To Infinity and Beyond

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 02 2011

The highs and lows of a day in the life

7:00 AM: Arrive at school earlier than normal due to the need to lesson plan for the day (I usually do it the night or weekend before). The person that typically unlocks the school was not there, so I sit in my car (by myself at first, and then with other teachers as they arrive).

8:00 AM: Building opens. I have less than an hour to make class work, beat the rush to the copier, and cut up sheets of paper into squares for an activity. I don’t give homework because I didn’t have time to make it.

8:45AM: Children begin to arrive in my classroom. Darren knocks me over as he runs through the hall and into my classroom.

9:00 AM: Class begins. It’s “hat day” so we do a quick activity where the kids measure the diameter of their hat and then find the radius and the circumference.

9:30 AM: The guidance counselor comes into my classroom and tells me I need to attend a 10 minute meeting about one of my kid’s 504 plans; she says¬† she will watch my kids because the meeting is now, in the middle of class and with no prior notice. I get the kids started on the next activity and leave.

10:15 AM: After forty-five minutes of the “ten minute” meeting where a child advocate explains to my principal and assistant principal all of the illegal things my school is doing (the list is quite long, actually) I finally remind administration that I was in the middle of TEACHING and they let me go back to class. I was half-glad for the break but half-annoyed that I basically just lost an entire mod of instruction, especially since I had left the kids with only about 20 minutes of work.

10:30: Attend a meeting on testing security and eat lunch.

11:30: Enter in grades, organize supplies, respond to e-mail.

12:30: 3rd mod starts. The lesson goes ok– kids won’t stop talking but that’s normal.

2:00: 4th mod starts. Thirty-seven out of my 38 kids are present, and it seems like all 37 of them want to repetitiously tap their ruler against their desks. Ten kids have their rulers taken away and I make a personal note to not use rulers for a month because they are driving me crazy.

3:45 Children leave. I clean up the classroom, write one referral for a kid walking out of class, enter more grades, make class work and homework for the following day, use the copier, e-mail and call parents for both positives and negatives.

6:30: Attend the “MSA Parent Dinner Night”–talk to parents about what the MSA is and why it’s important.

8:30: Finally leave school (it is not normal for me to stay this late!). When I get in the car, but before driving away, I return a call to Ms. G,¬† Rianna’s mom, (who I left a positive message with earlier) and her mom and I have a great conversation. We discover that we are both from California and both went to UCs. Rianna is a kid who had shot me with a rubberband earlier in the year; since then, her mom and I have had a rocky relationship. Now, however, after a few positive calls to Ms. G and several months later, she tell me she thinks I should be teacher of the year or a congress person to advocate for education in the county where I teach. We connect over being from California and she shares with me the news that she is a grandma as of last Friday. I congratulate her and we talk about some options for how she can get her daughter to go to a better high school than Rianna’s assigned neighborhood school.

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    A Teach for America teacher's experience.


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