A day in the life of a Primary School Teacher (Part 2)
If you've not yet read part 1 find it here https://www.overamorningcoffee.co.uk/post/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-primary-school-teacher-part-1
10:30am Playtime, well this couldn’t have got here quick enough, I’m so hungry this morning. This is the point where I realise I left the house so quick this morning I left my packed lunch in the fridge. School fruit it is then…mmm yum!
Quick whiz around the classroom to tidy up any stray sheets or books and set up for the next lesson. Fingers crossed they behave and no one comes in from playtime with a complaint about someone else’s behaviour.
10:45am The bell has gone and they're lined up to come in from playtime. ‘Miss Teacher, it’s hot out here. Feel my head’ My hand instinctively follows the instruction and lightly touches the childs head and I know instantly this is a mistake as he then utters the words ‘I’m dead sweaty’! Urgh!! When will I learn not to do that?!
10:50am We’re all sat down and ready for a phonics session. We’ve got the whiteboards and pens out…what a task! You’d think they’d get quicker at gathering everything they need since it’s something they do everyday but I’m sure it now takes longer than it used to.
I pick up the phonics cards and we do a quick warm up saying what each sound is in turn. Well at least we try because on card 3 chaos irrupts. One of the kids has just vomited and worse he’s managed to cover three other children in the process!
No time to think in these situations my teacher brain converts to traffic control, ‘Everybody who’s not covered, line up and walk straight through into next doors classroom.'
This is an emergency signal. Any teacher who finds another class flooding into their room totally out of the blue knows that something has gone wrong and very shortly my room is shortly filled with TA’s who have come to my aid…thank goodness. But that’s not before I’ve found a bucket and tried to calm down a sick child, whilst reassuring three other children they will be fine. I’ve now assumed the hunt with my head inside my cupboard whilst I frantically look for enough sets of spare clothes!
Thankfully with help it’s all sorted pretty quickly, the sick child is picked up and the other children are cleaned down and changed into fresh clothes. My TA, being a mother herself, takes pity on the parents who will be faced with a bag of vomit covered clothes from another child at the end of the day and kindly makes another trip down to nursery to use the washing machine – it’s getting some use today! At least this way we can hand over a bag of damp but clean clothes at the end of the day.
The carpet has been cleaned and the applicable signage has been put in place. By this I mean a random chair has been put over the wet patch to indicate to children not to sit there. I also know that I’m going to have that battle for the rest of the day where every good natured child wants to move the chair that is in the middle of the carpet back to its space at the desk and if I don’t manage to spot them some poor unsuspecting soul is probably going to sit in it, get a wet bottom and I’ll have to find another set of spare clothes for someone.
11:20am Well phonics totally went out the window today and now we’re late for literacy. Time to catch up. Rhyming words and a super quick lesson starter, which is probably best to be fair, who knows what they’ll come out with in rhyming words. I mean never pick the word duck and always think carefully beforehand about what might rhyme with the words you chose.
Me on my first solo placement: ‘Can anyone think a word that rhymes with night?’
Child shouts at the top of his voice: ‘Shite’
Er…well I guess I asked for that, I didn’t account for regional accents in my planning but I have ever since!
11:30am I’ve finally got the children at their desks and they’re busy working, I am nailing this – throw anything at me world, I can conquer it! That is until my ‘cutting and sticking’ group burst into an all out war.
I charge in to find out that the argument is over a glue stick. This may seem harmless to an outsider but in primary school glue sticks are like currency! After listening to the ‘he did it,’ ‘she did it,’ ‘he said,’ ‘she said,’ scenarios I finally ask them why they are sharing 3 glue sticks between 8 of them. The answer they give is simple they’ve all ran out.
This can’t be true I can see at least 6 more in the basket and I only picked some up last week. I do the typical teacher move and fetch the basket to prove them wrong. But unfortunately as I frantically pull off the lids of each one I am repeatedly faced with empty glue sticks. What do these kids do with it? Eat it? I don’t know why I ask that I once found a child licking one like it was an ice-cream, but it was okay because mum said they do it at home all the time!!
Oh here’s one with some in…no wait…
‘Okay children who left the lids off the new glue sticks? Now they’re all dried out and can’t be used.’
My TA appears at the door, she’s heard the commotion and raided the emergency stash and at least now we have 6 glue sticks to share between a group of 8, so that should stop World War three erupting in my classroom.
12am Lunch. This couldn’t have come quick enough; this morning has been a nightmare. Since I forgot my lunch box in the rush to get out of the door today I’m going to have to have the emergency meal I keep in my cupboard just in case. Roasted onion and mash potato pot, just add water! Delightful, but at least I wont be hungry.
12:25pm It’s safe to say that that instant mash pot really hasn’t hit the spot and I can’t concentrate on trying to alter last nights messed up school report. Maybe I need a pick me up, what’s left in my prize bag? There must be a random bag of mini Haribo floating around in here somewhere, I need some sugar!
12:30pm Oh no! I just remembered I forgot to check the laptops were all plugged in and charging this morning. I open up the door but it’s a typical scenario. Who had these last? Was it Year 6 again? Half of them aren’t even here and half of the ones that are here aren’t plugged in. Well we all know what this means, the rest of my lunch hour is going to spent tracking down missing laptops and trying to get them to charge in time for the last session.
12:55pm I tracked down all but 3 of the laptops and the lights tell me they’re charging but who knows ICT things in a school have a mind of their own don’t they?
1pm The bell goes and it’s time for the afternoon. Register first whilst I continue to explain ‘please don’t move that chair from the middle of the carpet’ and then it’s onto our topic of ‘Light and Dark’. It’s the first session on this and I’ve chosen to find out what they know so far and any misconceptions they might have. Their task, to draw and label all the things they can think of that are sources of light.
