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How much time do you spend working? I'm not being efficient enough!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by veni_vidi, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. veni_vidi

    veni_vidi New commenter

    Hi all, i'm in my first teaching placement and regularly come on TES for tips and hints. I'm wondering how much time PGCEers spend working. I seem to spend alot of free time working but apart from lesson plans, teaching (now), observing and other school stuff like meetings, training and open evenings...I don't feel I am getting anything done.
    I'm doing ok with my placement and know the mentors are happy with me, but i'm aware i haven't started any assignments, research or got my files in order. I'm not panicking, but feel guilty for not doing so.
    How much work do you do out of school and at weekends?
    Before anyone says it, yes i should probably spend less time reading TES :)
  2. veni_vidi

    veni_vidi New commenter

    Hi all, i'm in my first teaching placement and regularly come on TES for tips and hints. I'm wondering how much time PGCEers spend working. I seem to spend alot of free time working but apart from lesson plans, teaching (now), observing and other school stuff like meetings, training and open evenings...I don't feel I am getting anything done.
    I'm doing ok with my placement and know the mentors are happy with me, but i'm aware i haven't started any assignments, research or got my files in order. I'm not panicking, but feel guilty for not doing so.
    How much work do you do out of school and at weekends?
    Before anyone says it, yes i should probably spend less time reading TES :)
  3. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    I feel the same - I'm working or observing in my free periods, and work (albeit distractedly) when I get home in front of the telly. Last week I had a meltdown because I hadn't planned well enough and felt totally unprepared to teach properly, fortunately everyone at my school were really supportive. I feel quite inefficient but also like I'm making progress with planning.
    Still, I am a bit concerned about my progress with uni work, I hate to think of it all being a massive stress-fuelled rush when the deadline looms!
  4. Hmm ... i think it very much depends on each person but I've found personally its not too bad so far (I am fully expecting this to change once I am teaching almost full time!)! I am quite an organised person, and so come from uni and immediately sort out my files for the day (so filing any lecture notes, printing handouts etc). I then either take a break for a couple of hours until after tea and then sit down and do any work set in the day or to catch up on until about 10.30pm or if i'm feeling motivated I will work until tea time and then have the rest of the evening with my boyfriend. Either way I do 2 hours a night at least Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (being flexible to add more or do less as required!), but I usually do it on the kitchen table so I can be in the same room as my boyfriend and still watch TV (I'm normally on my laptop while watching TV anyway so its not a lot different!) and generally don't find it a huge chore! I tend to leave work set on a Thursday and Friday til the weekend ..... On placement, I took my PPA and student teacher afternoons to get my head down and plan like a demon ... always did lesson evaluations in break or lunch immediately after the lesson (even if it meant missing out on the staffroom chat) leaving just plans to finish off and any other bits of work required for uni ... I also made sure I completed Uni tasks as I went along or at weekends while on placement so I didn't have a million and one things to do the weekend placement finished! That weekend I just had a final evaluation to do, which I did on the Friday and had a lovely work free weekend while everyone else had a major stress out! ..... In terms of Uni work I catch up on everything not done at during the week on one day during the weekend and in terms of Uni assignments, have basically flipped through my diary, seen what weekends I have left until they are due in and planned which weekends I will do research and write! I knew I had a deadline the week after placement and so used the 'free' weekend before placement when uni work had been finished and I couldn't plan anything to get it done so I wouldn't be panicking this week that it was all still to do! ...... Basically I get my head down and get everything done thats needed as quickly as possible as once its done, the rest of the time is yours!
  5. As a student teacher I only worked outside of school a few nights a week, and never or more than an hour a night. I also made damned sure that I went on breaks regularly, e.g. weekend theatre trips. That left me free to work on my assignment outside of school without worrying about school work.

