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High School 9-12 Special education teacher, ELA, from Texas

Great Ideas! I whole-heartily

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Great Ideas! I whole-heartily agree with planning for the next school year. My district requires 14 hours of in-service in each curriculum area; even in special education we have specific classes to take. But what makes my job easier, is going to Regular Education courses, such as ELA curriculum updates for high school. This year we were given a curriculum unit planning document and a requirement for that course and I helped plan the first nine weeks for the English 2 group. At home, I was able to complete my yearlong curriculum in a very short time for my resource English 1 and 2. I am prepared with a yearlong calendar, unit preparations, and specific lessons for novels. July was my relaxing month, and I work only work when I feel like it to finish the last novel unit for English 1, which is in my last nine weeks of school. Even if I get back and my high school ELA department changes something I can roll with the flow so much better, and because I am prepared I can add to those meetings, most of the time, and I am valued as an ELA teacher not just a special education teacher. My year goes so much better being prepared and I do spend less time on academic planning, so that I can concentrate on my special education duties for my case manger list.

Pre-K Teacher from Decatur, Georgia

I really enjoyed reading your

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I really enjoyed reading your blog. It provided insight and it makes a lot of good sense. As the school year begins, I am often overwhelmed by all the work that is awaiting me before the students come back to school. I dread doing anything in July because it is my last moment of peace and relaxation, but it makes complete sense to start planning ahead of time. Why add extra stress on time your already piled up plate of things to do. I think following the steps you outlined will alleviate extra work and still allow me to have extra time to relax. I especially like your ideas about connecting with PLCs and building collaboration. I look forward to trying out this method and gaining more free time before school starts back.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist


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During the exam period, which started Tuesday and lasts until next Tuesday, you don’t have to come to school on the day your free period has an exam.

The school wants you to call it your planning period, but you’re actually free to leave the campus on a regular day and do whatever you want during your planning period so I call it a free period. Say free period around Lurlene and she goes nuts. She’ll say you’re supposed to be in there planning for what’s coming. I always say I’ve already done that because I have. This usually leaves the woman speechless, and that’s always a big moment in the history of American education.

So guess what today is? My free period. I don’t have a third period. I didn’t get out of my nasty bathrobe until ___ o’clock in the dang ___.

Free to do what, though, I have no idea. You go four hundred miles an hour for almost ten months so it’s hard to slow it down and think about your own strange and embarrassing desires for too long. But do something healthy, maybe, like a long jog, followed up by weight lifting and some time with the heavy bag? Or something nutritious, like a long afternoon nap?

I performed one of the four aforementioned items and then I watched a DVD that new substitute teacher, Charla, who looks like Tammy Wynette, had given me a few days ago with a sticky note stuck to it that said, in her curly-girly letters, that there were people in this movie like people in our families. Charla is very, very much from Tennessee. She must get a hillbilly vibe from me.

Anyway, the movie is called Sordid Lives, and it’s about a bunch of loveable and eccentric people with necks that are sun burned. The movie’s tag line is … A Black Comedy About White Trash.

In one scene an old woman named Sissy is hovering over the dead corpse of her sister while the corpse is lying in a coffin. Her sister’s got a dead mink or a ferret wrapped around her neck and the corpse is smiling. Sissy had already walked into the empty church smoking a cigarette and she says to her freshly dead sister as she’s waving smoke out of the way with her hand … Heyyyy! I guess you don’t mind if I smoke. It just wasn’t the right time to quit with you dyin’ and all. I only lasted for three days. I failed again, but after five husbands what else is new?

There I am, late in the afternoon during my all-day free period, in my nasty bathrobe, laughing at the TV screen all by myself. I felt like a lunatic and it felt dang wonderful.

8th grade algebra and engineering teacher form Tucson

Teacher, 8th Grade Algebra and Engineering

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You're timing couldn't be better. In a a couple of hours we're heading up to Sedona for a few days away. I just packed,along with a couple of novels, the book I'm reading to help me prepare for flipping my class. I've got a blank pad to sketch out a crosswalk between my school's curriculum, common core, and our IB assessment criteria. I've started texting some colleagues. My professional networks are gearing up. I need to get the contact info for may algebra students to send a welcoming post card. Does that make my score 5 for 5?
Seriously, your post is super and offers a refreshing look at how to prepare and renew simultaneously.

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