What are your thoughts on this?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeachinHicks, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    So I just got my welcome back packet for my daughter's school (same school I teach at, and I haven't gotten mine yet...) but they've changed our schedule a little from last year. It goes like this:

    M, Tues, Thurs, Fri. 7:45-3:20
    Wed: 7:45-1:50

    This is happening because several teachers apparently were complaining about not having enough planning time during school hours (like any of us do...) so on Wed. we'll have until 4:00 without students at school.

    What are your thoughts about this?
     
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  3. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    We have minimum days on Wednesdays, it works but its not that much planning time because the P makes staff dev days, collaboration days, and other things that take up the time. There is usually only one day to have individual planning time.
     
  4. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    It was that way during my internship. It worked well, though I prefer full days five days a week. It used to be in my current district, though, that we had one half-day (same hours as you basically) a month, and it was fine.
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    My thoughts are:

    AWESOME!
     
  6. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    It was like that at the K-12 school I went to. Tuesdays we got out at 1. During the winter, they took those who signed up to ski and we left at noon. (everyone else got out at 1) As a student, I LOVED it. It worked really nicely with high school sports schedules, since we had to travel pretty far to get to another school as small as us, we often used that early dismissal time to travel.
     
  7. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    i would LOVE that!!!
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Our school does something similar but not for planning time. Every Thursday the students are dismissed 50 minutes early. During that time our After School Counselors come an hour early to take care of the students. The teachers have department meetings every other Thursday and workshops on the alternate Thursdays.

    For your plan, it would be great for the teachers but may create hardship for parents having to find childcare issues on those days. It depends.
     
  9. natelukesmom

    natelukesmom Companion

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    I would LOVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEE that!! Who doesn't need more planning time?? Just my opinion.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ouch... how do parents work childcare?
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    My Middle School was that way. I don't remember if it was every Wednesday or just 1 a month. I don't know what the teacher's did during that time.
     
  12. natelukesmom

    natelukesmom Companion

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    Goodness, didn't even think of that! That would be hard on someone like me w/ 2 kiddos to worry about!
     
  13. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    As a parent I would hate it! Who would watch my kids every Wed afternoon? Unless there was free extended day at the school, I would not be a happy camper. Getting an afternoon babysitter for one day per week would be tough.
     
  14. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    Childcare is my point. My daughter goes to school with me and comes home with me. Most days not a problem, but I would feel horrible for making her stay 2 hours after just hanging out. Hopefully I'll work something out, but I can see there being several complaints about it from that point.

    We'll see how it goes, school starts in 2 weeks! Thank you all for your responses.
     
  15. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I think it sounds great too, as long as parents don't have to go to work!

    aka, Yuck for me!
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This was my first thought as well.
     
  17. Fairborn

    Fairborn Rookie

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    I agree with Aliceacc. We're going through the same thing in my district, but ours is for "professional development." I think that's quickly going to boil down to extra planning time--hard to do quality professional dev. in an hour, and parents were the first thing I thought of--what are they going to do? We're a poor district, and I don't think they're going to have a lot of options.
     
  18. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    My elementary was like that, getting out early on Thursdays. That was back when there were more SAHM's. As a kid, I loved it. Looking back, our teachers probably loved it, too.
     
  19. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    In one of my districts, the bus schedule ruled the school schedule.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    At the risk of sounding like a traitor, why do they need so much planning time? I know that new teachers are always swamped. But the vast majority of the staff: why do they suddenly need that extra block of time every single week? What extra work explains the need for extra time??
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Two hours a week of extra time, in my opinion, is not that much extra time Alice considering many teachers don't get the job done in the neat amount of time they are contracted, even seasoned teachers. It may not be that they suddenly have extra work, but rather they were swamped all along or at least had to work extra hours to accomplish the same goals.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    But NOW? When so many parents are struggling to make ends meet-- NOW they need to make childcare an issue?

