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In the world of secondary career and technical education, being a multiple prep teacher poses unique challenges especially when it comes to planning for multiple preps. Today, we’ll delve into the top five mistakes that often hinder the success of multiple prep teachers. The goal here is not to criticize but to raise awareness, fostering a mindset that allows for positive change and improvement in teaching practices.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

The most critical mistake is harboring unrealistic expectations about what our classes and lesson plans should look like. Influenced by social media and personal experiences, we sometimes feel compelled to replicate the practices of seasoned teachers. The reality is, as new teachers, we need to give ourselves the grace to evolve. Unrealistic expectations can be a roadblock to growth.

2. Lack of Long-Term Planning

The second significant mistake is a lack of long-term planning. Knowing where you’re going is essential. Even if the roadmap is flexible, having a general idea prevents unnecessary stress. This becomes especially crucial when juggling multiple preps. Long-term planning not only helps you navigate each prep efficiently but also aids in preventing other common mistakes we’ll discuss.

3. Planning in Isolation

Once you have your long-term plan, the third mistake is planning classes in isolation. Focusing solely on one class without considering others can lead to unintended challenges. It’s crucial to align your classes, ensuring that units, due dates, and assessments don’t overlap unnecessarily. This synchronized approach not only reduces your workload but also enhances overall efficiency.

4. Overcomplicating Lesson Plans

The fourth mistake stems from overcomplicating lesson plans. Striving for perfection can lead to overthinking, resulting in complex and time-consuming preparations. Keep it simple. Strive for clarity rather than complexity. Overcomplicating lesson plans often leads to disappointment when things don’t go as planned. Embrace simplicity and learn from each teaching experience.

5. Failing to Recycle and Reuse

The final mistake is failing to recycle and reuse materials. In the ever-evolving landscape of educational tools and strategies, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with options. However, simplicity is key. Identify what works best for you and your students, then recycle and reuse it across different units and classes. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency in your teaching approach.

Conclusion

To sum it up, awareness is the first step towards improvement. By acknowledging these common mistakes, multiple prep teachers can enhance their teaching practices, streamline their workload, and create a more effective learning environment. Remember, teaching is a journey of continuous improvement, and embracing a mindset of growth and adaptability is key to success.

The longer I’m in education, and I guess the older I get, I realized how much mindset plays into some of the hang ups, the mistakes that we might be making as multiple prep secondary teachers, and quite honestly, just teachers in general.   📍 Today we’re going to be talking about the top five mistakes that multiple prep teachers make and that I myself have made, that I witness other teachers making all the time.

And the idea is not necessarily to point out or point fingers that you are making a mistake, but being aware is once again, we’re having this mindset of being aware means that we can make changes. And improve our lives, our teaching, and pretty much just everything around us.

I’m going to lead with the top mistake. I know normally we do like a countdown, but in case you don’t listen to anything else in this episode, I want you to hear. About this top mistake that I see, that I’ve made myself once again, that I see a bunch of teachers making, and it is that we have unrealistic expectations of what our classes should look like, what our lesson plan should look like.

There is this expectation because you have this degree or you have this experience, you are now a teacher, that this is what it should look like. Social media has not made this. any better or easier. We also have had our own personal experiences of being in someone else’s class, where we feel like we need to replicate what somebody probably in year 20 or 25 was a master at, but that we feel like it should be happening those first few years of teaching.

Quite honestly, there’s this, like I said, unrealistic expectation. Even the way that our school system. is set up where you get the keys to your classroom and you’re gone once you get your job. That there’s not as much mentoring and coaching that probably should be happening. And there’s also not a lot of grace where there is a lot of the

Evaluations that immediately come as you become a new teacher and we’re trying to preach that you can fail, but at the same time, it seems like it’s not really acceptable for you to fail as a teacher. I just want to clear that up. The very biggest mistake that I see is having an unrealistic expectation of what each of our classes and lessons should look like.

Number two, the Next biggest mistake that I see is a lack of long term planning. Knowing where you are going, where you came from, not necessarily how to get your students there, but at least knowing where you’re going. You need to have an idea. You need to have it mapped out how detailed or how loose you make that.

You still need to have an idea of what is going to be happening in every single one of your classes and your preps. And this is where it starts to feel overwhelming because there is so much, especially depending on if you’re teaching a lot of different preps, but having that idea of where you’re going and possibly when, as far as at least so that you know the order, will really help you in the end because it’s going to help you prevent some of the other mistakes we’re going to be talking about.

The third mistake. is planning classes in isolation. Once you have your long term planning, your curriculum map, once you know where you’re going, the mistake that I see the most is that we get so focused on we are going to plan out this class for the entire term without looking at what is happening in any of the other classes.

