I don’t understand how teachers do it! I don’t have a family or any other real responsibilities and I feel like I don’t have any time on my hands. I’m exhausted every day from work and then I spend every evening working some more.
Let me explain how hectic my life is. I get to work about an hour before the students. This gives me time to set up my classroom, make any last minute copies, check my email, and so on.
Then the students come and I teach for most of the day. I usually have two or three breaks depending on my student’s specials. I get time to myself when they’re at gym or art. I use that time to grade or hand back papers. Or, I sometimes I have meetings with my mentor.
During lunch I usually don’t have any time because I’m almost always keeping at least one student in as a punishment for not finishing work.
Then after school it takes me a good 45 minutes just to put my classroom back in order. That means picking up pencils and papers off the floor, returning supplies, unplugging things, wiping down the board, and so on.
One day a week, the students are dismissed an hour early. Technically, that’s supposed to be our PLC hour to plan as a team, but it almost always turns into a staff meeting because some policy is changing or something. That means we usually end up staying even later to plan as a team.
On average, I usually stay until I’m too hungry and need to go home to eat. If I brought my dinner I would probably end up staying later. Why? Well, the obvious stuff would be to grade papers, create worksheets, and make copies. What’s less obvious is our literacy lessons.
We basically cycle through the Common Core second grade literacy standards. It could be comparing texts, point of view, perspective, author’s word choice, etc. We create these electronic flipcharts that project the book that we find can be used to teach that skill. The program allows us to highlight text and move stuff—it’s very useful.
The problem is it takes on average 45 minutes to create one lesson’s chart. Our lessons are 20 minutes long. It takes even longer to find books that match the skill. Usually I go on ReadingAtoZ or find something online. If I find a physical book, then I need to take even more time to scan it into the computer.
We have a book room, but it’s usually picked through and not very extensive. Plus, incredibly disorganized. I sometimes go to the city library. Once or twice I even wrote my own book just to avoid having to look for and read a bunch of texts.
I have to create those for everyday. I also have to prep my math, science, and social studies lessons. Fortunately, my team shares worksheets, but I still have to make my own class copies and grade that shit when they’re all done.
And this is on top of all the behavioral paperwork I have to fill out on a daily basis. Plus calling and emailing parents, I write a newsletter for some stupid reason, and somewhere I’d like time to relax.
At best, I can relax for an hour each night. That’s usually when I write this stupid blog while the television is on. You might think that writing in this everyday would be a chore, but it’s actually therapeutic. It makes me feel better knowing that if this job kills me there will at least be documentation and people will understand why.
There should be freedom in knowing that I won’t be at this school next year. I shouldn’t feel any pressure to work hard enough to be rehired. I can just slack off. But I know that’s wrong. I actually feel like I’m doing the minimalist effort I can, which is frightening. If this is how teaching always is, I see myself burning out after another year. They say the first year of teaching is the hardest. That means that next year should be easier.
We’ll see. Good night!