44. A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TWP TEACHER & YOUR FAQ’s

MEMO TO “MELANIE”: We at TWP would love to help with your research on U.S. schools. Our blog should be an excellent source for the info you might be looking for. Let us know how your term paper turns out. Best Wishes!

Dear Readers: We at TWP have been frequently asked over the last few months what our typical day is like. Believe it or not, we have been asked how many times a day we paddle our pupils! Bizarre questions like these as well as others ranging from what our home dungeons look like to how we prey on children on our own time! (We kid you not!) Well, as your editor, I (Renee) decided to keep a daily journal for one random day. So, here it is:

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TWP TEACHER

ZZZZ (I always seem to sleep the deepest JUST BEFORE THE #%*@ RADIO ALARM CLOCK…)

6:00 AM: I’m the first up in our household (ALWAYS!) as the latest bad news from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or some other stan blares from the radio. A quick shower and I’m dressing while John, my civil engineer college sweetheart, gets 3 year old Tyler up and ready for breakfast.

6:45 AM: Breakfast is not sophisticated as whole grain cereal, toast, bananas, coffee, and fruit juice are the norm. (Well, for Tyler, its cocoa puffs -Thanks to grandparents who spoil…)

7:10-15 AM: While hubby clears the table and places the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, I take the meatballs and gravy that I prepared the previous night out of the frig and pour it into the crockpot and set on low to cook all day. The vegetable casserole is taken out of the freezer and placed in frig for cooking when I get back that night.

7:15 AM: After kissing my two “boys” bye-bye, I back out our driveway in my subaru for another adventurous day as a 3rd grade teacher. (I refuse to consider an SUV -They are so ugly -but John had to have one so I relented -A Jeep Liberty) John leaves later than I do to his double-wide construction office near a new state highway project that’s close to Tyler’s day care academy.

7:40 AM: I arrive on time a few minutes before the first bus after zipping across the county’s winding two lane roads ALL WITHIN THE SPEED LIMIT! Going through the teacher entrance in back with several others, we all go straight to the lounge meeting room for some fresh brewed coffee and donuts. (Next week is my turn to buy the donuts!) Since I’m not on bus duty this week, I will be listening to Mr. Smith, our principal, gripe about the things we need to work on from student tardiness to misbehavior in the hallways. (The usual stuff) He always ends with “Its a hard job but y’all ARE making progress…keep it up…only xx days left in the school year!”

8:15 AM: When our staff meeting ends, we all file out of the lounge into the front foyer where our pupils await us. Clyde, our janitor, unlocks the gate into the classroom wing as students race ahead of us to the locked classroom doors. After sending some back to WALK instead of running, we unlock our doors, flip on the lights and open the window blinds to start our classroom day. Until the tardy bell, we teachers monitor the hallways and watch for any mischief. Today was routine with only a couple of pushing incidents -no harm done and two recess sit-ins for two 4th graders.

8:30 AM: Tardy bell starts the official time for kids to be in their rooms and seats. One child of mine was in the boy’s rest room with my o.k. and came rushing out 2 minutes after -But no penalty because when you hafta go…Hey, we teachers may be authority figures but we understand when nature calls.

Roll Call: Simple enough but with 24 kids hyped up? Easier said than done, I have to threaten loss of computer time for a few to get through the attendance check.

Moment of Silence: At about 8:40 AM, the intercom sounds the start of the only real moment of silence I will have until dismissal at 3:00 PM. (Hey A.C.L.U., don’t you dare take my only moment of serenity from me!)

Pledge of Allegiance: Standing in back of the room, I supervise as students all stand facing the U.S. Flag in front and recite the pledge as a different student leads each morning. (It is sort of cute to see some of the kids in their Cub Scout uniforms salute the flag during the pledge)

Announcements: After seating the students, I give a few announcements on topics like candy fundraising, the upcoming field trip and parent-teacher picnic day.

8:45 AM: Finally, the class starts with the individual math exercise: 20 multiplication and division problems that takes the slowest kids 15 minutes to finish -With yours truly prodding them along EVERY MORNING!

9:00 AM: The kids exchange papers and grade each other’s work as I call out the answers. The number wrong x 5 is subtracted from 100 for the daily math grade. The same is done for math homework. The kids with high marks are quick to boast as the few who do less well come up to me when I call each name out for scores.

