A Day in My Life as a Teacher

Day in the Life of Sarah

MTBoS task this week is talk about the day in the life of a teacher; so here is what a day in the life of my world looks like.

I am up at 4:30 to take my son to weightlifting at 6:00. Then I head over to school and begin getting ready for the day around 6:05. These early morning are my two cup coffee mornings, sure do wish there was a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee in small town Iowa!  I start by getting things ready for the day’s lesson.

Then I begin working on creating my next unit for seventh grade math. This entails me making sure that my learning targets match up with the material we will be covering. I like to work out the student work before-hand. In my district we use CMP3, Connected Mathematics, which is not a traditional math textbook. This series has students exploring in groups, then we summarize as a group everyone’s thoughts and clarify any misconceptions. Because of how this series is set up I have to be ready for any questions that students may ask and have to think about different ways that students may go about solving their work. So, to be on my game I usually work out student problems before hand trying to think like not just one student but many students. I try to get into the student’s minds to predict what might happen in class. So, this morning I have worked through two lessons so far and created one assessment.

So, its 7:30 and I have worked through five lessons, created one assessment, and made one student sheet to guide students through a lesson and class has not even started. Now it’s time for a short coffee break with fellow teachers before students roll in.

My first class of the day is math academy with four students. Today, they will work on Buzz Math trying to earn stars. They earn a prize for every two stars they get. These prizes are bought with my own money (candy, pretzels, pencils, pens, tattoos, bracelets….). While students are working I am not sitting on my butt but walking around seeing how they are thinking and answering questions. We have many mini math lessons throughout the 50 minute class.

Second hour is seventh grade math and the lesson for today was over order of operations which starts in sixth grade we are just now throwing in positive and negative numbers. Before we started that  we had an MDP (meaningful distributed practice) of three problems to complete with clickers and go over within 5 minutes. If students get all three questions correct they can pick a piece of candy out of the basket. Again bought with my own money. Then there were quizzes to hand back and go over. Finally we started the lesson for the day. I thought that we could get through the explore, summary and onto the assignment today but was I WRONG!!! Students did not recall order of operations let alone the rules for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing integers. Do you think they would look back in their math binders at the rules? NO it takes too much work!!! So what I had planned to get through was pushed back to be finished up tomorrow.  

Since I know what had happened in second hour I was a little better prepared for third hour but this is one of my chatty classes and they almost got to a minute of off task behavior to earn time after school.

After third hour is my plan time where I check email, make copies, use the bathroom (finally two cups of coffee!!), update my website with the current assignment and do other odd ends. Today, there was an email from a peer about a high school student in Tennessee presenting his thoughts on the CORE and SBG. Another peer asked my opinion of this video and oh did I give it. So, much for emailing back my thoughts as now I have been asked to be on another committee.

Fifth hour math rolled in and I love listening to student discussion in this class. This class is supposed to be composed of higher level students so the discussion in here can be very interesting. It is fun to listen to them debate an answer.  Today they were talking about what to do first with an expression it was very interesting.

Then it came time for first homeroom. During first homeroom we watched Channel One then looked at what homework everyone had so far. After this I sat right next to a student who was not acting like herself. She would not speak to me so I ended up writing her notes on paper and that is how she finally communicated with me. She ended up writing something and I responded back “your nose is growing”, which finally made her laugh.

Off to my 20 minute lunch that I do take with my friends. From there it was back to class, math academy with seven students who try anything to get out of work. Their task was to work on Buzz Math and earn stars just like first hour. During this class I have the same student who I was sitting with during first homeroom and I could see that something was still bothering her. Students around her were saying that she was trying to hurt herself with a pencil. I ignored this for a bit but noticed that she had her one sleeve down and her hand stuck between her legs so that I could not see what she had done. I asked to see her hand but she refused; after a time she got up and taped a Kleenex to her arm. At this point I asked her to the hallway to talk to her and see her arm. She finally did and what I noticed was that she took a mechanical pencil and tried scratching her wrist very hard. I called down to a guidance counselor and asked them to see her.

Seventh hour my last math class of the day only has 10 students but oh the behaviors some of them have. This class was going over the same lesson on order of operations. I have one student who blurts out random thoughts and words (who is working on this problem) he also doesn’t like to follow directions. His brother is also in this class and has a problem with making noises and getting out of his chair and stabbing people. He also tends to crawl on the floor. Between redirecting them and a few others the students who are working are really missing out on good lessons every day and not getting the attention they need from me.

My last class of the day is homeroom again for about 45 minutes. During this time I have a student who does not get work done at home so I sit with him to make sure that work gets done every day. If he doesn’t finish the work during homeroom then he stays after school to finish it. Anyway I sat right next to him and he refused to work. He likes to hit his head on his desk or poke it with a pencil when frustrated. So, to get him started I wrote the problems down he had to do for math then he started working. From there another student asked if they could sit by me and ask questions as they worked through their homework. In the end I had three students sitting around me asking for help. The student who I sit by daily finished his math and then he began social studies but with many prompts. When it came time for him to make a timeline he refused so I said that I would write if he told me what to write.

Finally the end of the day but before I can sit down I want to speak to the student’s grandma that was hurting herself earlier in class so I run to the parking lot to catch her.

This is one of many days in the life of a seventh grade math teacher! 

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About martinsarah

7th grade math teacher in Iowa

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