You are so excited about your new job teaching Spanish in a new district until your schedule gives you an anxiety attack: teaching seven classes a day with four different preps!
Here are my top 5 suggestions for Managing Four Different Spanish Preps:
1. Code each prep either by putting everything for level one on blue paper, level two on green paper, etc. If you don’t have the luxury of colored paper, then put some kind of symbol on the top of each paper you hand out.
2. Assign numbers to each student. 101 means that you are the first person period one on my class roster. 731 You are student 31 period seven. Students must put their numbers on everything they hand in so you can easily put papers in order and insert into grade book.
You can see my video of my first day as how the chairs are numbered and students find their seats looking for their numbers.
The chairs are numbered, students look up at the seating chart on the screen to find their picture with their # written under it. Students then help one another to find their chairs. They drop off their bookbag, and help the newest students entering the room. It’s the best ice-breaker out there as they work for a common goal and I can stay in the hall, greeting and helping confused students. When I enter, they are all seated! Bonus for using the numbering system – during fire drills, they line up out side by number and I can quickly determine who is missing.
3. Create a template for each prep so that students come in, work on their ‘do now’ sheet while you transition between preps. Do not collect the sheets, rather randomly put something on each weekly assessment from that week’s “do now” worksheet – yes if you are absent get it from someone who was here. Train students to ask you if now is a good time to talk before interrupting you during your transitions. I use musical videos to teach these social skills.
4. Create a template or use mine for each class. Make a PowerPoint or whatever you use for each prep for each day. This way you can start each class smoothly with only a minute to close the previous class and open the current class. It will give you routines that will buy you time and serenity. See my blog about templates.
5. Stagger your time so that if possible, each prep has a ‘tech’ day one day a week – it will give you a breather. Use Zipgrade or a scantron and don’t be afraid to use tests with multiple choice and true false at the lower level. If possible spread out tests so you aren’t grading 210 every Friday. At the lower level, put homework answers on the board and quickly check for completion. Do not individually grade it. I tell students that I return all make-ups on the tech day – they can do their make-ups while others work on the computers. They and their parents understand that even though they have made up a missing assignment, make-ups are entered on Thursdays (my tech day) – this saves me aggravation and I force myself to have everything graded by that day so they can check their grades online.
Finally, check with other teachers in your building who have similar schedules and ask them to share their wisdom and experience with you. If you have a tip you want me to add here, pm me on facebook or else email me. Thanks!