Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A day in my shoes

As a middle school teacher, I'm always looking for other middle school teachers to see how my life compares.  Am I doing the right things?  Does anybody have any great ideas I can modify for my classroom, or just use altogether? You get the picture... As a second year teacher and the only science teacher in our entire middle school, I sometimes feel like I'm stranded on a desert island with no way to evaluate myself.  Of course, this isn't true.  I teach at a TAP school, and I get evaluated all the time.  Unfortunately, there's no big way for me to see how my kids are doing compared with other kids in the area or state until the standardized test at the end of the year, and even that isn't the greatest data because only 1/2 of our kids take the science standardized test while the other 1/2 take social studies.  pfffft.  I started lobbying hard for a benchmark test that also correlates benchmark test performance with score predictions for the end of the year standardized tests.  I think this could really help me improve as a teacher and help my students improve their scores as a result.  In my blogging adventures, I found this linky party called a day in my shoes.  This is, though long, not really an atypical day in my shoes.

5:30- Wake up, snuggle in the warm bed for 5-10 minutes while the snooze button is working up to the big, nasty whomp whomp whomp noise it makes.
5:40- Get ready for school
6ish- take the puppy for a walk, clean the kitty litter, and make sure everybody has breakfast and water
6:15- breakfast for me, and grab my lunch
6:30- out the door
7:25- arrive at school, greet everybody in the halls and office on the way up to my room
7:30- turn on the Promethean board, write EQ, Standard, Obj. on the board, get my Get Started! for each grade set up in ActivInspire, and check my email
8:00- check in with teammates and master teacher to see if anything big's going on
8:06- go down to the gym, pick up uniform rack, coat rack, and phone bucket
8:08- set up racks for uniforms and coats, set up duty desk with phone bucket, put breakfast and lunch options on the whiteboard, get out lunch count sheet
8:11- first bus arrives- greet kids at the door to the school, usher in 5 at a time, search pockets and jackets, distribute uniforms
*this continues up to five students at a time until all students have arrived, around 8:45 or 8:50
8:47- make absentee list for the middle school based on remaining uniforms, clean up duty area, head to the gym
8:48- begin supervising morning PT, do breakfast count for my class, send count to cafeteria with a responsible student, make kids do PT right
8:55- take my class from gym to the room, individually hand out breakfasts so that no one steals/ fights over breakfast
(take a deep breath here)
9:00- begin instructional time- teach MoonGlow (phases of the moon) to 8th grade boys until 9:43
9:43-9:46- pack up, line up, and herd 8th grade boys into the hallway for their next class
9:46-10:35- 6th grade- Introduce Invention Convention, show model project, explain what the project will be, get them started on their ideas
10:35- bathroom break for the students, I walk two classes down and drop one of at the computer lab and one off at the gym, pick up the class from the gym, pick my 3rd period up from the computer lab, give these 2 classes an opportunity to get water, and walk back up to my classroom.
10:40-11:30- 3rd Period- trout anatomy and genetics (7th Grade)- at end of class, take students on mini field trip to the large trout tank and do observation/ class wind-up there, bring class back to line up for 4th period
11:30-12:20- 4th Period (7th Grade)- teach trout anatomy and genetics again, distribute stress balls for angry/ frustrated students, try to control whining and behavior before lunch

I did manage to snap some shots of the kids' work today and a few of the kids examining our trout, which are now mostly into the fry stage and out of the alevin stage.

12:20- walk down to lunch, supervise students as they stand silently and in single file line waiting to be served
*pray someone comes down at an opportune time so that I can snag a quick RR break
12:25-12:45- lunch, I attempt to shovel in some food while walking around the cafeteria and keeping students silent (silent lunch)
12:44- tell my 5th period to go dump their trays and line up at the door
12:45- take my 5th period (8th grade girls) out of the cafeteria first, go to the RR with a mirror.  Allow one girl into restroom at a time and try to hurry them while they wash their hands, adjust their uniforms, and try to fix their ponytails.
12:53- back in class for fifth period- pull teeth to get girls to do their bellwork, teach MoonGlow Activity and give notes
We ate airheads as a reward for good behavior.  APparently, I turned into Ms. Smurf, and the kids' mouths were all different colors, which made it very hard to take them seriously.
1:35- get girls cleaned up, line up, walk the girls to group counseling
1:38- send boys into locker room to use the restroom, try to get them to hurry to class, calm them down after a competitive class period of playing basketball, teach another class of 8th grade boys- but no moon glow game, only notes because of bad behavior.
1:45- back in 6th period with another class of 8th grade boys2:22- walk class down to the gym, supervise as everyone changes
2:25- start sorting bags by shirt number and school, then start hanging bags.  Get students to help :)
2:45- all school buses gone, put uniform rack away and detour laundry to the laundry room.
2:47- write the beautiful referrals that are owed to some of the poorer behaved students of my last class
3:00- head to the centrally located middle school in the district for a district-wide 6th grade science teachers' meeting
3:20- fill out special ed eval form (ONLY 125ish questions!!!) while waiting for the meeting to start
3:30- start meeting
5:00- leave meeting to drive HOME :)
5:50- pull into the neighborhood and find two sweet friends on the doorstep.  Turns out, they're helping my roommate pull our new-used tv stand out of her car and up the stairs to our living room.  Bring tv stand in, greet animals, check on dog, and head to impromptu dinner
6:48- head back home, log into the internet for an adobe connect internet class in experimental statistics
7:00- class starts
8:30- class ends :)
8:57 PM- Get an email that snapfish is doing 99 prints for $0.99 and jump on it, plus my 20 free prints that I've saved up.  Bulletin Board of student pictures and my personal collage frame - get ready to be updated!
*After class, write a short paper for experimental stat, read some youth development journals, and tidy up.


  1. Wow do you pack a lot into a day! I have so many questions. Why do they wear uniforms and why do they put them on at school? How come your kids have to be walked everywhere by teachers? That seems so strange to me at a middle school. What type of school do you teach at? Do you really only get 20 min to eat lunch while having to supervise kids? You also seem to have a really long commute. It is so interesting to see how different things are. Thanks for sharing your day.

  2. Hi Sherrie! Yes, they keep me busy.:) I teach at an alternative school, which for many of our students is their "last stop" before final expulsion and/or jail. Many of our kids are also here for smaller settings as a result of their IEPs/504s. They wear uniforms to cut down on discipline problems, and they put them on at school so that we can search them for weapons/ drugs/ etc. first thing. We provide their uniforms and do all the washing to eliminate the "My uniform is dirty/ ripped/ doesn't fit" excuses. They have to be walked everywhere by the teachers because they MUST be supervised for safety reasons. Our kids don't have a whole lot of privileges as far as freedom goes in the school. They have to earn their privileges. Yes, I have a 20 minute lunch and no planning, but the kids have silent lunch every day, so it could be worse. I do have a long commute, but by choice. I chose my school this year and it's in another district, but it wasn't practical to move at the beginning of the school year. I also teach in a pretty rural area, and I live in the suburbs of a bigger city, so I enjoy the perks of my life.

  3. I visited one of my students earlier this year when he was at AEP, and I do not know if I could have the patience to do it all of the time. Bless you for that! Those kiddos are so lucky to have someone as caring as you in their lives!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Miss Klohn
    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  4. Katie, I've been wanting to ask you...do your kids go in and out of alternative ed programs? Ours can come to us at pretty much any point in the school year, but once we get them, they can't leave until the end of the school year.