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Home : 2002 : Nov : 8

    By tia

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    look at what you are giving your students to do (and for you to grade)--are you giving them a lot; ensuring that you have a lot to look over? try doing some work together and going over answers together--you don't need to take a grade on everything

    it's okay to "circular file" something once in a great while--if you don't need to count something for a grade, and if it doesn't look like someone needs remediation for an important skill.

    it's okay to put a sticker or a stamp, smiley face, check plus, check, check minus on top of the paper every once in a while instead of looking over everything to catch every error. (I let my students know at the beginning of the year my different methods of grading--# correct over # possible, stamp or sticker if it was done and done correctly (or mostly correct--did they get the idea?), and check plus (did it all, did it well), check (did it, did some of it right), check minus (did it, but not well or didn't do all of it right--these I at least right a short note on about what wasn't done/done right)--and that everything they do counts toward their grade, even if it isn't graded--effort, participation, attitude--that is all incorporated into their grades.

    are you trying to reinvent the wheel? are you trying to think up new and fabulous things to do--lessons that someone else might have already spent time creating and you could borrow? and remember that every lesson in every subject doesn't have to be a dog and pony show; maybe today you're reading the chapter and answering the questions.

    make a list of your BIG 3 each day--what are the 3 most important things that MUST BE DONE that day?--this will keep you from screwing around with the little things that might be more interesting or fun to do and keep you focused on what you need to follow up on before tomorrow.

    when planning, if you know where you are going with a unit, page ahead and pencil in what you'd like to do. (yeah, yeah, doesn't always work if you have to move your plans around...)but when you get to the next week, you have less to do, because you've already got down the fact that Monday you'll do a hands-on activity to cement that states of matter concept; Tuesday you'll review for the test; and Wednesday you'll give the test. also, if you do get a chance to "plan/think ahead", you give yourself the opportunity to get ahead by thinking throughout the prior week--"hmmmm...test next week...what should i put on it.." and jot things down as they come up. (can you tell that i'm a long-term planner?!) but i too have trouble using my 30 minutes a day to get done what i should, and end up staying late, taking stuff home (well, duh, don't we all!), and coming in on the weekend (yuk!) and this is my 10th year teaching!

    try scheduling, every so often, something the students can do on their own that will give you a chance to get caught up--a video reinforcing or introducing a concept, a nice big chunk of silent reading time (or...has your class been awesome and it's about time you should be letting them know how proud you are of them? tell them that on Xday, they have earned a read-in--let them bring pillows, sleeping bags, a good book, and you provide some snacks--pretzels and apples wedges (whatever!) and use this time to your advantage)--and don't feel guilty about it--a teacher who is less frazzled will be doing a better job!

    i read recently that peppermint is a natural "calmer"--stick a few candies in your desk for when you are feeling particularly stressed.

    good luck, Gayle!

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