Cover image via grownupfangirl.com
This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching, and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed last year. Check him out on his Blog or on Facebook: Penelope's Path.
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For all those who say that teachers "have it made", here’s a typical morning on a regular school day for a school teacher like me. I cut it off at around 12:30 because the afternoon is the time we like to call “Herding Cats”, and it changes daily. This doesn’t include all the stories I hear about what students' parents did last night, how many shoes I tie, how many times they need to go see the nurse, how many drinks are needed at the water fountain, etc. You get the picture. I love my kids more than anything in the world and would do anything for them. So enjoy my morning chaos, because I do.
Spin Class 12 miles in 46 minutes.
Shower, take dog out, make coffee, find the most unwrinkled clothes to wear.
Leave for bus duty blasting some rap music to get hyped up. XM Channel 44.
Pull in parking lot to 5 cars already waiting to throw their kids out the door and speed off.
20 kids already in bus duty. Heard my name 7 times. 1 has to call mom because they forgot homework. 3 kids already asleep sitting up. 1 kindergartener crying because some unknown ridiculous reason.
Dismiss about 60 kids for breakfast. Remaining kids still asleep or staring at me. 4 more kids asked me questions.
Bus gets here. Almost 150 kids now. 2 kids fighting in 1st grade line. 5th graders attitudes starting to come alive. Been asked twice to buy something. 4 bathrooms, 2 nurse requests.
Dismiss RTI, Dismiss Speech, Grab and Go breakfast available. 200+ kids now in gym. Every kid is in line, quiet, and packed up ready to go to class. Said hello or good morning to almost all of them.
Bell Rings. Dismiss almost 250 kids in less than 1 minute with nobody getting lost, or trampled. 3 lunchboxes, 2 waterbottles, and some homemade art to be picked up and taken to their owners. Said have a great day to 100+ and high fived or fist bumped another 100.
Homeroom. Heard my name about 30 times by now. 2 kids forgot books. 2 lunch moneys to be taken. 1 story about how Mom hates Dad and getting a divorce, 2 stories on previous nights ball games. 17 kids now working on Adverbs, creating quadrilateral designs, watching Brainpop videos, reading AR, and/or eating breakfast and still trying to wake up. 2 kids to RTI. Fixed 4 computers that didn’t work. Untied 2 shoes that were in knots. Told 2 boys to stop playing with themselves.
Reading time. 15 minutes to read a 3 minute story. Fixed 3 pronunciations. Answered what’s for lunch halfway through explanation of a Plesiosaur. Taught final lesson on Adverbs. 3 bathroom breaks. 1 more story about breakfast. Lost count of how many times I’ve heard my name. Started to do cursive while 1 kid is picking his nose. 17 kids now finishing adverbs, writing sentences in cursive, reading AR books, 2 kids whispering about another kids butt crack hanging out, 1 girl done and figuring out how the circulatory system works, 1 kid still trying to figure out the directions on adverbs. Whole group reading commences, I’m reading Amelia Bedelia. Can’t finish a page without hands raising and yelling out, “What’s she doing?” or giving us their two cents. 2 phone calls about a kid being sick and another who needs to ride with his Dad instead of Mom and go out back instead of front. Finish reading story, have to reread 2 pages because we are all lost.
Check phone. Received 14 emails, 10 texts, and 1 missed phone call. 1 kids cell phone starts ringing in their backpack. Still haven’t finished coffee.
Computer time. Fixed 4 computers again to get on internet. 1 kid turned screen upside down. MyOn reader, AR tests, typing agent, and 1 kid loses privileges because he’s on Poptropica doing something. I have no idea what it is. 2 more kids go to the bathroom. 1 loose tooth. 1 teacher walks in for me to sign a paper. Still trying to reply to my wife via text but getting interrupted by kid using pencil as dart.
Lunch. Everybody washes hands. 2 kids get down hallway and forget lunchbox. 2 kids still don’t have lunch money. Help some get through line. Forget my lunchbox. Walk back down hallway. Get to teachers lounge at 10:59. Start to eat and forget drink. Walk into cafeteria, dodge 47 kids wanting to hug me with PB & J all over their face and hands. Sit back down and have 8 minutes left to eat. Don’t finish but shove the rest in my mouth and go get kids. 3 stories about how 2 were being mean and one was mixing his beans with his milk and making others smell it. Lose 5 minutes playtime because they look like wild hyenas. Tell 1 kid to go back because he still has Ketchup all over his face.
Math Time: Before we start 2 kids have to go to bathroom obviously. Have to fix pencil sharpener because kid sticks eraser end in first and it jams. Start lesson on 3D figures. Have to review all the shapes for the 7th time because we forget them every time, but halfway through we remember it all magically. 1 kid checks out. 1 stomach hurts as we begin to draw our shapes and Use Reasoning to find mystery shapes. Lesson continues as 2 more forget the directions and have to come ask me. Finding Mystery sums as a finisher for those finished early. 3 have to redo them because they did subtraction instead. 1 kid still trying to read instructions on mystery shapes after I read it aloud 4 times and explained it twice within earshot.
This is not in any way complaining, so slow your role. This is a wake up call to all the people who think that all teachers do is color and watch Magic School Bus (although that works its way into the lessons because I like Mrs. Frizzle and coloring is calming). Some of these aren’t even complete sentences because most of the time I don’t even get to finish my sentences, but it gets the point across. Being a teacher isn’t something you do, it is something inside of you. I try to be the best version of me, every day, because that is what my students deserve. If I’m not, thank the good Lord for my assistant Mrs. Kincaid, she’s a God-send and does all this, times 5, every day!