Michal, I feel for you! When I first came to my county, I was reduced to
teaching 30 minute back to back lessons to 450 students. I wrote a 3 page
proposal outlining the actual amount of time I used for motivation, worktime
(nil) and closure and clean-up. I also outlined the program as I saw it could
improve. I recieved my request for 50 minute classes that met less regularly,
but provided more overall "time -on - task" for the student. I also joined
forces with our librarian to begin teaching an afternoon art history class to
our 4th and 5th graders. ( Boy, did we benefit from the visuals that came out
of that sweet deal!) Teachers loved getting extra long periods, even though
they were less frequent, and the students really benefitted from the extended
time as well.
As time went on, however, student enrollment doubled, and new
administration came in. I arrived back to school one Fall to discover my 30
minute back-to-back classes reinstated, my art history and special studios
scrapped, and my program taking a huge nose dive!
There is a happy ending! I pulled out my original proposal from 7 years
previous, joined forces with the librarian , technology teacher, PE teacher,
and the Music teacher, and met weekly (for the entire year!) to create a
revised schedule that we presented to the new administration at the end of
what was a horrible year. We now have a 7 day rotation that is color coded so
that teachers and students can better follow the schedule. Every classroom
teacher gets a 45 minute break all but one of the seven days in the rotation.
We have continued this for 2 years now!
The beauty of the plan is that no days are missed when there is a holiday or
snow day! We just pick up where we left off, so that no classes end up losing
out on their classes!
Don't give up. Use parental support, and gentle coercion with your
administration. Join forces with others also experiencing your time dillemas!