With less than five weeks to go before classes start, I finally decided that with all my preparations for classroom management and discipline, finishing up reading through textbooks, working out assignments, getting organized, and so forth, there was another thing I needed to do: ask questions.
One of the questions I addressed to my principal was my schedule. You might wonder why this question came up, especially when it doesn’t seem at all requisite for preparing. That’s true – I mostly just wanted to find out what I’m in for, and so I threw it in for good measure.
It could be worse, but it could be better.
Of course, part of the hard part in this arrangement is the fact that I’ll be teaching four courses at any given point in time. I can’t do anything about that, being the only full-time high school English teacher (I’m lucky enough not to be teaching freshmen, given the size and demographic of the school), and I knew what I was getting into from the first interview. That’s not really a problem for me.
There’s also some good news: My principal (and/or the guidance counselor) did me a favor and scheduled all of my sections consecutively, so that I teach both sections of sophomore English back to back, and similarly with my junior English. I don’t have to switch gears between different courses, and there won’t be any interruptions between the courses, either. I didn’t have this in my student teaching, which had AP English – English III – lunch – English III – Channel 1 – AP English. I think this arrangement will be nice for the quality of teaching I can give; I’ll be able to get into a groove and keep the momentum with the same material for two consecutive periods.
The bad news: My prep period is 2nd hour, and rather than a study hall where I can be productive, I have lunch duty immediately preceding my own lunch. Having prep during 2nd hour will likely mean that I’ll spend that hour doing grading or other non-instructional tasks since I will need to have senior English (1st hour) ready before school and won’t probably have enough time to get the other three courses ready before my prep is over and I start teaching my block of sophomore English. I sort of feel robbed – the teacher I’m replacing had a last hour prep! (That was a very nice benefit of my student teaching experience, especially since I had the last two periods free after having taught all morning.)
I had a feeling that I would get lunch duty, too; the teacher I’m replacing had lunch duty, and my cooperating teacher had suggested that I request a study hall after she and I looked at the previous teacher’s schedule on the staff webpage. I’ve decided not to rock the boat, though, and to just settle with it for now. Maybe there will be some way for me to get the study hall placement at some point, but I’ll make the most of what I have.
Now if I can only finish getting myself ready for it…