I am usually in my classroom no later than 6:15 a.m. School officially begins at 7:45 (and I am not required to be there until 7:30), but the morning is about the only time when there is no line at the xerox and no interruptions while I try to grade, organize, or set up a lab. I should also mention that early morning is the only time to try to catch an administrator if there is an item of concern I need to share with them.
Anyway, the bottom line is simply that I am on the run beginning at 6:15.
From 7:45 to noon is the easy part: I get to teach. I like kids...I like the content I am assigned to teach---most days, it's great. It is not the kids who wear teachers down and make them leave the profession. It is the million other things impinging upon us. There is a myriad of classroom interruptions: passes for kids to see the counselor...a security guard comes in and needs to pull a kid...a note from the office with a phone message for a student...announcements over the intercom. And those are just a few of the "in building" kinds of things. Beyond that is the paperwork and e-mail from central office, communications from parents, and state and federal requirements.
I understand that these other things are "part of my job," but I often wonder why I must be expected to handle so many clerical type tasks in addition to trying to design and focus upon a standards based curriculum.
If I make it to noon, I sometimes get 20 minutes for lunch. Another teacher uses my classroom in the afternoon, so I am often using at least part of my lunch to move my things out or clean up.
The second half of my day is allotted for work for the district. My alter ego is the "secondary science curriculum specialist." In this role, I'm supposed to help my colleagues across the district implement curriculum. This is a lot like working with kids: there is still whining and game-playing, it's just with older people.
The fact is, I am really loving this part of my day. After 14 years in the trenches, it is invigorating to think about things from a different perspective and use my brain in new ways. More on that in another post.
I am allowed to go home at 3 p.m., however most days I have to work with kids after school or go to meetings. Hopefully, I make it home by 5...and can knock off from grading papers or other work related stuff by 7.
It does make for long days. And if you're thinking of getting into this profession---you just need to be realistic. I would never advise someone interested in teaching not to try it. There are wonderful things about being involved in education. I haven't often had reason to regret my choice in pursuing such a career. I hope things remain that way.