This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I am so very thankful for the teachers of my children, whether at school or at church...anyone who is teaching them. Last year for Teacher's Appreciation Week, I tried to chronicle a "Day in the Life..." of a kindergarten teacher. It was such a daunting task and I ended up only writing about part of it. I am going to attempt it again, but this time break it into small quantities of time. To protect and not embarrass anyone (myself included), I am going to give more general details of things that have happened, not necessarily today (though a lot did happen today). And of course, no names will be used. :)
7:35 We arrive at school, ten minutes to go. Every afternoon I get everything I can ready for the next day because it is so hard for us to get to school much earlier than we do in the mornings. Tomorrow we have the added kink of no daddy since he is out of town. That means getting up and leaving extra early to get the little ones to their designated places before getting ourselves to school...
7:45 I have delivered my lunch to the teacher's lounge. Along the way I bumped into a parent and had a small chat. At 7:45, the bell rings and children begin filtering into the classroom. My students take a large ziplock bag home daily with papers and notes, then they return it in the morning. That way I can tell at a glance if anyone has homework sheets, lunch money, transportation notes, etc. This time of year they are full. As I dug through them as the children read (and talked) at their desks, I found picture money, lunch money, papers that hadn't been taken out yet from last week, money for our upcoming Literacy Day, reading books, old homework sheets, permission slips for an upcoming field trip, etc. Sometimes I feel like a banker and secretary when I sort through it all...just part of the job!
8:00 The bell rings. I give the students a few more "reading" (and socializing) minutes while we wait for announcements. I take care of attendance, put away snacks, and oversee behavior.
8:20 Announcements have ended. The last few weeks of school we write every day about the leader of the day. I always demonstrate exactly how it should be done (picture on top, words on the bottom, words written with a pencil). We observe the leader, noting eye and hair color as well as clothing style/color to make our illustrations as life-like as possible. We then brainstorm some "compliments" we can give the leader when we write. I gather them daily and make them into a class book that I will send home at the end of the year. For the next thirty minutes, the students color, illustrate, and write. I conference with them individually as they finish. Sometimes I have the students go back and write again with a little guidance from me. Other times I remind them to add background to their pictures or to include their own name on the page. As students finish and I gather papers, they sign their names on the board. Each day we have a "question of the day" with a "yes"/"no" question. We use it later during calendar time. Then they go to the rug area to read some class books we have made or read throughout the year. This writing time we do for the leader is very time-consuming. It ends up cutting our morning a bit short. However, I usually see more growth during this time than any other time. If I make a big deal about someone writing several sentences rather than just one, the next day I will have five more kids writing several sentences. Students who were once writing random letters that made no sense (at least to my eye) are not writing using beginning sounds...big progress. So, it is time-consuming but worthwhile!
During this time of the morning, our kindergarten aide comes to my room for a while. She is WONDERFUL. She works with students who need a little extra help. She reads with small groups (her environment is much more conducive than a busy learning environment). She also stays with the class when needed. Like today. I started looking for my lunch cards and realized they were missing. I had gone to a presentation by one of my former interns on Friday and a sub took the cards but didn't put them back. So while our aide monitored the class, I raced down to grab a standardized test I am working on for our ESL (English as a Second Language) students. I threw a jacket in lost and found, then did a beeline to the cafeteria where I found my cards waiting for me.
When I return, we finish up the writing process, then gather around the rug. On Mondays, we say "good morning" to each classmate. Then students get to share one thing about their weekends. It is always interesting to hear what the kids do when away from school. It is also a good practice for my ESL students. They are using conversation and English in a non-threatening manner. It is one of my favorite parts of the week!
Well, so far it is only 9:00 (in the classroom as part of this post :), but for me it is very late. I will write more tomorrow!