Well that seems easy enough so whilst they’re getting on with that I can hear some readers.
1:35pm I’m like a multi-tasking demon. I’ve got a child each side of me reading totally different reading books and I’m listening to both simultaneously. I’m also shouting across the classroom to Jack to tell him to stop flying his pencil around like it’s a spaceship and get on with his work and there’s a line of 15 children waiting to show me their sheets so that I can asses their understanding and misconceptions or in their minds 'can you just tick it so that I can play?'! Oh teacher life!
1:45pm A child has produced their sheet to me and I’m currently marking it
Torch – yes that gives us light, tick
Lamp – yes, tick
Moon – not quite that reflects light
Fire – tick
Candle – tick
Me: And can you tell me what this word says (I point to the word penis and hold my breath unsure if I want to hear the answer)
Child: Yes, Pennies.
Child: Yes Pennies because coins are really shiny.
Phew! That was a close one. I mean I’m sure if you asked most men they would tell you that their penis is so special they wouldn’t be surprised if it was a source of light as well! But in this case thankfully it wasn’t. Sometimes as a teacher you cry with laughter on the inside and still manage to keep a straight face on the outside!
2:05pm Playtime and I’m on playground duty which I usually hate as it means policing the playground but thankfully the weather is dry and the kids are allowed to go out on the field. The addition of the field is like a miracle at school playtimes. There are far less arguments and injuries to deal with, this is actually a welcome addition to a hectic day!
2:25pm The final session of the day is here and I say the words ‘It's time for the laptops’ and the class starts to bubble with excitement. There are a few words in a primary school child’s life that lead to complete wild excitement. One is ‘laptops’, another is ‘apparatus’ (if you’ve never seen Tom Allen’s comedy sketch on this you should, it’s all too true) and another one is more of a phrase than a word ‘Oh look it’s snowing.’
This last one is a ‘total loss of control’ sentence. It doesn’t matter what you are doing if you utter this phrase you will lose all of the kids to the windows as they gaze out longingly expecting that even though it's only a light sprinkling in about 5 minutes they will be able to go out and build a mega snowman and when the parents pick them up they’ll all arrive with sledges to take them home on!
2:30pm I’ve managed to calm the excitement and now it’s down to the lesson, which is executed with almost military precision. Queue to get the laptop and follow each instruction carefully as I write it on the board. Do not deviate, else you will break something and you will be in trouble. Only press a button when I tell you to, I cannot mend 15 computers all at once.
I manage to get everyone through the password stage and log on to the program we are using before being interrupted by a child who is now howling.
My immediate assumption is that they’ve pressed the wrong button and now something has opened up on the computer that wasn’t supposed to. But no it’s worse. Computer lessons are so exciting the child has ignored the signals from their bladder and now their bladder has decided to empty itself all over the chair and the floor. A day in the life of a primary school teacher...we handle all emergencies and bodily fluids! At least this one is on the wet area so it’s easy to clean I don’t think I could deal with two randomly placed chairs on the carpet.
Unfortunately for me this is one of the afternoons where the TA doesn’t work, so I’m left mopping this up with a class full of kids using laptops. I decide this is the point where I should admit defeat for the day and the words just fall out of my mouth,
‘Children, go onto the paint package and draw me a picture of something to do with…er…seasons!’
Yep seasons always a good call, it wasn’t planned but at least they’re all busy and on a task!
3:15pm The bell goes for the end of the day and I want to take a sigh of relief but it's not over yet. I need to make sure that all these children get delivered to the correct adult and that no parent needs to ‘have a word’. Thankfully these bags of dirty clothes that I’m handing out today seem to be deterring parents from the playground rather quickly and I manage to get back inside and close the door without any issues!
3:30pm …and breathe! Time to prep for tomorrow, print that planning, start sorting some resources for next week, do the marking from the day and then try and get home at a reasonable time for dinner and another three hours of report writing tonight.
4:00pm I need some pictures of breakfast things for literacy lesson next week. What do we eat for breakfast? I’ll go with Cornflakes first. I’ve become accustomed to looking for pictures by using Google images so I type ‘cornflakes’ into the search bar and click on images tag.
Oh my word, thank goodness the kids have gone home. There at the end of the top row it stands proud and tall. A photo I wasn’t expecting from such a simple search a giant willy in a cornfield proudly showing the caption ‘Cock in the Corn’! At least this isn’t as bad as the time I typed in larvae whilst the laptop was linked up to the smart board and a huge pair of boobs appeared on screen in the middle of my lesson!
5:00pm I’m still here! Marking the work from the day, just these few cut and stick rhyming sheets left to go. This would be much easier if the pieces of 'stuck' on paper didn’t keep falling off. I’ll take pity on the children today and stick them back on for them rather than getting them to do it tomorrow morning during register.
Well would you believe it? Someone’s left the lid off the emergency glue sticks and now they’ve dried out too....argh!!!!
I can’t take anymore, I wouldn’t normally leave until 6pm but the whole day has been against me from start to finish. It’s definitely time for home, a quick dinner and maybe a glass of wine whilst I write those reports! Oh good grief, I’ve still not sorted out that one that I fell asleep on last night!
Have you read my post 'School reports....in lockdown'? https://www.overamorningcoffee.co.uk/post/school-reports-in-lockdown
If you've enjoyed reading this follow the link to some of my other blog posts (they're not all teacher related). Remember OMC is here to bring old fashioned sharing into the modern world. https://www.overamorningcoffee.co.uk/blog