Teaching is much like parenting. Trying to juggle a variety of personalities, action-packed days and struggling to find the time to visit the bathroom.
If you have primary-aged children and have ever wondered what a day in the life of a teacher looks like, here is a glimpse.*
* No teachers or students were harmed in the writing of this article. Although several photocopiers and a shirt were. Also, please note that not all teachers are as clumsy as me.
07.40 Attempt to gracefully maneouver myself and resources from Staff Carpark to Classroom. Drop numerous items en route across the playground. Probably should have made 2 trips.
07.45 Enter staffroom.
07.46 Proceed to spill cup of tea down the front of my freshly laundered shirt. Attempt to hide stain with scarf, only to realise that scarf is covered in cat hair.
07.47 Read on Staffroom noticeboard that the Regional Director is visiting today. Hope he likes cats.
07.50 Silently high-five myself when I reach the photocopiers and it appears I have beaten the crowds. FOR THE LOVE OF CANTEEN LUNCHES – WHO LEAVES THIS ROOM WITHOUT SORTING OUT THEIR PAPER JAMS?!
08.00 Aim to have a Power Hour to set up all the learning experiences that are planned for the day.
08.06 Redirect a student who wanders into the classroom. “Chess club is next door.”
08.15 A colleague ducks in to borrow a book for a lesson he’s teaching today. Have a quick chat while I continue setting up Literacy activities.
08.22 Supervisor pops her head in to inform me that Athletics Carnival Field Events will take place tomorrow if the weather holds. PLEASE LET THE RAIN STAY AWAY. After a week of rainy weather, I’m not sure I can cope with another inside lunch.
08.29 Realise that I’ve left my lunch at home. Quickly run down to the Canteen to place my lunch order. Josh from 4T recommends the chicken and salad sandwich. Sounds good.
08.45 Emma and her mum come in looking for Emma’s lost jumper. Funnily enough, it’s exactly where she left it yesterday. On her desk.
09.00 School bell rings. Take a deep breath. Let’s do this. (Probably should have gone to the bathroom.)
09.05 Students trickle into the classroom handing me a multitude of absence notes and excursion notes. Really must talk to the Principal about the possibility of each teacher having a Secretary.
09.06 “What’s that on your shirt, Miss?” calls out Brandon. Subtlety is not his strong point.
9.10 – 10.55 Run a Literacy Session. During this session, students read with me. We discuss reading strategies. We practise deconstructing words. We analyse how the author constructed the texts. They independently work at their desks.
I run a writing lesson. Students then practise applying the modelled strategy in their writing.
During this session, I issue approximately 672 instructions.
I also field 9 requests to go to the toilet. I deny 4.
I adjudicate 6 disputes over the work habits of others annoying other students.
I lend a tub of stopwatches to a neighbouring class.
I have 4 students who leave the room to participate in other programs around the school. I slot them back into activities upon their return.
10.55-11.00 Attempt to get everybody out of the room for recess. It’s like herding cats.
Help Edward with the zipper on his bag that has become stuck.
Alice excitedly hands me a wad of birthday invitations. Mentally note that I must add “diplomatically distribute invitations” to my To-Do List.
Send 4 students back to their bags to get their hats.
11.00 Enter staffroom. CAKE! Feel grateful towards the Regional Director for visiting and providing the reason for cake. Still try to avoid talking to him in case he notices my glorious tea stain.
Quickly grab a cuppa, try to avoid scalding my tonsils as I consume it quickly and clear my pigeonhole of notes and other paperwork.
11.10 Gallantly attempt to run across the gauntlet that is the playground towards the toilets. I’m intercepted by a concerned-looking Kindergartner who informs me that her friend is crying.
Ascertain that the poor poppet is crying because she dropped her recess. Comfort hungry little poppet and send her with her friend to the Office in search of more recess.
Bell rings. Didn’t make it to the bathroom.
11.25 – 12.10 On the walk back to classroom, I’m approached by a student who tells me about some social difficulties on the playground. Begin the session with a class discussion about being considerate of others and thinking before we speak or act.
Attempt to introduce the Maths lesson with a demonstration on the Interactive Whiteboard only to discover it has frozen. Attempt to demonstrate concepts with old-fashioned whiteboard.
We then launch in to Numeracy rotations. Students move between learning stations and practise their number skills with a variety of activities. I reprimand Noah for attempting to throw dice at the ceiling fans.
At one point I am required to usher a pigeon out of the room, whilst calming 29 squealing students. All in a day’s work.
12.15 – 12.45 We head to the school library for our weekly session. 4 students claim that they have forgotten their library bags as “Mum forgot to pack it.” We have a discussion about responsibility and independence.
12.50 – 13.00 I attempt to hand out homework only to realise that I left it in the Photocopy Room this morning. What was that about responsibility and independence?
13.00 – 13.35 Lunch time! Josh’s recommendation of the chicken and salad sandwich was excellent. I quickly set up the afternoon’s lesson before heading off for playground duty.
13.35 – 14.00 On playground duty and adjudicate approximately 656 disputes related to handball. When did it become acceptable to use your head in handball? Offer to outline the rules from “back in my day” to a bunch of Year 4 kids but get glazed eyes.
Other Lunch Duty statistics include:
- 3 students sent to the Office for ice packs
- 2 BandAids applied for minor ailments
- 4 tennis balls dodged
- 2 crying students comforted
14.00 – 14.45 Run a History lesson where we put ourselves in the shoes of Early Australian Settlers. Always amazed by the discussions that arise.
14.45 – 15.00 Discuss what we’ve achieved today. Remind students what they’ll need to bring to class tomorrow. Hand out excursion note and spend 5 minutes explaining high level of importance of excursion note and how important it is that it gets home.
Also discreetly hand out Alice’s birthday invitations.
Send students to collect school bags. Shed a few tears when I spy 3 high level of importance excursion notes on the ground.
15.00 Home Time! Make sure that all students head home with the person they are meant to or head off to After School Care.
Ella can’t remember if it’s an After School Care Day or a Dad Pick Up Day.
15.10 Take Ella to After School Care.
15.11 Finally get to the bathroom!!!!!!!!
15.15 Back in the classroom, tidying, marking and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
More for mums of school kids:
- How to Get the Most Out of the Library
- 11 Teacher-Approved School Holiday Activities
- Teaching Kids the Art of Conversation
Image: Shannon Wong-Nizic