Saturday, January 16, 2016

And January!

Happy New Year!  


Because that's how I roll.


December was a whirlwind (isn't it always) of wrapping up all the teaching stuff, shopping for gifts, Christmas, and a family trip to relatives in Canada.  So I've neglected this still-new-to-me (baby!) blog.  Perhaps I'll be able to get back on track and do a better job blogging this year?!

Time is always the problem.  That and the fact that by the time I get home from school, it's dinner time, and then - almost immediately - bedtime.  So very little (read: no) blogging (or anything else) gets done during the week.  Weekends are for catching up on sleep and on all the things I didn't do during the week.  So when do I get to work on this little blog?

Enter the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club.  The purpose of the club is to help teachers streamline what we do so that we can pare our work time down to 40 hours per week.  For those of us who spend far more hours than that at school - and then bring work home in the evenings and weekends - 40 hours is a dream.  A wild, seemingly unobtainable dream.  But apparently it can be done.

So I signed up to learn how.

Now, I think I've learned a few things during 20+ years as a teacher.  
  • First, I don't bring work home in the evenings.  (See above: there is no time to do it.)  
  • Second, I don't bring work home on the weekends.  I don't want to bring all those germy papers into my house (have you SEEN what second graders will do to their desks/noses/papers/mouths/pencils/noses/fingers?!), so grading gets done at school.  (Long ago, my grade level used to give a math quiz every Friday.  I used to grade those at home - or at my son's baseball games - on the weekend, and then return/review them on Mondays.  When our curriculum changed, we stopped giving Friday quizzes.  I loved NOT having those quizzes to grade on the weekends, and that's when I stopped bringing anything home to grade!)
  • Third, I don't do lesson planning at home.  All my materials for teaching are at school, so planning gets done at school.  (Side note: I LOVE because writing those plans - or moving them from day to day - got a lot easier than keeping a traditional lesson plan book.  Especially since I can't read my own handwriting, so I've had to type my plans for years.)
  • Fourth, I grade like a fiend.  I don't use answer keys; I use the kids' papers and grade two or three against each other.  As I tell my students when they're "checking with a partner," "If your answers are the same, they're probably right.  If your answers are different, somebody's wrong!  Check BOTH people's work to figure it out!"  Grading doesn't usually take very long unless I let it stack up.
However, I'm at school most days until 5:30, 6:00, or later.  The kids leave at 3:40, my contract day ends at 4:00, and I'm there for at least another hour or two every day.  

I'd like to change that.

I'd like to be home before it gets dark in the winter, at least some days.

I'd like to be home in time to make dinner and not feel rushed.

I'd like to be able to stop at Target or the grocery store on the way home from school and NOT be in that mad right-before-dinnertime rush.

I'd like NOT to be the last one on my hallway to leave.

And I'd like NOT to have to make that long walk, in the dark, across the long blacktop to the last car in the deserted school parking lot most nights.  Because frankly, that's just scary.

So hopefully I'll learn a few tips and tricks.

Wish me luck!

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