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Teaching multiple preps in secondary education can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to planning. As a teacher myself, I’ve been in those faculty meetings where complaints about single preps seem almost surreal. We get it; our workload is different. Today, let’s explore practical strategies to ease the planning stress unique to secondary career and technical education teachers.
1. Create a Flexible Planning Framework
Be Prepared to Be Flexible
Planning is crucial, but flexibility is the key. Knowing your curriculum, having a clear idea of unit structures, and utilizing a curriculum app are essential. Flexibility doesn’t mean unpredictable teaching; it’s about adapting to bad days, stressful seasons, or unexpected challenges.
Master the Art of Time Blocking
Secondary teachers are natural time blockers during class periods. Take it further by breaking down class time into smaller, flexible chunks. This approach allows you to swap activities on the fly, ensuring adaptability to varying learning paces.
2. Delegate and Empower
Shift the Workload to Students
Consider empowering your students by involving them in the note-taking process. Instead of creating resources from scratch every time, encourage students to take the lead. This not only saves you time but also enhances their critical thinking skills.
Establish Predictable Protocols
Create consistent protocols for certain activities. For instance, have students create notes or quizzes based on your materials. This predictability streamlines your planning process while maintaining instructional quality.
3. Manage Your Stress Beyond Planning
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Recognize that stress extends beyond planning. Practice mindfulness and breathing techniques between classes. Accept that not everything on your to-do list will be completed, and that’s okay. Embrace breaks during the day, implementing methods like the Pomodoro technique for focused work.
Use your commute or any quiet moments to transition from work to home. Even a few minutes of silence can help decompress and create a mental boundary between your professional and personal life.
Teaching multiple preps can be challenging, but with a flexible planning framework, strategic delegation, and mindful stress management, you can find balance. Remember, it’s not about eliminating stress entirely but finding sustainable ways to navigate it. By implementing these strategies, you’ll empower yourself to thrive as a secondary multiple prep teacher.