Last weekend our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Buckeye, came down from Ohio to visit, go to a civil war conference, and attend a hockey game. It was wonderful seeing them, catching up on stuff, and generally enjoying ourselves. Mrs. Buckeye and I were out shopping for a bit and got to talking about things and she mentioned an on-line "spat" she had with someone on one of her listserves who kept bagging on teachers because "they leave every day at 2:30 and don't really work." Bless her heart, she stood up for us.
But it got me to thinking.
Which can be a very dangerous thing.
And I started to wonder just how much time I really do spend as a teacher. So I decided to spend a few days keeping a tally, because I don't recall the last time I left at 2:30.
Arrive at school at 6:15 - put together daily PowerPoint Agenda, make sure all supplies are set out and ready, check mail box, go through mail from the day before (just how many forms do we need to send out every week?) and get Mrs. Language caught up on the day before as she was out sick (and brought me a steak biscuit from Hardee's to thank me for doing her lessons, bless her heart).
7:05 - 7:30 - Homeroom. It's Green Day at school, which means candy grams and all sorts of silly stuff. Kids are wild. Take attendance, check agendas, fix a locker, get make-up work for kids who've been absent.
7:30 - 8:25 - First Period. Have kids turn in homework, science dictionaries, and finish element projects. Help kids with computer issues, glue stick issues, scissor issues, and boyfriend/girlfriend issues.
8:25-8:30 - Run to the bathroom
8:30 - 9:25 - Second Period. See First Period Above
9:25-9:30 - Watch hallways for potential problems. More and more kids with green hair due to PTO fundraiser where kids can pay to have their hair sprayed green or gelled.
9:30 - 10:25 - Third Period. My Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself. Two kids turn in behavior notes for horseplay. See First Period above.
10:25 - 10:30 - Watch hall again. More kids with green hair and now, green tattoos on faces.
10:30 - 11:05 - Fourth Period. See First Period Above.
11:05 - 11:40 - Line kids up for lunch, walk them down once they get settled, eat my lunch, check mailbox, go to bathroom, pick up kids, walk back to class.
11:40 - 12:05 - Finish Fourth Period.
12:10 - 1:05 - Fifth Period - See First Period Above. Hand out a behavior note to a kid who is flicking other kids' ears and who can't, for the life of him, keep his hands to himself. "I don't know," is his answer to everything. Show Flicker his file with previous behavior notes and emails to mom in it. Inform Flicker that next incident will most likely be a referral.
1:05 - 1:50 - 6th period planning!!! And for once, no parent meeting!!! Run to bathroom. Get mail. Meet with Mrs. Eagle and do our plans for next week. Realize that we forgot to type up a vocabulary test which I will do over the weekend. Electronically drop the plans to Mr. Enforcer, and make copies for our binders. Make copies of unit test, both regular and modified. Send email to Mrs. Sweet, letting her know we have a test scheduled for Wed and it would be great if she was available to read to our special ed kids. Return mobile computer labs to lab room.
1:50 -2:05 Kids are sent back to homerooms to get their report cards stapled into their agendas. Much wailing and worrying about what the results will be when the report cards arrive home. Some are happy, others are not so thrilled.
2:05 -4:50- Kids are dismissed! Grade workbooks from kids who've been absent. Grade homework. Put grades in computer. Export grades to website where parents can see what their darlings are doing (or not doing). Write and send my weekly parent email. Update my website and add my homework and messages to grades website. Clean whiteboards, and one of the tables which has had interesting graffiti on it lately. Comet and bleach works pretty well, but I'm going to try to catch the offender...I have my suspicions. Water plants. Look at clock and realize I need to get home.
Saturday - 1:15 - 3:00 - Grade element projects
5:15 - 8:00 - Grade the remaining element projects. Goal was to have all projects graded before hockey game, but alas, that did not happen. Put together picture cards of lab equipment and measurement tools to use in a review game.
Sunday - 12:15 - 2:15 Mrs. Eagle arrives. We put together a purchase requisition for supplies needed in order to do our review for Our Very Big Government Mandated Tests. Go over the cards I made the night before to make sure they're what we're looking for. Work on fine-tuning our lessons for the next few weeks. Discuss the fact that we can't believe we're down to the last nine weeks of the year. Go over some of my NSTA magazines with some ideas on weather projects we may try if we can get money to pay for supplies
Hum...that's it. I suppose it's a good thing that I don't have any kids of my own to worry about and that Mr. Bluebird works most weekends out of town. I couldn't imagine how I'd get it all done with people underfoot.
Now I know there are teachers that leave the second the bell rings - I work with some of them. If I did that I wouldn't feel like I'm doing the best job I can for my kids. My kids need me to be prepared, they need me to be organized, and they need me to give them prompt feedback on their assignments (I rarely take more than a day to get something graded).
I just wish some people would respect that.