May 2, 2014

Work Time

James asked "How much of the work you do outside class gets done in the morning, in the afternoon after school, in the evening, at night?"

I am wide awake once I decide to get out of bed, but deciding to get out of bed before I need to is entirely beyond me. I live 4 minutes from school and arrive exactly at the contractually required time most days. This year I have a 90 minute prep first block every day. I hate it, I would much rather teach first block when kids aren't worn out and their meds haven't worn off (I teach a lot of kids with disabilities, two of those three classes are last block, not ideal). However, I make good use of my prep. I'm very focused so I can come in, deal with my email and prep without taking breaks. Several of us have the same prep every other day so we usually photocopy together, that's my 'break.' Sometimes my co-teacher and I prep together or grade together during this time. Then I teach straight through to the end of the day or teach/meeting/teach.

After school I usually have kids in my room. Some days I'll stay later to get something done - yesterday I really wanted to get some tests graded so I stayed until they were done. This semester, though, most of my grading has happened on Sundays. I take a school sabbath on Saturday - no grading or prepping for 24 hours. I instated this rule my first year teaching when I saw thoughts of school taking over my entire life. I'm not so extreme to include reading/writing/talking about teaching but no "work." Then on Sunday I do as much of the week's worth of grading as I can manage. If I can't find the motivation to do all of it then I make sure to grade everything for the students who I will see Monday, then stay after Monday to finish anything for the kids I'll see Tuesday (alternating day block schedule). It's not as timely of feedback as I'd like to give, I used to get things back the next class (two days later) but there have been so many extra pulls on my time this year that it's been impossible.

In summary - all prepping happens at school. I stay late when I need to. I only take grading home on Sundays.

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