Saturday, March 11, 2017

A day in the life...

Good morning colleagues! As part of my #sunchatbloggers group, we were tasked with creating this week's blog about a day in the life of an educator. I actually voted for this topic because I thought it would be interesting to look at my day versus another teacher somewhere else in the United States!

My day usually starts at 5:00 am. I am a morning person, but I am slow to wake-up. The first thing I do is get on my phone (SHOCKING, I know) and read through the news. I have a Google Pixel XL that has Google Now accessible when I swipe right. I've curated my "interest feed" there, so I am getting the latest political, tech, and local news. Then I go to Twitter and Palabre (my RSS feed app) and read updates there. Then I get up and get ready for my day.

School here starts at 7:45, but we are expected to be in the building by 7:20. I try to get to school between 7:00 and 7:20 because I like to read and respond to e-mails before school begins. I am also pretty lucky because 8th grade has morning plan. That allows me to eat breakfast and drink coffee during first hour while grading or setting up my room. I outline my curriculum in advance, so I am not "planning" for my day unless I come up with a brand new idea that I want to use.

That is my typical schedule, but on this day, I didn't get a plan because I had other things that I needed to do. Our district was having staff development the next day with various types of training. One of the instructors asked if I would put together a "passion project" presentation for a "speed dating" activity. I spent my plan time putting together a presentation on my most recent obsession: Boomerang for Gmail.

We actually have two plans, but, usually, the second hour is taken up by meetings. I had an IEP meeting that was also a transition meeting for the student going to high school next year. This conference lasted until right before my third-hour class.

In class, I taught students how to find primary source images for their digital stories. I spent my day walking students through Library of Congress, local libraries, and Creative Commons images. I literally spent my whole day talking "at" the students while they searched for pictures. It was a process, but the students learned a lot (and will hopefully think twice before stealing images from Google Images).

I've blogged about self-care quite a bit this year, and part of my self-care regimen is leaving school at school. I've been good this year about spending only an hour after-school working. It has taken me much longer to grade and get work back to the students (still trying to figure out real-time feedback in an efficient manner), but my stress levels have gone way down.

Another way to help my anxiety is by going to the gym or yoga studio right after my hour of after-school work. I've been pretty focused on going to the gym two days a week and the yoga studio four days a week. For the first time, I was able to do a difficult pose (camel position). I could tell my dedication to self-care is paying off!

The last two ways that I relieve stress after a long day of school is an hour of tv and a half hour of reading before bed (at 9 - I am a morning person, remember?). One of my favorite shows, Underground, just came back. If you are remotely interested in American history, it is a fantastic show, and the first episode was INSANE and unexpected! I haven't read any interesting books lately, but reading on my Kindle Paperwhite before bed has helped me read 14 of my 52 book goal for the year!

I finally feel like, after eleven years of teaching, that I am starting to figure out how to have a good day, both at school and home. Thanks for reading about my day as an educator. I'll see you next week :)

- Rachel
My Teacherspayteachers website