Click below to hear how to ask for admin support:
Admin support can completely make or break your job as a secondary science teacher. As high school science teachers, we have so much on our plates already – planning, prepping labs, grading, teaching how many preps, pressure from parents, etc. Without support from admin, this job can be even more challenging. So how can you get support from admin? ASK! That’s right, you need to actually ask for admin support, and ask in an effective way.
I spent my first few years struggling because I was afraid to ask my admin for what I needed to effectively teach my classes. I learned the hard way that I needed help and I needed to ask my admin for that help. I also learned a few things along the way about how to ask for admin support and I’m sharing those lessons with you so you can confidently ask your admin for support.
In this episode, we are covering why you need to ask for help, my best tips for how to ask your admin, and ways admin can support you that do not cost money. As always, if something is holding you back from asking your admin for help, reach out to me and I’d LOVE to empower you to ask for the support and resources you need!
There is still time to submit your stories for the Teacher Appreciation Week gone wrong episode!. Please DM or send me a voice recording about a time when you received a “gift” or “treat” for Teacher Appreciation Week that we just wouldn’t believe. I’ll be giving away five $10 TpT gift cards to people who share with us. I can’t wait to hear all your stories!
- Why you need to ask for admin support even if you think they will say no
- 8 of my best tips for asking admin for curriculum (or other things) that you actually want and need
- 5 ways admin can support you without spending any money
- Please send me a DM or voice recording of your “Teacher Appreciation Gone Wrong” stories
- Send me a voice recording for the “Teacher Appreciation Week Gone Wrong” episode
- Overview of It’s Not Rocket Science Biology Curriculum for Admin
- Overview of It’s Not Rocket Science Anatomy Curriculum for Admin
- Overview It’s Not Rocket Science Physical Science Curriculum for Admin
- Join the Secondary Science Simplified virtual professional development course waitlist
- Send me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.science
- Send me an email: Rebecca@itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com
- Grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge!
- Follow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts.
Related Episodes and Blog Posts:
- How to Balance Multiple Preps as a High School Science Teacher
- How to Get Admin to Buy Curriculum you Actually Want
- Admin Support for Secondary Teachers that Doesn’t Cost Money
- Labs on a Budget
- Everything you Need to Know About Having a High School T.A. Program
- Prime Times: The Secondary Classroom Procedure you Can’t Live Without
- Episode 68. Evaluating Your Teaching Contract
- Episode 65. Considering Switching Schools? 10 Questions to Think Through
Connect with Rebecca:
- Join the list
- Follow me on Instagram
- Like us on Facebook
- Join the Secondary Science Simplified Course Waitlist
- Shop my TpT Store
More about Secondary Science Simplified:
Secondary Science Simplified is a podcast specifically for high school science teachers that will help you to engage your students AND simplify your life as a secondary science educator. Each week Rebecca, from It’s Not Rocket Science, and her guests will share practical and easy-to-implement strategies for decreasing your workload so that you can stop working overtime and start focusing your energy doing what you love – actually teaching!
Teaching doesn’t have to be rocket science, and you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to simplify your secondary science teaching life so that you can enjoy your life outside of school even more. Head to itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/challenge to grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge.
You’re listening to episode number 69 of the secondary science simplified podcast. arguably the biggest factor in whether or not you are in a healthy teaching environment is the support or lack of support from your admin. admin support will truly make or break your job as a high school science teacher. More than any other job and K through 12 education, high school teachers have the most additional responsibilities on their plates. In addition to lesson planning, grading, prepping labs, and actually, you know, teaching put the pressure of parents on secondary teachers who are wanting you to prepare their students for college. Plus, all the extracurriculars and the sports and the clubs that you sponsor, you know, put all of that on top of it, the overwhelm can feel insurmountable at times. And so if any of this resonates with you, I’m going to venture to guess that you need help. I know that I did when I was balancing five preps on top of running Student Council, the school mentoring program and planning prom, all of this while walking through the adoption process in my personal life, which forget to mention personalized teachers have those most people forget that we do, don’t they? So you have all this going on inside of school plus your personalized outside of school. If you are feeling totally drained this school year, and not sure how you’re going to rally for another year next year. It is such a good time now to get support from your admin for the future. But how do we do that? How do we ask them for help? And what do we ask them for? Especially if we already know they will say there’s no money in the budget for resources or more lab supplies? Now, I personally have a lot of experience asking admin to support me, because let’s be real, your girl needs a lot of help. So in this episode, I’m going to tell you exactly why you should ask how to ask and what to ask for. And so without further ado, let’s get right to it.
