5:30 a.m. — the alarm rang. I whacked it. It was too dark outside to be time to get up.
5:40 a.m. — I gave in to the the cat’s harassment and got up. Showered, brushed, combed, deodorized, dressed, etc.
5:55 a.m. — stumbled across the living room. I’d left an empty shoe box on the coffee table. A furry beastie moved it into my path on the floor — the lid, too, just a few feet away, for a double play.
6:00 a.m. — checked email — note from OC.
6:05 a.m. — placed phone call to OC.
6:23 a.m. — hung up phone, read and commented on “morning” blogs.
6:50 a.m. — left home for work
7:00 a.m. — walked into Mr. K’s classroom at work and reviewed the daily agenda.
7:15 a.m. — went to my classroom and prepared for my sub.
7:35 a.m. — went to the teacher’s lounge to make photocopies for inservice. Three of five machines were working, and in use. I waited. Pretending patience. Finally, my turn, but only 10 minutes remained before the bell. No time to make all the copies (different standards for each grade level), only time to make the Kindergarten handouts.
8:00 a.m. — joined the entire school body on the playground for the flag salute and morning announcements.
8:05 — in classroom with students, made grade level daily announcements, reminded the students this is my, “Two Hat” day, and gave them a morning warm up lesson.
8:35 a.m. — called the office in search of my sub, who was already 5 minutes late. The office manager was out sick and nobody knew who was supposed to be where. They sent the Assistant Principal to teach my class. By the time he arrived my reading students were busy working and I was ten minutes late for my meeting. The AP came in nervous. He isn’t well versed in teaching our reading program. He whispered to me, “What do I have to do?” I said, “It’s testing day. Sit down, be quiet and watch them.” He said, “Oh, thank you! I can do that!”
8:40 a.m. — as I was leaving the room, having called Kinder and explained I’d be late, one of my students, Rose, came from her reading class. She was crying. Rose doesn’t speak English and she didn’t understand why her reading teacher wouldn’t let her in the classroom. Fourth grade is taking the big nasty standardized test this week, and non 4th grade students who usually go to 4th grade reading were to attend alternate classes. Rosa didn’t understand her new directions. I helped her find where she should be.
8:55 a.m. — 15 minutes late — I show up for the kinder meeting. I love the kinder meetings. They have their program down pat and never need my assistance. I passed out the hand-out listing all the skills their students should have mastered by the end of the year. They were thrilled to learn they’re ahead of the curve. Then we just chatted about their students’ writing (pictures with a descriptive word or two) and shared a couple of lesson ideas. Then we caught up on each other’s lives.
9:20 a.m. — I left the kinder meeting and headed for the teacher’s lounge to finish making copies. I saw two firemen and the janitor walking down the hall. They stepped into Ms. P.’s room and said, “There’s a fire in your waste basket.” Ms. P. snapped, “Line up!” to her students and pulled the fire alarm. I walked right past the teacher’s lounge and any hope of getting my photcopies made. As the AP and my students exited my classroom, I took over so Mr. AP could go be the AP. My students and I marched to the baseball field and waited for the all clear.
9:40 a.m. — back in the classroom. The kids resumed testing. I sat down to fill out reading progress reports. I hoped the sub would come early so I could get my copies made for my 2nd grade inservice.
10:10 a.m. — I dismissed my reading class and went to the phone to call the office. My sub was late, again. They assured me that Ms. Starla, our permanent sub on staff, was on her way. I asked for a volunteer from the second grade staff to make my photocopies for me. Ms. T. — wonderful Ms. T. (a regular reader of this blog!) — volunteered. I owe her a major favor.
10:15 a.m. — Ms. Starla arrived and wanted to know why I needed a sub. I reminded her that it was my regular inservice day, and we’d be taking turns teaching my class as usual. She acted like this was a new concept, rather then like we’d done it approximately every ten school days all year.
10:18 a.m. — I ran for the bathroom, having last visited it at 7:00 a.m., which was two cups of coffee earlier. Then I joined Ms. T. making copies. She let me take the copies that she’d finished and go start my meeting — late.
10:22 a.m. — Second grade meeting started. We passed out and discussed the handouts. I especially like working with 2nd grade because they are serious about teaching their kids to write. They ask good questions and request resources which will help them do their jobs well.
10:35 a.m. — I returned to my class and finished teaching the math lesson Ms. Starla started. Ms. Starla left.
11:20 a.m. — the World Language teacher came in to take over my class. I finished preparing my reading progress reports.
Noon –officially lunch time — I went to the teacher’s lounge and finished making my photocopies for my final inservice.
12:20 p.m. — I returned to my classroom and munched a small green pepper stuffed with tuna salad. I popped some gum in my mouth so I’d have peppermint fish breath.
12:35 p.m. — I went to the 1st grade inservice, hoping Ms. Starla would show up at 12:45 to pick my students up after lunch. The first grade teachers filtered in slowly, talking the whole while. Conducting their inservice is a struggle because there are always two or three people talking and not bothering to listen, then later they complain, “Nobody told me.” Pft. Today they were interested in what I had to offer, so were relatively well-behaved. Still, their inservice took longer then all the others because I had to wait for them to listen — and repeat myself when they didn’t.
1:10 p.m. — I went to the bathroom, then returned to my class. The kids were sitting at their desks with blank papers in front of them. Ms. Starla was yelling at them. “The lesson plan says this is review! You do know how to do it! Somebody come up and do the first problem on the board.” I realized by the tense silence in the room that nobody remembered how to do the problems, review or not. Ms. Stella announced that the students were being obstinate. I realized that she had no idea how to find common denominators, either. I told her I was back and she was free to go. She grabbed her stuff and ran. As she bolted out the door, the AP walked in. He was carrying his clipboard and stayed to review my teaching as I presented the lesson. He also stayed and helped a slower group complete the assignment, while I walked around from table to table answering questions from the other kids.
1:35 p.m. — the AP left the room. I taught another lesson on finding common factors and prime factorization. It is all review. We did the problems in small groups and on the board.
2:00 p.m. — teacher oral read — I opened the novel, Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen and started to read chapter 14. Every kid in the class is into this book. They were quiet, straining to hear what was going to happen next. I stopped periodically and asked comprehension questions or prediction questions. After one such pause, Izzy turned to Jasmine and started talking about some camping trip the scene reminded him of. Jasmine turned her back on him. Izzy didn’t get the hint. He talked louder. I stopped reading and stared at him. The rest of the class stared, too, except Jasmine, who looked at me. Izzy kept talking. I reached for my bookmark. Half the class moaned aloud. Joe stood and hissed across the room, “Izzy, shut up!” Izzy looked startled. He turned to me, saw the bookmark in my hand and said, “Oh!” Followed by, “Uh-oh,” as he glanced at his angry classmates. I raised my eyebrows at him. He clamped his mouth shut and folded his hands. I finished reading chapter 14 and part of 15, then we stopped to discuss what we’d heard, and what might happen next. Oh! And share Izzy’s story, now that it was the appropriate time.
2:40 p.m. — the student’s prepared the room to go home (stack chairs, pick up garbage, clean white board, put supplies away). Then we had a bathroom break and they went to music. I went to my last meeting of the day — 5th grade’s test prep meeting for the big ugly test we take next week.
3:25 p.m. — I picked my students up from music and took them back to the classroom, where they picked up their backpacks. We all walked to the school gate together. The bell rang and I waved good-bye and good riddance. I also told them — like I do every day, “Don’t come back!” They always do.
3:35 p.m. — I headed for the gym. Time to get some exercise.