9:15 AM: Math relay is next with 4 groups of 6 kids each has to solve a math problem by relay. The next child cannot go up to the black board until their “teammate” correctly finishes his/her math problem. If you could only see how competitive some of my students are _I try to evenly divide the fast and slower kids to balance things out.

9:45 AM: Recess time (And the kids will NEVER let you forget when its REEECESSS!) Well, it is NOT a break for teachers who must watch out for accidents and misbehavior. Robin, the other 3rd grade teacher and I watch the playground while sitting on the steps. I usually indulge in a diet coke and sit down for the first time since the staff meeting ended at 8:15.

10:10 AM: Class is back inside as the 4th graders start their recess. No problems other than warning against overtly rough play when a few of the boys were playing with a football.

English Grammer: Same as in math with classwork and homework peer graded. Today we also worked on past, present, and future tenses.

10:45 AM: A quiet time starts as the class individually reads part of Alice In Wonderland for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, I divide up the class like the math relays to go over different questions related to the group’s assigned character. You would not believe how opinionated some kids get about some characters.

11:30 AM: Lunch time and the kids seemingly on cue let you know about it too! It’s my turn this week to monitor -So a fast meal of leftover tuna casserole from last night with some fresh rolls via the “teacher’s window.” Then Michelle and I do our duty as cafeteria monitors. Me: “Half the day is done, Michelle…and half to go!” Michelle: “Yep!…And just wait until aerobics class, Renee…You aren’t going to ‘wimp out’ on me are you?” Me: “I’ll be there, Michelle…Count on it!” (Note: Michelle is still ticked off about the “honor” I bestowed on her in last week’s post! See APPROPRIATE PADDLES)

12:15 PM: We teachers round up our kids from the cafeteria and playground and head back to our rooms. No major mishaps other than a few raisins thrown (We make the culprits pick them up off the floor) and everybody is ready for computer time. But no surfing the ‘net here -With three kids sharing each computer in back of the room, each person has an assigned topic to look up and print off. To conserve paper, each printing must be 3 pages or less. I supervise but the printer will not print over the 3 page limit. A few times this year, I have caught students looking up some off-topic subjects and they lose their computer time and PM recess as well.

12:45 PM: Each student must now read their printout and then do a presentation to the class. In my class on this day, there were 4 topics divided evenly so 6 groups get to tell the class what they found on the net. Next to math relay, this is what the kids look forward to.

1:15 PM: “Hurry up…its almost REEEECEESSS time,” one of the kids blurts out. I calmly remind him that no one is going to miss recess IF they are considerate of others. When the last presentation is finished a minute later, the class is let out for recess.

1:40 PM: The class is back in from recess with one one incident -One child bumped another and caused the second child to drop their ice creme on the ground. I got the boy another one and warned the other to BE MORE CAREFUL! (Ahh...in loco parentis…ALL DAY and EVERY DAY!)

World History: At the end of the school year, the kids are reading about Europe and the reunification of the West and East. (To see the puzzled looks when explaining that all the names on the map are countries and not states) After reading the chapter, the students work on some handout sheets pertaining to that chapter. This is not just busy work and they seem to have no problem completing the work. As earlier, they exchange papers for grading.

2:40 PM: The last 20 minutes of the day for the kids -But certainly not for me. I talk to the class about things to work on such as holding your hand up BEFORE calling out a question or answer and being courteous to each other. They tend to grasp that pretty well but need plenty of reminding on a daily basis. As the dismissal bell nears, I write their homework assignments: 20 math division problems and 12 English grammar sentences. There are ALWAYS a few groans about that but its the same song every day so I pay no mind.

3:00 PM: The dismissal bell rings and the children leave for home via bus or parental pick-up. But I have trained the kids to not “lightning-storm” out of the room. They still cheerfully waltz out as I wave them out -I know that my day is NOT over at all. Even w/o bus duty, this is my least favorite part of the day. Why?

Parent-Teacher Conferences: The real name should be Parental Complaint Meeting because that is the case 90% of the time. It goes like this: “Johnny thinks you are picking on him!” Me: “Johnny had to sit out of recess because he will not take turns on the swing set.” I understand that parents want to see their child as a “perfect angel” but being a teacher over a class of 24 kids, rest assured -there are no “perfect” angels. Overall, the kids are…kids and need adult supervision. After some back and forth, most parents seem to get the idea but not always…Thank goodness for extra strength Tylenol!

