My friend at You Signed Up for What? wrote about a day in her life, which inspired me to do the same.
My day starts with the alarm at 5:45am. I’m not a morning person, but I hate sitting in traffic even more than I hate mornings. So I get to work at the ridiculous hour of 6:45. I drink coffee in the car, then make another cup at my desk. The AC hasn’t even kicked on yet, but here I am, wading through emails and stacks of tests. This morning my son eats his breakfast while making a Fortune Wookiee. He brushes his teeth and heads off to school, a short walk up the hill.
For the next hour, I get organized for the day. A student comes in to make up a test he missed (hooray–he showed initiative!) and I pop in the DVD for the Jackie Robinson movie “42.” I’m teaching an excerpt of his autobiography tomorrow and want to use a clip of the film to bring the man to life for these 12-year-olds. I leave it running in my laptop’s background while I find a source for printer ink and update my class website.
Turns out choosing the film clip is going to be more difficult than I imagined. The scene I want to use includes
Harrison Ford Branch Rickey trying to provoke Robinson, in an effort to test his anger management skills. The deal was, Robinson would face incredible racism, in both words and actions, but he was not allowed to fight back. The courage he demonstrated continues to amaze me. And my students complain when I take off late points. Anyway, I have a dilemma because Rickey uses some, erm, language in the film that does not appear in the excerpt. In theory we should be less concerned that it is in the story and more appalled that it actually happened. But in reality, it’s a PG-13 film (most of my kids are 11-12 at this point in the year) that uses language that is offensive to many people. Not that I don’t hear random curse words in the halls, but still. I don’t settle the issue before my first class arrives.
My students have 15 minutes of free-writing time today. They can write about anything they want, but I always give them a topic they can use if they’d like. Last week it was a picture of Indiana Jones face-to-face with a cobra (we were reading “Rikki-tiki-tavi” that day), and on September 11 it was a picture of the surviving staircase from the World Trade Center. Today it’s two pictures of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London: one taken during the Blitz and one from present-day. I ask them to think about the concept of resilience, and I play quiet classical music in the background.
The rest of the 90-minute period involves note-taking on some literary concepts and a discussion over “Rikki.” Most students had trouble figuring out the inference at the end–they are very literal at this age–so we worked through that for a while. This class is tiny, and very quiet. Getting them to share their ideas is like pulling teeth. Well maybe that’s not the best analogy, since last week one of my students was so determined to avoid doing what I asked, he actually did pull out a tooth. Ah, life in the seventh grade.
After my first class ends I have a conference period, which on Wednesdays generally means meetings. We try to make these as efficient as possible, but my district likes to throw up many obstacles, usually in the form of extra paperwork. I have tests to grade and copies to make, plus I have to figure out the “42” thing, but today that is not to be.
At lunch, I manage to eat my salad without spilling anything on my white shirt. Go me.
After a 25-minute lunch, I have one high-maintenance class, a 30-minute
babysitting advisory, and an advanced class. Afternoons are hectic with no breaks. Hope I didn’t drink too much water with lunch.
Naturally, as students write, Pandora quits working. The kids say they heard it has been blocked by the school’s wi-fi, but since it worked this morning, I don’t know. It’s always something. But teachers are resourceful, and I plug my iPhone into the speakers and connect to Pandora that way. Boom.
I make it through the day without mishap, white shirt or otherwise. B and I get home around 4:15 but we don’t stay long. I have an appointment with my sports therapist at five, and we are going to try lap swimming at the YMCA after that. I went to core class Monday night and half-marathon training last night, so I want to do something that gives my lower body a break. Thirty minutes of laps should do the trick. So we change clothes and head out.
At my appointment, he tweaks my hip flexor and calf muscle, done and done. But it’s right at 5:30, and I start to think maybe the YMCA is gonna be super-crowded with after-work folks. The parking lot looks full, but the pool isn’t too bad. B gets his wristband and jumps in. But unfortunately for me, there’s only one lane for lap swimming–apparently they’re having lessons in the only other marked lane–and two people are already sharing it. So I start swimming along the outside of the last lane, just winging it for a while. My goggles keep filling up with water, though, and I stop a couple of times to fix them. After a while, the lap lane clears up, but pretty quickly two guys replace the two women who exited. At this point I’ve been kicked a bunch of times by random swimmers, since I’m not actually in a lap lane, so I duck under the ropes and join the two guys in the lane. But the etiquette confounds me. The two guys aren’t following each other in a rectangle (like I’d always done on lap swims at other pools, which allows for more than two people to share a lane) but are each going back and forth on their side of the lane. I manage to dodge them both, but I must have annoyed one of them because he goes back to swimming on the outside of the marked lane. Seriously, what IS the etiquette here??
I swim what feels like a strong 30 minutes–mostly freestyle, a few laps of breaststroke. It’s good that I finish when I do–as I get out, the lifeguards add a “Class Only” sign to the lap lane. Note to self: in the future, finish before the big group lessons start.
The rest of the evening goes quickly–dinner, showers, homework check. I still have a stack of ungraded papers, but I decide they can wait. I pop in the DVD for “42,” returning to that job I started twelve hours ago.
By 8:00, I narrow it down to two scenes. I’ll show one as an introduction and one after they’ve finished reading the excerpt. That done, my work day is officially over.
Because my half-marathon training has started again, I’m looking at a six-day-a-week schedule. In order to keep up with a full time job, my family, and my training, I can’t skimp on sleep. B will be in bed by 8:30 and I’ll crash by 9:30. It’s crazy, but it’s the only way. If I were to post another picture, it’d be of the insides of my eyelids.
And that’s a day in the life of me.