Welcome back to the "Surviving Multiple Preps! 2-part series. In my last post I discussed 3 tips on how to stay sane while teaching multiple courses and hundreds of students in one day. Now, I will share tips 4 and 5 on how to help your day go smoother!
4. Stay Prepared!
Whether you take time before or after school, you have to prepare BEFORE the day begins. Preparation is the solution to most frustrating situations. If you work at a digital school like me...scheduling assignments will become your best friend. Schedule all your warm-up, classwork, and homework assignments before the school day begins. That way, you do not have to worry about posting the warm-up for your next class while you are talking to students about their grade during the change of class. The goal is to save as much time as possible in between preps/classes. You want everything to be set up before each class starts. I like to use our TeacherBoss Weekly and Daily planner sheetsto help me prepare for my upcoming days. Writing out what I am going to do before the day happens reminds me of what I need to do in order to successfully prepare. It gives me a mental overview and helps me to map out solutions to any problems that may arise.
When you teach multiple preps, be prepared for longer days because adding some prep time to your day is necessary. If everything is already prepped and ready to go, it will make the transitions between different preps easier and less stressful. I like to prepare after school most days. Here are a few tips I have for anyone who stays late.
Mentally prepare for that extra hour or so you plan on staying. If you remind yourself during the day you are staying late, it won't feel as bad when the last bell rings and you are still sitting at your desk.
Have 3 of your favorite stations lined up on your Pandora so you can jam out while prepping
Have one of your favorite snacks available to eat
5. Track Everything
When teaching middle school and switching preps throughout the day I tend to forget a lot of things. My mind is always moving a thousand paces a minute. I learned the hard way students are not always truthful with what they tell you and their parents. They tell you they turned in an assignment and you cannot remember or the students swears you lost it (has that happened to you..Or is that just me?). Creating a “paper trail” avoids any miscommunication or he said/she said situations. I always have “evidence” to show students or parents when any issues arise. Always write down any important announcements on the front board, so all classes can read the same message on the same day. Create a log for everything.
Example: Make a late log where students have to fill out an entry every time they want you to grade late assignments. Then you cross off the assignment when you enter it into the gradebook. This helps you track who turned in what, when they turned it in, and when you checked it.
*You can make a paper version on an Excel spreadsheet. Students can fill out a row with all the answers to the fields.
Find a way to log as many thing as possible. It is a lot easier to do this when you are digital school; you can use Google Forms. I have a log for EVERYTHING and nothing gets done if it is not put into a log. I will go into more detail on my next blog post, “Log It”. In that post, I will discuss how to effectively create and use digital logs to track student progress.
I hope this blog post was helpful and these tips help you Survive the world of Multiple Preps!