12:00 After getting Jack and his trash can of grossness hurried along to the nurse, I absentmindedly tell everyone to get ready for lunch. In my haste, I forget that a simple statement like, “Get ready for lunch,” means all 27 second graders will rush toward the single coat rack in the classroom and crowd into the 12 square feet of space to grab their lunches. I immediately regret not sending them up a few at a time. Oh well, at this point we’re already down from 35 to 30 minutes to eat, so we’re just going to roll with it. Despite Brian who realizes he forgot his lunch, and Dallas who can’t remember if he needs to get a hot lunch or if his mom is bringing him one, we eventually make it to the cafeteria, where I am relieved to drop them off. Lunch means a break for me to wolf down some food and breathe. I have 25 minutes left to microwave last night’s pasta leftovers in the break room while making a quick copy for math that afternoon. Making a copy reminds me of the parent request to have all of her child’s work at the front office to be picked up by lunch time. Yeah, that’s not happening. I quickly scan the break room for plastic cutlery for the birthday cake. There is none, so I rush back to my classroom to eat my soggy leftovers with the remaining ten minutes of lunch. My mouth is full when two moms walk in my classroom door. One is holding a sheet cake and the other is standing with her hands on her hips and confusion on her face about why her son’s work is not waiting for her to pick up in the office. With my mouth full of baked ziti, I have to explain to both of them why I cannot satisfy their last minute requests.
12:35 I meet the students on the playground to pick them up after lunch recess. They quickly get in a straighter line when they see me coming. I smile and congratulate myself on what a great job I have done to instill high expectations, until I get closer and three children come running up to tattle about three different recess offenses. Two other children at the front of the line are pushing and shoving over whose turn it is to be line leader. Another is hot, another is thirsty, and the twirler is spinning around with her lunch box extended, completely oblivious to the fact that it’s time to line up. While listening to the various grievances and directing my ballerina back into line, I do a quick head count and notice one is missing. I know Jack threw up and went home, but I’m still missing one. I start to ask, “Who’s miss . . .” and before I can even finish the question about 17 children yell back, “Braydon!” Oh yeah. I close my eyes and take a deep breath before I attempt crowd control. We eventually make it back inside with everyone accounted for.
12:40 Silent Reading— Hands down my favorite time of the day for obvious reasons.
1:00 Math starts out with a daily warm up of review activities on the interactive white board. This expensive piece of technology can be awesome, but is more frequently not working and a thorn in my side. Today is no exception since it is on the fritz, so the slide with the problems for students to do is not available. This is one of those many moments in a teacher’s day where winging it becomes necessary. No matter how prepared you are, things always come up and you need a Plan B at the ready, or you will have mutiny on your hands in a heartbeat. Although the exercises on the computer would have been much more exciting, with interactive coins to count change and a clock to manipulate and show times, I quickly write a few review problems on the regular old whiteboard. We move on.
2:00 It’s mercifully time for a Special Class! These precious 35 minutes four times a week are my only prep periods, and are otherwise known as a time when teachers can at least use the bathroom while the students are in Art, Music, P.E., or Library. Today is P.E., so the changing into tennis shoes commences.
2:35 I pick up the kids from P.E., and we head back to the classroom for them to get their snacks. I grab a stack of papers to grade before we head outside for afternoon recess. I give one student a reminder before he heads off to play to keep his hands to himself, and refrain from tackling classmates this recess. I realize I forgot to grab a walkie talkie for the office to get a hold of us while we’re outside, so I ask Katie to go to the office and get one before the secretary has to come out and give us a grumpy face again when she tries to reach us and can’t. Just as I’ve finished grading the first paper on my stack, a student comes up in apparent agony. Like a wounded warrior being helped off the field of battle, he has a loyal companion on either side, practically holding him up. I would normally be concerned, but this is Kevin, a child with quite the flair for the dramatic. So I thank his companions for their concern and delivering him safely, and ask him to sit down next to me. I see his knee is skinned, but he immediately bends it, so I am certain that nothing is broken and he will live. Recess triage and seeing through some false tears is another one of any teacher’s well-honed skills.
2:50 We head inside for Social Studies where we continue to work on our neighborhood map project. Some students are already finished, so they’re creating a second map of an imaginary neighborhood they’ve designed. The perfectionists in the room are meticulously measuring everything to scale and drawing all their straight lines with a ruler or asking for another piece of paper because they’ve messed up again. The less than motivated cartographers in the group have scribbled a square for their house, a rectangle for the grocery store, and colored the rest of it green for the parks. My twirler is sharpening her colored pencil by whittling away at the lead with her scissors under her desk.
3:35 Pack up to go home. This takes at least 15 minutes, so I read a chapter from a book every day while kids are quietly packing up and joining me over at the carpet when they’re ready. It’s a great calm way to end the day. I love it, the kids love it, and we all remember why we love each other again. Most days I remember to also end the day with asking kids to tell me one thing they learned that day, but today I forget because we are interrupted three times in our peaceful reading of The Mouse and the Motorcycle. The first two times are the receptionist buzzing down through the intercom in my room to tell me kids are leaving early. The third time is an end of day announcement to the whole school reminding them about the annual Fall Carnival the next night. With that, I give up on reading and we line up to go home because, well, the carnival has been mentioned, and I have lost my audience . . .
*Also, A Teacher's Day Before 8:00am & A Teacher's Day Before Lunch*
**This is an excerpt from my book (Chapter 7: Clorox Wipes, A Typical Day, And Why Teachers Need a Summer Break.) Grab your copy of Candid Classroom on Amazon for more!**
***Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Candid Classroom Class Set Giveaway! Winner will be announced next week.***