November 8, 2012

A Day in the Life of Me, Tina C.

The "Day in the Life of an Educator" project is next week, have you picked your day yet?  I chose Thursday, which will include evening parent conferences.  But, I wanted to do a "regular" day and do a bit of a trial run to see what I was asking everyone else to do.  It was hard to keep notes during the day since I was so busy!  I expect that next week will include a lot less detail, please don't feel pressured to be as exact as I am trying to be.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

5:45 am wake up, curious how much it snowed but decide to sleep for 15 more minutes instead
6:00 alarm goes off, look out the window to see snow! Check twitter, email and blogs before getting up. Get ready, make lunch and grab breakfast to eat in the car.
7:00 drive to school, it takes 6 min instead of the usual 4 due to slushy roads in my neighborhood, but I arrive before my official start time (contractually teachers start at 7:12, only a school...).  I stick my head in to say hi to my classroom neighbor and exclaim "snow!" We teach overlapping courses and students, yet this will be the only time I see her aside from lunch.  Next I stop in my classroom to grab a packet I put together yesterday for a student (he was concussed all of first quarter so now I'm trying to get him caught up) and turn on my computer.
A student stops by to leave her backpack in my room; its too heavy to carry around so she grabs the stuff she needs and leaves everything else in my room. We chat about snow. Satisfied that I'm ready for my class when I get back, I grab some grading just in case I have time and head to the study center- I need to arrive by 7:24 and it's across the school, upstairs.
Run into my head teacher on the way- she has the PreCalc book I ordered! We discuss what's next in our geometry curriculum as we walk. I greet students as we navigate the halls.  I'm a couple minutes late arriving to the study center, but there's another teacher there too so it's okay.  (My duty this year is to tutor students in math, and sometimes other subjects.  I prefer it to patrolling the halls, monitoring the cafeteria or covering the front desk which are duties I've had in the past.)
7:30 I help a student with her work for Algebra.
8:00 I switch over to working with the student who had a concussion all of first quarter. We talk through the types of lines, slope and introductory angle vocabulary. He works through some practice problems and I alternately help him and let him try them on his own while I chat with the other students - some complain of no homework because the quarter just started, the one who needed help with Algebra also asks me to read her essay on Malcom X (I learn/recall a few things!).
8:45 student completes practice problems and I award him ten minutes of rest, which means ten minutes to flip through the PreCalc book - I like it, of course, and am mad it didn't arrive when I ordered it in June.  No time to even look at that folder of grading though.
8:55 the bell rings and I head back to my classroom as quickly as I can, but always making sure to smile and say hi to any student I recognize (3 years of teaching sophomores means I know a lot of students now!).  Only one student beats me to class.
9:00 I have the word of the day up before the bell rings to mark the start of my first Honors PreCalculus class.  This group is chatty so it takes a bit of effort to get them settled.  They work on a neat SAT problem while I check homework.  Students share two nice solutions to the problem, then I show them a 'trick' and allude to using similar methods when we study sequences and series later this year.  I have to fight with the document projector a bit, but I get the homework projected and listen to some complaints about how very difficult trig functions are to work with.  "What language is that?" gets called out, and I laugh, but then we get to work figuring out some of the more complex problems.  I mention the Math Practice Standards and how those strategies are the ones mathematicians use.  We read an article about how to study math (they nearly all admitted to not studying for our last test).  While giving the instructions for that activity I had a bit of a coughing attack and had a brief panic of "I'm losing my voice!" (The Worst for teachers) but it passed.  We get sidetracked talking about college (studying and advocating for yourself, university vs. smaller school).  I give students a chance to retake part of their test (usually this is only allowed after school for honors, but the last test went that poorly) or work on practice problems.  There were several requests for students who wanted to see their final Quarter 1 grades, but there wasn't time for it.
10:22 journaling, I explain and students write down homework
10:26 bell rings! First Honors PreCalc class leaves, second Honors PreCalc class arrives
Two students are arguing, I notice one has a cast, apparently a tackle in football yesterday resulted in a broken arm.  The disagreement is mild though and when I interject with "just say you're sorry" the tackler pleads how very sorry he is.
10:31 bell rings! This class is nearly silent when I approach the front of the room, a stark contrast with the last class.  I hear really good conversations between pairs on the SAT problem.  We follow the same schedule as last class but this group finishes faster and I reward them with the opportunity to retake more than one section of the test.  I have time to work with students and still manage to get quite a few retakes completed.
11:53 journaling, I explain and students write down homework.  One student is reciting a quote and wants to share the essay he wrote about it.
