Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 12 2013

My new schedule

Due to myriad factors, my schedule looks different than it did last year. It’s been another adjustment but to be honest, I’m so happy with the way it has worked out. While there are seven classes during a day, we are responsible for only five classes, meaning we have one hour set aside for planning and another for meetings and group collaboration. Last year, both of my planning periods came towards the end of the day but this year I have both the first and last class of the day off.

What this means is that every day, I have a five hour teaching sprint. My only break comes during a 20-minute lunch, during which I entertain some of my students from last year or spend my time hurriedly running from the portables to the main building to make more copies, get water, use the restroom, etc. Outside of that sprint, however, my day is great. It’s currently 7th hour and I’ve got time off to relax and collect myself before football practice starts. In the morning, I don’t have to go from making copies to scanning to class. Last year, doing this stressed me out every single day. No matter how early I got to school, I never felt prepared for the day. Now I do.

In addition, they’ve changed the way that morning scanning looks. Whereas I used to run the metal detectors every morning for 9 weeks at a time (before getting 9 weeks off), now I have both morning and after-school duty on Wednesdays. For the rest of the time I’m free. Just like having first hour off, this gives me more time to get all my ducks in a row in the morning, which significantly reduces my stress going forward throughout the day.

One last change- last year we had 11 extra school days as part of our federal grant. When coupled with the fact that we started three days late due to construction, we missed almost one week off of our three major breaks- Fall, Winter, and Spring. This year, we made the decision to extend our school day instead. So I now get those breaks, which are Godsends, and also get five extra minutes every day in class. This means that every day we get through more, the students have more time to work independently, and I can close out class every day without feeling the clock breathing down my neck.

All of these different schedule adjustments might appear to be minute, but collectively they have made my life much easier than last year and for that I’m thankful. It’s always a great feeling when lady luck is on your side.

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    Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

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