What do you mostly spend your time doing during your teacher preparation time?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
What do you mostly spend your time doing during your teacher preparation time?
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Preparation time is at a premium for many teachers. Finding time to do all that is required outside of the classroom is difficult and the amount of prep time allocated to teachers is often not adequate to meet their needs. A third of teachers in this poll report that they use their prep time for lesson planning. Grading work and administrative tasks received an almost equal number of votes and came second and third among respondents. Photocopying, discipline issues, other tasks, and communicating with parents came fourth to seventh respectively.

Just looking at the list of tasks that teachers could possibly perform during preparation time underlines the need for an adequate allotment of time. If all these things need to be addressed by teachers on a regular basis it is no wonder that many teachers end up taking work home to be done after school hours.

While most teachers responded that they used their time for lesson planning, the other tasks are also very important. Lesson preparation and delivery obviously make up the brunt of a teachers time and energy because that is the whole purpose behind their jobs. However, grading work is equally important. If students never receive feedback and assessment of completed work they will never grow and improve academically. Administrative tasks and photocopying keep teachers organized and prepared and are necessary to the effective delivery of instruction. Taking care of discipline issues and communicating with parents are self explanatory, but also necessary. There are obviously many more tasks that need to be completed, all of which fall under "other" in this poll.

The amount of preparation time allocated to teachers has been an issue in many different teacher contract negotiations. In an effort to save money and balance school district budgets, prep time has been reduced in many areas. All this does is put the onus on the teacher to complete the same amount of work in less time. This leads to stress and the necessity of taking work home for completion. In order to best serve our students, teachers must be given adequate time to prepare effective lessons and take care of all the other tasks required for the best delivery of student instruction. Cutting back on this time is unfair for teachers and ultimately has a negative impact on students.