August 2, 2016

Day in the Life Book Plan

My idea yesterday was met with some enthusiasm, so we're gonna roll with it! To recap, I'm hoping to get a team of teachers to chronicle their year by writing up a day in their lives and answering some reflection questions. Then we'll put all the posts in chronological order and create a book which will share with the public (within and outside of the teaching community) what a year in the life of a teacher is like.

If you're interested in writing for this project please read all the way through so you're clear on what you're signing up for. Please share this post with anyone who you think would offer a unique perspective. I'm a 10th year teacher in a public high school with high percentages of hispanic, low income, ELL and special education students. That means we need some authors who are not like me to join in!

[Edit 8/3: We need a quick turnaround on this to make sure everyone who starts school next week has the opportunity to be involved. Please fill out the form by the end of the day 8/4 to be considered for the core group. Anyone else is still welcome to blog along with us starting any time!]

And here's what you'd be signing up for:

1) Schedule

Ideally we will have 6-10 people writing monthly plus the key days. Each author will pick a different date and write on the same day of the month each month.

Additional key days where all authors will write:
  • A teacher day the week before students arrive
  • First day of school
  • Parent Conferences day
  • Day before Thanksgiving break? (are people more worn out before Thanksgiving or Christmas break?)
  • Before and after Christmas break
  • Snow day
  • State test day (pick one)
  • Last day of school
  • A day you work during the summer (you mean teachers don’t take the entire summer off?)

2) Prompts

Each person will write up a day in their life followed by some reflection questions that repeat throughout the school year. The purpose of these is to get to know the authors and see the changes in each teacher. We will also be able to compare and contrast the different teachers and teaching situations. We can see if this really happens:

Additional prompts:
  1. Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day. Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming. When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of? What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?
  2. Every person’s life is full of highs and lows. Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher. What are you looking forward to? What has been a challenge for you lately?
  3. We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is. As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students. Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.
  4. Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.
    • First post: What is a goal you have for the year?
    • Subsequent posts: What have you been doing to work toward your goal? How do you feel you are doing?
  5. What else happened this month that you would like to share? (This might help answer the question: What will we do if I get a Saturday, since I don’t do school work on Saturdays! Also helps if something cool or unusual or relevant happens on a day that is not “yours” to write.)
(Some answers to these questions will be included in the chronicle of the day, authors are welcome to refer back to that paragraph and add more detail if needed.)

3) Writers

If you are interested in becoming an author and willing to complete all of the above requirements, fill out this form!

While we won't be able to include everyone in the paperback book we would love to have many more bloggers follow along! I'm imagining an ebook where you could choose how many authors and which ones and get those add ons included. Also, I love reading about your days so I want everyone to play along for the blog posts.

4) Follow Through

It's easy to start a blogging project, it's hard to keep up with it. If you don't want to write but would still like to contribute, we need some cheerleaders to send out reminders and encouragement to our authors and the blogging community. If you're interested in helping please leave a comment on this post or tweet me @crstn85.


  1. Tina,
    I can't be a writer because I am no longer in a K-12 classroom, but I would love to be a cheerleader, helper, editor, assistant, go to person, whatever needs to be done. Please consider this my application for such help as you need.

  2. Hilariously, this sounds right up my alley, since I consider myself a writer and a recapper. But I also can't participate because this is the year I'm not in the classroom (I've been taking 2/3rd of my salary for two years via a plan we have). So count me into the editing or whatever category with Glenn... since some schools run Aug-May and others Sept-June, is the plan to have a project running Aug-June?

    As an aside, if you're planning to go international, Canadian Thanksgiving is in early October, so I GUARANTEE we're more tired before Christmas, having just gone 8+ weeks with no break. And some districts (like mine) have no snow days (see my DITLife post last year for a record-setting snowfall in Ottawa when all teachers got stuck in the parking lot, because schools NEVER close, yo). Best!

  3. I'm willing to help as a writer if needed.

  4. Thanks Glenn and Greg, I'll add you to my volunteer list.

    We'll go August 2016 - August 2017 but hopefully get most of the editing done next summer (the majority of the posts will be complete by June). It would be fun to have a "not a snow day" post from those who can handle their weather or live in obstinate districts!

  5. If you need a retired teacher's comments, let me know. I think it is a great idea.

    1. Thanks! Adding you to the editor/volunteer list. Will let you know when we're ready to start thinking about that process.

  6. Tina,

    I'm late to the game, but I just filled out the Google form in case. There's some interesting things going on in my district that might provide a unique view.


  7. Tina - I signed up late too; this post escaped my notice (brain on lake vacation) until I read about it in Brian Palacio's blog. I signed up on the Google form as well; I would love to be a part of this.