The Life of Bon: A day in the life.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A day in the life.



A lot of people have been asking me lately what a typical day looks like for me.

Actually, no one has ever once asked me that.

But I'm going to tell you anyway.  Because I thought it might be interesting to know how a full time teacher, sometimes blogger, always tired female like myself manages her week days.  And if it's not interesting to you, good for you, you've obviously got a more exciting life than the rest of us.

6:20 am First alarm goes off.  I hit snooze.
6:25  Second alarm goes off.  I hit snooze.
6:30  Third alarm goes off.  I get up.  Most days.  My morning routine has been chiseled down and perfected to allow for the absolute maximum of sleeping time.  I brush my teeth, put on clothes that have been laid out the night before, comb my hair, and grab the lunch that I prepared the night before.  Every morning for breakfast I have milk and instant breakfast which I take with me in my car.  My entire "get-ready-for-the-day" drill takes 12-15 minutes.  Amazing, really.
6:45  Head to work.  Drink instant breakfast in the car.  Put makeup on in the car or right when I get to work.
7:00 Arrive at work.  School starts at 7:50, but my contract time goes from 7:00-3:00.  I use the 45 minutes of time before class starts to get myself ready and organized for classes.  If it's end of the quarter there are students who straggle in with homework assignments or wanting help, but most of the time it's pretty quiet in the mornings.  I check my email, make any copies I need, finalize lesson plans, write my objectives on the board, etc.
7:50 First period starts.  My first class is juniors.  Classes are 85 minutes long and I usually try to break the time up into three main activities of 20-30 minutes.  Today the first section involved a ten minute writing prompt (how they start every class), passing back some tests and going over answers, and looking at their grades.  The second section of class was an activity and discussion on "conformity" (we're finishing up a unit on transcendentalism.)  The third section of class was a short video clip and power point on Emily Dickinson.
9:25 Second period starts.  For me, this is a prep period.  I have 85 minutes to plan my lessons, (depending on the day I have to get either one or two lesson plans ready) grade papers, update scores on the computer, respond to parents' emails, etc.  It seems like it would be plenty of time but this year I have felt very crunched on my teacher prep time.  If I have already taught a unit before the planning and preparation is quick and easy, but if I haven't taught it before (my entire AP class, my current unit on transcendentalism) it takes a lot longer to get plans together.
10:49  Lunch!  I know lunch in the 10 am hour seems awfully early, but I'm always starved by this time since I ate breakfast four hours ago.  Nine times out of ten I try to go to the teacher lounge to get a break from classroom stuff and teenagers.  It's nice to talk to adults and it's nice to talk about stuff other than school.  We do talk shop a little, but generally we talk about tv or why we're mad at our mother in laws or the crazy thing we saw at the grocery store yesterday.  I really value this time to unwind and connect with my co workers.
11:25 Third period starts.  This is my AP class.  Our class today involved 1) a multiple choice practice test.  Afterward the students were allowed to get in groups of four and combine their brains to try to come up with the right answer 2) Reading and discussion of The Death of a Salesman.  We are reading the play out loud together in class- we read about 25 pages a class period.  3) Teaching of poetry words that they may likely see on the test like meter and metonymy and synechdoce.  Eighty five minutes seems like a long time to have class but by breaking it up into chunks the time seems to fly by and I swear we never get everything done I had planned.
1:00 Fourth period starts.  These are my seniors.  The class today was 1) Write opening prompt, collect final poems and introduce student teacher 2) Introduce mini research project and give students guidelines and criteria and 3) Allow students time to work on chrome books to find a topic they want to research and write their thesis statement.
2:25  Final bell rings.  Hallelujah!  If it is end of the quarter like this week 2:25 means that the real zoo begins as there is a sudden influx of students wondering when I am going to grade their essay, why they missed three points on their poem, and can they still make up the test from last month?  I am lucky if I get anything productive done after school.  Usually it is help students and if there is extra time sit in my chair and stair aimlessly at the wall.
3:00 Contract time ends- work day is over.  I try really really hard to leave at 3:00 on most days.  Depending on how much work I have coming in, I can.  I love teaching and I am so grateful for my job, but it is my job.  It is not a calling or a ministry and I get paid 40 hours a week to do my job so I try my darndest to work 40 hours a week and not put in overtime.  I'm afraid of burn out.  I've seen too many teachers who hate their job and hate the students and are bitter at the whole institution of public education for working them into the ground with hardly a thank you.  I don't want that to be me, so when it's 3:00 I go home regardless of how much work is waiting for me.  (Unless it's end of quarter.  Not much I can do there.)
3:10  Small errand.  It seems like I always have something small to get done out and about and I try to do this before I go home so I don't have to do go out again.  Run through the bank, stop for a gallon of milk, you know.
3:30- 4:00 Get home.  Greg beats me home three days out of the week and on these days he usually starts on dinner.  The days that I come home first I try to make dinner or we grab something quick.
4:00- 5:00  The lost hour.  I swear, I never know what happens during this time.  Nothing productive that's for sure.  Sometimes I watch mindless TV, sometimes I take Maverick for a walk.  Usually I scroll social media in a stupor.  I am trying to make it less social media, but sometimes you just need to veg.
5:00- 6:00   Eat dinner, clean up, hang out with Greg.  This is the only time of the day that I am guaranteed to see Greg as our schedules are usually pretty opposite.
6:00  Greg goes to rehearsal or to a performance most nights.  The nights that he is off we usually try to watch a movie or do something together.  The nights that he are gone I use to work on blog stuff.  I try to have my blog post done by 7:00 or 8:00 and then there are blog emails, correspondence, projects, reading other blogs, etc.  It always takes longer than I plan on it taking
9:00 Shower, blow dry hair and get ready for bed.  If there is time I try to watch something on TV or read.
10:00 In bed.  I tell myself I don't actually have to go sleep at 10:00 as long as I am in bed and unwinding.  I try to read 3 or 4 pages of scripture, and then I read my book of choice while trying to wait up for Greg who gets home around 10:30.  Usually I will talk to him until 11:00 or so until I pass out.
6:30 am  And we start all over again