    I'm sorry, it seems incredibly selfish to me. Parents accept jobs under the assumption that their kids' schools won't pull the rug out from under their feet. Yet it sounds like that's exactly what has happned here.
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Alice, I feel that way about a lot of issues we have with today's education. It used to be that you could drop your kids off at school (or put them on a bus) and go to work. Unless you worked a different shift then you only had to concern yourself with after school care. Nowadays the budget crisis is so bad that many schools in the same city have staggered starting and ending times. It's okay if you have a school that fits either needing before or after care but in many cases they are right in the middle of it and students need both before and after school care. This increases a burden for many families. Then let's talk about the fact that the school district I work in also has so many professional days a year. I don't begrudge them of that but it ended up being cheaper for me to pay for before and after care (because it includes the day off money) than to try to see if I can swing getting my kids to school and skipping the before school care because the costs for paying for the full day were more than the before and after care together. I hope that made as much sense in writing as it does in my head.

    I counted one year and it equaled to approximately 3 days per month that the parents have to find childcare for. This doesn't include holidays and other days the student and teachers have off. It's a headache.

    Then again, in some areas, buses are becoming obsolete.

    We have to remember that schools are not babysitting services but at the same time schools have to remember the financial burdens of parents. It's a delicate balance.
     
  24. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I know that as they cut specialist positions, we have to share our SPED, ESOL, and reading specialist teachers with other grade levels. Thus, when I have planning time, they have to be in another classroom. It makes it very difficult to sit down and plan inclusion lessons together. It's possible that this schedule change is for collaborative planning or professional learning communities.

    I'm not saying it's fair to the parents who have to make childcare arrangements, but maybe it's to benefit instruction.
     
  25. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    as elementary teachers we teach everything...math, science, social studies, writing, reading, spelling, etc...therefore, it takes us a LONG time to plan AND be creative with the lessons. not to mention all the testing we have to do! i have an hour a day, but i still feel like i need more because i take SOOOO much grading home. i'm only contracted from 8:30-3:30 and i put in at least 3-4 hours more a day. so having an early day to plan or whatever the district assigns that time would be FABULOUS! i'd welcome it, but would also push for after school care as i understand that parents have to work too.

    i'm off my soap box now. sorry if i over stepped or anything.
     
  26. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    exactly! some parents think of the school system as a glorified babysitting service!
     
  27. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Most of the districts in my area (including the one I work in) have one early release/late start day each week. One district has a testing/staff development day at least twice a month. We also have several districts that have 4 day school weeks. It is very common around here. I think it is actually easier to have one day that is always early release so you can plan for childcare. I think random days off would be harder to deal with.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree that school is not daycare.

    But for years we've been reading all about how hard it is to teach kids all that they're expected to learn-- so now we're cutting the time they spend in class???

    I'm sorry, folks. I know the job is hard-- I've been doing it for a long time. But I think that cutting the time that kids spend in school is unfair to the kids and unfair to their parents. Whether we like it or not, the reality is that parents need to know when kids will be in school so they can work. In this economy in particular, every cent counts. It's the beginning of August and the school is notifiying parents NOW that they have huge childcare issues???

    This bothers me on so many levels.
     
  29. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Alice, I agree with that last statement. The school should not be notifying parents in August of the upcoming changes. That is poor planning and it does affect the community.
     
  30. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    For us Wed afternoons might be considered planning-but we always have meetings or prof. dev and end up staying until at least 4:00 anyway. It's very rarely just straight planning time, we have other responsibilities.

    Alice- I agree with you and voted against this schedule when it was proposed for that reason. I hate Weds now with a passion because you have to try to cram lessons in-you only really have time for reading and maybe a little math-it just feels like a waste of a day. Our Kinders have to go to lunch at 10:00 because they have to have all classes through by 1:00. The kids are off routine and parents often forget it's Wed and we end up with a lot of extra kids after dismissal.

    I don't think it's worth all the chaos for those extra 2 or 3 hours. But that's just my 2 :2cents:.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The school my kids attend has 5 parents conference days/nights in the fall.

    For every one of them, dismissal is at 10:45 am.

    That's right-- they get a "half day" (though I shudder when I wonder who calls 2 1/4 hours half a day) 5 times a year. I imagine the teacher contract stipulates that, if the teachers are going to meet with parents after school hours, they get out at that time.

    I'm sorry, but I think that's unreasonable.

    It doesn't impact me directly; my sitter watches my kids (and 3 others) any time I'm at school and the kids aren't. And, no, they're not teacher development days-- during the years I was a SAHM the kids and I frequently ran into teachers at the mall on those mornings.

