I have had people say to me teachers have it easy they only work from 8:30 – 3:30. They have the summers off. I won’t even talk about the summer issue here but I’ll take a few minutes to walk you through my day.
I am up at 5:15 in the morning unless I sleep in until 5:45. I am out the door by 7 at the latest. This puts me in the building at 7:30 unless traffic is bad. Then the real day starts.
I check my box for mail and sign in. I get stopped by the principal’s secretary so that I can be filled in on any LCT updates that came up after I left the building the day before. The Dean of Instruction calls my name as I’m leaving the office so we walk down the hall together strategizing the day. The Data Analyst and at least one Assistant Principal and another LCT usually join the conversation by the time we have reached the stairwell. After I unlock my door and we finish the conversation I meet with my Department Head for a morning check in. This is all within the first 30 minutes of my day. Some mornings my principal calls me into her office before I even have the chance to sign in and if that is the case I know I’m in for a really long and busy day. This usually happens twice a week. But it has been known to happen as many as four times a week.
Email needs to be checked; most mornings I have a meeting and if I do not I have teachers and or students stopping in for advice, help, or an ear. At 8:30 the bell rings and first period starts.
First period is my planning period so I grade papers, call parents, make copies or fill out forms so that the copy lady can make my copies for me. This 50 minutes flies by and before I know it the bell rings and with the start of 2nd period I switch into LCT mode.
For those of you that do not know LCT stands for Lead Content Teacher. This means that I am the Social Studies expert on our campus. I love my job but this is the part of my job that completely stresses me out some days. There is always something that needs to be done with this part of the job. During 2nd period I usually do one of six things: visit a social studies classroom to observe/help for the full period; do learning walks in multiple classrooms; plan with one of the American History teachers or the World History teachers; meet with the Advanced Academic Coordinator or meet with the Social Studies Director from downtown and if I am behind I get paperwork caught up.
3rd, 4th and 6th period find me teaching AP World History to 10th graders. I love this part of my job it is truly my favorite part of the day and yes I know I am spoiled because I have the best kids in the building. I have great students that I challenge, support, push and love. They go from being whiny unsure students to focused and confident students. I like knowing that I have gotten them ready to move on to other AP classes and started them on their way to a successful college career if that is what they choose.
5th and 7th period are also LCT periods. If it is a Tuesday the LCTs have a meeting with the principal. The other days I repeat period 2. I do get a 30 minute duty free lunch but there are times that I work during lunch as well.
The bell rings at 3:35 to end the day with the students and technically I can walk out of the building at 3:45. That only happens if I have a 4pm doctor’s appointment. Usually I am at work until at least 5 and many times until 6pm. I use this time for meetings, tutoring students, planning and grading projects that are really to big to bring home. I also take care of paperwork, entering grades into the computer, more emails, phone calls to parents and just about anything else that needs to be handled. Once I go home I typically have another two hours of work to complete.
Twice a month I am off campus for LCT meetings and I also conduct professional development training both on and off the campus. This means I have to plan for there being a substitute in my classroom; the part of the job I really do not like doing.
Oh yes and the last thing I am involved in is showing my students I care by attending their afterschool activities. That means football games, band competitions, volleyball games, basketball games, softball, baseball, choir and orchestra concerts and that is just the activities that I can remember.
I love my job, my school and my students. I would not give it up for all the tea in China but I sometimes get frustrated when people think teachers make too much because of all their free time. I sure would like to know what free time they are talking about. One plus side to all of the time I put in; my students recognize that I do not have a lot of free time because of all I do for them and they thank me for it so in the end it is all worth it.