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Teacher Planning Time

Anonymous Member14 days ago

  • 1.  Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 15 days ago
    I wanted to get a feel for what other programs use as a best practice number of hours outside the classroom per week teachers are provided to plan, document, and communicate with families for a five day, full-day program.  How many hours per week do teachers in your program use?  Is out of the classroom time split between all members of the teaching team or mainly to the lead teacher?

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    Elizabeth Miner
    Ames IA
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  • 2.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 15 days ago
    Elizabeth,
    We have a designated part time person who covers 2 hours a week for teachers to come outside the classroom for planning time.  My teachers are really appreciative of the time and state it is very beneficial knowing each week what time their planning is.  I have seen an increase in documentation, and information sent to parents.  And lesson plans and extra hand made items to enhance their plans have improved.  We have only had planning time going for about 6 months but it has also increased staff moral.

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    Aimee Spooner
    Children's Services Coordinator
    Irene Wortham Center
    Asheville NC
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  • 3.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 15 days ago
    When I was the Director of a coop nursery school, teachers met for a staff meeting once a week. As for planning, some of that might take place during that time or we would discuss important issues facing teachers, children, or families. We also discussed our philosophical orientation and whether we were following it. Everyone in the school signed off on the philosophy of the school, discipline guidelines, etc. The most important part of our school was that teacher contracts included several obligations beyond teaching in the classroom. Teachers were obligated to attend conferences, celebrations, among others.

    I think that when we set contracts up where we pay by the hour, we diminish professionalism. Being a professional teacher goes well beyond an hourly wage and it sets up a culture that teachers need to be paid for each additional professional activity required for a high-quality school.

    I like the idea of hiring someone or enough other staff to fill in when teachers plan but I would suggest promoting a new expanded perspective on the teachers' contracts so that they include such things as communicating with families, planning, documenting learning, and reflecting collaboratively.

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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 4.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 14 days ago
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  • 5.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi,
    We have five classes, we provide an hour a week for lesson planning for each classroom. We utilize our floats to go into the room and cover for their planning.  It usually works.  We are working on getting each teacher individual planning time for like 30 minutes but haven't quite figured that part out yet.

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    Stephanie DeScalzo
    Behavior Coach
    Winter Park Day Nursery
    Winter Park FL
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  • 6.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Elizabeth,
    We have been giving each classroom 1 1/2 hours/week for planning time outside of the classroom for the past four years, or more.  We use float staff to cover them and in two teachers classrooms, they switch off who uses the planning time.  We also remind staff in napping classrooms (after their lunch break) to take advantage of that additional time to get many things done, as most rooms sleep for two hours.

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    Kim Spankowski
    Education Director
    Grandma's House Day Care Center
    Brookfield WI
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  • 7.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Elizabeth,

    I once worked for a school where the children went home at 3:30 but my hours were to 4:15 and my salary reflected that. That gave me 30-45 minutes every day for planning and making materials. Occasionally I had parent meetings during that time too. It also meant that I was ready for the next morning. I found it to be very helpful, and I liked that it didn't take me out of my classroom when the children were there. It might be worth considering the value of paying educators for a certain number of planning hours vs. paying someone to cover that educator's hours during class time.

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    Anna Parker
    Head Teacher
    Montessori Borealis Preschool
    Whitehorse YT
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  • 8.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 14 days ago
    Our planning time is 1 hour a week for the lead teacher in each room if there is staff to cover .  We also do a lot of planning during nap time

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    Cyndy Rineer
    Lancaster PA
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  • 9.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 13 days ago
    I pay Montessori trained Lead Teachers 8 hours per day which means 71/2 hours in the classroom and 30 minutes of planning outside of class. This could be at home or even driving to school. Lunch is 30 minutes and unpaid.

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    Susan Smith
    Director
    Heart and Hands Montessori Infant and Toddler Center
    Lafayette CO
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  • 10.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 13 days ago
    Wow these responses make me grateful for my school! Until now I had felt that we did not get enough time to plan. My coteacher and I are each scheduled for two 1-hour blocks per week, so 4 hours per classroom, and then I, in theory, get 20-30 min each morning since I come in first. Of course this is often not the case because of staffing but it is the goal. I also have a large classroom and many children that do not sleep so very little gets done most naptimes. In my time I plan and prep materials, write my weekly lesson plan, and do a classroom email for the parents as well as doing DRDPs or ASQs or whatever else is going on at the time.

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    Melanie Angle
    Preschool Teacher
    YMCA
    San Diego CA
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  • 11.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 13 days ago
    Our full time teachers are paid by contract for 8 hours a day. The last hour of each day is planning time for them, and they have the ability to meet as team groups during this time as well. This is probably way above the average, however because we are a lab school, we might be meeting with students, and this is considered an important part of our job as well. The full-time staff works 7:30-2:30 in the classroom and 2:30-3:30 planning.Because they are contracted and not hourly they also might be here in the evening as well for parent events and meetings. We have hourly staff that comes in at 2 and works until 5:30, so realistically they have 1/2 hour planning before they begin their day, but they don't have as many requirements on them as the full time staff. Our parents also have an option of a 2:30 pickup time so there are less children in the afternoon.

