High school English teachers?

Beth - posted on 01/24/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I'd love to hear from other moms who teach high school English. I'm returning to work next week after almost 10 weeks and am getting very nervous. I've always felt our subject area was already so demanding - between reading and commenting on essays, reading for class, reviewing new literature, etc. - and now I'm even more concerned about how I will meet the demands of my job and still have time for my boy at night. I do have two 42 minute prep periods, but I know I will still have to bring work home and night and/or on the weekends. I really love my job and want to continue to do well, but my son is obviously my greater priority. Any tips or positive advice will be much appreciated!

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Beth - posted on 01/29/2010

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Thanks, again, everyone. It's good to hear from moms who also care a lot about their careers. Some great tips here!

Michelle - posted on 01/28/2010

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I teach middle school English, and the best I can come up with is stay after school as long as you can, according to your daycare hours, and get the work done that you would have taken home. You'll be much more productive at school than at home, and you are paying for the daycare anyway. I still have to bring stuff home sometimes, but this cuts down the amount considerably! Good luck!!

Beth - posted on 01/26/2010

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Hi Beth,
I'm a high school history teacher with 110 student, 65 of them in AP European history, so I understand. Plus, my best friend is an English teacher. My little boy is 11 weeks old today. I went back to school 2 weeks ago. I can tell from your post you are dedicated teacher, and that takes an incredible effort. Amy offered some of my same suggestions. As I have returned, I am glad to have the routine back and teaching is second nature to me, and I feel like I was only gone a week, due to a great sub! Keep you chin up and realize that while school is important, your instincts as a mom will help you keep all the school craziness in check. I used to come home and obsess about what happened at school. Within the last two weeks, I haven't done that once. Take care,
Beth

Debbie - posted on 01/26/2010

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I teach HS Engish, and my instructional coach gave me the best advice ever. He said "do you really NEED do assign all of those things?". This made me reexamine what I was assigning and I've honed down the work I give. We practice essentials related to the objectives...and not comprehension.
Also, in my junior/senior electives, I've moved to Standards-Based Grading. This has lightened my load by about 2 million percent!!!

Lisa - posted on 01/25/2010

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I teach High School math and went back only after a month of being off (I had my baby the beginning of August and went back the beginning of October). I found what works for me is to not grade everything. Like somebody else said, stamps work great. I don't even go that far. There are some things we do in class or for homework I don't even collect. We discuss it and move on. My students know they are responsible for that information and can ask me questions. Almost the only thing I have in the grade-book for this semester are tests and a couple of project (that were in class). I know english is different but once I discovered I don't have to grade everything and put everything in the grade book my life got easier. I only bring stuff home from on rare occasions. I make it a point to go in early and get stuff done. I have discovered that I am a lot more productive during my planning period because I know I won't take things home and need to get it done then.

Good Luck. You'll find a system that works for you.

Beth - posted on 01/25/2010

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Thanks, everyone. I think, like you all said, that establishing a routine will be most important. I also love the idea of the stamps for certain assignments- what a great way to save time!

[deleted account]

My time at home was for my three children. Once they went to bed, I did school work and I always got up ahead of everyone on weekends to do chores and school work. It is hard but I did it. My husband helped when he was not out of town and when he was not working late. I also made sure they took responsibility for their own school work. I did not have time to supervise their work. Fortunately, my children did not have learning problems. Some of my colleagues had children with disabilities and they definitely had to help their children with homework in the evenings.
The greatest thing about my job was that the children and I had the same vacation times and often the same snow days off:) They also had respect for their teachers. I loved my job and I still do even though I am nearing retirement:)

Aliza - posted on 01/24/2010

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Hi, I am a high school teacher for English too, a newly qualified one too! I have two small boys, one is four and the other three almost. The first term for me was the hardest however, I feel now in my second term, I am getting the hang of it. Like Amy, I saye my work for one weekend day which is Sunday, on hta day I try to plan for atleast half the week. Also in the week days I try n do what I can in school and when I get home I feed, bathe and give one to one time with my boys even if thats a five min one to one time each and they choose what they want to play, we then read and chat etc. They have a 7pm time which I try n stick to like glue and after that I do the rest of my planning and relaxing or hubby time! Its just a matter of getting into a good routine and trying to slot a time for everyhting you need to do, if you set time to play and enjoy your kids you will feel content enough to focus on work too : ). Im sure you'll do great, esp as you already have the experience!

[deleted account]

Hi Beth,

I've taught HS English for 15 years and have three little boys. My first pregnancy was twins and then three years later I had another boy. Needless to say, I've been busy and had to learn how to balance my workload to give my children the attention they need and deserve. I use my planning period and sometimes part of my lunch period to check in worksheets and/or classwork. This year I started ink stamping homework and work we do together in class. I collect it, clip it, stamp it, and then record a point value-like 15 points, etc. HS students really love this and it saves time too. I make my copies ahead of time. Usually I stay after school for a half an hour once a week and get the copying done for the next week. Fridays are great days to stay and work because the rest of the teachers are out of the building when the bell rings. :) For some quizzes (like vocab or novel/stories) I have students exchange papers and we grade them right in class. This also serves as a review and saves me time. I make a rubric for projects and papers and tell students to give me a week to get them all graded. If a student has a lot of spelling errors in their paper, I don't fix every spelling error, I simply mark "excessive spelling errors" on the rubric and give them a grade accordingly for that section of the paper. I encourage students to correct their own errors with my direction and allow them to revise their work for a regrade. They have to give me both papers and sometimes I have them highlight the corrections they have made. I try to do my grading and lesson planning on Saturday and I am mom on Sunday. I hope some of my tips help you as you return to work. Take it easy the first few weeks back because it is an adjustment. As you ease back into teaching, you will find a system that works for you.

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