Friday, May 16

photo an hour: school year edition

I missed the Photo an Hour link-up that a few of the bloggers I follow 
were participating in a few weeks ago, but I still thought taking a photo 
an hour to show off a typical day in my life would be a fun idea.  I decided 
to take pictures on a school day so that you can get a taste of what 
it's like to herd cats wrangle middle-schoolers all day.  It's  not glamorous 
or Pinterest-worthy, but it's my life and I love it.  I can  forsee a weekend
edition and a summer edition coming your way in the future!

6:00 AM - Wake up and head straight for the shower - what actually
wakes me up.  I saw CeraVe cleanser recommended on another blog
and it's been working really well so far on my acne-prone face.

7:00 AM - After breakfast and the morning news,  I'm finishing up 
my morning routine and getting dressed.  I don't wear a lot of makeup 
to work - usually just mineral powder foundation or BB cream, blush, 
and a colored lip balm.  Part of this is just me being low-maintenance, 
but I also want my female students to see that a successful adult
woman does not have to cake on tons of makeup to feel confident.

8:00 AM - Kids start arriving in the building.  I've already filled up my 
jumbo coffee mug (a reminder of college years in Charlottesville) and have 
my homeroom passes ready since most of my kids will need to go on 
various errands.  My first period is an advanced class, and most of the 
students are involved in many extracurricular activities - softball, band, 
choir, debate, and student government.  They are a really great group.
I usually skim the local newspapers online during homeroom in case
something really important is going on in my community that I've missed!

9:00 AM - Class has been in session for half an hour and on this particular 
day we are reviewing author's purpose - to persuade, inform, or entertain.
They call ideas out to me, I write them down on the interactive white board,
and they copy the notes down in their journals.  They're really doing the work.

10:00 AM - Second period students have arrived, gotten their materials
ready, and are supposed to be working on the warm-up activity, which
requires them to identify the irrelevant detail for a given main idea.  My 
second period is an inclusion class, which means there is a combination of
general education and special education students.  A paraprofessional 
helps me during second period and I also have an intern who comes over
from the high school to observe me teaching and work with students.

11:00 AM - Second period is winding down.  Right now I'm reading
The Outsiders with all three of my classes, and it's a great way to
end the period - I try to break it up so that we get to a suspenseful
point in the story right as the bell's about to ring.  I'm mean like that.

12:00 PM - My planning period.  I check e-mails, call parents about 
academic progress and behavior issues, update my homework hotline 
and class blog, work on lesson plans, grade classwork, review and
aggregate assessment data, and tackle paperwork.  I have a few students 
from second period who come during their P.E. class to get some extra 
help from me, work on missing assignments or retake quizzes and tests.  
Occasionally I am asked to read a test aloud for a special education 
student or cover a class for another teacher during this period. One 
tool that I use to be a little more efficient during my planning is 
TweetDeck - it helps me follow posts on interests like education 
reform, project-based learning, and vocabulary instruction, without 
having to comb the Internet myself for the news.

1:00 PM - Lunch time.  I eat with members of my team (the other eighth
grade English teachers) each day.  Sometimes I'm so busy that I forget to 
stop working and go eat lunch, so I've actually had to ask my coworkers 
to come check on me if my classroom door is still closed.  On Tuesdays 
we have our official team  meeting, and on Thursdays I have lunch duty 
in the cafeteria.  I basically rotate two basic lunches - soup and fruit 
or salad and a yogurt.  I pack every day - just because I work in a school
does NOT mean I have to eat school food ever again.

2:00 PM - Fourth period is in full swing.  It's your typical eighth grade
English class - a few kids who would say English is their favorite subject, 
a few who feel like reading and writing are a bore, and everyone in 
between.  Even though they are a very diverse class - athletes, step team 
members, avid hunters, "too cool for school" girls, and English as a Second
Language students, they get along very well as a group and are really
funny.  This picture is a pretty good representation - this is what happens
when I ask a student in that class to write the homework on the board.

3:00 PM - On Mondays, we have either a faculty, department, or team 
meeting.  On Wednesdays, I coach our little debate club.

4:00 PM - One last trip to the workroom to make copies for the next
day's lesson.  I really should use our district's print shop more often, but
I tend to change my lesson plans often based on how my students are
doing each day in class.  Since I have three classes at three different levels,
there's a good chance I'll be teaching three different lessons on a given day.

5:00 PM - If I don't start on chores as soon as I get home, they will
not get done.  Do any of you feel like you are constantly doing laundry?

6:00 PM - Working on my little container garden.  My flowerpots
on the back patio this spring were actually inspired by Kate Spade.
The pink, purple, and yellow flowers reminded me of her bright designs.

7:00 PM - Dinner.  This is a good example of a Mr. Q-cooked meal;
notice that it has meat, cheese, and starch but counts salsa as a vegetable.
On Tuesday nights I have my yoga class and Mr. Q has his bike
ride in Roanoke, so we fend for ourselves, and on Thursday we go out
to eat at our favorite Mexican place with his local cycling club friends.

8:00 PM - A little blogging while watching TV (the season finale of
Parks and Rec on the DVR).

9:00 PM - I'm trying to get into a habit of practicing yoga before bed
on the nights I don't have class; I do think it helps me sleep better.
I also like Traditional Medicinal's "Nighty Night" tea, which has
chamomile and other ingredients to increase relaxation.

10:00 PM - On an ideal night, time for bed.  On a not-so-ideal night,
I might be watching trashy TV, reading, or watching random YouTube videos.


  1. I'm a big fan of luna bars too! There's pretty much my go-to breakfast although my favorite is probably the lemon ones.