As many teachers will say that time just seems to vanish. We prepare, organize and plan activities for our class and then poof. It is the end of the day and some of the great things that were planned never came to be. There's always tomorrow, right.
This is my first year teaching. I am a second grade teacher at Orchard Hill Elementary School and I have experienced many of these "poof" moments. One for example is writing this blog. After my article was posted on the Patch website, Morgan emailed me to ask if I would be interested in blogging. I thought this was a great opportunity so I gladly accepted. This email was from Sept. 30. It is now Nov. 8 and I am just getting to it. So why on earth does it take five and a half weeks to write a blog. That is an excellent question and my answer is: There needs to be more hours in a day.
How many of us have made that wish for more hours in a day? I would venture the majority of us has. I never realized how long it takes a teacher to do things. How long would you guess it takes to set up a classroom prior to the school year starting? One of my colleagues who has taught for 34 years told me that during the summer she will spend about 24 hours setting up her classroom for her new students. She will work three eight-hour or four six-hour days. So now a brand new teacher walks into his or her room and sees this empty shell of what could be. I have been dreaming of this moment, to make this room mine. I will tell you it takes a lot longer than 24 hours. I would gather I probably spent at least 50 hours+ on my room. So why does it take so many hours.
A brand new teacher wants everything to be perfect. I do not know how long I scrutinized on the placement of bookshelves so that I would have the perfect reading area or moving around other objects so I would have an open floor plan. The other reason it takes a new teacher so long is because we have to create and prepare everything ourselves. Bulletin boards, laminating, copies, name tags and lesson planning are just a few of the things we have to do before the first day of school.
On a typical day I get to school between 7:20-7:30 a.m. and leave around 5-5:30 p.m. After my daughter goes to bed around 8ish I begin working on the papers, emails or planning that I brought home. For the first few weeks of school it wasn't unusual to be up until 11, midnight or 1 in the morning. One time during the summer I was at the school until 1:30 am. I take all of my teacher manuals home for the weekend and plan the coming week's activities. Then usually on a Sunday I will go into school for about three hours to make copies and organize all of the materials I will need. Thankfully my wife is very understanding about the amount of time I spend preparing. She has been with me through my educational journey so she knows how much I have worked to get to where I am. She also hears me saying all of the time that it won't be like for this for that much longer or the planning isn't taking as long. I promise, Nik, things are going much quicker and I am starting to feel like I have some breathing room.
It has only taken me 12 weeks to really settle in, to finally feel comfortable with the balance of the various teaching aspects. Though more hours in a day would be nice. Does anyone have one of the those time turners that Hermione uses in the Harry Potter book, the Prisoner of Azkaban, that they are not using? If so, a first-year teacher will greatly appreciate the donation.