    But I think it does perpetuate the myth that teachers work a few hours a day and are overpaid. We get TWO MONTHS off over the summer-- why is this additional time necessary??
     
  32. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

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    As a teacher I'd like it. As a parent...just finding out that I now have to find care for my child 1 day a week...that would be a nightmare.

    Most places don't do drop in care or 1x a week-was there any heads up to the parents about this?
     
  33. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    I completely understand all of the comments.

    My biggest issue with this is WHY are we (as staff and parents) only NOW hearing about this when school starts in 2 weeks?

    We are a K-12 school and at the end of each semester when the HS kids are taking their end of course exams (for state testing) the whole school is released at 1:30.

    I really am still unsure about how this is going to work. I think Weds. are really going to feel rushed at first. We'll have to stop teaching at 1:30 those days, so we can be ready for dismissal. That takes almost 45 minutes out of my Math block each day. Now Math is one area I feel like I CANNOT lose time from because of testing at the end of the year.

    We shall see...it's going to be an interesting school year!
     
  34. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    State Law dictates we have X number of instructional hours per day which cut into our kids recess time. We used to have 10 minutes recess in the a.m. and p.m., also lunch recess. The a.m. and p.m. recesses were dropped so we could get instructional time in. Our planning time was even cut from 50 minutes per day to 40 minutes.

    Elementary teachers are generally swampped with 5-6 subjects we're supposed to be masters at teaching, this is unrealsitic. You can drive by most elementary campus at 4:30 and the parking lot is still full.

    With the Federal Gov. being more involved in education I don't see this Wednesday planning time an enduring perk for the OP.

     
  35. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Actually we have an abbreviated schedule that impacts all areas equally throughout the day. We take a certain amt of min from all classes and periods including specials throughout the day. It is hard to remember to do that schedule each week but it keeps us from having to take a chunk out of one class.
     
  36. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    That is (well...not 1:45...but 2:30 instead of 3:30) what they school district i student taught in (where I am interviewing today) does.

    It's not teacher prep...it's professional development. Staff meetings, inservices, etc. This replaces the full days every so often. The district doesn't have those but once a year. But every Wednesday afternoon is staff meetings/team meetings/inservices.


    The parents know about it...and make whatever arrangements necessary.


    (Added: Reading other folks posts...we didn't have ANY recess scheduled. Even in primary grades-other than a short bit at lunch. So the entire day/week is teaching.)
     
  37. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    I wonder if there will be after school activities...extra-curriculars on Wednesday. I'm trying to remember if there were for us. Not sure. but that sure would be a great time to offer them...for just those kids whose parents can't arrange something else.
     
  38. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Oh... and my kids' high school would start 30 minutes later on Monday mornings- for the same departmental meeting set-up.

    THAT (time constraint) would sure keep a principal from jabbering on and on.
     
  39. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    We are beginning a similar schedule this year. I appreciate the extra planning time as I am one of those teachers who has to come early and stay late to get everything accomplished. We are extending the school day on M, T, Th and F to make up the loss of learning time. We are supposed to use this time for planning, but our principal already said that she is allowed to use 8 of those Weds for what she wants, which will be meetings. Also, the children begin school on Tuesday and Wednes is a shortened day already. Just seems strange.
     
  40. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Our schedule is like this, in most districts around here. The kids get out early on Wednesdays. The parents usually already have to have childcare after school, and the day care providers know the schedule, so they offer care during the hours kids are out of school. My two girls go to school with me and go to the onsite daycare, which starts early on Wednesdays.
     
  41. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Regarding instructional time, that is factored in. The kids are not being instructed for fewer minutes because of early-release day. They still get the exact same number of minutes over the course of the year. So, no, the kids are not losing time being taught.

    The number of hours elementary teachers spend outside of contract hours is really very high. So having an extra hour on Wednesdays without kids is just giving me back a tiny drop of the hours I give to the school system. I choose to give the time, but honestly, if I didn't spend more than my contract hours I would be unable to teach. Maybe some veteran teachers out there can leave when the clock strikes quittin' time, and I hope someday I can, but I really doubt it. I don't complain, but it does make me prickly when people take it for granted and say one lousy hour of planning time is unreasonable.
     

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