So today has been rather insane. For some strange reason I thought it would be an easy day. Silly me. I arrived at school by 6:15 as usual. It was a cool morning and I wondered if I should have brought a sweater. I knew I had not corrected yesterday’s assignment. I was keenly aware that I started my day behind. It was OK I thought, because while my students took their test I could correct the papers from before and catch up. Yeah, not so much.
I reviewed what I wanted the students to do today after they took their test. I decided on an easy preview activity for the next chapter and a pretest. They love taking the pretest. It is graded for completion as I only want to know what they already know before beginning the new chapter. Without fail, each period, someone will ask me to confirm that if they miss every single answer will they still get full points. And of course, I answer yes.
So I went to the office to run my assignment. Yesterday I had written on 155 scan-trons each student’s name, period, date, chapter, and the words Study Buddy score. I knew I was ready for the beginning of each period. I ran the paper, hole punched it and was ready to return to my class. I was met by a fellow staff member who I adore and she and I discussed some very important matters. Today she needed to talk to me. Many, many times I have needed to talk to her. I was glad I could be there. I am so grateful for the kind people I work with.
I returned to my class where a student was waiting for me. She had asked if she could come in very early before school to take her test. She was going to do a great family activity and would miss the later part of the day. I commended her for being so conscientious in wanting to take the test. She just kept thanking me for being there for her. I told her I was already there and glad I could help. She quickly finished her test and I asked if she would like to do the homework now, or Monday upon her return. She opted to do it immediately and then just wanted to share what her family was going to do. It was sweet to be able to spend time on a personal level. In middle school, as in high school, most days are jam packed with lessons and answering questions, and redirecting those that need it. I am grateful that she felt comfortable just kibitzing this morning. As soon as she was finished I read my school email and realized I needed to call a parent. A student had told a parent something that was not true and I needed to communicate with the parent. Unfortunately they were not home so I shall need to call later.
My busy day had just begun. The bell rang and I was off and running. A good morning was said to my students as they entered the class. Some expressed they were anxious about the test. Homeroom time is spent silently reading AR books. After morning announcements, via the television station our 8th grader man, all students must read their books. My classroom rule deviates a little bit. If students have a test that day they may silently study during the quiet reading time. I share with them my extreme test anxiety and let them know often a little review makes you feel more self assured. I am grateful that I can lower the stress level of some of my students.
Homeroom ended and in came period E. (We have a rotating schedule) A good morning to all and then I went through the procedures for the day. I asked as I do multiple times a day if anyone had questions. Usually this time of year most know what they are doing. I discretely passed out the accommodated versions to those that needed them and then I passed out the rest of the tests. While they were taking the test I went to each student and scored their Study Buddy on their scan-tron. Each student received a personal comment from me. Most were of the “great job” nature. Some had done less than required and I told them I hoped they were going to be OK without the Study Buddy they were supposed to compose. I made notes to myself about which parents I had to email to inform them that their students were not doing the homework assigned. I only email when there are important things missing. Otherwise parents have access to all their kid’s grades 24/7. I am grateful that parents can see what their kids are doing if they choose to.
So after emailing the parents that I needed to inform, I started correcting yesterday’s assignments. I didn’t make to too far before many were done with the test. So between proctoring the test, making sure all papers went where they were supposed to go, and getting them started on the next activity I was unable to finish yesterday’s work. All students finished the test and all but 1 or 2 needed to finished the pretest. They were following directions and quietly talking to each other after the last “cheater defeater” went down. When I asked them if they felt the test was easy or hard most said it was easy because it is what we have been learning. I giggle to myself about the old saying, “Whenever I study the teacher gives an easy test, and when I don’t she makes a hard test.”
The class ended and after all my “outs” went out, I let the “ins” come in. Period F went along just as period E had. Parents to email, papers to check, directions to give, questions to answer. I finished grading E periods papers from yesterday and entered them in to the computer. Not many papers from yesterday’s F period graded at all. And of course in every class some students ask if I will have all 150 + graded and entered today. My response is usually “Do you think I am superwoman?” At least that makes them laugh.
A period was the same as E and F. I didn’t get to the emails of earlier periods so I am way behind. A period is my largest at 38. Often the large number means more questions and concerns. After my “outs“ from A leave I have prep period. So I figured I would have some time to get caught up on some of my work.
Nope, not going to happen. Some of my students who have first lunch asked if they could come in during my prep period and work. Of course I said yes. I figured I could multi-task and get some grading done. Then I got a phone call from my daughter. She teaches in a district about an hour and a half away. She had parent teacher conferences for my eldest grandson. He is having a challenging beginning to high school. She is working hard with him and his teachers to help him succeed. I am grateful that I can be a listening ear for her. I adore my grandchildren as do most grandparents. I hurt when they hurt and I rejoice when they are happy.
Then when my prep period was over it was lunch time. More students asked if they could come in and work. So while they were working i decided to steal a few minutes of my own. I started to do my blog. It was my time. I should have instead made more parent contacts, made an answer key to the test, finished my grading and recording from yesterday, eaten my lunch, or just took some time to breathe. but this right now is my guilty pleasure.
The bell rang and in came period C. Same bat channel. Same bat station. I finished C and D periods and now I am facing multiple hours of work still to do. Parents need contacting, tests need grading, homework needs grading, assignments need recording, and I still need to refine my lesson for Monday. After that I will need to run the assignment to get ready for next week.
So as you can see we teachers lead such a sedimentary life, so easy, so peaceful, so stress free. I am grateful that my family and most of my friends are teachers and they GET IT.