This is secondary science simplified a podcast for secondary science teachers who want to engage their students and simplify their lives. I’m Rebecca joiner from it’s not rocket science. As a high school science teacher turned curriculum writer, I am passionate about helping other science teachers love their jobs, serve their students, and do it all in only 40 hours a week. Are you ready to rock the time he’s been in your classroom and actually have a life outside of it? You are in the right place teacher friend, let’s get to today’s episode.
Okay, just a reminder, before we get into the episode, I need your help. Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner. And I have an idea for an episode that I think would be really fun in honor of it. But I cannot do it without you. And this is your last chance to share your stories. So what I want from you is like Teacher Appreciation Week gone wrong stories. So any examples you may have of a time where you know, admin, or maybe the parent teacher fellowship, or you know, whatever partnership, they gave you a gift or a treat, then that’s in quotation marks, that you know, was not really a gift or a treat, they thought they were celebrating you. But it wasn’t really you know, it just didn’t come off right at all. Those are the stories I would love to hear that, you know, we’re not very fun in the moment. But like looking back, it’s actually kind of hilarious that they thought this was a good idea for Teacher Appreciation. So I want to collect those stories. So we can laugh about them together. And so there’s two ways you can share your stories. One, you can DM me on Instagram at it’s dot not dot rocket dot science. And then I can read your story and the episode or two, there’s a link in the show notes. All you do is click it and then there’s like a little play button and you hold it down. And it’d be just like, if you were texting me a voice memo, you just do a little voice recording, it can just be a few seconds, it can be a minute, you know, you just tell your story. And then I could use your voice on the podcast. Do you know though I will share these completely anonymously, I will not share your name or anything like that. And so that way we can gather these stories, I just think it’d be so fun to listen to, and to hopefully encourage you to be bold enough to share your stories. I’m gonna give away five $10 TBT gift cards to people who share stories. So hopefully we can get enough to do this episode in a couple of weeks. And again, you can find the link to that in the show notes where you can share that. Alright, we got a lot to cover. So let’s get into this episode today. So first, I want to talk about asking for curriculum resources because I think that’s often one of the first things that can really, really help us especially if you’re looking at your teaching contract right now and you’re getting asked to teach a new part
If you’ve never taught before, one of the great things you can ask for right off the bat is curriculum is resources to support you. So when I think back on when I was student teaching, I remember asking my mentor teacher about curriculum just to help me with lesson planning, like, what was he using, you know, did he have anything that I could use to build my lesson plans from. And I’m not joking, y’all. He pointed me to a dusty filing cabinet filled with projector sheets. That is what he had. He was in this like five year program, like he was technically post retirement, but was giving back like five years for a bonus type thing. And so he was so done, he was not making any of his projector sheets or content digital. So that’s what he had for me. And then after student teaching, when I landed my first official teaching job, I was pointed to the district online server, and it kind of had a compilation of things that people had uploaded there that were so outdated. The majority of it was like scanned in worksheets from workbooks and textbooks, and then labs that covered standards that were not even in the state standards anymore, like they were no longer required. But this is what the district had compiled for us. And so I wanted to know how to get admin to help me with curriculum, and getting the resources that I actually wanted. And that would actually benefit me as a teacher and my students, but I didn’t know how to do that. And to be honest, I felt like a little fish in a big pond. In that first job, I was a new teacher. And I was teaching among, you know, 75 plus veteran teachers. We had eight admin at our school because it was a very large public school. And I was just honestly too scared to ask for help. And so I didn’t, my fear of hearing No, or looking like I was incompetent, and that I couldn’t do the job I had been hired to do, led me to not ask for help. And you know what, I wasn’t the only one who suffered, my students did too. And so then a few years later, when I moved across the state with my husband, first job, I took a job at a really tiny private school, and I knew something had to change. I couldn’t be scared to ask for help anymore. I needed my admin to support me, whether that was buying me curriculum or not. But especially I mean, curriculum would