Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time slips through my fingers like fine grains of sand...

I never have enough time.  As an educator, we are all asked to do a million and one things each day.  I know that somewhere, buried in my contract, it states I am entitled to one prep period a day, and one liaison period.  Special educators have more than one role in the building.  We teach, and we are responsible for the IEP management of our students.  This means meetings, letters, legal paperwork, progress reports, communication with teachers, parents, and care providers.  As the teacher and coordinator of a substantially separate classroom, I have a number of roles and responsibilities.  Until this year, I had zero scheduled prep time.  This year, I have 30 minutes four times a week.  30 minutes of time to plan for ELA, geometry, writing, history, MCAS math prep, copying, writing lessons, all the while being asked to solve problems, intervene in crises, keep up to date with the behavior plans and data, distribute reports, grade papers, and the list goes on.  When I express my need for prep time to my supervisor, I am told 30 minutes is 30 more than she gets.  I feel she should advocate for herself more strongly if she wished to have more prep time.  That is what I did in order to get these 30 minutes.  And contractually, I'm allotted two 45 minute periods.  I get guilt trips when I request what has been written into our contracts, and I don't like feeling that way.  Why should it be that our building culture is one of self-sacrifice?  Having a set prep time should not be a luxury or a silly thing to ask for.  I was also told that special educators often don't receive prep at all, despite having more roles than the regular education teachers.  Why is that?  It seems counter-intuitive. 

What ways do other administrators make sure their staff has the time they need?

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