Previous   Next

How much lesson planning time do you think elementary teachers should have per week?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 23, 2008

Browse the archives

Photo of Sharon White

“They should have at least five hours per week so they have an hour each day. But really they should have more. I get 90 minutes a day, and I only have to cover one subject.”

Photo of Jim Freed

“At least eight hours. I figure the work day is about eight hours long, so they should probably have a whole day of planning spread out over the week.”

Photo of Elizabeth Smith

“I don’t know how much they have now, but I’m sure they need more than they have. I would let the teachers decide for themselves. They know their job better than I do.”

Photo of Tom Laing

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to give them five hours a week. I’m sure more would be better; teaching is hard. I know there are limitations and nothing’s free, but it’s probably the most important thing children receive in life.”

Related story


teachks 9 years, 11 months ago

If you give teachers more time, administration will take up that time for meetings and such. It happens all the time. I had 100 minutes three days a week and 90 minutes two days a week. That may seem like a lot, but when admin comes in and tells you that you have to serve on this committee, or write up this report, or fill out this paperwork, or attend this meeting that time goes by so fast. "Planning period" basically disappears. Giving teachers more time isn't the solution, it's allowing them to plan and grade during that time that is the solution.

jonas 9 years, 11 months ago

Couldn't tell you. Ask me again in late September, when I've been teaching ECiv for a month or so, and I'll tell you how long I've needed then.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 11 months ago

sgt, those poor ducks on that shirt must be flat broke...they haven't got a bill! yuk, yuk (groan)Oh, Ok! Now I see that their bills are at arm bad!

acg 9 years, 11 months ago

I think that the NCLB crap has bogged our teachers down in a lot of unnecessary, time consuming paperwork. If they got rid of a lot of the bureacratic BS, and let them actually teach, they might have enough time in their work day to plan for their classes. That being said, I have to ask, how many of you out there that have a profession (not a job), get to turn it off at 5:00? I don't know many who's work life doesn't always pour into their personal lives. Whether it be running all of the office errands, taking phone calls from clients after hours, being hit up on your blackberry by your boss every freakin' two minutes cause the guy just can't get that you have a life outside of work, etc. I don't know many people who's profession is a 9:00 to 5:00 gig that stops when the clock hits 5:00. Let's face it, most of us are slaves to our professions and no one out there gives a crap if we're being paid enough for it. It's a big old bite of reality, but as we all know, reality bites.

coolmom 9 years, 11 months ago

who said teachers get off at a certain time? even at home they are grading papers, answering emails and worrying about the kid that looks like they have issues or the 3-4 that do. what about the mandatory projects like student council? after school programs? pta and site councils? clubs? who do you think runs these? teachers do. school has been out for how long? i know teachers that are still in their rooms working. what about summer school. the teachers day ends a half hour after the bell rings? what a hoot.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 11 months ago

I couldn't begin to fathom a guess, but I'd rather pay them to do it outside of their normal teaching hours. Hey! I know. Let's give them better pay so they won't be so ticked about working extra hours. Or let's just give them better pay.Do teachers get a "planning period" every day? Or, is that their "lunch hour?"

nsj02 9 years, 11 months ago

I was lucky enough to have plan period for nearly two hours each day. However, before your mouths drop open in awe, let me explain what my plan period consisted of: lunch duty (25 min), my lunch (30 min), and the remainder of time was spent recuperating from the morning's classes. In my experience, 'plan period' is more of a 'regrouping period'. Granted, the 2007-2008 school year was my first year of teaching, so we'll see how things change in the upcoming year.

formerksteacher 9 years, 11 months ago

Elementary teachers in Lawrence are paid to arrive 30 minutes before class begins and end their work day 30 minutes after the students leave. Before school is generally spent checking email (required by administration to be informed for each day) and laying out materials for the first class. And forget about that if any staff member feels they need to talk with you about planning a time to work with your students (librarian, counselor, WRAP, special ed, etc.) Teachers have 40 minutes plan time each day while the kids go to music, gym, or art. However, this usually is cut down by a minimum of 5-10 minutes simply to line the kids up, stop at the bathroom or water fountain, etc, then wait for them and pick them up afterwards. This leaves about 30 minutes, and typically consists of picking up a few things off the floor, running to the restroom, and checking email, which teachers are bombarded with from parents, professional organizations, district, administration, and co-workers. Most schools find a way to cover one recess time per day, however students generally need more than one recess, meaning the teachers must cover any recess time other than the first. Lunch is normally 25 minutes, which counts the time you take to walk the kids to/from the lunchroom and catch stragglers coming back from other classes - often kids are pulled out here or there for reading, math, counseling, enrichment, whatever. Then, of course, in that 25 minutes you must warm up or prepare your meal for eating. It's fairly difficult to eat a normal meal within 20 minutes with all of this included. After school, a teacher rarely is 'alone' for planning. Kids hardly ever all leave the room when the bell rings. They either need some follow up, their parents do, or a teacher may keep kids to help with projects or late work. Normally a teacher's real dismissal is at least 15 minutes after the bell, which allows for another 15 minutes to call parents or pick up the room before the end of the duty day. However, many after-school tasks are put off because Monday might be leadership meeting, Tuesday could be a staff meeting, Wed. is collaboration, and so on. As you can see, there really isn't much planning in teachers' planning time. While teachers DO plan quite a bit in the summer and on weekends and during their evenings, it is most effective to have regularly scheduled time throughout the week to plan lessons based on what you observe during the day. I would have to agree with whoever posted earlier that teachers do NOT need more time taken out of their day with students, though. Most teachers in my experience would just like to be paid for the many, many hours they spend outside the classroom during their 'off' time because they are dedicated to good teaching and to enlightening their students. Sorry for the long post - just thought some of you might find it helpful to see how things work each day. (And this is NOT a complaint - just an explanation.)

Kookamooka 9 years, 11 months ago

With all of the extra paperwork necessary due to the IEP's and other classroom management issues, the one hour for planning gets eaten pretty quickly. Planning often gets squeezed in the cracks of everyday life. The teachers who commute get that empty hour in the car to visualize what their classes need, which is often exactly the uninterrupted quite time necessary to really think through problems and solutions.

sherbert 9 years, 11 months ago

Well, if they worked til 5:00 like everyone else, they could have the hour or more after school gets out; plus, they have the time during the day when the kids are doing work or other projects. Don't most teachers also have a para helping them out these days? Or, recess time if they aren't on recess duty? And, the time when the class goes into another class for music, gym or whatever?

labmonkey 9 years, 11 months ago

I mean I do agree with what most say about NCLB....not that I agree with NCLB itself.

labmonkey 9 years, 11 months ago

When a profession that touches everyone has people complain they make too little (they have to take work home, they do deal with your kids who nowadays have become for lack of a better word, wimps raised by helocopter parents, many on mostly unneeded medication for ADHD when they just need a kick in the behind while having no power to do what is needed, and have to spend their summers in school themselves to get their raises), as well as many people who say they get paid too much (they do get three months off a year plus a generous sick policy while in school, does it really take that long to lesson plan?, and most people deal with career issues off the clock so why should teachers be so they have the country's most powerful union backing them), I would say that teachers are paid just about right. I do agree with NCLB should be called No Child Gets Ahead.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.