December 15, 2016
This blog post is part of an ongoing series to capture a Day in the Life of a Teacher, a collective project started by Tina Cardone @crstn85.
7:20 – I’m at school. Today is our last day of classes before the break. We do have a half-day tomorrow, but it is Christmas activities, not classes.
7:30 – I touch base with a teacher about some kids in my math class and her advisory. Based on her non-verbal feedback, I decide to apologize to a student for an overly harsh remark I made yesterday. We’re all tired, but that’s no call for me to be rude to a student just because he had a bad attitude.
7:35 – Students are in my room studying for today’s test revision. The test I gave two days ago didn’t go well. Instead of grading it, we revisited the topic yesterday, and I’m giving them today to rework any problems they think they missed. Then I’ll grade the final product. That means I can’t teach simple interest, but the 8th-grade teacher said she’s ok with that, she’ll get it next year. I’m so glad I teach at a private school where we can make these modifications.
8:00 – Wow, I wasn’t paying attention to the clock and the 3 kids I’m working with are late for advisory now. I should have dismissed them 5 minutes ago. I need to hurry up and take attendance for my advisory so we can get to chapel.
8:05 – On the way to Chapel. It’s lessons and carols today, so it will run late. I really like working at an Episcopal school and having Chapel every week, but around the holidays, it does cut into instructional time.
9:05 – We’re out of chapel and headed to what’s left of 2nd period. I coordinate with the tech teacher on the way back to our classrooms to bring my 6th-grade class to her to change their computer passwords before we start our hour of code activity.
9:06 – I get to my classroom to discover that I have a seventh-grade class now, not a sixth-grade class. Oh dear. (Rotation schedules are tough to keep up with.) The seventh graders don’t have enough time to do what we had planned today, because of chapel running late. I thought I had them third period so they wouldn’t be affected. On Tuesday they took a test that I expected to take 30 – 35 minutes. At the end of 45 minutes, less than half had finished. Obviously, they either didn’t understand the concept or didn’t have enough practice before the test. Yesterday, we debriefed and practiced more. Today, they are getting their ungraded tests back to fix up anything that they now think was incorrect. I wanted them to have the whole 45 minutes. We make arrangements for them to come back at snack break and or lunch to continue their work. The technology teacher comes in and asks me to take the seventh graders that I have now. I try to be patient as I explain that I understand that they need to change their passwords too, but I need them to take this test more than I need them to change their passwords. Someone else will have to take this group.
9:30 – I take my sixth graders that I have this period and we do the high priority password change that the tech director told us about at 9 pm last night and has to be done by all faculty and students prior to leaving school today. I wonder what happened to prompt the urgent request, but I don’t ask. No one has responded to my email trying to coordinate schedules, so I’ll just take all three of my sixth-grade classes today. We’re doing an hour of code activity that will take longer than 45 minutes, but it doesn’t matter if they finish it or not so I can spare 10 minutes for password changes.
10:15 – Well, most of the kids got their planets to orbit, and it’s time for them to go to snack break. My advisory comes in to eat their snack.
10:30 – It’s time for the weekly math meeting. Because we don’t have anyone specific who leads the department or the meetings, there have been some issues lately with attendance. Our principal recently made it clear that we will meet and we will attend to our tasks. Hopefully, that means we’re actually meeting today.
10:40 – Hmm, I’m the only one in the math office. I feel like I threw a party and no one showed up. I’ll wait a few more minutes.
10:50 – Oh, here are the two other math teachers. We meet and talk about how we want to revise our summer math assignment for next year. The curriculum coordinator is supposed to run the meeting but she is not here. That’s odd, given the meeting we just had with our principal. I hope everything is ok.
11:30 – Our meeting is over and I go to eat lunch so I can be in my room during the MS lunch period for kids who need to finish their tests.
12:10 – Most of the class comes back at some point during lunch to do an extra 5 or 10 minutes worth of work. One student works for about half an hour and still isn’t done. We agree that he will ask his PE coach for permission to come finish during PE.
12:50 – Sixth period is my second group of 7th graders who are redoing their tests. Many people finish early and are able to do the holiday themed Mad Libs that I had originally planned for today. It is a review of one-step equations. We will start two-step equations in January.
1:40 – Sixth graders come in and do hour of code. They also rotate out in groups of 4 to go to the tech director’s office and change their passwords. They need more help with this Hour of Code activity than the last one, but we made good progress.
2:30 – One last class of sixth graders. We stand in line outside the tech director’s office and go in 6 at a time to change passwords. Eventually, we’re all done (including mine) and we go back to class. When I try to give the directions kids keep interrupting me and finishing my sentences. Because I’m very tired, I tell them that they clearly know what they need to do, and they should do it. Then I sit down at my desk. Clearly, I need to spend more time praying for patience every morning before school.
3:15 – Whew, we’re done. I wish the kids a lovely evening and tell them that I’ll see them tomorrow. I go to dismissal duty and make sure the kids are packing up and going down to carpool efficiently.
3:25 – The kids are gone, and I have to run to get to a 4 pm doctor’s appointment. I really struggle to find appointments that don’t involve missing classes. Although my contract end time is 3:45, my principal is understanding about things like this.
5:15 – I brought home the seventh-grade tests to grade, but I changed my mind and decided to go with my husband to his school’s Christmas party. I taught there for many years, and although I miss it when I go back, I really want to see all my friends. That means I’ll have to grade the tests over the break, but it’s worth it.
For reflection questions, see tomorrow’s post (12/16/16).