4:30 PM: As Clyde locks up the building, all the teachers head in separate directions but Jenny, Michelle, and I all meet at the aerobics studio just 20 minutes away for a workout with Michelle leading our ladies only class. Wendy meets us with a sleeping “junior” with her. Whew…what a workout…Michelle nearly wore me out! She called tonight’s session “Michelle’s Special” and I know where she got that moniker.

6:00 PM: Winded, I head home -Where my heart is- but remember to pick up a few items at the grocery store and fill up on gas so I don’t have to in the morning.

6:30 PM: Pulling in the driveway, I see John trying to teach Tyler the art of frisbee throwing. The big hugs and wet kisses restores my energy to fix dinner as my two “boys” sit in the den watching the evening news -It is always BAD NEWS…Uplifting huh?

7:00 PM: The meatballs turned out GREAT and the vegetable casserole doesn’t take long in the microwave. Add some cucumber salad and presto -Its Dinnertime! Tyler can be finicky about vegetables sometimes but as I like to say: You cannot grow up on potato chips and candy bars! But John liked dinner so well, I will have no leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Oh well…and the strawberry pie dessert wasn’t wasted either.

7:30 PM: While John clears the table, I do the preliminary work on tomorrow’s dinner: Sausage lasagna -John’s favorite! (What isn’t?)

8:00 PM: R &R time for sure with our favorite show “LAW and Order” but Tyler needs his bath before bedtime so I get him started -letting him play in the tub awhile as I go back to the den to watch the show. John and I take turns during commercials to check on Tyler. After 30 minutes in the tub, he is fresh and clean from head to toe and ready to snuggle between John and I after putting his pj’s on.

9:00 PM: This is “Tyler Tucking ” time -No ifs, ands, buts, or ors about it! Teeth brushing, short bedtime story and a prayer with a goodnight kiss to the forehead -Then lights are out! Consistency works if you stick with a routine a child understands.

The last hour: From the bedroom t.v., I watch my favorite show AMERICAN IDOL although John passes and reads his “spy novel” instead. Can you believe it? A stupid book over “idol”? Well, I chit-chat with momma over my cell phone as we both watch and cheer on our favorites! But John already dozes off before the show’s half over!

10:00 PM: With “idol” over, my day is over as well. Listening to the weather report, I floss and brush my teeth (Gotta keep them gleaming) before turning the t.v. off. John is snoring away as I take the book off is chest and the glasses off his forehead. A kiss and he hardly stirs. I then give a quiet teacher’s prayer and turn the lights out after re-setting the radio alarm clock. Its been a long but rewarding day in the life of a 3rd grade teacher with the reward being that feeling of success only a teacher can understand. Now, a well deserved night’s rest…

ZZZZZZ…

Dear Readers: The account above is a real life day in my normal life as a school teacher. The times above are not exact but still show what a hectic day I have balancing family and career. If this post helps people to better appreciate teachers and what they do BESIDES teach, then it was worth the time I put into it!

 

YOUR FAQ’s

 

Renee, did you ever know that crazy professor at University of Georgia who killed several people before committing suicide?

No, I did not. He was a marketing professor in the College of Business. (I think) I never had any classes there because I was an elementary education major.

Michelle, what do you think about Carrie Prejean (who like you is a beauty pageant finalist) and the criticism she has had for her views on “gay marriage”? Also, any resemblance between Ms. Prejean and TWP’s Michelle?

This question is nearly as off-base as the one Miss California was subjected to. A question like “gay marriage” has no place in a beauty pageant in the first place! For generations, beauty pageant contestants were subjected to questions on world peace, hunger, illiteracy, etc. Why the change? Personally speaking, I am glad to see that she is sticking to her principles -We in the U.S.A. need more of that.

As to being compared to Ms. Prejean, we are both blond but She may be slightly taller. That’s all I can tell about her.

 

NEXT POST (BACK TO BACK):

AWARD WINNERS, BUMPER STICKERS,

READING LISTS/VACATIONS,

&

A TWP COMMENTARY

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