7:09 After hitting snooze too many times, I get ready, pack my lunch, and fill the biggest travel mug I own with precious coffee for the drive to work. I try to pretend it only takes 11 minutes to get to work, and I can be there by 7:20. I’m mentally kicking myself, because I know if I could manage to get up earlier and get to work early, I would feel less rushed and more prepared every morning. They told me I would become a morning person after a few years of teaching. They lied, and I’m not.
7:28 I actually get to work, and unload from the trunk my rolling suitcase of good intentions. It is filled with things I took home to catch up on and never did—papers I didn’t grade, and projects I didn’t prepare.
7:30 I juggle my coffee, suitcase, lunch, and purse while trying to unlock my classroom door. I immediately drop all my things right inside the door and turn my computer on to try to get ten minutes of work done before my colleagues start arriving and asking questions about the day. When my computer is fired up, I see an email from our principal about a mandatory staff meeting after school. Yippee. I also read five emails from parents. Two of them are confused about last night’s math homework. One is concerned her daughter is being bullied on the playground, and wants me to make sure I’m watching at all times during recess. Another is emailing to tell me her son won’t be in school for a week because his grandparents are in town. She wants me to get all work he will be missing to the office by lunch time that day so she can pick it up on her lunch break. The last one wants me to check the classroom, because her son hasn’t brought his lunch box home all week. He says he lost it. I glance over at the shelf above the coat rack, and sure enough, there is a Spiderman lunchbox abandoned in the corner. I’m sure there are new life forms growing in it by now.
7:40 After sifting through emails, I glance at the clock and realize I only have five minutes left to get outside to my post for supervising morning drop off. I must decide between going to the bathroom and getting morning work up on the board for the students. I had a doctor’s appointment the night before, so I had to jet right after school, and didn’t get it ready. I choose morning work, not wanting children waiting for me to get something ready, because that’s just asking for trouble. I know I can always open the door to my adjoining classroom, and ask the teacher next door to supervise for a second. I’ll run to the bathroom while my kids are working. I’m amazed at how many times a day I have to choose between meeting my own basic physical needs and job requirements.
7:45 I grab my coffee (now lukewarm, but still caffeinated) and head out to morning duty, where I attempt to keep traffic moving as I open sticky car doors, grinning and greeting students. No one else seems to be a morning person either, because my friendly smile is not returned, and I am actually jealous of one first grader’s Coach backpack as I help her out of her Escalade. My main job at this particular juncture is to keep cars flowing, to make sure no parent goes into road rage, and no student gets run over in the cluster crisis that is the morning traffic pattern. What a great way to start the day.
7:55 The morning bell rings signaling the kids to line up, and I head around the back of the school to greet my class. They are mostly lined up and ready to start the day, with the exception of a few. I notice one child crying because she forgot her library books. Another is wearing a parka, gloves, hat, and scarf. It’s November in Arizona, but after the brutal summer, I guess 67 degrees feels like winter. A third child is twirling around in oblivious circles, until I interrupt her, and she staggers off dizzy to join the line. I’m pretty sure she has forgotten to take her medication today.
**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!**