A Day in the Life of a Teacher
It is important to remember that no one is born with the skills, understanding, and experience to be an effective teacher. However, with perseverance, a positive attitude, and the tools found in this book, you can be successful.
Teaching may be challenging, surprising, and even exciting. Days are often filled with unexpected events and are also occasionally blessed by amazing rewards. These, of course, are what make teaching worthwhile. One thing is certain: Rarely is any day in the life of a teacher “typical.”
The Basic Schedule
As a teacher, you usually get to school early and leave late. Your day probably begins with some planning time that allows you to make last-minute preparations for the students. Once the students arrive in the classroom, you will probably not get another moment of quiet until your next planning period or the end of the day.
In fact, some elementary teachers do not get a planning period each day of the week. In such cases, they might only get planning time when their students leave for their enrichment activities such as art and physical education.
Each class is a new challenge. You will find some students who love learning and some who despise it. You will present your lesson and may not have any unexpected disruptions. When the day ends, you will probably have meetings to attend before you can settle down to grading and planning for the next day.
Sometimes new teachers don't get the same consideration as those who have worked at a school for a while. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly by colleagues or the office staff and administration, find a mentor at your school who can help you work through these issues.
Part of the challenge of teaching is dealing with the many unexpected events that will arise each day. Here are just some examples of these events:
Office announcements: While schools try to limit these during class time, it may still happen a few times each week.
Fire drills: Most fire drills are announced beforehand, but there may be times that a student pulls the alarm as a prank.
Minor student disruptions: Minor disruptions, such as inappropriate talking, happen on a daily basis.
Major student disruptions: Everybody hopes to avoid major disruptions, but they still happen — to all teachers.
Unexpected visitors: Students on official or unofficial business, other teachers or administrators, and even parents have been known to unexpectedly interrupt class time.
Unannounced assemblies: While most assemblies are announced beforehand, sometimes you will be given only a day's or even a few hours' notice.
Guidance interruptions: In high schools at certain times of the year, it is common for guidance counselors to call students to meetings and appointments.
Other disruptions: Many other disruptions will arise when least expected, including unlikely events like very noisy construction work or power outages.
As this list shows, it is in your best interest to be flex1ible and expect the unexpected. Be ready to change your lesson plans at a moment's notice. And always remember to keep your sense of humor.
A Teacher's Rewards
Some days will also be filled with rewards. While you should not expect these little treats, you can feel confident that they will happen. A chronically disruptive student might experience a turnaround, a slower student might grasp a difficult concept, or a simple discussion might serve as an excellent educational experience. These are the moments that will continue to motivate you through your career.
It is useful to keep a journal with positive observations, clippings, and student comments throughout your teaching career. When you are feeling stressed or burned out, just pull out your journal and get recharged.
One of the most wonderful rewards of teaching is having former students come back to tell you how much you influenced them. Students will sometimes write you letters or notes expressing how important you were or are to them. If you remember back to your school days, you can probably think of a couple of teachers who were truly influential. Strive to be that teacher for your students, and you will be well rewarded.