    Sometimes my friends at uni would see it as a competition, to see who worked until the earliest hour of the morning! Not good.
  6. veni_vidi

    veni_vidi New commenter

    I agree, this seems the case with some people on my course. Although they will most likely get higher marks on essays as long as i pass and get the masters credits i'd be happy. I'd rather have a life. One said to someone else 'you won't have time for a relationship, we'll be far too busy'!
    You both sound much more organised and efficient than me, i know i'm not spending my breaks and lunch productively. Then again, i pick up so much to teaching and behaviour tips by chatting with colleagues. Next week i will have to be productive though as i have more lessons to plan and teach.
    I think i need to take what others say they are doing with a pinch of salt.
  7. I would love to hear from anyone who is trying to do what holly describes whilst also juggling a husband and 2 school agechildren Mine are 14 ( pretty independant but still doesnt do the cooking and washing!) and 9. They both clean their own rooms, help with dusting and tidying and empty the dishwasher, plus my darling 9 year old regularly announces she has cleaned the bath or something else helpful. Hubbie is great at fixing things but cant cook! Im struggling to find any time at all to myself outside of school. Often have to work until early hours as only time to think is between 10pm and 2 am!! Planning ok and teaching good, but i and am similarly worried about uni work. Any tips gratefully received!
  8. I'm in a similar situation - I try to get as much done at school as possible - it helps being in a working environment where everyone else is busy too, whereas at home, I easily get distracted by food, tele, games etc!
    Out of school, I try to make sure I'm planned for the week ahead, with only little bits to do during the week at school, and also make sure I've done everything I need to have done for uni the following week.
    I have an assignment due on the 10th Dec and need to begin writing it, so that's definitely a weekend job, but like others, I'm sure the workload is going to increase on TP so I'm getting my work-life balance right now, before it disappears into a void!
    And don't worry about reading TES - it's great and I class it as research :p
  9. I am an English PGCE student, married with 4 children. I am on my first placement and teach 10-12 lessons a week. I get into school early and work for an hour. Iwork in every break and leave school by 4pm. I work on average 5 hours a week at home. I expect this will increase on my second placement but I have to say that so far this is the easiest job I've ever done.
  10. melbanks

    melbanks New commenter

    Its a struggle - I have 2 boys aged 16 and 13 a girl aged 12 and a baby boy aged 20months!! I seem to work two nights a week and a few hours saturday and if still not done a few hours on sunday!! But i use my free time at school to read emails, and look for resources and things, but do most of my planning at home. I am always in bed before midnight and hope to carry that on thoughout the course although i feel it may get more demanding as time goes by!!
  11. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Hi all,
    I am doing secondary PGCE and up until a couple of weeks ago I wondered what all the fuss was about. But the fortnight has got so intense that I have been majorly stressed.
    There just seems to be hundreds of forms for different things to complete, all lengthy and detailed. Lesson planning is taking me ages as I have to research the whole lesson, make up PowerPoint presentations and produce worksheets and activities.(Many people mention about not reinventing the wheel as a trainee teacher, but in my case I have to as I am not given existing lesson plans). The teacher then checks it all and I have to make amendments as necessary. After teaching the lesson there is another form to complete reflecting on the lesson.
    Every three weeks I have to complete personal development plans, general reflective reports, progress reports to name just a few of the forms! That's without even considering the 4000 assignment due next week. Oh and my skills tests in 2 weeks.
    I am training with a SCITT so am in school four days a week for the whole academic year. At the moment I love the teaching so that is getting me through it.
  12. I'm on a Science PGCE and right now I'm working my little cotton socks off 8-4and then taking as much as the evening off as possible. I'll even sit and eat my lunch with a lesson evaluation in front of me, and I'll be planning lessons in my head as I'm driving to school ready to whack them down on a bit of paper when I get in through the door.
    Stuff that I save for home is mindless stuff that I can do in front of the TV, sorting paperwork and the like. I'll read through my lesson plans for the next day and then read through them again the next morning so I'm feeling prepared.
    I suppose it helps that my school has a two-week timetable and my week B is ridiculously light compared to week A. So I'll spend my frees in week B planning all my lessons for the next two weeks so on my busy week I'm just teaching, evaluating and chasing up any lesson obs.
    My top tips that have saved me so much time: 1) Evaluate your lessons as soon as possible, even if it means working through break or lunch. 2) Mark books or work as soon as you collect them in, or you'll put it off and will struggle to find the time. 3) If you're more productive at school than at home (I am) then stay as late as you need to get as much work done as possible. 4) Don't re-invent the wheel, grab as many resources as you can from the exerienced teachers. I made sure I got Boardworks and Exploring Science on my memory stick asap and it makes lesson planning that much quicker.
    The thirdone may not be much help if you have responsibilities at home such as kids, but the others should still work. Chunking my time and making sure I take time to myself on evenings and weekends is keeping me sane.
  13. Teaching is a demanding career at the best of times but it is essential that your own life is maintained in balance with your work.

