Scheduling (I’m dancing as fast as I can)

How do you start planning for a new school year? I begin with thinking about my daily schedule.

At the beginning of my career, this was more problematic because teachers weren’t given all the contributing factors (like lunch, recess, and special schedules) until the day before the kids came. That made for a long night before school started. This year, our principal has made the decision that lunch times will stay the same as will specials. Knowing when students will out of the classroom for allied arts and lunch is a giant help in planning for instruction.

The wild card this year is that there are many mandated time allotments and not enough time in the day to meet all of them. Teachers in this district are asked to provide time on task for almost as many minutes as there are in the entire school day. That leaves no time to get to point A from point B, no time to transition kids from one activity to another, no time for recess or bathrooms. Sorry, no can do.

scheduleSo, today I began to triage what I hope will be our class schedule.

When I try out a times on paper, I like to think about what worked with my students. I sketch and re-sketch on paper, let it simmer for a while, come back, and give it another shot. Hopefully, I have something that will make sense and be able to record these ideas on a spreadsheet before setting up any kind of plan book.

My nature is that I like to mix things up halfway through the school year, but because I am teaching with a Special Education partner with an even more complicated schedule, that’s not always possible. So whatever schedule I create needs to meet the mandates from our Central Office and School Committee, be natural for students, and be possibly in place for the whole 180 days.

Yes, I am dancing as fast as I can, and school hasn’t even started.

 

August

Some people watch for the Back-to-School advertisements to gauge how near we are to the end of summer break. I use crickets.

When I can hear the crickets, I know it’s time to give some extra attention to planning for the Fall.  It’s a bittersweet sound for me; the mornings where I can linger over morning coffee are coming to a close.

If you are like me, it is a time when that to-do list becomes ever so much more desperate. The things I put off because I was “on vacation” have piled up. If not careful, I will get sucked into the swirling vortex of wasting every minute of my last unscheduled weeks on errands and chores.

For those of us who begin school before Labor Day, it feels like summer has ended – August is not really time off, it’s the time before.