be especially helpful because I was teaching five different preps. And I didn’t just want like a standardized textbook curriculum, either. I want a curriculum that I actually wanted to teach with, you know, maybe that I had vetted or I had researched and knew would be great for me and my students. And so the problem was, though, that I was just told over and over again, that my school didn’t have the money, I took the job knowing I would be one of just a handful of science teachers, I did take the job knowing that there was no science budget, and I did take the job knowing that I wouldn’t even be teaching in a lab space. And so this made it even more intimidating to ask my admin for resources. It was different than me being at my large public school where I did know that I had a budget there that I could spend on things. But here’s the deal. Teaching is about so much more than teaching, there’s so much more that goes into it than actually just teaching students. And I know, you know, this, if you’re listening to this, because I know if you’re listening to this, your teacher, writing curriculum is not the same thing as lesson planning. And there’s so much more that we do besides just writing curriculum, lesson planning, we administer labs, we have to prep those, we have to clean those up, we have to grade paper. I mean, like there’s so much that goes into our jobs. And I think oftentimes, people just think writing curriculum and being a teacher are synonymous, and they’re really like two completely separate jobs. So I just want to encourage you, if this is something you feel like you need help with, that does not mean you’re a bad teacher. It’s a totally other responsibility. And it’s a lot. So I really want to encourage you that it’s okay to ask for help in this area. And so I started doing that. I asked for help with pretty much everything. I asked for help with curriculum. I asked for lab tables, even though I was in a non lab space. I had these like those desks that have like the chairs attached to them. And that was all my students have. And you know, those desks are kind of like slanted. I was like, hey, if I’m expected to do these makeshift labs I’m making up since I don’t have a real lab space, I need flat surfaces. My students can be working at these like tilted desks attached to chairs. So I asked for lab tables. I asked for money to buy materials to do some of my favorite labs like ecosystem and a bottle that I’ll link in the show notes. When I was expected to teach AP biology. I asked to be sent to AP Summer Institute. When I had my digital projector was on the fritz I asked for a new one because it’s getting blurry and students literally couldn’t see my lecture notes that were projected on the whiteboard. And did they say yes, every time I asked? Absolutely not. But you know what? They said yes, way more than they said no, because I asked for a lot of different things. And I just kept asking, and so I know you may
Be in a massive school where you rarely interact with your admin. Or you may be in a tiny school where you know, there’s no budget, but I just want to encourage you to find the courage to ask for help. That’s like my little brief story to enter this about how I didn’t do it. And then I forced myself to do it. And just how much better my quality of life was as a teacher, and how much better I was able to serve my students, because I did. So again, why you need to ask, even if you’re positive, they will say no, even if you turn on this podcast, and you’re like, I’m not asking for any of this stuff. Rebecca’s gonna tell me because I know what they’re gonna say. So even if you’re sure, ask anyway. Unless you are the bookkeeper or business manager at your school, you really don’t have any idea what money they do and don’t have. So you need to be willing to ask, I wish so badly I could go back to first year teacher, Rebecca, and ask every question that I just swallowed and tried to figure out on my own, whether that was for help or not, you know, I just I was so concerned with one proving my competency and to not being a burden to others that I just never want to ask for help. And I think I could have enjoyed those first few years, so much more, and loved and served my students so much better if I had been willing to ask for help. So again, a few more reasons. If you’re still not convinced why you need to ask for help. Firstly, they will never know what you really need unless you tell them. Also, there may be money in a different area that can be moved around to meet your needs. A third thing is way less people are asking for help than you think like you might think you’re a burden. But you might also be the only one asking for help. I will never forget when I asked for a new projector because mine was getting blurry. And I got one. My teacher neighbor next door was like what the heck, mine has been shaking for like six months. And I was like, Well, did you ask if you could get a new one? And he was like, Well, no, because I knew there wasn’t any money in the budget. I was like, well, you should have asked, because I asked and I got a new one within two weeks, because they knew it was like such a critical thing that I had a working projector screen to project my slides onto the whiteboard. Again, what is the risk? Will you get fired for asking for help? Absolutely not. So there’s truly no risk. The worst that happens is they say no. And then you’re right back where you started. And that seems like a really minimal risk to me when the other option is that they actually say yes. Now, how should you go about getting the best results when you ask for help? There’s no magic formula to get what you want. It’s a lot like The Rolling Stones, famously saying you know, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try some times, you just find you get what you need. Okay, so you need to try. So here’s some of my best tips. First is ask often
