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megandunham

How do you keep school at school?

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This seems so basic, but I still can't seem to get a handle on this. I bring so much of my day home with me every single day and spend almost an entire day on the weekends planning out the next week. I thought I'd be better this year (year 2) and there are some aspects that ARE, but overall, I just can't seem to not bring a lot of my planning and prep home with me. What are your tips for best practice here? How can I better make my home and family my priority when I'm not at school?

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Year one = survival

Year two = tweaking elements of the course, or of my own teaching

Year three = the class or course is finally becoming "my own" -- its rhythms, assignments, pedagogy

Hang in there! In my experience year two is as difficult as year one, but in different ways. Year two builds on the experience of year one, but there hasn't been enough experience to have seen all of the areas of improvement (particularly to the assessments and content of a class) because everything is new at every margin. In year two some margins are routine, which allows other margins to get attention, but that attention means time thinking, time creating, time trying out--all of which takes up the same energy (maybe more!) that 1st year did. So, there is hope for the future in terms of just the way experience will build upon itself.

On the other hand, I sympathize with your desire to make changes now that will bless your family. Perhaps taking an inventory of where your time is being spent will help you identify places where you can sacrifice a school thing for a family thing? Another thing, which one of my colleagues helped me to see, was taking the Lord's word seriously about Sabbath rest--I should strive to work in such a way that Sunday is not a "cram" day for grading, prepping, etc.; and instead allow Sunday to be restful time with Church and family. Such simple obedience has made a big difference in my own attitude toward "school" (less anxiety, less temptation toward resentment) as well as "family."

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Oops - I left a comment about a family I thought went to your school, but I think it's the other guy on here. I need to fact check myself before posting.

Edited by megandunham

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Is there time built into your day at school for planning, assessing, et...? It is hard not to do some work at home if there is no time at school. Is it possible to either get up an hour earlier or stay one hour late? 

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On 11/15/2018 at 4:20 PM, Cheryl Floyd said:

Is there time built into your day at school for planning, assessing, et...? It is hard not to do some work at home if there is no time at school. Is it possible to either get up an hour earlier or stay one hour late? 

We do spend a lot of time at school already. Some background: my husband is the headmaster. We have four daughters, two of whom have already graduated, and the other two are in 10th and 9th grades. Between drama and sports we manage to be there until 5:30 most days (2 hours after school ends). I usually have at least 30 minutes of planning each day, but that time is all taken by current in-class admin needs (quick homework checks, sorting papers, etc.). I try to do as much as I can in that window, but inevitably end up bringing some things home. I'm seriously hopeful that year three will see more of a settling into things. One can always hope!

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I find that as I become more familiar with my subjects, the job becomes more comfortable. So I'm not nearly as meticulous in my planning because I have more knowledge to draw from. Teaching is a skill that must be honed in practice, so it just takes time.

That said, I don't think there is any job worth the sacrifice of your family. It was much easier to spend hours and hours on school work before I had kids, but now that I have a toddler and another baby due in February, I've been much more efficient in the hours at school and only take home readings for the next day (I'm a literature and history teacher) and the occasional batch of essays to grade. 

For any teacher, I think we have to find the right balance for us and our families because there just isn't enough time in the day to do it all.

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