and have for years and have been told to think of it as 2 45 minute lessons, and I still cant get 2 lessons in per day. I decided that was just decided by somebody who doesn't know students, and I stopped trying to make that model work for me. Instead I broke time into chunks and my largest time chunk is hands on activities. I teach HS English and this works better for me. If you have to keep to a book or curriculum map that tells you be here by such and such day, as if block equals 2 days...good luck! If you can get it to work, please let me in on your secret. For me, slower deeper understanding is what block allows, not more material.
     
  7. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Aug 28, 2019

    Ooof...Sounds familiar. I almost never have fewer than 4. It's tough.
    In addition to the good advice above, I'll give mine on the juggle-fest that is materials.
    Because you teach science, I assume you will probably have some labs, and then material setup/cleanup will probably be an issue. Create a system where you organize all the necessary materials beforehand for each class. I use a system of bins that I set up with the correct materials. At the beginning of each class, I just grab the right bin and set it out. I will usually find a few trustworthy students who are willing to help with setup once the bins are out.
    If you think cleanup will be an issue for you, create a system where students rotate through various clean-up jobs, and/or make students responsible for cleaning/organizing their work stations at the end of each class period. If the jobs aren't done--detention or points taken away. It is SO helpful to have the change-over of materials as efficient as possible when you are juggling so many different activities.
    I'm an art teacher, so my experience will likely be different from yours, but in my years of teaching, I have found that art and science teachers often come up against similar sets of challenges. Good luck, and if you would like any specifics on any of this, shoot me a message!
     

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