What am I doing wrong that I need to spend 4-6 hours a day on schoolwork?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 13, 2010

    Obviously, I'm doing something wrong but I can't figure out what it is or how to do it differently.

    I teach sp. ed. social studies (7th and 8th grade). I cannot figure out how to keep them alert and knowledgable enough about the material to pass tests and quizzes without typing out notes for them on each Chapter section. I leave parts of it blank and we fill them in together in class. I quiz them (open notes) on each section of the chapter. If I don't quiz them, I can't gauge if they understand each section's material. So, every 5-7 pgs. of the textbook, I'm writing up notes, creating quizzes and aligning everything to the Chapter tests. I also am obligated to provide them with study guides for each chapter test. On top of all this, I'm also trying not to be just a textbook teacher and attempting to come up with lessons that engage and motivate them (something almost all my students struggle with) so I'm constantly typing up new project guidelines and researching activities that align with my objectives. Note that I teach two grade levels so I'm doing this for two separate curriculums.

    In addition, there are of course, meetings, progress reports and all the other things that go along with sp. ed.

    I absolutely cannot imagine letting them work independently while I grade papers or attempt to do any of my own work in the classroom (as I see reg. ed. teachers sometimes do). My students need constant supervision or many of them will do nothing.

    What am I doing wrong here? I am the last one to leave the school almost every day because of all this work. I also wake up at 5 AM every morning to work for 2 hours before I have to go to school. I love the job (for the most part ;) but I never imagined it would be this much work).
     
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  3. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Sep 13, 2010

    Kudos to you for caring enough to reevaluate your method.

    It sounds like you ARE doing more than you need to be doing.

    If I were you I would evaluate my teaching method. If the students did not understand the first way I taught it...maybe you need to teach it in another way (more kinesthetic, tie in music, etc.)

    This way you will be more effective in what you ARE doing than having to actually do more.
     
  4. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Sep 13, 2010

    Are you trying to teach a grade-level text to students who do not read at grade level? Seems like there's scaffolding and then there's hand-holding - you're doing too much of the latter. Can you focus on key concepts rather than pages in the book? What is the MOST important thing for them to know from each chapter? My guess is your study guides are focusing on a lot of details that, in the big scheme of things, are not very important. If you can distill it down to the basics you will make your life easier and they will be more interested.
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 13, 2010

    Actually, that's exactly what I am doing. Even if I was teaching reg. ed., I'm not a fan of memorization of names and dates. I leave that out of our instruction almost completely. Instead I concentrate on concepts with them such as advantages vs. disadvantages of specific ways of life, purposes and motivations behind actions. I try to use authentic assessment and make connection between what we're reading in the text and what is in their own lives.

    My students that show apathy show it not only for my class but also in all their classes. I don't know how else to reach them other than to create all this work for myself.
     
  6. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2010

    I think you need some other ways of maintaining attention/ progress monitoring.
    Instead of all the quizzes have a daily exit slip w/ one key question that kids answer before they leave. You can gauge understanding really well that way.
    For note taking try this method I was taught in an inclusion seminar. Fold a blanks sheet of paper into 1/4s (Front and back you have 8 squares). As you lecture discuss stop every 5 min and let students draw a picture/write a few keywords about the concept. Then have them share their ideas with a partner or 2. Choose 1-2 good examples each time to share. This is a strategy they can use in another class where as types notes are not something they can replicate w/o the teacher.
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2010

    What about spending a little time on notetaking skills, to get them more independent on that topic? That may pay off great dividends in the long run. I love jday's idea....notes don't have to be done a certain way, as long as they help the kid remember the topic. Pictures work well, too, if it signals the memory.
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2010

    Or, if this is the way you really feel you need to do it, just save all of those notes. Next year, you'll have them to start with and will spend much less time prepping!
     
  9. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2010

    Sounds like an attention span problem. All kids sound be able to work independently if it is at their level. If you are teaching Spec Ed, would those students be working on a modified program, or be on an IEP? Then, you can change the expectations to a level where they can do it on their own.

    I am concerned that they need constant supervision or they will do nothing. They could be testing you, or they may have gotten away with that behaviour in the past. Nip it in the bud quickly - they absolutely should have periods in the day when they are expected to be independent work!!

    Sounds like you are going above and beyond for these kids - they are lucky to have you have a teacher!
     
  10. nana07

    nana07 New Member

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    Sep 14, 2010

    I work with 7th and 8th grade special education, the teacher's are required to do the study guide and the students work on their on paper in class or last period Study Hall. The parapro works with them to ensure the completion of the guide. The history teacher goes over the study guide and then gives points on the amount that was done, then they receive a study guide with correct answer to study for the test. We also require parents to sign the study guide to make them be responible for their child.
     

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