November 13, 2012

My Typical Day (2012)

I feel like I have abandoned this blog, but a new challenge arose a couple weeks ago (read here). Basically, we are challenged to describe a typical day for a math teacher. Here is my Tuesday (11/13) in a nutshell:

6:00am Second Tuesday of the month means we have our faculty meeting, so I had to wake up 20 minutes earlier today. Wake up, eat breakfast, prepare lunch, get ready for school.

6:45am Left for school only to find that my windshield had cracked over the weekend. Great, add one more thing on my to-do list. School is about 30 minutes away. I go against traffic, so my commute is laid back.

7:15am Arrive at school, drop off lunch, and print off progress reports for 1st hour. Leave stuff in classroom before walking over to the lecture hall.

7:35am Faculty meetings start at "7:30", but I've quickly learned that nothing starts on time here. We went over our new emergency handbook (fire drill, lock down procedures, etc). Our school is implementing a positive behavior intervention, so discipline vice principal went over those numbers (# of referrals). Lastly, we were reminded to get grades done by Wednesday afternoon. 

8:10am Faculty meeting ends, and I go to pick up my progress reports. To my luck, the copier jammed. In a school of 1800 students, 80 teachers..we are down to 1 working copier (UGH!). I unjammed the copier, but my files deleted. 10 minutes wasn't enough time to get the progress reports printed, so I gave up and walked to my classroom.

8:20-9:18am 1st hour is my advanced freshmen (algebra 2) group. About five minutes into class, I hear a scream in the classroom next to mine (in that classroom is a long term sub for a math teacher on maternity leave). I leave my classroom to investigate the noise, and I basically had to yell at these children. I walk back to my classroom, and of course my students are scared (they don't like to hear me yell). Class went on as usual.

9:19-10:16am 2nd hour is my prep, and it consisted of making copies for my classes this week and inputing some grades.

10:17am-12:12pm 3rd & 4th hour, I have the same group of kids for two class periods. And by the way, this class is in another classroom.They are my algebra block class (the lowest level of math for freshmen). I had a drop in observation by our math coach. Things went as usual in that class. I taught writing equations from a table. Students were shown their grades and got their quizzes back from last Friday. At the end of class, I remembered to get caught up on my attendance.

12:13-12:36pm Finally some me time with the colleagues. We have one microwave in the teachers lounge, because our superintendent thought two microwaves wasted too much energy. Let's keep in mind there are about 13 math teachers who use the lounge. We can do the math; lunch can be chaotic depending on how many teachers need the microwave. Luckily today I was able to heat up my food with about half of lunch time left.

12:37-1:03pm On Monday's (Tuesday's when we have holidays on Monday's), we have an advisory period before 5th hour. So off I go back to my first classroom. Today in advisory we talked about making an impact on our community. My kids wanted to focus on keeping the campus clean for this week. We'll see how they do next week.

1:04-2:02pm With no time to set up for 5th hour, I have students pass out bellwork sheets while I write the bellwork problems. My afternoon classes are co-taught (me + special ed teacher), so she passed out progress reports while I passed out last week's quizzes. Taught class as usual (writing equations from a table). We had a group of students struggling, so I made a small group in the back of the room to work with them more one on one.

2:03-3:00pm 6th hour was basically the same as 5th hour. This group is more chatty, so it takes a little bit longer to get our groove. The talkativeness resulted in spending time after school. Sent a student outside as well. I made a small group again and worked with the struggling students.

3:01-3:03pm The class only had to stay after class for one minute, but they kept talking so I had to stop the time five times. It ended up being two minutes after the bell before they were released.

3:04-4:00pm After school tutoring, I had three of my own come in for help and to make up tests/quizzes. I had one student from the neighboring teacher (the one that is out for maternity leave) come in to work on his test corrections as well. Even though there is a long term sub, the students for accelerated algebra see me since I teach the class as well (that adds about 60 students that I am looking out for).

4:01-4:55pm Students are finally gone, and I start inputting more grades and finish planning for accelerated algebra. I make the rest of my copies. 

5:00pm I am finally leaving school, and I am not the last one to leave. There were still about 8 cars in the parking lot. That always makes me feel a little better, because I try not to spend too much of my time at school.

Evening: My cousin is visiting from Peru, so we had the family over tonight. They left at about 8, so I was finally able to start uploading grades in our grade book. Then I took a nap. Watched some tv shows. And now just finished a blog post. Typically I try to go to bed by 11:30pm, but I just had to finish this! Repeat everything tomorrow!

I really tried to keep this brief. Some days I have a lot, more going on. Today wasn't too bad. I would like non-educators to understand that our job is rewarding, time consuming, and not mundane by any means. We are constantly making small and large decisions, but I think that makes the profession all the more exciting.


  1. Thanks for participating! It's the things like watching out for another class that make life so much busier, but it's great to have kids who care enough to seek out help.

  2. Hi, Mathy Miss C,

    I came across your blog via David Wees, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be able to help in spreading the word about an educational TV show for preteens about math that we're putting together. "The Number Hunter" is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter -- bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.

    I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We're teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.

    I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
    Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.

    If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if you'd be interested in link exchanging (either on The Number Hunter site, which is in development, or on which is a well-established site with 300,000 page views a month) please shoot me an email. We're also always looking for input and ideas from other math educators!

    Thanks in advance for your help,