The Busyness of Teaching

829482_studentsI love the week following Christmas break. The students (and teachers) have accustomed themselves to staying up late. Many of them woke up Monday morning earlier than they went to sleep Friday night/Saturday morning. As a result, Monday and Tuesday were sleep-deprived transition days. Classroom management was much simpler on those days than many days so far this year.

I can’t help but think of those poor student teachers who have started waking up before 10am for the first time in years. With college class schedules having 15 minute breaks built in on busy days and three or four hour gaps of relaxation time on the standard days, how are they handling the workload of a real 8-hour day? What about the 30 minute lunch period?

I remember when I first started, I was amazed by the constant action in the band hall. The 30 minutes of lunch break was the only period of quiet in the entire day; and even then we would have students stay after class and others come before their next class began. At my current job, the two band directors have different lunches, and so there is action constantly from the time I get to school before 7:30 until we leave after sectionals around 5. We have classes going on during our conference periods. Sometimes I use that time to sneak over to the high school or the 6th grade campus. Or just run up the road and buy an unsweet tea from McDonalds (my only source of caffeine) just to get some fresh air for a few minutes.

What are some ways that you handle the busyness of your schedule?

Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

3 Comments on The Busyness of Teaching

  1. I hope you don’t take this as a crude comment, but I wondered how on earth teachers got a chance to go to the bathroom even on good days. Surely they must go sometime, but between recess duty (for elementary teachers) and answering email and parent calls during lunch, I’m not sure how it happens. I know of one young woman who is wheelchair bound who simply didn’t drink ALL DAY so that she wouldn’t have to use the bathroom as no one would help her at school. :[ That can’t be good for your system.

  2. Mrs. C, I don’t know how elementary teachers do it, but we secondary teachers at least get passing periods (3-5 minutes) to take care of “nature’s call,” as it were. I would suspect that K-12 teachers (like Joel? most music, art, and PE teachers I know are K-12 certified) have some similar amount of time to do that, and maybe elementary teachers have some times where their students are doing certain activities – like going to a music or art classroom, if the school has that arrangement.

    I know I’m not the typical student teacher, but this schedule is less busy for me in many ways. Until the end of last month, I was working full-time (40 hours) and managing 15-18 credit hours of college on top of that; now I just have my 7:15-3:30 schedule for teaching with one class (senior seminar, my education capstone course) for a few hours one night a week that starts next week when classes officially start at the university. Now I at least have some afternoon and evening time (and weekends!) that I can spend planning, blogging, or just spending time with my family (a novel idea these days!). It isn’t necessarily less work on the whole, but it is more time that isn’t committed to specific activities, and this is the first time in almost six years that I’ve had that. I’m enjoying it greatly. :D

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