A Day in the Life

Just another manic Monday Wednesday

5:29 am: Alarm. Hit snooze.

5:33: Up for the day. Get dressed, make sure my bag is packed. I have a service person coming to my house at 6 to evaluate damage my neighbor did when she flooded her upstairs unit.

6:23: Get in the car. Text MC (favorite carpool coworker) and tell her I’m on my way.

7:00 Arrive at school, grab keys, sign in and head upstairs. Drop off stuff in my room, then follow MC down the hall to her classroom with my bowl of cereal–I keep milk in the science fridge and eat breakfast at school every day. Bring cereal back to my room. Check in with my resident (like a student teacher) while I eat, then put the days agenda on the board. We do two of the three preps before school and switch one to 9th period at the break.

7:50 Bell rings, sending students upstairs for first period starting at 8:00. Stand out in the hall, saying good morning and checking in with current and former students. Yesterday was parent conferences and I saw EVERY parent in my homeroom–tell the kids as they go to their lockers and remind them how much 511 cares about how weel we do. Ask A how things are going–I put her locker right next to my door on purpose so I can check in easily. She spent half of last year in a psych day program and just came back a couple weeks ago. She is living with an aunt until they find a residential placement for her…too bad because she’s such a lovely girl. Check to make sure everyone coming in to 1st period has their id on and is in uniform.

8:00 First period. We’re doing linear programming and the students are forgetting that they can solve for intersections like its a system, so I use a Do Now (bellringer) to review solving a system–except I accidently make it no solution. Whoops. After they finish the Do Now we review the homework (we haven’t had class since last Friday) and I take questions. I assigned #26 which is one of those dumb fake-context problems.  On Friday we started a group project on solving a linear programming problem, so they have the rest of the period to work on that, while we circulate, take questions and check graphs and inequalities.

8:55 Prep period. I have to call my insurance company (story of my life right now–I’m not used to doing anything personal during work hours but no one is available before 6:30 am or after 5 pm)  and then I write up a blog post for AP Stats. I have a class blog where I write up test analysis, problem set notes and AP prep stuff. I talk through a couple upcoming things with my resident (the other is visiting another school today) and then the announcements come on at the end of the period.

Third period is just like first, and then it’s 4th period. This class is remedial juniors, so its basically Algebra 1. My resident teacher is doing this class, so I’m taking notes and jumping in when needed. I video him a fair amount, but not today. They are really struggling with solving inequalities, even though they just did pretty well on equations. Seems like the inequality symbol is really stressing them out, and even though his lesson is solid they seem convinced its two different things. Huh.  

6/7/8: I’m free for two lunch periods, one of which is my other prep. Sixth period five girls come, led by Karen, to introduce the worms to their new home. I run the Green Team (environmental club) and we do worm composting. Last year’s cosponsor released our worms into the wild (or so she said) and they are excited to get the new worms. The last two periods (7th is a patch period, so its only 10 minutes and is always attached to 6 or 8 which are lunches) we have a department meeting. Try to talk to the Junior Seminar math teachers, who are randomly choosing prep topics that sometimes interfere with my instruction. A little frustrated when a first year teacher tells me they HAVE to teach trig because “its on the test.” Pretty sure I got that memo. I’m on it, please drop it. I’ll follow up with the admin coordinator later on.

Ninth period, after a bizarre 10 minute passing period. This is my AP class, so most of them are here right away anyhow and its actually a nice opportunity to catch up and chat about random stuff with them (the election, school sports, etc). Promise to post on the class blog regarding an AP problem we took the other day–the trees one with blocking. They’ve been having a hard time with the mulitple choice questions and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to help. I think a main problem is how unfamiliar they are with long MC questions–usually they are designed to take <minute and AP MC are 2+ min each. Most of my students first language is not English, which also doesn’t help. I’ve talked to a couple English teachers and today I split them into groups of 4 and give them a set of 34 MC ?s to cut up. Then they start sorting them by type, first with just a partner and then as a group of 4. The categories are up to them, but I check in 5 min to see what they’re thinking. When they’re done we make labels for each category and put them on the board, then decide which ones we will use as a class. The next day we formalize what goes in each category and start talking through ways to approach each type. It feels really helpful to me, and hopefully to them too. I’m really pleased with how it went.

Tenth period: Same as 1st & 3rd

3:30 Bell rings to end the day and the kids are out…until they come back in. I have three sections of Honors, so I often have at least one student for some extra help, and then kids stop in to check about other stuff. Some other students in my homeroom politely deliver N, who is required to come every day after school until she brings up her grades. The boys who usually haul her in (by her backpack handle) have less than wholesome motives (they’re upset that she is bringing down our average grades and her attendance isn’t the best) but the best possible thing is for her to be here, and this is the best way, so I let it go. I check in with my resident about tomorrows lesson and we talk through what adjustments he’ll need to make.

5:00 MC meets me in the hall and we head down to the car to leave. I work extended day, so I can’t leave til 4:30. She drops me off downtown and I walk the last mile to a meeting at my church. I’ve had a bad week and seriously consider skipping the meeting, but we’re opening a huge new building on Sunday and this is the Welcome & Outreach Committee. I have a quick chat with my mom on the way there.

7:40 The meeting ends and I head over to my boyfriend’s place in the Loop (we live in Chicago). He’s been travelling so I haven’t seen him since Monday and his flight just got in. The mile down Michigan Ave is a nice (if chilly) walk and reminds why I love living here. Text with one of my AP students to confirm she can review for a retake with me during lunch tomorrow.

9:30 Head home to take a quick shower and review the schedule I need to write for next week in AP. Realize I stop thinking coherently after 10 pm and throw in the towel.