June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm #6710
On the old forum, teachers shared how much time they spent outside school planning (http://184.108.40.206/forums/viewtopic.php?id=4406).
ledesmaj opened the conversation:
How often should music teachers plan on planning lessons outside of school time? I’m teaching in a elementary setting of general music, and my teacher is supposed to get an hour a day for planning contractually, but only gets about two hours a week of actual planning time (they count things like passing time and such to fill out the rest). While I was preparing my units for the classes I was teaching, I found that the planning time was insufficient at school and had to be brought home. What do other people’s planning schedules look like? Do others get more or less for planning during the actual school day, or is customary to bring your work home with you?
I’ll post some of the responses. Let’s keep the conversation going.
NAfME StaffJune 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm #6711
IME, you’re going to be putting in time outside of school no matter what you teach. Yes, it gets better as you get more experienced, but there are so many things other than planning that need to be done – bulletin boards, paperwork, extra time with kids, all sorts of stuff. Personally, I know I work better at school, so I’ll stay late to get stuff done instead of taking it home.June 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm #6712
The March 2011 Orchestra Mentor, fiddle-player Sue, added
I put in hours outside the classroom every day for 35 years. No other way for me. I did get the contractual planning time, which seems to often be less for teachers of younger students than in high schools, never did get that 🙂 I tended to spend the in-school time on the phone (or computer) to parents, in the workroom making copies, or running to the bathroom. Actual PLANNING and completing required paperwork was always before or after the kids were there. I didn’t spend any less time after many years of experience. Often I spent more, in part because I knew so much more about observing/evaluating kids’ needs, and wanted to approach instruction in a diversified way. I just plain had more to do, too. What had been a program of 100 became 120, became 180. What had been a beginner ensemble & one orchestra became three plus this & that… SueJune 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm #6714
In my current position I teach HS general music, HS choir, MS general music, MS band (not beginners) and assist with the HS band. It’s the first year I’ve had this length of responsibilities and I didn’t find out about anything except the band before July. So I started there.
I always start my planning in June, at least for the classes that I know I’ll have. That is, of course, long-term planning. I choose concert dates, concert materials, complete purchase orders for any new music, develop worksheets or exercise pages that prepare students for the concert pieces we will learn. Before band camp begins I usually have a weekly outline of what we’ll focus on for at least the first nine weeks or through the concert. Next year, if my responsibilities remain the same, I’ll have the same type of outline for every class I have.
Let me say this though: never expect that one year will be the same as the previous or the following. In 8 years of teaching, my responsibilities have changed in some way every year and for the past three, that has meant adding on more in some form or fashion. So it’s not like I can just rework an old lesson plan.
And, of course, I’m not working with a single textbook. Yes, I have concert music. But I still have to break it down, pace it all and in the case of my general music classes, I’m writing the curriculum from scratch. Unlike my colleagues in tested subjects, I do not have a teacher’s manual to jump start my daily plans or a worksheet book to make quick copies out of. When my kids practice a new concept, it is all teacher-directed.
When I plan for my daily plans for the week, I fill out a chart (like one you find in the back of a lesson plan/grading book). I include my standard, objective, warmup, technical exercises, performance rehearsal and closure. I also include a box for notes and announcements. Once that is filled out, I can write my long-form lessons much quicker, elaborating on what needs to be focused upon for each element.June 19, 2012 at 10:52 am #6848
I choose to come into school early for most of my daily planning. I’m at school about an hour before teachers are expected to arrive and I make sure everything is planned for the day. It makes it easier for making copies and prepping my classroom. In terms of lesson planning, I do most of that after school when I can think about how the class went and what needs to happen next.
I try try try to not take work home with me. I would rather stay at school longer to get the work accomplished because I know that when I’m home I get distracted very easily.June 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm #6929
I do all of my planning after school and at home. I have prep period everyday, but I find it impossible to get anything done. Something ALWAYS comes up. The principal calls, a teacher needs to meet with, a parent phone call, etc. Literally, I can’t remember the last time I planned during the school day.June 25, 2012 at 11:07 am #8350
Figure to add in my 2 cents again after working a new job.
The district I’m in now has no contractual planning time requirement. They also had no limit on # of classes, so some of the elementary teachers are teaching the equivalent of two full-time jobs at two schools (since there’s no money to hire another teacher), no preps. I stayed after school to plan, but I put a time limit on it. Next year I’m at a middle school and should have two preps a day, sounds like heaven!November 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm #15044
As a young college student and future educator, I am glad that I have stumbled upon this topic. I guess I can only hope that I will have time to plan during the day.
Amcastle, how long do you have to stay after school for lesson planning? Do you usually get out at a certain time? I like how you arrive early to prepare for your day. This is an idea I plan to try.
Many educators have told me that it will get easier and less time-consuming as you go. Though I am sure this is true for the first few years, it seems that I can expect to have more and more duties added to my plate as I go. With this in mind, I do expect that I will have to bring work home with me. How do I use my time wisely? What are some good tools or sources to use as an aid to help my planning? Any wise words for me as I approach student teaching and my first year of teaching?
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