There it is folks.  The day in the life of a teacher.  Bet you never thought it could be so interesting.  Before you go I have one awesome little blogger I want to introduce you to. Kylie is a college blogger on a low budget, keeping it relatable for blog readers.  She is funny and easy to connect to and always honest.  I love that she doesn't try to make her life look more glamorous than it is, but she pokes fun at the every day and mundane.  I loved this post where she confesses her love for her pillow pet (who doesn't love a pillow pet?!) and this post having to do with the ridiculous dating magazine at BYU, her college.  And of course, if you are a Bachelor lover there is this hilarious Bachelor recap from this week.  You can also find Kylie on Instagram, obviously!


26 comments:

  1. I have to say, you made the teacher life sound blissful! I know I only think so because I'm in my first year of teaching but ALL i do is eat, breathe, sleep TEACHING. How do you leave school with nothing to work on? I'm impressed!!!! I don't know how I'd find the time to get things graded/planned/etc. I'm obviously doing something wrong as a newbie! I hope that in a few years I can be more like you ;) I totally agree with your philosophy on avoiding burnout. It is so important! GREAT post, love it!

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    1. What grades do you teach? I definitely think it is easier with older grades... There are much more demands placed on elementary schools. Lesson planning is always my first priority so no matter what I know what I'm teaching the next day. Grading is last priority. If I get to it, great, if not- they will live!

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    2. I teach 8th grade Language Arts! I should adopt that philosophy, too. Instead, I take all of the grading home and work on it.

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  2. MAN this just got me so excited to be a teacher next year!!

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  3. Hey I did a blog post kind of like this today. :) I think there is something wonderful about writing about the very ordinary and boring details of life.

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    1. I agree! It seems like we only write about the highlights, not the ins and outs of each day. By the way I read your post today on staying home with your baby- beautiful!

