A Typical Day For a Teacher...this video sums it up!
It's all for the children, so we're told. We need more minutes added to our school day, so we're told. I have a great idea! Let us use the minutes we have now for actual instructional purposes and see what happens with our students.
Yesterday was a great example, and unfortunately not an isolated one, of how many school days are wasted. Each morning we start off with a breakfast for the students that takes place in the classrooms once the school day has actually began. This breakfast used to be a "before school option", but the law was changed last year making it mandatory to do this during what is supposed to be instructional time.
Yesterday was also school picture day and the whole process of passing out name cards, having picture money in envelopes, etc. was very unorganized and dumped on the classroom teachers as well. Finally, for a school day that began at 8:45, instruction began about 35 minutes later. Just when I thought the picture organizing fiasco was over there were 3 more interruptions during our READING BLOCK...some block this was. We couldn't carry on a coherent thought if we wanted to. I was able to squeeze in a history lesson and rush through a math lesson in order to "keep on schedule". When I had two minutes left to finish up I saw a man standing at my door out of the corner of my eye. I know him to be an Area Network guy who is one of many this year that like to come in and "observe" with check-lists of what is going on in the classroom, as well as, what items are posted on our walls. I looked quickly at my students and told them it looks like we are going to be interrupted again but to please just focus on me since we have two minutes to finish up the lesson. Now, the transom above my door was open and maybe the man heard me because after the brief pause at my door, he moved on without coming inside.
Now that it was finally time to change classes for the morning I was feeling optimistic. I got the incoming class all settled in BUT lo and behold we weren't seven minutes into the lesson when I got a call from the office to bring my own students down to take their pictures. The kids lined up again, returned to their homerooms, and off we went to the auditorium. The picture process itself took about twenty-five minutes and I was happy I'd have my class for the remaining time before lunch. We returned to the third floor, and I opened the door letting my students in first. I followed my students in with the intention of closing my door behind me only to find yet another "visitor" at my door.
This was a woman who also was from the Area Network Team. I told her we just got back from taking pictures and she said she was not here to observe anything in particular. I told her to come in and have a ball! She proceeded to sit in the back of my classroom and open up a computer netbook. She was typing and typing and typing, which I thought was interesting since she wasn't here to "observe anything in particular". At one point I walked behind her to get a paper for a student, and as I glanced at her screen she was typing the dialogue that had just taken place between a student and I. She ended up staying until my whole lesson was over. At least the students were able to settle down and actually concentrate for a few minutes even with this last interruption.
Then it was....Bathroom time, recess time, lunch time.... and we're back for a fast afternoon. My students had computers right after lunch and the final period of the day was used for a combination class of Vocabulary and Novel Reading. By 2:20 I think we were all ready to go home. I know I was.
I was recently asked what can be done to support me as a teacher....I said simply....LET ME TEACH!
Easier said than done I guess. Tomorrow the Board of Education is coming to our school for one of its yearly audits. So, it'll be more interruptions, more intrusions, more chaos, and oh yeah...not much learning.