FHS Press

The mysteries of planning period

Casey Collins, Asst. Sports Editor

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There are exactly six hours and 40 minutes in a school day from the time first block starts to the time Personal Learning Time (PLT) ends. However, excluding lunch, teachers only have 80 minutes to themselves each school day in a time called planning period. If there are no students to teach in the classroom, what do teachers do during this time?

When one thinks of a planning period, most would likely assume it entails creating lesson plans and preparing material for upcoming classes. It’s not wrong to think this because it is often true. However, teachers spend this time in a various amount of ways.

Teachers spend the majority of their planning period in their own classrooms, but this does not limit traveling to neighboring classrooms or the office. Visiting other teachers to discuss lesson plans or talk about student progression in each others’ class is common. They also often take trips to the office to make copies of assignments.

Most teachers have these in common but depending on what each teacher is involved in, how they spend their time can be diverse.

“Along with the normal copying, lesson planning and grading, a majority of my planning periods are spent working with Mrs. Niedbala to run the 9th grade team and plan events such as the Freshman Forum,” History teacher Maria Porter said.

Sophomore Communications teacher Bradley Baldwin cherishes any time he gets to get caught up with all of his work. He is a member of Freedom’s Task Force and sponsors the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club.

“During my planning period, I work on lesson plans and work to adapt to my students’ learning styles and work on anything I need to get caught up on especially with the Task Force,” Baldwin said, “I’m usually slammed.”

Special Education teacher Ms. Cristina Waters has a very busy schedule too.

“Being in the Special Ed Department, we usually have to work on (Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs), we do progress monitoring with students, pulling kids to make sure they’re caught up on assignments,” Waters said. “I’ve spent many planning periods in the guidance office working with them to get students’ schedules and to make sure they are where they need to be for graduation.”

As a student, it is hard to realize that we are not the only ones with a heavy workload on a daily basis. Teachers are always researching and creating new and up to date assignments to challenge their students on a day-to-day basis. Pushing students to enjoy learning and be the best that they can be is a huge part of a teacher’s job and sometimes it can be a process.

A gym teacher is a unique example of a teacher who is always working to stay up date with activities that students will enjoy.

“For part of my planning period I like research ways to stay up with the latest things going on and newer games that are popping out just to keep my students engaged in something that’s new and different,” Gym teacher Christopher Coennen said.

Planning period is a chance for teachers to get ahead on their work that can easily build up, making their job a whole lot easier.

“I usually try to stay two full lessons ahead, so right now in the beginning of March, I have everything planned up to Easter break,” Coennen said.

Teachers use this free time to make sure they are doing everything possible to make sure students can succeed in the classroom. With only 80 minutes of planning, teachers make sure they use every minute they get to themselves ahead and prepared for their classes.


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Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper
The mysteries of planning period