Photo by David Levêque on Unsplash
*Note: These examples are not from my actual, current, class, just examples that I have experienced often as a teacher. I don’t want my students’ families to think I’m sharing sensitive information. XO*
5:24 a.m. The alarm goes off. My alarm ringer is an Eminem song. The only 10 seconds where I get to listen to the music I actually like rather than the soundtrack from The Lego Movie.
5:40 a.m. Stumble downstairs to walk on the
dreadmill treadmill. Listen to serial killer podcast. Be constantly on alert for someone to bust through the door and kidnap me.
6:20 a.m. Shower. Within 5 minutes, one child will be awake. They will either:
a)attempt to get in shower
b)tell me at length about the dream they had
c)crawl under the bedspread on the bed I just made and wrangle it all up.
I’ll spare you 6:40-7:40, and we’ll just call that “The part where I repeat directions a lot, talk about how I’ll lose my job if we’re any later, and find ‘the other sock’.”
7:40: Walk into work. Chat with the custodian. On the way to my classroom door, the guidance counselor sees me. We chat about a student who we are trying to help.
7:55: While working on getting my instructional materials ready for the day, putting my lunch in the fridge, shoving my purse in my desk drawer (since I don’t have a place to lock it anywhere), the phone rings. It is a parent who wants me to know her child is constipated. I need to let him use the bathroom at any time, no questions asked.
8:10: Pull up e-mail. Topics include:
*a fundraiser for a district family with cancer
*a staff member’s family member has just died
*an agenda for a meeting that is after school until 5:00
*money I owe for dues
*5 questions from my 4th-grade team about one math lesson we are trying to iron out.
*An e-mail from a parent telling me that their son forgot their homework last night and could I please not be mad at him or yell at him because he feels really bad
*An e-mail from a colleague that tells me one of my students has been written up 3 times in a month and I need to email the parent.
8:25: The kids come in. I am bombarded with stories. I get 4 excuses for why their homework is not done (I had dance last night, I forgot, did we have homework last night? and I had to watch my brother’s wrestling match). I get shown a Harry Potter shirt, a new container of slime, a pencil-topper that blinks, and that someone is now on page 69 already of their book.
8:40: as I begin to teach math, the phone rings. There is a lunch bag in the office for one of my kids. As I hang up, a student approaches, “Mrs. W, my lips are bleeding because they are so chapped.” I point to the vaseline I always have, with Q-tips, just for this reason. I pass out a bandaid. I send a kid to the nurse, who comes back up to go home since he has a fever.
Back to math.
I notice one girl does not look well. As soon as I can, I check in with her to find that her parents were fighting all night and she’s exhausted.
Back to math.
While assigning partners, a student explodes and runs out of the room in anger.
10 minutes later, that student is settled back in, and its back to math.
At the very end of math, as we line up to go to related arts, I see a teacher at my door. She wants to quick check-in on my reading lesson for the day, because she pushes into my classroom to help kids.
Related arts is my prep time. Except, we have a meeting.
During the meeting, we all meet and talk about data.
Reading, writing, math, what are we doing for this kid, does he have enough interventions? Should we move her from reading to math? Why do we think he’s not doing so well anymore? Her parents are gone and her brother is raising her while they work across the country. His mom is in jail. She is adopted. Do we think it’s social/emotional, or is there an academic need?
I stay in this meeting until the second past its time to go pick up my class from related arts. I realize I haven’t found the time to use the bathroom yet.
10:40 Time for reading. Search room because kids are starving and don’t have snack with them. Discover some old saltines in my drawer and offer them up, shrugging. I’ve spent a hundred bucks at least this year on animal crackers. While the kids eat something quickly, I start teaching the reading lesson.
A kid approaches me on the side, I don’t have anything to read at home, is it ok if I borrow one of your books? I go into my bag and grab the books I ordered from Scholastic for my own daughter, and give those to her. Keep these, I tell her.
During the reading lesson, one of my students has her head on the desk. What’s up, I ask. Well, she says, I got made fun of yesterday at recess and now I don’t want to go out.
Stay in here today, I tell her. You can eat lunch with me and we’ll figure out a plan.
Student leaves for a behavior break. I read with a 4th grader who has a reading comprehension level of a 1st grader.
Time for lunch.
I check my e-mail while I wait for my student to return. They include:
*Dress-up days for next week
*Can I do a meeting over lunch on Friday? There’s no other time
*Guidance counselor wants one of my kids at this time once a week starting now
*Parent wants an update on a spelling intervention
*Don’t forget to bring your item for the potluck, order this t-shirt
*Another teacher is upset with me because I didn’t tell her that one of my students was moving to a different level of behavior (did I even know, I wonder?)
I check to make sure I’m ready to teach writing and science and intervention when the kids come back. Realize that we ran out of time when we were planning and I was supposed to pull books for everyone. I had gone to the library but gotten called down to the office when my student had stomped out of the cafeteria in anger. Run to library and pull books, drop them off for my co-workers, and then pull out my lunch.
The student is back and by the time she’s ready to go back to her friends, we both have cried. My heart hurts. It just feels like so much, sometimes, the hurt that our kids are experiencing
As she’s walking out the door, there is a fire alarm. We race outside. While out there, guidance chats to me about a situation where a parent is no longer allowed to pick up his son, who is in my class. I need to stay on alert and if I see him, call the principal immediately and don’t let him in.
I get inside and make a quick call to a parent, confirming that she will volunteer in my classroom the next day. While I have you on the phone, she says, my kid has been having some problems with friendships. Can you help?
At this point, it is NOT EVEN 12:00.
To HAVE A GUN?
As if I can do one.more.thing.
As if I signed up to be in the military. As if I enrolled to defend my country, and went through basic training, and got training and free college and socialized healthcare.
As if I took this job knowing my own children could lose their mom so I can fend off a shooter who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.