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    Janet Bauer
    Director
    Windy Hill School
    Colby-Sawyer College
    New London, NH
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  • 12.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 11 days ago
    I would make sure everyone is VERY clear on the US Dept of Labor laws. I am not an expert, but I can tell you that generally teachers are not considered exempt employees, even if they are on salary, and thus you are responsible for paying overtime. If they work from home, you must pay them for it. If they come in after hours for an event or you require them to attend a weekend conference or training, you have to pay them for their time. In some cases you must pay them for the cost of their training or travel to that training. If attending evening events or even planning from home puts them over 40 hours, you must pay them time-and-a-half for every extra hour over 40. Even if you have an agreement with a teacher that they'll receive a salary based on a number of hours more than 40, you still have to pay time-a-half, (at the higher rate). I only mention this because it is very common for teachers of every age group to work from home and they put in way more than 40 hours. We have our teachers document any time they spend outside of the classroom, how long and what they were doing. Please make sure you are familiar with the Wage and Hour laws. https://www.dol.gov/whd/

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    Amy Gottschamer
    Executive Director
    Googols of Learning Child Development Center
    Lawrence KS
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  • 13.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 11 days ago
    Amy - Thanks for the information that you put out. The question as to whether a teacher is exempt depends on a number of issues.

    In my search on Google, I discovered that teachers are exempt if . . . The issue that puts them in this category is one of expertise among other characteristics.  So the answer is it all depends. Are your teachers highly educated and have specialized knowledge? Do they earn enough per week to be considered "exempt"? Do they have to use discretion and judgment in their work? Are they paid hourly or are they paid a salary?

    Below is what I learned from my Google search.

    "Exempt professional employees include lawyers, physicians, teachers, architects, registered nurses and other employees performing work requiring advanced education or training. These typically are intellectual jobs requiring specialized education and involving the use of discretion and judgment."

    Exempt Employees vs. Nonexempt Employees - FindLaw


    https://employment.findlaw.com › wages-and-benefits › exempt-employees-..
    ____________________________________
    Here is another definition that goes further:
    Who qualifies as exempt employee?
    BREAKING DOWN Exempt Employee
    "Exempt employees are paid not for the hours worked but rather for the work that they performed. In order for an employee to be considered exempt they must use discretion and independent judgment at least 50 percent of the time and must earn more than $455 per week. (Jul 2, 2018)"
    ______________________________________
    And further still -
    "What is a professional exemption?
    A learned professional is an employee who is paid on a salary basis, earns above the FLSA exemption threshold weekly or annually, and performs primary job duties that include work requiring advanced knowledge in the field of science or learning that was acquired through a prolonged course of specialized intellectual ...Nov 8, 2016"

    FLSA Learned Professional Exemption: How to Determine if ...


    https://www.fuseworkforce.com › blog › flsa-learned-professional-exemptio...




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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 14.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi Nora,
    I should have clarified, in most cases Early Childhood Teachers are not considered 'teachers' from the Dept. of Labor's perspective. The exemption there would be if they work in a school district or perhaps a lab school at a University, were required to have a bachelor's degree for instance. But generally community based preschools/childcare centers do not hire staff the DOL would consider exempt based on specialized knowledge. They also are looking for people that are more in the category of administration or managers. Does the person have the ability to make decisions concerning the program? Is the person in question, responsible for hiring and firing? Basically, is this person regularly in charge? In community based programs this is not usually the case for our classroom teachers. If anyone on this thread, has a question or concern, I would contact the US DOL directly and explain your situation, to make sure.

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    Amy Gottschamer
    Executive Director
    Googols of Learning Child Development Center
    Lawrence KS
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  • 15.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 11 days ago
    When I was a Director, our teachers were considered exempt. They were all State certified teachers with a minimum of a BA. on the other hand, the assistant teachers who were not certified teachers and did not have a BA and specialized knowledge were paid by the hour and thus paid for all hours that they worked no matter if it was during the school day or in the evening or on weekends.


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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 16.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 10 days ago
    It is interesting that this conversation has taken a turn from planning time to compensation of salaried and hourly paid teachers. I have worked in many settings as a teacher. Many of which provided paid planning time. There is an assumption however that teachers (salaried or not) will be able to run a classroom, even with planning time that is inadequate. Who can decide what is inadequate? It all depends on what the demands are on your teachers.

    Are they planning for themselves or a team (assistant teacher etc)?
    Do they need time to communicate with parents or other specialists?
    Do they need to provide documentation, how much?
    Do they send a newsletter on a regular basis?
    Do they need to write yearly developmental reports?
    You can probably think of other items that are important for your center as well

    If you make a list of what your teachers are responsible for, you can probably then come up with how much time they need. I would also ask input from the teachers to see what kind of tasks they would they use their planning time for.
    I think what many teachers complain about is that they are not getting paid enough to begin with and then they don't get time to plan for what they want to do.

    My salaried staff is exempt. My hourly staff gets paid for work and meetings. Everybody gets planning time daily.

    There is probably not one magic number, but it will depend on what your staff is responsible for.




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    Janet Bauer
    Director
    Windy Hill School
    Colby-Sawyer College
    New London, NH
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  • 17.  RE: Teacher Planning Time

    Posted 9 days ago
    You are correct. What it suggests is that providing time for planning is affected by the characteristics of the teachers in the room. I think that many day care centers have teachers who are not certified or considered "professionals" under the labor law, so directors work to build in planning time as best as they can without having to pay for the extra hours.

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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------