In order to allow myself the space to plan I had to look at all my obligations and seek opportunities for ramping up efficiency. Low and behold, I am also assigned to teach one section of global history 1, meaning that the other 4 sections are the responsibility of another teacher. Ah ha! If this teacher and I can figure out a reliable schedule for sharing materials and ideas, perhaps I won't need to develop 10 lesson plans a week!
That's exactly what we did. Using Google calendar we set up several recurring "events" Thursday to Monday, with email reminders set up and shared ability to edit the events. The schedule looks like this:
- By 5PM every Thursday, I will send Jon objectives for each day's lessons for the upcoming week. Since I've taught the course before, if I have materials that might relate to various objectives (past lesson plans, worksheets, PowerPoints, etc) I will send these as well.
- At 12:30PM on Friday we will meet for a brief brainstorming session, where we reflect on the past week and determine if we will change or tweak objectives sent out the previous day.
- By 11AM Sunday morning, Jon will send me a draft of Monday's LP for review.
- By 11:30 PM I will return Monday's LP with modification, additions, and/or suggestions.
- By 8AM Monday, I will send Jon the draft of Tues LP, and he will send me drafts for Wed-Fri. He has heavier responsibilities on drafting because a) he teaching more sections of Global 1, b) I have to plan another course and he doesn't and c) I am contributing in other ways that play off of my experience teaching Global 1.
- Finally, by 9PM Monday we exchange feedback/modifications on lessons. Once we get to this point, we can work relatively independently in our classes until we meet again on Friday.
This strategy for co-planning using the Google calendar tool offers so much promise for us avoiding burn-out and achieving great results in our classes. We both have clarity about our respective commitments to each other, moreover we see the mutual benefit of working this way.
I'll report back on this in a few months and let you know how it goes.