And this is a mistake because what happens is we failed to look at what’s going on in each of the classes. Could you be starting a unit on the exact same day which could lead to a bunch of prep on your end but now double prep because you’ve got it for two different classes where maybe you could have shifted some things a little bit and made it so those are slightly staggered.

The other thing is due dates. What about your due dates on your projects or any assessments? End of level testing? Could you make those so that they are staggered? Once again, it will Even out your workload, rather than having these huge deadlines where it was self-inflicted without really realizing it.

Being able to look at your classes all together as you’re planning will really make it so that you can utilize some different strategies. to help you so that you can lessen your workload. The fourth mistake is over complicating lesson plans. Going back to that, unrealistic expectations. So when you go and you think that you have to have all these different things, you have to have worksheets, you have to have some sort of food or some sort of game with every single lesson, you are over complicating things.

Remember, keep it simple. Simple is best. When you’re also overcomplicating, part of the things that happens because of overcomplicating, or what leads to overcomplicating, is overthinking. Overthinking what you’re going to be teaching or how you’re going to be teaching it. and making it really complex when it doesn’t need to be.

There have been several times that I have spent days planning a lesson, and I, at the time, could have sworn, I was like, this is going to be the best lesson. It is going to take all class period because as a new teacher, I really, really struggled with teaching bell to bell. And, this is, it’s going to knock it out of the park, the kids are going to be really engaged, it’s going to take the whole time, and then it flopped.

Literally it took the students like 20 minutes to complete the entire thing that I had prepared that I thought I could have sworn that it would have at least taken the entire 86 minute class period, if not, bled into the following day. And then what? I had spent all of this energy, days and days of time and effort.

And I’m making the perfect worksheets, all of these things, for it not to take very much time. I could have saved so much time by really looking at, okay, I really like this, this basic idea of this lesson, but let’s take all the bells and whistles out of it. Let’s not worry about that. and make it simple.

And then when it did only take 15 minutes, I wouldn’t have been surprised. I would have already had some things in the wing rather than kind of staring at my students like, what am I supposed to do now? Overcomplicating can also look like searching for the perfect lesson. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist.

Just remove that from your mind. The perfect way to this does not exist, but I am learning. And I am going, and I’m going to eventually have something that will be a great way to teach this. Right now, try your first idea. It will be great. It will be great. And if it’s not, then you can just say, Hey, you know what?

I didn’t spend very much time on that. I’m going to try something a little bit different next time, but at least you have something to go off of. You’re going to accept your first idea. You’re not going to spend a ton of time. online, Googling, going on Pinterest, looking on Instagram for the best way to teach this one topic.

You already have an idea in your mind. You’ve got to try it out. Then you can take notes and improve on it for the next time that you teach that. The final mistake that we make is not recycling and reusing things. And I think part of it comes from, I’m throwing myself under the bus a little bit, but like instructional coaches.

So that’s my current role right now in my district. And because I have been in education for so long, I have a bunch of different protocols that work really well for me. And so, what you do or what happens when you experience professional development is people throw all of these different things at you.

They throw all these different tools at you. Do you want to get me started about when, when we went on break for COVID 19 and we had curriculum specialists that literally gave, and they were digital specialists, so they gave us, like, a thousand different apps that our students could use while at home. It was so, so overwhelming.

That’s the issue is that we have experts that are telling us here are the 12 different things that you can do when in reality you just need one that works really well. Maybe two. Or actually get one to work really well and then add something else. But then recycle and reuse that over and over and over again.

Find things that you can use in multiple units. Multiple lessons, multiple classes. What is something that you could do, that you can do in one class period with topic A, and then second period, which is a different class, can be doing the exact same thing, but with topic B? Think about how much time you would save, how much energy would you would save.

How much prep you would save, because you could already have everything ready. You’d already have the materials out. You could even use the same guided notes or graphic organizers. And just have students put in the different topic at the top. You still have to do prep. It’s not that you’re not going to do prep.

But it lessens things because now you know what’s happening in all your classes because you’re not planning in isolation. And then you can really see those, those key times where, Hey, I could use this same protocol in two of my three class periods that day. What can we do? And even if it spans from day to day, recycling and reusing is going to save you a ton of time as a multiple prep teacher.

Let’s go over the top five mistakes. The multiple prep teachers make when they’re planning for the multiple preps. so that you don’t need to be making them any longer. The first is having unrealistic expectations of what your lessons, class, everything should look like. The second is not having a long term plan for each one of your preps.

The third is planning in isolation. Planning each class separately instead of planning together so that you know when things can overlap, when you can make slight adjustments to give yourself less work. The third one is overcomplicating lesson plans. Or failing to not accept your first idea as a great one.

And finally, the fifth one is failing to recycle and reuse. From class period to class period, from course to course.

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