Why not plan during “Planning Time”?

I’m working through my fourth year as a teacher. I was excited to find that I had 1.5 hours a day to do my lesson plans. That should be plenty of time to get all of it done during the week and not have to take anything home! YAY! I can still write when I get home and keep publishing books!

Color me disappointed when I realized that I would only get about half of that, if I was lucky, to do any planning during the week. There are meetings during the week, either with campus personnel, parents, or catching up on the schedule with my teaching partner. There’s paperwork that needs to be done, entered into the computer, copies to be made, and phone calls to make. That doesn’t even take into account the two weeks where we have to do parent-teacher conferences where all of my conference times, plus times before and after school are booked in order to get them done in the short window given by our district.

Add in all of the special things done on campus for the kids and I lose about half an hour every other week in addition to the other times mentioned above. Oh, and if you happen to have students who require more time contacting parents because of behavior, projects, etc? It must be done during your “planning time” because the rest of the time, you’re teaching.

After my first four to five months of teaching, I bought a bigger bag in order to take everything home. I have copies of schedules, district and state requirements – both at home and at school (one less thing to carry), and access to online versions of textbooks and other resources used. Then add in all of the grading, copies, and information needed for meetings to get students the help they need.

Next time a teacher says anything about all the work they have to do at home, don’t assume it’s because they’re lazy, unable to figure things out, spending all their time on social media, or walking around chatting with other teachers. Ask them what they need, volunteer at a school – regardless if you have children there or not, pay attention to your community’s district, and support your local teachers anyway you can.

I don’t think most people realize just how much time a teacher spends outside of school preparing for others’ kiddos. I know I didn’t.

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