One of the things that I love most about teaching is that no two days are the same. Of course every day comes with different classes, duties, meetings and responsibilities, but when you throw in the complete unpredictability of children, it makes for an interesting surprise. Each day we arrive at school, we never know quite what we will be dealing with that day. For those intrigued by the mysteries of what a ‘normal’ teaching day might look like, here is an overview of how my Thursday went down.
7.20 am- Arrive in school. I’d like to say I’m the first there but there are already several early birds in before me. My morning ritual once arriving at school is optimistically filling up my water bottle, which I will then take a few sips of before abandoning for most of the day.
7.30 am- Meet with the Year 9 senior leadership link, to brief her before she has a Year 9 readmission meeting with a student and his Mum, after his return from a one day exclusion. After explaining the reasons for his exclusion, we set targets together for his Head of Year report which he will start today. This is the first Year 9 readmission meeting but unfortunately I can’t do it myself as I will be teaching all day.
7.45 am- Check I have all my resources printed and ready for the day. Print off some things for my first lesson and get frustrated when the printer prints off a sheet double sided when I need it to be single sided. Waste time reprinting twice, then set up for my first lesson of the day with Year 10.
8.05 am- Teaching and learning briefing in the Atrium.
8.20 am- Go outside to coordinate the Year 9s lining up. After their daily equipment check and sanitising, and only once given the go-ahead via the walkie-talkie, dismiss each tutor group. Spend the next twenty minutes dropping into each of the Year 9 forms, helping where needed but mostly just trying to look busy and visible…
8.50 am- Go and collect my Year 10 class for their double biology lesson. This week’s lesson highlights featured an unexpected burst of clubbing/dance music from a new timer I was using in the slides (which I made sure to mute- until the last few seconds when I awkwardly had a mini dance to it) and a surprisingly reflective comment from a student about how he could never be a teacher: “Nah, I don’t know how you have the patience. In some lessons, our teacher will be like ‘What year did this happen?’ and he will have literally JUST told us and he’ll ask someone then they’ll be like ‘I don’t know.’ like come on he just said it!!!!!” Yep- sounds about right.
10.30 am- Break time. Take the Year 10s down to their bubble area, set up for next lesson then go and supervise Year 9 in their area. Manage to speak to both boys who have started their behaviour reports today and find out that, happily, they have both done really well in their first lessons.
10.50 am- Collect my lovely Year 9 class who today are learning about diffusion and active transport. About 20 minutes before the end of the lesson, receive the message that it will be an indoor lunch today as it is raining, which means holding my class in my classroom for a little longer.
12.30 pm- Our 100 minute lesson finishes but I need to continue to hold the class hostage until we are called down to lunch, as all other year groups need to clear the canteen first, to prevent bubbles mixing. I look longingly at other staff members enjoying their lunch out on the balcony outside my classroom as I continue to supervise the Year 9s who are becoming increasingly and understandably impatient.
12.50 pm- After finally releasing Year 9, I quickly eat my own lunch on my own in my office. Although I do sometimes have lunch with other staff, today is one of the days where I opt for my own company. I also treat myself to a quick 5 minute scroll through my phone, unexplainably guilty and hoping that no-one will ‘catch’ me having this 5 minute break through the huge, fishbowl window of the office. I remember my still full water bottle on my desk and treat myself to some hydration.
1.15 pm- Collect my next Year 9 class after their extended lunch time, who are pretty hyped up and full of energy after not being able to run around outside like they can in their usual lunch time.
1.18 pm- While doing the register, one girl walks in late, wearing only one shoe. Her friend in the class hands her the other one. I decide not to ask.
1.20 pm- One of the pastoral support officers comes to the classroom to let me know that said girl only has one shoe on as the other one had been taken during lunchtime. I explain that she now has both shoes.
1.21 pm- Teach the exact same lesson as before lunch, trying really hard to be super enthusiastic about active transport and make Year 9 believe I am so excited to be teaching it because it is my favourite topic. While trying to explain that active transport requires energy because the particles need to move up a concentration gradient, I start pointing to the slope image on the board then for some reason say that it’s like the song ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus, which of course they don’t know because it turns out they were two/three years old when it was released in 2009. I then really badly start singing the first bit for some reason.
2.35 pm- While asking the class to shout out the answers all together to a task as they are self-assessing, some boys at the front are taking the shouting to the extreme and are shouting out each answer with increasing enthusiasm until the final “mitochondria” is shouted with some volume. Unfortunately this upsets one boy, who then tearily yells at them to stop shouting, calls them bullies and has to have a few minutes outside to calm down. I speak to him at a 2m distance outside the classroom to try and establish what exactly has upset him.
2.50 pm- Walk the Year 9s downstairs and out of the building, then go to sign the behaviour report of the boy who had his readmission meeting this morning, praising him for his excellent first day back. Go and speak to the Year 9 boys from last lesson about the bullying comments that have just come to light.
3.00 pm- Clear up in my classroom. Have some more water.
3.15 pm- Teaching and learning session on ‘Teach like a champion’ techniques. Watch some videos, have some discussions. Manage to mostly listen to everyone else’s insightful inputs while avoiding many of my own contributions.
4 pm- This week the meeting finishes 15 minutes early, so I am able to escape school early, giving me time to go home and change before heading out again for Rainbows at 5pm.
So concludes a pretty drama-free day in school (and a pretty lazy blog idea from me…)!