asking for help requires you to exercise your humility muscle. And for me, this is something really hard and like anything, it’s going to feel awkward at first, especially if you’re not asking for help. Often those muscles are atrophied. And so you need to use them to strengthen them. The more you ask, the easier it gets. And here’s the other thing I’ll say, too, when you’re asking often, you can ask for small things and large things. And if there’s something big, you really want asked multiple times, if you’re following the recipe suggestions, it won’t be as annoying as it sounds, I promise you, so stick with me. But truly ask often Market Research shows that people have to hear something seven times before they’re willing to buy it. And I would apply that to your admin. Like if you have a curriculum you really want and you want your admin to get it for you, you probably need to ask them and tell them about it seven different times to convince them. Okay, so ask often and don’t be afraid to ask often. And another thing I want to encourage you to do number two is ask early, you know, like teachers admin have millions of things on their plates. So if you ask for something the day before you need it, they’re probably gonna brush you off. The earlier you ask, the more often you will be able to remind them about your request. And if you ask early, it will give them time to really consider and see if they can move the money around or, you know, make some things happen for you if they need be, the bigger your school and district are to the longer these processes often take, which is another reason to ask much earlier than you actually need. This is why I’m talking about this right now in April, now is the time to ask for stuff next year. I know that sounds crazy. But especially if you want them to buy you something, oftentimes, you know, they have like their fiscal year of when they have to spend their budget by and this can be rounding out the end of the year. And they have a little bit of extra money left that they didn’t use. And you could take advantage of this time. Or maybe they’re planning their budgets for the next school year. And now’s the time to ask so that they can make sure to make it happen in the budget. Okay, so now is totally the time to ask for next year. I really want to urge you to do that. So ask often ask early. Also, my third tip would be ask in person. The number one way to not annoy your admin with requests is to not fill their inbox with them. Ask them face to face they get more emails than we do. So please do not blow up their inbox. And the more FaceTime you get with them, the more relationship you’re going to naturally build
With your admin, I’m telling you right now admin have such a hard job. And few people will take the time to one really acknowledge that and to build a relationship with their admin, the more you take the time to do this by interacting in person with your admin, the more likely they are to know you. And if they know you, they will more likely like you, and therefore they’re going to trust you with school funds. I really think that’s why when I asked for projector within two weeks, I had another one, because they knew how I was using it and how I was utilizing the resources they had already invested in, in my classroom, and they trusted me with the school funds for that it was worth the $60 for them to buy me that new projector. Again, if you ask early in person, it’s also then easier when you see them in the halls or across the cafeteria during lunch duty. To just more casually say, Hey, have you had a chance to consider that curriculum I told you about yet or those resources I wanted to buy for this lab I really want to do, rather than emailing them once a week and getting lost in their inbox, you can kind of bring that conversation up more casually. So do it often do it early do it in person. Another tip is know the chain of command, know who to ask first, if you aren’t sure, because you’re new to a school, ask a co worker. And this completely depends on your school structure. Requests may have to go through department chairs or vice principals, you know, rather than directly heading to your head principal, that may not be right, or you might have to run them through an instructional coordinator. So figured out the chain of command. I know for us like when I do my ecosystem in a bottle investigation, I have to run it by a admin first before I send the request to my department chair and