The Routines of a Teaching Life
A teaching life is full of routines. A number of these routines are controlled by a traditional calendar that has been part of schools for centuries. I move through a learning year measured by quarters every forty-five days. Today ended the first quarter for the year. That meant tests needed to be scored, the last projects and essays needed to be read and reviewed, and grades needed to be entered electronically online.
A teaching life is also full of deadlines. Our grades had to be posted by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. About 1:15 this afternoon the power went off at school. As many teachers were trying to post grades, their computer screens went black. As we all scrambled to rearrange the teaching for that period, the power came back on, then off again. The phones went dead. By the end of the day the internet wasn't working anywhere in the school. The tech guy is gone for the rest of the week.
Most of us hauled our work home thankful that we could post grades from a computer at home. Because of being gone the other afternoon and attempting to catch up sick students, I was a bit behind in my grading. This is when the structure of school can be a bit trying. The quarter ends, grades are posted, report cards are mailed to parents, student/parent conferences are scheduled for next Tuesday. That is all part of the structure.
At this moment I feel stress free. At nine fifteen the last of projects were scored, essays were read, and grades were posted and sent to school. I can now take a breather for the rest of the evening. Because of an appointment I am away from school tomorrow so I get to even sleep in a tiny bit.I can let down for a day and not be managed by a clock, routines, and deadlines.
All these routines become such a way of life for teachers. Actually, the structure works for me. There are times I wish I could meet somebody for lunch, but I can't adjust the time the students come in fifth period after their lunch break. I often wish I could call in and say I am running late, but with a sixth grade group of students waiting at the door for their teacher, it doesn't really work. Can I run home because a repair guy is coming in the middle of the day? Not quite. But every day I know where eachteacher is each hour. My body knows exactly when it is my lunch half hour, because it is the same each and every day the whole school year. You become a clock watcher and a bell listener. It is all part of the routine. It works for me those one hundred and eighty days a year.
Tomorrow I will adjust and move on my own schedule. Gosh... such excitement!