Miss Bennett in the Bay

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 02 2009

A Day In the Life…

I know much of my regularly-scheduled programming is much more meta-analysis than some other teacher blogs out there, which sort of helps me keep my life in perspective. I try to be a big-picture kind of person, particularly when reflecting on my practice. Otherwise, the day-to-day would totally wear me down.

But, much of teaching is present in the details. It’s the little, itty-bitty things that make the difference for the kids and make up my day. Since my day is not what you would call typical, I thought it might be fun to take you through a day in the life of Ms. Bennett.

5:00 am: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze for 20-30 minutes. Yes, I know, just set the alarm for 20-30 minutes later. But then, I wouldn’t get up until 20-30 minutes after that. It takes me a long time to wake up, ok?

5:30: Take dog out. Freeze. Get ready and waste lots of time checking email and Facebook.

7:00: Arrive at school. Perform various morning duties (which can range from hurriedly making last minute copies to wasting more time checking email and Facebook.)

8:00: School’s morning procedure begins out on the blacktop. Freeze again.

8:20: Begin first class. Spend 30 minutes warming up inside classroom. My first class happens to be one of my more challenging classes, so I usually spend a good deal of time pulling individual kids aside to try to put out some fires. Different strategies work on different days- some days, it’s making a deal with a student that I’ll have lunch with them later. Others, it’s timing them to see how much they can accomplish in one minute. Still others it’s bribing them with the large dice I have to practice math facts with. It’s a constant barrage of random requests and odd behavior.

9:40: First transition. At least 10 minutes are spent arranging various lines of kids into a decent, workable line.

9:50: Begin second class. Much calmer than first. Have a minute to breathe and eat an apple. Management in this class pretty much just consists of, “Here, do your work.” Sure, the occasional squabble may arise, but after the first class, it seems like a piece of cake.

11:20: Lunch. Ah, the joys of sitting down quietly for 40 minutes.

12:00: Pick up next class. They are always wound up after lunch. Spend the majority of the class period managing wild students. By this time, my script for my lesson is memorized. I have a sort of out-of-body experience in which I feel I’m sitting in the back of the room watching my lesson on videotape since I’ve already said it so many times today.

1:40: Last transition. Usually by this time I am simply thankful that I’ll survive the day. The last class can be really well-behaved or really crazy, depending on the alignment of the planets and how much sugar was pumped into the water supply that day.

3:40: School ends. Take students to cafeteria for dismissal. Spend at least 5 minutes trying to get students to sit down and be quiet. Realize that no other students are being quiet and give up, to retreat to my classroom for some peace and quiet.

4:00: After school program begins. An after school class is in my room. Wish that the 15 minutes of peace were much longer.

4:00-6:00: My after school time is used in different ways on different days. Sometimes we have meetings or school events; on those days I won’t get home until 7:30 or 8:00. Others I can leave relatively early and go to the gym. In the evenings I take care of my dog and hang out with Scott. I also tend to have some work-related thing to do. If not, you can bet that I’ll be watching TLC or Food Network.

9:30: Begin to crash and burn. If I’m not in bed by 10, I get cranky.

I know most teachers have days as crazy as this, but I wonder if people in other professions feel as mentally and physically exhausted as I do when they come home. Some days, it’s all I can do to stay awake long enough to eat dinner.

3 Responses

  1. 40 minutes for lunch–nice. We get 30 minutes now. Six minute passing periods makes in hard sometimes to get to the restroom during the morning. Fortunately the women’s restroom is in my hallway. When I started teaching, 20 years ago, we had an hour lunch. Admin does not like that because they have to supervise. Each year it got cut back until it’s now a half hour. I have a hunch the admin would like to make it even shorter.

  2. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

  3. I try to explain to people that teachers need these long breaks because if they didn’t, they’d either burn out after a few years or become really bad teachers. The mental alertness required is exhausting and there’s a lot of preparation needed. If teachers didn’t have time off, they’d always be in the weeds.

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"All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost." -J. R. R. Tolkien

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