|K-5 Prep Time
Discussion of various prep time scenarios continued. One possible scenario involves slightly fewer prep periods provided for 1st-3rd grade teachers than for 4th and 5th grade teachers, due to the fewer instructional minutes they are required to teach and to the fact that 4th and 5th grade class sizes will not decrease until 2021.
Why the focus on elementary prep time?
For those members wondering why this round of negotiations is focusing so intensively on K-5 prep time, the BFT Negotiations Team wanted to provide some background information and context.
Elementary teachers plan for upwards of 6 hours of instruction in every subject, broken into 15-minute increments, every day. They teach everything from math to science, language arts to history, art to PE. Elementary classrooms are incredibly materials-intensive, requiring an immense number of posters, images, handouts, and organizers. Then there’s the parent communication—parents of elementary students are deeply involved in their children’s schooling. K-5 teachers communicate with multiple parents in person, over email, and by phone every day. Currently, 1st-3rd grade teachers do all of this with one 45-minute prep period during the student day per week.
While it is true that elementary teachers, and especially 1st-3rd teachers, have recess and a shorter instructional day, both of these times are often unavailable for prepping for teaching. Teachers are often required to supervise students on the yard during recess, and the recess blocks often only amount to 15-20 minutes, hardly enough time to get substantial work done. The time after student dismissal is frequently used for meetings that begin minutes after students are dismissed. Release time during the student day is much more likely to be protected for actual planning and preparation which will directly benefit students.
Primary teachers have worked for many years with only one prep period per week. The class size changes enacted in our most recent BSEP measure make it imperative that we improve their access to our most precious resource: time.