I can feel my breath get shorter at the thought of what teacher planning days used to look like.
Driving 40 minutes out of the way of my school to attend unnecessary meetings. Reviewing or inputting data into databases that meant nothing. Trying to dig out of piles of paperwork that was neither helpful for me or my students. In a system that overworks and underpays their teachers, these days felt like another slap in the face and always left me thinking, “Why bother?”
Needless to say, planning days look different for us.
Ours are used allow our teachers the time to do what they actually need to do…plan and prepare and recharge.
For some that means preparing over the weekend and then taking the day to spend with their family. For some that means actually getting to enjoy their weekend, sleeping in a bit, and then spending the day sorting, organizing, and doing all of the little things that get pushed to the back burner every other day. For others that means taking the next unit in an entirely different direction than was originally planned and creating all day so they can actually leave feeling prepared for the week.
The bottom line is that our teachers are people who deserve the personal space and professional trust to use their best judgement to do what is necessary for their kids, however works best for them.
Don’t get us wrong, we have meetings. And we’re certainly taking a look at how our kids performed prior and what is required moving forward.
But what our planning days don’t need to be is another day for teachers to feel like they’re being forced to do things that are not allowing them to do their best work.
As we are planning for our final unit, we took a look at what has already been accomplished and it is unheard of.
Unless you’ve ever been a teacher, you have no idea how much work it takes. Imagine preparing for and leading 6 different meetings every day. Or having a sleepover for your kids and 10 of their closest friends every day and making sure that they are well behaved and learning something.
Yes, it sounds insane. But it’s not impossible. It does however require time, space, and professional support to execute on.
If you have any control in making changes that could support teachers more, giving them actual planning days is one of them.
If not, thank a teacher. It doesn’t have to be teacher appreciation week and your teachers may not have had a planning day today…either way, thank them.
Stayed tuned for the excitement for the rest of our well planned year.