    These tips on this page should give you some ideas on how to become more work smart and with any luck protect your “life” time. Changing the way you organise your life and time at work can be difficult to start with, but the benefits will be worth it. Just remember if you are struggling and don’t feel you can cope ask for help BEFORE the situation gets too dire.
    Maddy x [​IMG]
  14. I'm on a three year primary BA course. On my first placement I found websites like TES resources and Hamilton Trust invaluable. The first tip I was given, which appears first in the link above(!), is don't reinvent the wheel. There is so much out there that you could almost get away with the bulk of planning without doing too much thinking!

    I also had other things to manage so had allocated time slots which I found helpful. e.g. 1 hour to plan 2 lessons etc.

    Good luck
  15. Facetious

    Facetious New commenter

    Last year, when I was doing my PGCE, my kids were 4, 9 and 10. As I had my husband available to pick them up, I chose to stay in school until around 5pm, so that I could mark and do all the necessary paperwork as soon as it cropped up. I then waited until after the kids were in bed to do planning in front of the telly on my laptop. I never stayed up late, but I did give up an awful lot of time at the weekend, and considered my social life to be over.

    Uni assignments were done as soon as I was given them, and generally took up my weekends and holidays. Last Christmas was one of the worst I've ever experienced, as they gave us an assignment that took up far too much time. I'm hoping this year will be a lot better as, despite being an NQT, I'm leaving myself with just a couple of weeks of planning to do, and nothing else.

    All I can suggest is that you plan as many lessons in advance as possible - I found the planning easier to do at home than the marking as I can't mark when my kids are mithering me. That way you will only have to keep on top of the marking and paperwork. Good luck with it all and don't give up. Oh, and take no notice of anybody else who claims to be stress-free and breezing through it. They are either liars or the spawn of the devil.
  16. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    Remember it is what you achieve that is important - not how long is spent at the desk. [​IMG] Books like 'How to be an Amazing Teacher' have a useful section on time management and planning, Pocketbook series of books also have some practical ideas to on managing workload without (too ) much stress.
  17. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I seem to spend most of my working- lesson planning etc. at home as I'm always getting interrupted at school. As I work in music there always seems to be someone who wants something!
    I'm finding that I'm doing too much at home, and my new year's resolution is definitely to get more done at school and to say no more!
    I'm doing the GTP so am in school all the time, with rare precious training days at uni so if you're PGCE, I'd suggest making the most of the time you're at college as schools are just hectic!
  18. veni_vidi

    veni_vidi New commenter

    Yes, school is hectic! I finish 1st placement tomorrow and am loooking forward to an easy week in Uni before xmas.

  19. On my PGCE last year I only did work Monday to Friday as I wanted to spend time with my little boy at the weekends. I arrived at uni or school at 7:30am and worked until 5pm each day. I did any extra work that didn't fit in those hours after 9pm Monday to Friday once my little one had gone to bed, and I always stopped at 11pm. It worked, and I didn't ever feel overloaded.

    As an NQT I follow almost the same schedule (so last year prepared me well.) I arrive at school at 7:30 and leave by 5pm each day. With this schedule, I find that I need to do about 3-4 hours a week at home to stay organised and on top of APP, assessment and levelling.

    I also keep 3 lists in a small hardback note book that helps me to make the most of spare moments. This book is always with my diary...it's like my NQT bible.
    List 1: ASAP
    List 2: This week
    List 3: Beyond this week

    Hope anything here might help any of you :0)
  20. How about anyone on Primary PGCE?! I'm wishing I'd gone for secondary after reading these posts!!!

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