Welcome to a day in the life as a high school math teacher!
6:20 Wake up.
7:30 Arrive at school. Go to office, check mail, put lunch in refrigerator. Go to classroom, turn on computers, turn on heat, print originals of today's activities after waiting for computer to boot up. Go to copier in library and start running copies. Go back to classroom to get other originals. Students comes in to talk to me about a field trip- she doesn't want to go anymore because she just moved and can't find her dress clothes so she is the only student not dress up. I talk with her and try to convince her to go anyway. Then go to the teacher's lounge to make more copies since I needed colored paper. Copier jams. Switch paper to another copier. Finish copies. Bell rings. Down the hallway a student asks for a homecoming questionnaire since she lost her first copy. I tell her to ask someone else because I'm busy and feel guilty.
7:57 Class starts. Students are watching Channel 1 news program. Student teacher is in charge of this class. I print out extra homecoming questionnaires. While she teaches, I finish creating answers keys on my powerpoint for today's Algebra II class-I'm being observed by people from the state. I separate all my copies for the day and put them into bins. Grab all previous originals and hole punch to put into binder and clear off my desk. Look at my copies for Algebra II and realize my bulleted numbers are all out of order. Spend 10 minutes trying to fix them so I can reprint and recopy.
8:47 Bell rings. In comes Algebra II which student teacher is also in charge of. She starts teaching. Done with answer keys I finish grading 26 geometry tests that I didn't finish last night. Enter all grades into online gradebook. Create a fancy lesson plan for my Algebra II class to impress the state people. Print it in red but my color printer double prints and makes it look crazy. Change to blue and print again.
9:37 Bell rings. It's my plan period. Spend 5 minutes discussing how class went with the student teacher- I was observing her while doing my work. IC comes in to make sure I am still okay with getting observed. I agree. Discover I will be observed by 5 people. Create 5 folders with fancy lesson plan and all the materials for that day. Go to office, check mail again, go to the bathroom, recopy Algebra II papers that had the messed up bullets. Go back to classroom and get SMART board and powerpoints set up for Algebra II.
10:27 Bell rings. As students come in I warn them about observers. Two students are gone on field trip. One student asks to miss class so she can drive with the driver's ed instructor. Class of 12 has dwindled down to 9. Lady comes in to tell me I'm actually being observed by 7 people. We start class with a bell ringer. Interrupted by phone call from guidance counselor warning me that state people are on the way. Continue bell ringer. & adults enter the room and sit in the back room. All air is sucked out of the room. Continue teaching even though students are completely silent. Interrupted by phone call asking student to come to the office. Continue teaching.
11:20 Bell rings. Seven adults remain to question me about class and give feedback while 22 middle school kids come in, crazily of course.
11:23 Tardy bell rings. Adults leave, student sit. Realize I didn't create a journal activity for today so make one up off the top of my head. Finish activity from Friday then realize I also didn't create anything else for today and we still have 25 minutes of class left. Run various ideas through my head, think of one, go search through filing cabinet for it. Find it, start playing.
12:09 Bell rings. Student comes to turn in homecoming questionnaire that she rewrote on notebook paper because I didn't have time to print one for her. Feel more guilty. I straighten up classroom, set up classroom and SMART board for my next period, lock my door, turn off lights, and go to lunch. Listen to nosy people gossip and generally be negative for as long as I can take.
12:33 Back in my classroom. Make sure everything is ready to go. Realize I haven't taken attendance all day. Update attendance. Go to bathroom.
12:43 Bell rings. Students come in. 4 students missing. Struggle through bell ringer. Model lesson on board that we've been working on for a while and students act like they have no idea what I'm talking about. Work example after example after example. Student asks to go to nurse. Continue working. Student comes back from nurse and draws all over desk rather than participate.
1:30 Bell rings. Students come in. Start bell ringer while I pass out tests. Students record grades and shade progress on pages in their binder. Class cleans out the notes from their binders and throws them away. Some actually make it in the trash can. Go over bell ringer. Realize I didn't go over test. Get tests back out and answer questions. Put away and go back to board. Model lesson on board with student participation. Pass out papers. Students are supposed to work independently but are either talking or need my approval on every answer before they can move on. Go crazy going back and forth between telling class to be quiet and answering questions.
2:20 Bell rings. Students come in. One student needs to go to take a test and one needs laptop help from tech guy. Another student has been absent for two weeks for medical reasons so I have to go over material from two weeks ago with her so she can make up a test. Another teacher calls to ask if student x can come down and do a retake on some tests. (Think about student x who shows bad attitude and lazy class effort) I say no he doesn't need to but then change my mind and give him the benefit of the doubt. He comes down and tells me he is going to make up tests until he has a 95. I alternate between printing him practice problems, grading them, and helping the other girl practice on the board. Alternate for rest of hour. Boy leaves with a 94.21 and girl is ready to take test tomorrow.
3:10 Bell rings. Students leave. I straighten up classroom and shut down computers. Clean off my desk and pack my bags. Grab my coat, phone, water, and binder and head to the office. Check my mail and head to the lobby.
3:17 Start cheerleading practice. Girls are running one lap around the levee. While they run I yell at them and threaten them with more running when they start walking.
3:30 Go in lobby. Girls are stretching.
3:35 Start practicing cheers.
4:20 Cheerleader mom comes in to pay for cheerleader's stuff but needs change. I go to office. Assistant Principal has no change or access to change. Principal makes change from his wallet. Go back to mom and pay principal back. Go back to practice.
4:50 Practice ends. Go to my room, grab my bags, shut off lights, head back to lobby. Wait until bus comes and all cheerleaders have left.
5:00 Drive home.
The rest of my night consists of a nap, dinner, a bath, a general waste of time, and now blogging. Which means it is 11:11 and I haven't done any work for tomorrow. I'll probably be up until at least 1:00 AM finishing things. It's a normal night.
This was harder than I thought. Even though this was long, I didn't even go into detail with my teaching, conversations, and internal decision making. I kept wanting to go into detail with everything but at the same time trying to keep it short and sweet. This was actually a day with minimal interruptions compared to some.
I hope this helps get our point across of what it is like to be a professional educator.
What I do is both valuable and undervalued.
I hope you can understand.