he actually processes the purchase order. But your order of events, your chain of command might be different. So find out what’s appropriate. And then regardless, if you don’t have a relationship with the admin in charge, approach someone else in leadership that you have a better relationship with first and ask for advice, or for them to request on your behalf. You know, in my first teaching job, I mainly taught in the Freshman Academy since I was teaching freshman biology, but I actually had a much closer relationship with the vice principal who was over juniors. And that was because my whole duty that I had everyday for 30 minutes was in the corridor outside of his office. So we just chatted more. But he was technically not the person I was to ask request to. But he gave me great advice for who to go to and how to approach them with my request because he knew the vice principal over the Freshman Academy better than I did. So I want to really encourage you to do that as well in building those relationships. Another thing I want to encourage you is highlight the benefits, not just the features, please don’t go into your admins office with a 3.5 paragraph essay, of all the things that curriculum or the professional development you want includes, instead focus on the benefits. So for example, instead of giving them the rundown of everything in the curriculum you want, like it has labs and notes and tests, tell them how this would decrease your prep time. And what you’d be able to use that reclaimed time for tell them how the labs included will allow you to provide daily hands on experiences for your students with minimal resources that you’re gonna have to purchase out of pocket. We’re telling how the standards aligned assessments would best prepare students for end of course exams because you have an EOC, you know, you’re adding care about that. Or tell them how their research projects in the curriculum would put the bulk of the learning back on students and help build their autonomy. You know, focus on those features and the results that they will get if they purchased this for you. And you can use it with your students, rather than just what focus on the end result and those benefits. And also, I encourage you to show them what they want to see. Again, knowing your admin will go a long way and getting them to say yes to your requests. From a relational standpoint, it just makes sense. But also from a logical standpoint, too. If you know what your admin cares most about, you can highlight how your request meets the benefit that will most pique their interest. For example, if your admin cares about standards alignment, have proof of alignment written out to show them. If your admin cares most about standardized test scores, show them the built in practice problems and test questions and how they’re going to help prepare students for EOC exams or AP exams. If your admin cares most about spending as little money as possible, show them how if you can invest in this curriculum that you can use year after year. This is a curriculum that, you know, maybe focuses on using few materials. So you’re not going to have to buy as many consumable resources year after year, because it’s gonna be a lot of things that you’ll be able to remake and do these simulations or whatever. So really knowing your admin and highlighting what they want to see really helps
to more tips for how to ask them. I also really recommend handing them something physical that they can refer back to later. So like I mentioned, studies show that people need to hear something seven times before they’re willing to buy or do something about it and take action. So make sure after you’ve met with them in person and kind of explain
Your request focusing on the benefits, you leave them with something they can look at after you’re gone. A few of those seven times that you’re getting to them could be a physical pocket or paper that you leave on your desk and not just your face and your voice. And so if you’re not sure what to get them, I recommend, you know, most curriculum writers like me or professional development creators, we have some sort of like overview sheet or like one pager that can be printed and given to admin. So for example, if you’re interested in it’s not rocket science curriculum, I will link in the show notes, I have admin overview sheets that I wrote specifically for you to give to your admin for my biology, anatomy and physiology and physical science curricula, as well as my secondary science simplified professional development course. So I will link those in the show notes. But even if you don’t have something like that, making something like that for what you want is really, really effective. So you can hand it to them. And then the last thing I’ll say is point to the bigger picture. Most admin want to make investments that will last for the long term. This is why schools have so much larger non consumable budgets and they do consumables. So help paint a picture of the long term benefits of the resources you are requesting. Curriculum lasts forever, especially if you buy you know, from someone like me, who updates their curriculum for free. And once you buy, you get it for