11:58 bell rings!  Student with the quote opens his college essay on my computer and asks me to read it later.  Another student asks to see his grade (after class, what a smart time to ask), it was much improved since he'd re-done a project and the result "made his day" which, of course, made my day.
12:03 I get an entire 25 minutes with other adults! Lunch is a sandwich.  Veteran teachers reminisce about some of the crazy things that have happened in years past.  I eat with the math and business departments, we do lunch by subject which is nice since we can talk content, but some days we need to just share stories and not be teachers for 20 minutes.
12:28 I pop in to an IEP meeting (yearly meeting for students with learning disabilities to check progress and make goals).  Normally this would be a 45 minute affair, but because it fell during my lunch I get to stop by, share how the student is doing in my class and my plan for getting him caught up, then duck out quietly.
12:45 Call co-teacher to tell her I'm ready to grade exams.  Write a note to myself to work with the student we just met with during my prep period tomorrow.  Start to read the college essay.
12:50 Co-teacher arrives.  We grade first quarter exams, talking about individual students, the exam and what we need to do next as we grade.  We finish grading and make an outline of our new plan for tomorrow based on what we saw in the exams, rushing that conversation to finish just before the end of the day.
2:02 bell rings!  School day is officially over and students start arriving for help and/or retakes.  I had 10 students stay after today which isn't atypical.  A couple wanted their grades from the retake they took just a few hours before (I've had no time to file them in the correct folder, let alone grade them), and one was so anxious to know his grades that I finally told him to write his email address on one of the assessments and I would email him all of the grades when I got to them this weekend.
2:45 half the students are gone and the remaining half are working on the PreCalc homework so I grab my paper, pencil and calculator to do the homework with them (I do all of their problem sets since PreCalc takes me time to figure out, and then I can project my solutions for them to check their work against).
3:15 only one student is left, I remember that there's candy in the closet so we eat starburst and finish the homework
3:45 last student leaves, on his way out he asks if it's raining out - we realize we'd have no idea if anything crazy was happening outside since we were in a room with no windows for so long.
3:50 I make it to the bathroom for the first time all day!  I take a moment to breathe, I've only had 5 minutes alone since I got to the study center over 8 hours ago.  Then I get to work re-doing tomorrow's lesson plans to include going over problem areas of the exam.
4:15 finished prepping for tomorrow (except photocopying homework) so I start re-organizing my desk/classroom
4:25 finish cleaning up, go to shut down my computer and discover the college essay I never finished reading.  Read the rest of that and want to email the student.  Open email and decide to clear out the rest of my inbox as long as I have it open.
4:40 really go to shut down computer and find a form I haven't filled out. Not sure how to complete it, make a note to ask co-teacher tomorrow
4:45 actually shut down computer!  Pack up a pile of exams (I graded the fundamentals classes with my co-teacher, but not the regular class I teach by myself - I try not to grade at home during the week, but my lesson plan depends on these exams) and head out.  There are 3 cars left in my section of the parking lot, I wonder if they are people doing sports or other teachers here just as late as me. Stop by the grocery store (I only needed bread, but I treat myself to soup and tapioca since my throat is a bit sore)
5:15 arrive home. Exhaustion hits as soon as I walk in the door so I don't sit down until after I make dinner.
5:48 finished dinner so now it's time to grade tests... Oh no! I brought home the wrong tests. But, how did I not grade these yet??  Apparently I'm grading the tests from last week that got lost in the shuffle of the end of the quarter and apologizing tomorrow for not grading the exams.  Excited there's a new episode of Bones to watch on Hulu.
6:09 finished page 1. Time for twitter!
6:45 finished reading twitter, Facebook, email and google reader. Pick a new show on Hulu and start on pages 2 and 3. And open a cider, for my sore throat of course.
8:30 finish tests (and a couple TV shows)
8:45 start to blog about the day!
9:45 pm Wow did I have a long day and a lot to say about it.  No time for a final read through, it's past time to get ready for bed.  Then I get to do it all again tomorrow...

*Nov 9: edited formatting and fixed the tenses, I hope.


  1. Well done getting through all that! Just thought I'd remark on a couple things that stood out for me...
    -Yeah, I know the feeling of bathroom breaks happening at the end of the teaching.
    -Yeah, I know the feeling of not quite being able to shut down the computer, and of where did all the cars go.
    -Yay Bones! Poor Sweets, he's having such trouble lately.

    I have also decided on my day... every day. (And if I say that often enough, it'll happen...!)

  2. "What language is that?" I zeroed in on this part because I'm pretty sure that's how most students react when seeing trig symbols. The letters in algebra was tough for me, but the Greek letters were a doozy! LOL! After reading through your day, my hat's off to you. I can tell you really love and enjoy teaching and have no hesitations in helping your students have a better learning experience. Thanks for sharing! :)