Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Am I Doing It Wrong?

As I celebrated Labor Day working on lesson plans and grading papers a question kept popping into my head:


Am I doing it wrong???

When I say wrong, I mean planning, structuring, organizing, common core - time management. Let me explain with a sample of my "planning schedule" from last week.

During the Week
 Work Day is usually 7:30 - 5:00 so 9.5 hours
After school I plan after the kids go to bed so 1.5 - 2 hours
Friday, regular work day plus 4 hours

Saturday I visited family - an indulgence I know - so 4 hours
Sunday after church I put in 9 hours
Monday (Labor Day) I worked for 16 hours 
(I paid for the Saturday indulgence - usually I put in those hours on Saturday)

So to break it down - I spend 88.5 hours planning/teaching. If I assume 8 hours of sleep a night (ahhhh, a woman can dream) then that is 56 hours sleeping. That leaves me 23.5 hours a week to spend with my family and to eat.

So one day. Oh yeah, so that is why I don't sleep. I knew there was a good reason. My groggy mind just couldn't figure it out. Ha, ha!

This is why I asked my husband last night, "Am I doing it wrong?" (Whoa, ladies, out of the gutter, this is an educational blog!)

His advice was to ask the blogging community. Pretty good advice. So I'm asking you.


What is your time break down?
Am I doing it wrong?
Does your  planning time look similar?
Thematic planning? Does anyone do this? Does it help? How do you structure it? Does it change the way you plan to make it better or worse?
Can I get my time back OR do I need to put on my big girl panties and deal with it?

I would love to hear your thoughts because I fear I'm burning out and we're only 3 weeks in. Yikes! As a 12 year veteran I know the danger of that. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this. Stress and time management are huge for teachers. I would love your advice.

Just to thank you for letting me pick your brain, here is something I made during that 88.5 hours. It is a Reading Response sheet for main idea. Thanks to Tracee Orman for the great frame! I hope you find it useful!



  1. Wow, I have never broken down my time like that before. I should really do that! But, that being said, after 12 years (like you) I've had to figure out a better way to manage my time. If I stay late at school, I don't bring anything home. I only work on Sundays, not Saturdays. And I use any time during the school day when the kids are working independently (even if for 5 minutes!) to organize. I file immediately and put things up. I try to make things I can re-use so I dont have to spend a lot of time making things over and over again. And, the best thing I do is collaborate with my team. We team plan and share the workload of lesson plans, copies, typing, and creating. Do y'all do that, or is your team on board with it?

    Last thing I can say is my first principal once told me (during my first year CRAZIness!) - "you can't do what's best for children unless you do what's best for you. Always take care of you. Set priorities. It will all get done.". I hope this helps!! I'll be thinking about you and your stress load! :)

    First Grade Fairytales

    1. Thanks for the great advice! We do plan as a team and then split up the work, but I still seem crazy busy. Perhaps I need to look at how we prep. Maybe a solution lies in reorganizing our planning. I love the principal's words of wisdom. Teachers (and moms) always put ourselves last. You can't teach if you don't have your wits about you!

  2. I love Kelly's advice! I'm like you.... often wondering when I'm the only one left at school at 4:00 "am I doing it wrong?" I want so much to do everything I can, I overplan, overthink. It's also just who I am.
    First Grade Found Me

    1. Absolutely! I finish one thing to find four more things that need to be done. I have a tendency to overthink things and change my mind. I have to watch that and remember the KISS method. Not so good with that!

  3. I am in my first year of first grade, and have been teaching about 13 years. I have always spent more time than most at school, then carry several bags home. I know a part of it, I am not organized. I move from one thing to another. I go online and look for something, get lost looking for things...and before you know it, more time is gone. Those I look at who are done, do it well, and are always ready...it is a part of their personality.
    So...are we doing it wrong? Who knows.But it is me, and as of yet, I can't seem to fix it.

    1. I love your honesty with yourself! Wow, your first year and so much going on. You are a trooper. That first year is crazy no matter how organized you are. I promise, you get a couple of years under your belt and you might surprise yourself with your organizational skills. ;) My teaching partner and I have discussed it and feel that we both fall into the research trap. I just love hunting for new stuff. I can't help it. Actually right now I'm replying to you on one computer and reading a book study on K-5 Common Core on another. My goal is to find that balance between research and free time. I'm going to start by setting limits and scheduling time to research. Baby step goals are best!

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