life, and you get all those updates, like it can be a really worthwhile one time investment for your admin to make and you as a teacher, projectors will need to be replaced, chemicals will expire. But solid curricular resources can be used year after year. Okay, so those are some tips you can use. Whether you’re asking for curriculum or something else, those are my best recommendations for how to get admin to really hear from you. Now, I know some of you, though, are still adamant that admin will not buy you curriculum, and I 100% get that too, you know, know that you are not alone and all hope is not lost. Again, at one point I taught at a tiny small private school zero science budget. And so I knew they were not going to buy me curriculum, which is one of the things that motivated me to write my own and got me into this in the first place. But I also knew that they didn’t have lab equipment for me. So that was not an option either. But there are still a lot of ways your admin can support you, despite all the responsibility they’ve given to you. Okay, so to end this episode, I want to give you five ways that your admin can support you while spending $0. Okay, and these are all things that I’ve asked for and some I’ve gotten some I have not these can be really helpful. And if you just want to like forward this episode with Adnan and be like, help me, this is a great one to forward them. Okay, admin, if you are listening, here are five great ways you can support your teachers without spending any money on them. Okay. Number one, take away one of their preps. I know, I know, this sounds insane. But I figured I’d start with this. I know this is a big ask, but it is doable. And especially given this time of year. Now is the time to ask for this. When you are signing your teaching contract, and they’re telling you you’re going to have a fifth prep, say, Hey, you’re gonna give me this brand new prep I’ve never taught Will you please take away one of my other ones. This is what happened me when I was given AP Biology. When they first asked me to teach AP Biology, it was gonna be my sixth prep. We had seven periods day one was planning, I was gonna have six periods, and each one was going to be an entirely different prep. And I straight up said, Listen, this is a college level course. I cannot teach it at the level it needs. And with the intention, it means if I have all these other preps, can you please take one? And you know what they did? They took one of them away and gave them to another teacher. And I gave that teacher everything I had. And I supported them in that. But it did help. I mean, I still had five preps. So it was still a full load. But that is something that you can ask. And you know what? Maybe they’ll say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. And here’s the thing. If they do say no. Now you’ve kind of warmed them up, you know, you’ve asked for something they’ve said no, they might be feeling guilty. Now you can ask them for something else? And they may say yes, because it’s a bit more reasonable than ask. So ask them to take away a prep of yours. A second thing you can ask for is if they can’t take away, maybe they can add and give you an extra planning period. Okay. So if you have three or more preps, and only 145 or 50 minute planning period of Data Prep, that’s a very unreasonable expectation for you to manage. Make sure your admin is aware that as a science teacher, your prep needs are different from an English or social studies or math teacher because you have to prep and cleanup labs for all of your classes, in addition to everything else that every other teacher in your hall has to do. Okay, that’s a huge extra responsibility, and they may not be aware that your subject matter has that that’s a totally additional thing for you specifically, as a secondary science teacher. Can you imagine how much you could get done if you had two planning periods of day instead of just one? Or at the very least, can they set up your schedule so that your planning period backs up to lunch? Or you know, you start with it and then it goes into lunch? Because that will be
Give you a little bit more wiggle room to, that’s a simple way, if they can’t give you a whole extra planning period, that logistically, they can work the schedule around so that you kind of end up feeling like you get a little bit more time on your hands because your lunchtime backs up to your planning period. So that’s something you can ask for to a third thing you can ask for is to take away an extra duty you’ve been assigned. I know it’s April when this is airing. So you know, you’re kind of stuck with whatever you got through the end of the year. But now’s a good time to ask about next year, especially if they’re putting another prep on your plate in your teaching contract. Come August, maybe you get back to school in August, and they throw you a prep that was not on your contract back in April. But they’re using that little loophole that says they can kind of give you anything last minute. Okay. At that point, August, you know, there may not be anything you can do about getting an extra planning or taking a class period away from you, because the master