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any one also willing to give any advice on planning, I am a beginning teacher, so finding it really hard to gather resources and plan. How often does one spend on planning for a weekly timetable? how do you account for you target students in your planning etc?

May 27, 2014 1:10pm

I feel like I am spending way too much time every night and not getting much out of my day. I get to school at 7 and dont leave til 6 at night, then once I get home I will work til about 11 ..... help!!

  • English Language Arts
  • 7


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    • Jun 7, 2014 6:04pm

      Hi Kavita, you said 'I feel like I am spending too much time every night and not getting much out of my day'. In your first years of teaching it can sometimes feel as though you are on a hamster wheel just going round and round! I have been teaching for over 30 years, and have worked with many teachers who are beginning their careers. There are some great ideas in the responses you have had so far, I will add a couple more ideas.

      1. Think about your planning in three parts - long term, weekly and daily. Having a long term plan (maybe a few weeks, or a term/semester) will ensure you know what your big goals and objectives are in each curriculum area and will keep you focused and on-track.

      Each week look at your long term plan and decide which parts of it need to be included in this week's plan. Then each afternoon, before you go home, check the next day's plan. Run through the whole day in your head and ensure that you have all the resources you need, photocopying done, board work written up, preparation completed etc. This way you can go home KNOWING that the next day is all sorted.

      Once you get into the habit of doing this you will find your days feel more productive because you are on track and well prepared. This also reduces the rushing around during the school day that can make you feel tired and stressed.

      A time management strategy that worked for me was to put aside time to create the long term plan - maybe a few hours, until I was really happy that it was robust enough. Then I chose one day which would be my weekly planning afternoon (for me Thursdays worked well so that I could be prepared for the following week before the weekend). I knew I would stay late at school on a Thursday to do the planning. Then for the other nights of the week I ran through the following day and prepared as I described above. This helped me to manage my time more productively. I knew the times I would be working late, and planned accordingly.

      2. You also asked about accounting for your target students. Have a separate column on your plan, or even a separate document, and note how you will differentiate each lesson to cater for your target students. Make sure that this planning still links to your weekly plan, but shows extra resources, or different objectives for these students.

      3. My final tip would be to write out somewhere (journal, diary?) WHY you became a teacher in the first place. When you are tired or frustrated, it is easy to lose sight of your passion and motivation. Re-reading your thoughts can remind you what an amazing career you have chosen.

      Your question told me that you are hard working, thoughtful and really want the best for your students. The world needs great teachers, so hang in there! Hope this helps :)

      • May 31, 2014 1:05pm

        Be sure to tap other teachers you work with. If you have a colleague who is teaching the same topic (or one of the same topics), it's helpful to shadow their plans for a unit. You can then begin to see some patterns emerge.
        Try to anticipate some student questions, so you are ready ahead of time.

        • Jun 7, 2014 12:05pm

          I am a retired teacher. I still remember my first year. We did not have any of the technology resources you have now. There are some super answers above. I also think that people connections and time blocking are key in a successful first year. Does your district have a new teacher induction program? This is something our district has now for new teachers to the district. This gives the overview and such. They also meet regularly to support new teachers with planning, resource people, etc. I often think how I would try to manage my time if I started again. 1. I would have Harry Wong's book, I think it is called, First Year of Teaching or something close. Helps you have things in place for the first year.
          2. I would have a technology calendar on phone or tablet to keep yourself in one place with meetings, deadlines, etc...
          3. I would have a binder for a. grade level, b. lesson plans, c. district info., d. Technology websites* key as now so much is resourced through technology and not paper.
          4. Find a good-humored, motivated person if you don't have mentoring as we do in our district. Sharing the laughs and joys amongst the deadlines and paperwork is key!
          5. Know that every year will be a little easier, but be flexible enough to know it will change....with every motivated hard working teacher there will be triumph, changes, and challenges! Every year!
          6. Have a journal for the special moments or a folder for "Sunshine" for the 8 o'clock nights, reporting periods, meetings that take you into the later day, etc.......
          Remember, you are helping the future and the future does not stop at 3 every day....
          I always told my students, there are 1,440 min. in each day. We all have the same amount of time. What we have to remember is what is important in those 1,440 minutes!
          Every day is a new day! Start Happy! [even if a little tired]

          • May 31, 2014 3:19pm

            I truly understand what you are going through. I am a special education teacher and this is my first year teaching. You have taken the first step in using the Teaching Channel. I got my first idea for lessons, exit slips, and information on how to conduct an IEP meeting. Continue to use the Teaching Channel and you will not go wrong....Like you, I work long hours. I work from 7:45 a.m until 8:00 p.m. and I live an hour away from my job! Best wishes to you! Rosa M. Cooper

            • May 31, 2014 8:41pm

              I have friends who have binders for each novel, with the quizzes, handouts, tests, etc, ready to go. After 33 years, I wish I could say that I do the same thing every year, the same way. Every class inspires you to do it differently-- their personalities and needs sort of dictate how you should present the lesson. I set up a weekly schedule: vocabulary on Monday; go over vacab on Tues & present the lesson; give reading homework; reading quiz with some vocabulary on Wed; discusss reading; have students write on any aspect of the reading, and finish for homework; on Friday, students get a handout on how to improve their assignment-- they write in class while you grade the quizzes. Students can work in groups. Helping each other improve their drafts. Finished drafts go in their class notebook--these writings will eventually become parts of an essay. voila! You have no weekend grading to do! Always test midweek! Use teacher websites & Cliff Notes! Good luck!

              • Jun 8, 2014 6:13am

                Wow! Thanks Carolyn!
                I just finished my 2nd year teaching and that seems to be the advice I needed going into summer. I am trying to figure out where to start for planning next year and this will be very helpful.

                it will be get better! My time spent planning my second year went way down even though I still was at school later than everyone else in my school.
                my best advice is to find another new teacher and vet together often and vent and laugh a lot!! We started a new teacher book club, even tho we have yet to finish our first book we have dinner weekly and just laugh and have a good time. Good luck!