A Day In The Life Of A Teacher
I am an elementary school teacher – I was more excited for Spring Break than a college co-ed who recently turned 21! For those of you who know a teacher, are a teacher, learned from a teacher, or even encountered a teacher on the Metro once, you may know the unadulterated joy of not working for 9-10 days. If you do not, let me enlighten you.
6:15 (or earlier if you don’t live in the neighborhood of the school) – Annoying alarm. I don’t know how many of you have iPhones, and those ringtones are fine most of the time, but I can’t seem to find one that doesn’t sound like the harpies of hell to wake me up!
6:24 – Snooze (the real alarm) Who ever decided 9 minutes was enough time???
7:15 – Commute, almost beating the barista to opening their shop.
7:45 – Arrive and frantically put together materials for the day’s activities and lessons, frequently I find myself in the line for the printer with about 20 other teachers, swearing under my breath and tapping my foot. The part that makes this worse is if I came to school 10 minutes earlier, I would have the whole dang machine to myself, but I can’t pull myself together without a large coffee!
8:10 – School starts. This time is usually heralded by hundreds of munchkins yelling to their peers about the endless video games they played the night before or throwing water fountain water on each other or running face-first into each other around corners, all of which provides endless entertainment, but isn’t the safest, and laughing at children crying isn’t the “teacher-y” thing to do.
8:15 – Parents continue to chew your ear off about the cute/dangerous things their children do in the evenings while under minimal adult supervision, so school really does start now. Once, I had a parent talk to me about a visit from cousins for about 20 minutes, while my students were running around the classroom almost unsupervised, but what was I supposed to do? Practically yell at my students while this parent was in the room?? Also, who tells a teacher that they left their child alone in the house to run an errand? Or that they were eating McDonald’s/Halloween candy all night before?
8:15 – 11:45 – Read cute books, give well-planned lessons during which students yell/yawn/throw things; generally pour your heart and soul out into children who haven’t grown up enough yet to realize the pain they put you through.
11:45 – 12:45 – Bliss, aka lunch. The time to plan and prepare when admins are walking by, but really the time to check facebook, heygirlteacher, and an endless rotation of shopping sites, looking for clubbing clothes.
12:45 – 3:45 – Continue the cycle of flagellant tasks (look it up, you learn something new every day!), sadomasochism, and torture, alleviated only by the knowledge that the day is almost done and you have some hope of taking the kids to recess. P.S. recess is the best subject in school. It was favorite when I was a kid, and I wouldn’t blame any of my students for choosing that when asked in their adult years. My kids get about 10 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon, and many times there are tears and screaming fits when the time is over, but it is worth coming back to the classroom with only 1/2 energy rather than pushing through the day fighting them to sit still in their seats!
3:45 – 4:00 – Free Time for students to play as a reward for being semi-compliant all day … imagine having a hangover and a jackhammer going at the same time, 8 inches in front of your face. One time I had to shut down the whole operation because my students were SO LOUD and I was SO SICK OF IT! They didn’t make that mistake twice…
4:00 – Dismissal, the happiest time of day, when children go back to their rightful owners.
At some point during the day you’ll have a kid randomly give you a hug or say something cute (“Yes! I love the Number of the Day!”), which will melt your heart for about 5 minutes, but the other 475 minutes, you will want to have your hands wrapped around the neck of one or all of them.
But now, after Spring Break, I remain able to smile and sing and chase naughty kids for almost 300 of those minutes! Next up … Summer! Don’t worry, I already have a countdown on the whiteboard…
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