schedule is already set. But they can take away extra duties, they can always do that. They can take lunch duty detention, supervision, hallway monitoring, ticket sales at sporting events, this club or this extracurricular activity, any and all those extra things can be taken on by someone else. And if it can’t be taken on by another teacher, another admin or even a parent of a student can often do those things. Okay, so that’s something you can ask them to take away from you, you should feel 0% bad about asking them to remove any or all, dream big of these types of responsibilities from your plate. If you’re teaching three or more preps, if you have an AP class that you have to prep for, if you have 60 plus students in an honors class, you’re having to do extra grading for can the English teacher down the hall with two courses prep your AP lab? Absolutely not. But they can they take an extra 30 minute Hall duty from you probably. And you know what, maybe it will help them grade all those papers that that English teacher has to grade, if you put them on hold at the hall and they’re forced to you know, focus on grading while they sit at that little desk, you know, you might be doing them a favor. So bottom line is, your admin may have let too much be put on your plate. And it is their responsibility. If they want to keep you and not be forced to interview and hire replacement for you at mid year, beginning of the year, whatever is their responsibility to help keep you mentally healthy and sane enough to stay. And I know there’s a lot you need to do personally, I mean, that’s a joke. I know, your mental health is not their entire burden. But there are things they can do to help you. If they put all these preps on your plate, they need to be prepared to support you and managing all those preps. Okay. And taking away some of those extra duties is a very small ask in terms of admin support. And that is something I’ve always gotten help with in this area when I have asked, but I will say the best thing that admin have ever done for me is my fourth idea for you. And that’s asking your admin to give you a teacher’s aide or a TA, I cannot tell you enough how much having a TA has helped with my workload. And best of all, it’s 100% free, and it requires zero rearranging of responsibilities. Like the other three suggestions that I gave you have required thus far, there’s truly no reason your admin should say no to this request, unless they just don’t feel like setting up a TA program. But here’s the deal. Once they set it up, it’s up forever and ever. And it can also be something too, that’s not like crazy formal either. It’s just something that they can have on the plate. Okay, so here is let me just first tell you kind of what this can look like. What can a student TA for you do basically a student TA is going to be someone where in their schedule, they’re going to basically have like a study hall, it’s most likely going to be a zero credit hour thing for them, like a free period. But they spend that free period they’re assigned to be with you. And they do things for you like make copies, help set up labs, help clean up labs, you know, maybe they help update your website, I always had a class website, where I posted our agenda every day for parents and absent students, they can easily log in and do that for me from my computer. Maybe if it’s a student that’s, you know, an old AP biology student, they could help test out a lab or activity you want to use in class. You know, if there’s not safety concerns, they can digitize resources, they could take an assessment and put it in a Google form for you. I can humbly say that my students have always known 20 100 times more about technology than probably I do. So I guarantee that they could digitize a resource for me and probably a 10th of the time it would take me to do it. Okay, they can organize your classroom, they can sort through supplies, they can take inventory of the chemical supply closet, they can help provide support for students in your class. Again, one year I had an old AP Bio student as my TA and it was during my biology one class period. And they were able to help me with students, especially when we were doing things like Punnett squares where, you know, some students just get really tripped up on the smallest things, and they could be in there with you. Okay, there’s so many things they can help you with. And really, it also looks great on their resume too, because they end up kind of with this free period, but they can count it as community service on their resume that they’ve done X amount of community service hours for you and they’re doing it during the school day. And then if they finish their responsibilities for you early, it can kind of be a study hall for them where they get a little bit of extra homework time done. So it’s really such a better
