I started at a new teaching position for the last 3 weeks of the school year last May as a part-time teacher, with 3 classes. I loved it, and the kids made it pretty easy since they were seniors who were ready to just graduate.
I've been re-hired as a permanent part-time teacher, still with 3 classes- sophomores, the last three periods of the day. Does anyone have any suggestions/advice for dealing with my limited availibility and other issues that might come up (I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of)?
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Availability outside of class may quickly become an important issue, so think carefully and soon about how you want to handle it. Working with sophomores all year will be much different than working with seniors at the end of the year!
I would establish the amount of time you're planning to be in the classroom after school and make students, parents, staff and administrators aware of your hours up front. Some teachers are comfortable giving out home phone/cell phone numbers and encouraging students to call at any time; others are not - you make the call for yourself, but let everyone know the boundaries. Otherwise, you will have people trying to take advantage of your "part-time" status by infringing on your off hours to do school chores.
You also need to get clarification up front of what your supervisor's expectations are regarding your attendance at faculty meetings, department meetings, IEP meetings, open house, and other after hours events. The frequency of these varies greatly from one school to the next. If your school has a lot of them, you may need to find some compromise where you don't have to attend them all.
If finances don't play a part in your decision to teach part-time, I think everything will work out great. I taught less than full-time for several years at a private school, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me extra time during school hours to spend with students, and it provided a smaller work load (grading papers, lesson planning) outside of school.
As someone who has spent a lot of time teaching part-time, I would say you'll need to address at least the following issues:
- Being out of the loop with a lot of stuff that happens at school. Depending on what your schedule is, you are likely to miss a lot of meetings, a lot of announcements, etc. This means that it is a lot easier for things to happen in school that you will not know about -- assemblies, new policies, things like that. So I think you need to be aware of this and maybe try to set up some system for making sure you don't miss things like that.
- Feeling (and being treated) like you don't really belong. If you teach at a big, impersonal school anyway, this might be less of a problem. But it can certainly be a problem at a smaller school. The kids may treat you as if you're not really quite as worthy of respect as a "real" teacher. The other teachers won't spend as much time with you and so will be less likely to really think of you as a colleague. So, you might not feel so much like part of the school community.
I worked last year 1/2 time in one school and 1/2 in another. Both schools were different cultures, basically and they had their own way of doing things regardless of being in the same district.
My advice is: DO NOT act nor feel like you are "half" a teacher. You are still a complete professional working and giving your 100%. This being said, befriend people, offer your help, and become involved with the school community to a full extent. Tell the principal that you are willing to volunteer other services that you can render (if you really want to do that, that is) and be there for everyone.
Why am I suggesting this? Because once you FEEL as a FULL and important part of the school community you will see that they will respond the same way giving you information, or not being "bothered" to answer every question you have.
I agree with much of what has been said here by other posters. It's very easy for a part-time teaching position to seem like full time. In addition to being clear with students and parents about how and when they may contact you (if it were me, I would avoid giving out my home number, and encourage online contact through the school's email), it is also important that you clarify the lines of responsibility and expectation from your administrator ahead of time. Are you expected to go to morning meetings? How much plan time will you have? Maybe talk to your union rep about any contractual issues so you know that you are not being taken advantage of by the district. Teachers are famously easy targets in that department. Good luck!
You should also consider speaking to your employer about duty. Full-time teachers are required to serve different "duty" during the course of the year. I would assume that part-time teachers would not be subject to faculty meetings, morning, or afternoon duty, etc. that full-timers would.
Otherwise, enjoy the kids, the lighter grading/planning load, and your free time!
Also...our school has blog posts that the students can log into and ask questions of teacher...much like the way eNotes is structured. Perhaps you can make something like this available to students so they can get homework help or ask questions when you are not on campus.
Thanks, everyone. I've been trying to get organized and ready for the new school year. I think the circumstances that brought me to the position in the first place have helped me to feel like I am part of the school community.
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