5:00 AM: Alarm. My least favorite part of the day. Usually I have a chance to wake up with the sun for a couple months before the dark winter sets in. With this job, though, I'm well into my drive before the sun starts to peak over the horizon.
5: 45 AM: Leave for work. And yes, I do hit a bit of Chicago traffic even at this hour. But stopping at Dunkin Donuts for my morning coffee/tea as soon as I get off the expressway brightens my mood immediately, so my attitude is in check when I walk into the building.
6:45 AM: Walk straight to Renee's classroom. She's also new this year and teaches math across the hallway. We have identical schedules and have become work BFFs already. We like to do things like walk to the teachers lounge and copy room together. Because we work in a middle school, so we must act like middle school girls. Hahaha
8:00 AM: Students begin to enter the building. They go to breakfast or line up two by two in my hallway for morning meeting with our grade-level AP. This is actually one of my favorite times because I get to talk to the kids about their lives and make connections with students I don't see in my classroom.
8:20 AM: Morning meeting/Word of the Day/Pledge/Moment of Silence
8:30 AM: 1st period begins. For 8th grade, this is our PLC time. During week 1 this part of my day was a thorn in my side, but magically, it all worked out this past week, and we were SO productive.
9:29 AM: EPIC This is an intervention period for every student in my building. We use AIMSweb and MAP scores to place them into targeted small groups for 6 weeks at a time. For example, I may get a group that really needs to step up fluency, and we'll spend this time doing reader's theater together. I love the group I have currently!
10:08 AM: This is my 6th & 7th grade Intervention class. These are our "bubble" kids, who need just a little extra push because they're *almost* meeting their reading goals. I don't have a curriculum for this, but I've been given the instruction to focus on Close Reading. We're doing this through guided reading, independent reading (student choice), blogging, and weekly Socratic seminars.
11:06 AM: This is my 7th & 8th grade Intervention class. Same as above. I L.O.V.E. the work I'm already seeing out of these two groups. I had chills. And happy tears.
12:04 PM: Planning period. Renee usually comes over and we parallel plan (you know... like parallel play. Everything is better with a buddy). She teaches math but also has two intervention classes, so we bounce ideas off each other.
1:01 PM: Lunch. Except that we usually sneak this into our planning period somewhere. But on Mondays, our team has requested to eat together in someone's classroom. So we go to be team players. Plus people brought treats last week. I like treats. :)
1:39 PM: 8th grade ELA. This is my co-taught class with the ESL teacher. It's BY FAR my most challenging group behaviorally and academically. They're low. There are 29 of them (my biggest class). Even with two adults, I feel like I'm in a circus some days. No one has ever been outright disrespectful, but I'd love to offer superglue instead of chap stick to about half the class!
2:36 PM: 8th grade ELA. This one is on my own. Probably only a quarter of this class needs superglue, and there are only 22 of them, so I can handle this class much better. Also, there's none of that awkward co-taught stuff where we're trying desperately not to step on each other's toes.
3:30 PM: Dismissal. It's late. I haven't ever been in a middle school with such a late start and dismissal. I have to tell you, though, that I don't hate it. Except for the fact that traffic has already started by this time, so I don't even try to get on the roads. Instead, I spend this time visiting with co-workers (of course, Renee), making copies, planning Intervention stuff, grading AIMSweb assessments, making positive phone calls home (when possible since 50% of our students have no parents who speak English), and things like that. It's actually pretty incredible how quickly this time can fly. My classroom is much like my college dorm room was, with people coming in and our at all times. More than once, people have popped in to ask if we were in a meeting because there's often a sizable group. Nope. We're just chatting. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my co-workers?
6:00-7:00 PM: Head home. If I wait until this time, I can keep my travel time down to about an hour. Sometimes I call people, but I know it's hard to hear me through the bluetooth when I'm speeding down the expressway, so I also listen to my podcasts. The time goes pretty quickly.
10:30 PM: Bedtime. 9:00 was my goal when school started, but I failed miserably. I mean, I have to cook, eat, clean up, and spend time with the people I love. I stay up as late as I can, and then I crash within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.
I'm sure that after school time will feel longer an longer as the year goes on, which is why I've signed up to be the head cheerleading coach. This is our first year having a squad, so I'm both excited and nervous. I looooooooved being a cheerleader growing up, so I'm excited to be part of it again, but I also have no idea what to expect from my students. And I know things have changed in the past 15 years. Either way, it will give me a purpose for staying so late every day!