fit for both teachers and students. And it’s such an easy thing your admin can do. And I will link in the show notes, a blog post where I talk more about this because I’m like, so passionate about this, I had a TA for most years that I was in the classroom. In those years that I had one were so much easier than the years that I did it. I literally like never saw a copier because of having a TA, such a game changer. So I highly recommend that. And then the last way that your admin can support you, without spending a lot of money is providing professional development that you actually want. Okay? Every school that I’ve ever been in no matter what, whether it was public, or private, or whatever, had some sort of like built in PD, private schools are doing it to help maintain accreditation, public schools do it because they have to provide you continuing education. You know, there’s all sorts of different reasons, but it’s happening. And so because of this, even if your school says they have no money, they do have some sort of allotment for professional development for teachers. So at the very least, they can use that allotment. And that money they set aside for PD, to give you PD that’s actually meaningful and helpful. And yes, sometimes it does require funding. I mentioned in last week’s episode, when they told me I was going to teach AP Biology, I was like, Listen, I have to go to AP Summer Institute, I need to be trained in this, like this is so imperative for the students to get the best experience possible. And so they made that happen, you know, but it doesn’t have to require funding, either your school can bring in members from the community, or utilize other teachers to teach on topics they excel at. Okay, that’s something my private school did really well. They had us teach each other things that we were doing really well. So for example, we had a professional development series, once where the math department, they came up with this problem solving technique called radar, which I have an entire blog posts on, it literally changed my life, where they were teaching their students how to show their work for math based problems. But it translated so well for science. And even some English teachers talked about how they used it, to teach their students to be better writers, how they utilize this radar program, and how it helped with like, AP writing answers to free response questions. And it was a game changer, it was something that the Math Department came up with. So it became the school wide thing. And you know, I led some school wide professional development, on how to utilize the first five minutes of class the most productively and efficiently with my prime times. And that was something that I had teachers come back after and say this has literally changed my class, because you know, you taught on this, and it was free. Like, I did not get paid extra to lead that PD and neither did the math department. But we were least served by it. And we were sitting through things that were actually helpful, rather than sitting through these meetings where we were sitting through these PDFs that were literally not helpful or practical at all. And again, this is just a free way that your admin can provide support for staff, that’s actually helpful. Because it’s specific. It’s practical, and it’s actionable. You know, I’ve experienced my admin supporting me in these ways, and I know that you could experience the same as well. So I hope that this episode, gave you a lot of encouragement for why you should ask for help, how to specifically do that, and also gave you ideas for what you can ask for if you know, they’re not going to give you curriculum or spend money on, you know, news, lab supplies or anything like that. And again, I just want to reiterate, there’s no reason that you should be expected to teach three or more preps as a science teacher, and to be in charge of coaching a sport or a major club without some sort of additional admin support. They can and they should help you, especially if you give them all these different options and ways that they can serve you. So if there’s something still holding you back from asking for help, please reach out and DM me on Instagram and let me know I’d love to help empower you to ask for support and resources to do the job you love even better than you are now so that you don’t go into a new school year completely drained again, as often as early as in person, now is totally the time to be making these requests. I really hope you found this helpful. And as always, you can find the show notes and all those blog posts and extra things I mentioned at it’s not rocket science classroom.com/episode 69. And last but not least, please don’t forget, this is your last chance to share your stories with me. I would love if you would send me a voice recording at the link in the show notes or a DM on Instagram. You do it right now and this ends and tell me your Teacher Appreciation Week gone wrong stories. And I will pick five of you if you send me your story that I will send a $10 TBT gift card so please share your stories with me. I cannot wait to hear from you.
All right, teacher friends. That wraps up today’s episode. If you’re looking for an easy way to start simplifying your life as a secondary science teacher, head to It’s not rocket science classroom.com/challenge to grab your classroom reset challenge. And guess what? It’s totally free. Thanks so much for tuning in and I’ll see you here next week. Until then, I’ll be cheering you on, teacher friend.