There are so many misconceptions about teachers. I hear different ones every year. Despite what you may have heard, teachers do not have a glamorous life. We don’t have summers off completely, nor do we get off at 3pm during the school year, nor do we play with kids all day long.
I didn’t get into education for the pay; as you know, that salary is public information and the pay isn’t so great. So many of my teacher friends have 1-2 extra jobs in addition to teaching all day. I’m not going to complain about my salary in any way, I knew what to expect going in. Though my calling came a little late at 30 years old, I went back to college with a baby and a toddler in tow and got my teaching degree anyway. I went into this field because I wanted to provide a positive influence for children in my community. I also wanted to be in this field because I thought this career would give me more time with my own kids during those school breaks. Little did I know, that I would still be spending hours working on paperwork and/or lesson plans during my time off… especially during the summer! I may be in the classroom Monday-Friday during the school year, but I’m working every evening and every weekend in that school year because there just aren’t enough hours in the work day to get it all done. And just like any working momma out there, I still have to make time for my family.
There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week for a teacher.
If I had to guess, I put in an average of 60-70 hours a week during the school year. During the summer, I attend trainings and workshops instead of sitting poolside with my kids.
Here is a peek into one day of my Teacher Mom life:
4:40am- alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button for 5 minutes.
4:45am- I check my schedule, emails, social media, read up on news reports, check the weather for the day and the week (praying the weather behaves so we have recess every day).
5am- I get up and change into my workout clothes.
5:10am- I’m on the treadmill for 25 mins getting in that cardio!
5:37am- while the hubby is getting our kids up and ready for school, I jump in the shower.
5:47am- I’m getting ready for the day and making lunches and if I have extra 5 minutes for whatever reason that day, I wash dishes or do light sweeping.
6:30am- I’m out the door with two kids. My 9th grader hops on the bus from home at 7am.
6:37am- Drop off my 7th grader for football practice at his school.
6:45am- My daughter and I arrive at our school. My boys attend their home school district, while I bring my daughter with me to the nearby school district where I teach.
6:55am- I start prepping for the first half of the day by checking my lesson plans, making copies, laminating, sorting, returning emails etc… Unless it’s morning duty for me, then I report to my assigned station for the morning.
7:35am- My students arrive into class. While my kiddos are putting backpacks up, turning in folders, having breakfast in the room, I’m going around the room greeting them and asking them how they are doing.
7:50am- I’m going over the writing assignment while they begin to wrap up breakfast.
8am- we clean up from breakfast and begin instruction. We are non-stop until we break for lunch. Of course, in between instruction, I’m assessing my kids and reteaching if needed. No matter what we’re doing, there are kids needing other types of attention, it may be a disagreement they can’t handle themselves, a boo boo from the other day that needs a band-aid right now and not later, emergency restroom breaks and/or tattling on someone for having their crayons out. SMH. Then there are some that just want to share what they did at home yesterday in the middle of me teaching a blending phonics lesson. I want to listen to their story, I really do but I’m on such a tight schedule and need to get in alot of instructional time into a short period. So I remind them to tell me later at recess time. Kids don’t realize how much we have to get in our day! Every moment is accounted for. I handle all kinds of little fires all day, every day. Moving on…
11:50am- Get kids to the lunchroom.
12pm- I have 20 minutes to eat my lunch and prep for the 2nd half of the day. Don’t have time for a restroom break, I’ll try later.
12:20pm- Pick up kids from lunch and return to the classroom for instruction.
12:5opm- Today the kids go to Computer lab for 45 minutes. This is my planning period.
12:55pm- So for what seems like a short period of time every day, I utilize this time to prep for the next day and next week UNLESS I’m called into a meeting with administration or into a short training session. Forget about that restroom break, there’s too much to do instead!
1:45pm- Pick up my students and return to class for more instruction! This is hardest part of my day. My students are tired and yearning for recess.
2:30pm- We get to go outside for recess! I’m watching kids like a hawk. No break time for me yet.
2:55pm- We return to class for water break and snack time. Not for me though, I’m reading a short story, engaging the kids with questioning and getting in that vocabulary lesson!
3:05pm- I start passing out papers, kids prep folders to take home, announcements are given for what is expected this week.
3:15pm- We’re running late; it’s time for dismissal.
3:45pm- I go into the front office and wait with 2-3 kiddos who are late getting picked up (yes, this is everyday). Oh no! We have an impromptu meeting afterschool! And today is the day I needed to leave school ON TIME because it’s my son’s first football game!
4:15pm- Meeting is over and I head back to my classroom to grab my daughter and pack up what I need to take home to work on because I’m running late for my son’s game. His game starts at 5pm and it’s in a neighboring town, 20 minutes from home. Before I leave, I finally get in that restroom break!!
4:35pm- I’m home! I get myself ready, pack a quick snack for the 2 kids that are with me and we’re out the door in a flash to go see my other kid play some football! Oh man, I then realize I need to stop for gas. Ugh! Since my husband’s commute is an hour and a half to/from work everyday, it’s just me and the kids on these game days.
5:15pm- We get to the game but we’re late. Luckily my son didn’t notice, he’s been on the field since the game started. Whew!
5:20pm- My 6 year-old is hungry; wants concession snacks instead of my snacks. Ugh…
5:22pm- I send her along with her brother to the concession stand so I can I bust out the lamination items I packed that afternoon that needs cutting for tomorrow. I’m a natural at this multi-tasking by now. I can watch my kid play football while I cut lamination.
5:45pm- My 6 year old is complaining she’s tired and that this game is so boring.
5:50pm- My 15 year old is complaining about how tired he is and how this game is boring. SMH. Help!
6pm- Game is over. But now my 7th grader has to stay at the field for the 8th grade team to start/finish their game.
6:03pm- My daughter acts like she is going to die of hunger.
6:05pm- Hubby texted, he’s stopping by a grocery store on the way home and wants to know if I need anything! I text him “dish soap, bread and milk.”
6:30pm- We’re home now and I am starting on dinner.
6:45pm- Hubby arrives! Yes! Finally! Some help!
7:05pm- Dinner is ready and we sit down to eat.
7:30pm- My 7th grader texted that he’s on the bus and heading back to school and wants to know who’s picking him up. I reply back with “Dad.”
7:35pm- I’m helping my daughter with her spelling homework and we only get to read 1 book because of the time. She skips a bath tonight because we just didn’t have time for it today. She’ll have to take one tomorrow. I don’t want a grouchy kid in the morning because she didn’t get enough rest.
8pm- Husband leaves to go pick up our 7th grader.
8:20pm- Hubby and son get home. My son eats and takes a shower.
8:30pm- I get the youngest one to bed and allow the older kids to hang out till 9:15pm.
9:15pm- I do that final bed check; I pick up cell phones and wish them good night.
9:15pm-10pm- I can finally get that break! I hang out with the hubby, we catch each other up on our day, sync up our schedules and try to enjoy what time we have left for the day.
10pm- Break time over and I grab my school work bag and sit at the computer. I pick up from where I left on lesson plans for next week. I print anything I might need for the week. I grade papers and enter them in. I check work emails again.
10:55pm- I finally put the school work away and get ready for bed!
11:05pm- I turn off the lights and do this all over again TOMORROW minus the football game.
Despite my crazy schedule and non-glamorous life, I enjoy being an elementary school teacher and being a mommy to my 3 kids. Yes, it’s exhausting going the extra mile for my students and for my own kids every day and all day; but I wouldn’t have it any other way.