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  4. I always wondered what my teachers talked about in the lounge...

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    1. hahaha! Of course, we do occasionally talk about students... usually the ones that give us all hell :)

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  5. Your schedule at school ROCKS! 85 minutes for your prep? Wow, I am so jealous! I also really like that your have to be at school 45 minutes before the day begins. We only have to arrive 15 minutes in advance, and sometimes I feel like I cut it down to the wire, you know?

    This is my first year teaching 4th grade, and I feel like I have the same outlook as you on teaching being the same kind of job as everything else. I just refuse to burn out and most of the time, I'm out the door within 45 minutes after the day ends. It's important to leave work at work!

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    1. oh yah, arriving with only 15 minutes before school starts would be tough. I already feel kind of out of control in the morning. And yes the 85 minute prep a day is far and away the best thing about teaching high school. I don't know how I would do it otherwise.

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  6. I love love love your comment about leaving at 3. Veteran teachers were always complaining that they were at school until 6pm or later. If you can't fit your work into 8 hours, let something GO! Let students grade less important papers, skim essays, get a TA, something. I learned from Harry Wong that the person who does the work does the learning. It's rare to find someone who treats teaching like a job. Mostly they're posting about grading and lesson planning at 7pm. Okay, sorry, rant over :)

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    1. I agree! Have you ever read the book "Never work harder than your students"? I haven't read it but it has been recommended to me several times and I just really agree with the whole concept- I shouldn't be stressing myself sick and doing backbends while my students get to go home and hang out with their boyfriends. And yes, couldn't agree more on the letting something go. It takes while, though, I think to realize that there is a much easier way to do things. Work smarter not harder!

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  7. We must've been on the same wavelength, I did this exact same thing yesterday! :)

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    1. I must've read your mind!

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  8. As a teacher myself, I enjoy reading how you handle the work-life balance. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by everything I have to do. Your post has inspired me to prioritize things better. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot to me! Kim made a great comment above... it's all about finding things you can let go of. Thanks so much for the comment!

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  9. Sometimes E, and now you, make me feel the teaching itch, but then I think of all the cautionary tales and "DONT DO ITS!" and I feel torn. Maybe I will wait til we are stationed overseas and I will teach kids who actually want to learn? (is that a made up thing, unicorn-status kids?)

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    1. DO IT! And students who want to learn is not a made up thing at all! There are so many great students, unfortunately it seems like we use all of our energy on the ones who couldn't care less.

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  10. I am a new reader to your blog and I especially love this post! I always am interested to see what a day in the life of fellow bloggers is like. I admire that you still are able to do your job well, but keep work separate from your home life. Balance is always so important. A wonderful read :)

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  11. I love this! I'm actually really interested in how bloggers spend their time and how they find time to do all of the blogging things. Before, I had an office job so when I had some down time I could do some reading, responding to emails, writing, etc. But now I don't have a job like that anymore and my whole routine is messed up!

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  12. Your day exhausts me.

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  13. Wow, this is a really inspiring post in a way, I bet I could get a lot more out of my day than I do now. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. And I used to think teaching was just showing up... Man, I was wrong! :p

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  15. This is interesting. I English also-9th graders in San Antonio….our days are somewhat similar, but I put in way more hours- We have mandatory planning meetings after school two days a week- beyond contract time..and they last anywhere from 1-2 hours….or more…we are expected to be available for tutoring before and after school and lunch…..so I'm a bit jealous of your hours…we call your schedule block and we used to do that…now I teach 6 classes. 175 students.

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  16. This is interesting. I English also-9th graders in San Antonio….our days are somewhat similar, but I put in way more hours- We have mandatory planning meetings after school two days a week- beyond contract time..and they last anywhere from 1-2 hours….or more…we are expected to be available for tutoring before and after school and lunch…..so I'm a bit jealous of your hours…we call your schedule block and we used to do that…now I teach 6 classes. 175 students.

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