Monday, January 18, 2016

A Day in My Life


A number of teachers are blogging about a typical day in their lives.  Here is mine.  This was a day near the end of the marking period, so it was heavier on extra tutoring for procrastinating students.  Honestly, I wish I had more students coming in for extra help all throughout the marking period.

4:30-4:45am:  wake-up, brush my teeth, put in contacts, get dressed to work-out, take dogs outside to go potty

4:45-5:25am:  work-out in the basement, usually a Jillian Michaels DVD

5:25-5:40am:  shower

5:40-6:00am:  skin care, make-up

6:00-6:15am: breakfast, check personal email, watch the news, feed the pups.

6:15-6:30am:  blow dry hair, get dressed, pack lunch, let pups out one more time, leave for work.

6:30-7:00am:  drive to work

7:00-7:10am:  check school mail box, go to my classroom

7:10-7:25am:  unpack my personal/professional belongings, make last minute copies, open computer documents that I will use for the day, tutor kids who show-up for extra help

7:25-7:30am:  high fives in the hallway, greet first period class.

7:30-8:20am:  teach first period class.

                This is a class for kids who did not pass the state graduation assessment for algebra 1.  We work to complete the PBA, a project that will allow students to graduate despite not passing the state exam.

8:20-8:30am:  homeroom time with my first period class, submit official school attendance, watch tv announcements with students.

8:30-8:35am:  high fives in the hallway, greet second period class.
8:35-9:25am:  teach second period class.

                This is a college prep geometry class.  I teach in a hybrid classroom.  In a two day time frame, students work trough 4 stations.  Independent station is where students are first exposed to new content.  They watch a video on edpuzzle, take notes, and then complete practice problems on the topic.  Direct station is where students get small group instruction on the same topic that they just watched a video on.  We typically do a lot of whiteboard practice.  I also mix in older review problems as I see a need.  Standards based grading is great for this because I always know what skills my kids need extra work with.  The collaborative station is where students practice the same skill that they just received small group instruction on.  Sometimes this involves task cards, games, or just a worksheet.  That is whole group station.  Every other whole group station is for a cumulative quiz.  The times between quizzes are for whole group instruction or work on projects.

                Most days, we also include a warm-up and exit ticket.  On review days the warm-up and exit ticket are focused on a skill where students need more practice.  On fun days, the warm-up is from one of the many MTBoS resources.  Exit tickets on these days are usually a reflective question for students.

9:25-10:20am:  high fives for third period and teach third period

                This is an honors algebra 2 class.  The routine is the same as with the geometry class.

10:20-10:50am:  lunch

                Yes I am done with lunch before 11am.  During this time I rush to the microwave.  I try to be first in line so that I don' have to spend most of my lunch period waiting in line.  I don't have much free time, so I usually bring papers to grade or copies to make during the 60 seconds that I use the microwave.  I also use this time to use the bathroom.  This is one of only two times per day that I have access to a bathroom.  This is another time when students come to my room for tutoring or to complete make-up work.  If I have any free time, I organize the pile of papers that kids have turned in form my morning classes.  This will make grading a little quicker later.

10:50-11:45am:  high fives for fourth period and teach fourth period

                This is another honors algebra 2 class and is run the same way as the third period class.

11:45-12:40pm:  high fives for fourth period and study hall

                This is a study hall which usually results in some free time for me.  After taking attendance and signing passes, I have about 40 minutes.  I check attendance for all of my classes to verify that no one has skipped class.  I put together work packets for students who are absent.  I write up referrals for kids who have skipped class.  I typically have a few students come in for tutoring or extra help.  Occasionally students in my study hall ask me for help with their math classes.  If I'm lucky, I have time to start grading the piles of work that I collected and organized earlier in the day.

12:40-1:35pm:  planning period!

                Most days this is my second block of free time.  I usually make copies or the next day, organize materials for the next day, continue to grade papers, sort papers to be returned to students in class the next day, and update the electronic gradebook.  I occasionally have students come in for tutoring or make-up work.  I have a second chance to use the bathroom again at this time as well.

                This is also the time that I use for meetings with administration if needed.  Yesterday, I met with a principal to express concern about a change to the algebra 1 curriculum.  I think the meeting was successful because he considered my feedback and scheduled a full department meeting for next week.

                On this day in particular however, I lose my planning period to proctor the Biology state assessment.  This happens very rarely.

1:35-2:30pm:  high fives for seventh period and teach seventh period

                This is another honors algebra 2 class and is run the same way as the third period class.

2:30-4:00pm:  after school time

                Most days I have 1-10 students come in after school for extra help or to make-up missing work.  The first 10 minutes or so are pretty busy.  I document info about who has come in for extra help (as I also do before school, during lunch, and during study hall).  I get everyone started on their work and then just circulate around the room to offer help one student at a time.

                If things are slow, I can finish up checking attendance and organizing work turned in by my afternoon classes.  I may even have time to finish grading work and entering the results into the gradebook.  As long as it is not a quiz day, I can usually finish all of this by 4pm.

                This is also the time when I have meetings to attend.  It is usually only once meeting per week.  Sometimes it will be a faculty meeting, department meeting, IEP meeting, or a special one time only meeting.

                At 4pm, I send the students home.  I need to get home to my dogs.  It has already been too long and I always feel guilty about leaving them alone so long.  If it is a quiz day, I take the 120 quizzes home with me to finish grading.

4:00-4:30pm: drive home

4:30-4:40pm: let dogs out, check mail, turn on tv, clean out lunch box

4:40-5:00pm:  make dinner

5:00-5:20pm:  have dinner with my husband and pups

5:20-6:20pm:  walk pups

6:20-6:40pm: clean up after dinner

6:40-7:00pm: shower, put on sweats

7:00-8:30pm:  finish any remaining grading, check twitter for unofficial professional development, reply to work emails

8:30-4:30am:  sleep

                You will notice that I did not do any lesson planning.  I don't have time to lesson plan during the week.  I do most of this during the summer and on weekends.  During the summer, I spend about 50 hours per week creating warm-ups, exit tickets, writing notes packets, creating edpuzzle videos, making practice activities, creating PowerPoints for small group instruction, creating question banks to use for assessments and creating projects to be used throughout the school year.

                During weekends, I spend about 8 hours planning.  I write more detailed lesson plans for the upcoming week.  I create assessments from the question banks and pull activities from those that I created over the summer.  Sometimes I find something on the MTBoS that was better than I previously created, so I modify that instead.

                I think that I spend more time over the summer and weekends working on school stuff than most teachers.  However, I don't have kids of my own, so I have the time to do this.  Also, I have dyslexia and a processing disability, so I need to put in the extra time to be prepared.

That's it!  Just another day.


  1. Hi Jennifer!
    We do have quite a few similarities in our day. My lesson planning happens at home while watching TV, or on the weekends. I have three other colleagues whom I am lucky enough to share the work load for one of my classes with, but I believe I still put in additional 30-40 hours outside of work. I see that you are an EDPuzzle user! I love it! I can't wait to ready more of your posts!

  2. I like the accountability piece to edpuzzle. I need to improve on sharing the workload with my peers. I'm very type A and could benefit from more collaboration.

  3. I like the accountability piece to edpuzzle. I need to improve on sharing the workload with my peers. I'm very type A and could benefit from more collaboration.