Thursday, November 15, 2012

A day in the life ...

Several math teachers are blogging about a day in their lives this week.  Just FYI ... we operate on an A/B day.  So here is a glimpse of my A day!

A Day in the Life of a Math Teacher
6:15Getting up out of a warm bed into a cold house!  Ouch!  Shower, Dress, fix my lunch, quick breakfast … then a quiet 45 minutes or so to myself.  I check our personal email account and the school email account.  No pressing messages!  Yea!  I read Scripture and pray … so grateful for the opportunity to talk to the Father.  I can imagine myself seated with him in a cozy spot, I’m drinking my hot tea … he’s smiling.  And we are chatting together.  Then I take a mental break and play one word on Words with Friends.  I’m thankful for my consistent Words with Friend partner!  Oops … the time is getting away from me … better grab my shoes and socks and head out the door!
7:40I zip out on to the speedway … I have about a 20 minute ride to school.  Most days it is an uneasy ride with the sun shining brightly in my eyes as I travel east.   We don’t have clouds much around here … find it difficult to wish for clouds but that sun is brutal!
8:04I pull into the parking lot … and hike to my building and classroom to drop off my lunch, homework, and purse.  Our school is made up of 11 different buildings – much walking here!
8:15It’s a late start day, and we have a math department meeting!  I’m so glad to see a short agenda.  The main IT guy explains our new freshman 1-to-1 computing initiative that starts in January.  I’m excited about this … not sure yet how I will incorporate laptops daily, but I will figure it out!  Then we are supposed to count out our district benchmark tests … but they are lost.  Only Algebra 2 and Geometry arrived safely.  Dismissal comes early … I still have some time before students arrive.
8:50I head back to my classroom.  It’s chilly outside but I’m glad for the walk between buildings.  I had set up my room for today’s classes before I left the previous evening so I don’t have too much set up to do.  We have a quiz; it’s printed on a half sheet because we have a copier limit.  I start cutting them in half.  The walk to the paper cutter is too far.  I also work the previous night’s homework … so I’ll have my key handy.  The teacher next door stops in to share a review assignment she is using with her students.  I love it … so she is emailing me a copy.   I greet students who arrive early.
9:25On late start days, class starts at 9:25 and lasts 80 minutes.  Our lesson plan is to write and graph equations of lines when given 2 points.  First we check homework; too many students did not complete it.  I show them a snippet from my gradebook (without names) to see how not doing homework affects grades.  Then I give a short “knowledge check” (aka quiz).  After notes on how to find the equation of the line with two points, students are asked to play Tic Tac Toe … one person solves by hand to win the square.  The other student uses their grapher to run a linear regression to check the work.  Then they swap turns.  I monitor from group to group … fussing, cajoling, and encouraging.  My observation indicates that students didn't get the lesson - we will have to hit this again!  It’s a busy 80 minutes.
10:51Class 2 … I run that same lesson again!  It goes a little better but still many students are not able to solve problems satisfactorily.
12:58Class 3 … we start the lesson …
1:00Lunch interrupts Class 3 every day.  It’s a relief to finally get to go to the restroom, eat a quick bite, and rest a minute.  OOPS … not happening today.  Today, a student from the previous class comes back to ask if I have her report card.  My heart sinks … no, I don’t have it, but I should.  I hike over to the main building.  The report cards are not in my box … so I look around … they are in another teacher’s box.  Fiddle Sticks!  I carry them back to my room … and I have several students either wanting to retake a quiz or make up homework.  I eat a bite of tuna while I help.  I’ll need my mint gum when my class returns.  In checking email I see that there is yet another field trip tomorrow that will take students out of my class.  I’m glad they have the opportunity to go to a career fair but that means I’ll have dozens of students needing to make up work.  I email the parents in my second block to explain why I didn’t send home report cards today.  Lunch time is a busy 35 minutes!
1:41Class 3 students return and we pick up where we left off.  Same lesson, 3rd time today.  In this class - it goes a little better.
2:32It’s my planning time.  For the first few minutes, I record the above information … just to unwind a bit.  I pop over to a colleague's room to see if anyone found the benchmark tests yet.  I'd love to give those before the holidays instead of the day we return.  We chat a minute about the pros and cons of the upcoming test.  My student helper arrives.  I ask her to file papers before I tutor her a bit on our math.  I type up notes that I gave in class today to post online.  My colleague finished creating the test review and I post it as well.  Then I clip the answers to our next homework assignment on to a single sheet of paper so I’ll be able to project them easily.  Last I stapled notes to the student packet of notes that we are creating on writing and graphing linear equations.  I briefly contemplate how we might practice skills from today's lesson again ... I have an idea but it will take a little time to pull it together.
4:05Students are beginning to show up at my door.  Are you tutoring today?  Can I retake my quiz?  Can you go over this quiz I messed up on?  I have 3 boys correcting their previous quiz.  One girl who is working ahead because she will miss class tomorrow.  Another girl retaking a quiz. Others come in - we quickly determine who needs what.   I field questions from students as needed.   At 5:00 I tell the last student in the room that I need to leave.  Before I leave I email some work to myself so I can continue to work when I get home.
5:10I head home on the speedway.  I check in with my husband who asks if I can pick up supper on the way home.  Of course I can!  He typically cooks since he works out of the house.  He needed a break tonight!  I stop for brisket, potatoes and beans.
6:00I’m home.  I get comfortable, fix my plate and settle in to eat supper and rest a bit.  I add a few words to this document I’ve been working on.
6:50I play a word on Words with Friends.  I also check email and answer a student’s question.  Then I read through my University of Phoenix online class.  I am facilitating a course.  It’s fun because I get to talk to teachers across the nation.  This class is on gifted education.
7:20Time to pull the quizzes out of the bag to grade.  I have found the best way to keep up with students’ learning is to take a daily quiz grade.  It’s a bummer to grade so many papers, but it gives me a good read on who is learning and who is not.  Our school emphasizes continuous improvement so all quizzes are open for retakes.  If students demonstrate mastery on future assessments that measure the same skills, I update grades to reflect that mastery.  I grade 3 sets ... put the scores in the computer.
8:50Time to relax!   Only 10 ½ hours today on school work … feels like a light day … ha!  A little TV, a magazine, some time to pull together the Thanksgiving dinner shopping list … and to think about Christmas gifts … before I head to bed to do it all over again!


  1. "Only 10.5 hours of work" It's sad how true that statement is.

  2. [...] A day in the life … ( [...]