Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's a weird time to be a teacher in Ontario.

It's been a while, but the provincial government feels it's time to pick on teachers again. (Ah, reminds me of the late-'90s and early '00s; they were simpler times, weren't they?). This means people are talking about how much they hate us, or how much they love us.

Now, I'm not going to go on and on, telling you about how hard my job is. If you've been reading this blog for a while, I think you've been able to see that it's a gig that has its challenges — but, of course, it's not the only job that has challenges. I never make teachers out to be holier-than-thou; I mean, over lunch today a bunch of us had a conversation which was inspired by an inane reality show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo which veered into the profane and vulgar easily within three minutes. We're not saints, but we work fucking hard.

You've heard a group of people talk about teachers working 9-to-3, and you've heard another group (mostly teachers, probably) talk about all the extra hours they put in. Let me tell you what my day was like today, because it's a fairly typical one. And yes, I'm being completely honest here; no sugar-coating or embellishments. You have my word. All the lurid details (the ones I remember, anyway) are after the jump.

8:10arrived at school, picked up attendance sheets and mail from main office, headed up to the Science office, grabbed coffee from our department coffeemaker, ran off handouts for second-period class, talked with another teacher about said second-period class, chatted with colleagues about union stuff (a hot topic these days)
8:45headed off to my first-period classroom to meet up with kids who missed the quiz from a couple days before; on the walk to the classroom, talked with a kid who was dropping first-period physics and signed his form to authorize that
8:55first bell rings
9:00O Canada, announcements
9:07ishfirst period class, Grade 10 Applied Science; lesson on ions and patterns of electric charges; kids looked pretty glassy-eyed partway through so I took a quickie survey to figure out who was lost; recapped a good chunk of the previous day's lesson in a slightly different way, then ran back over ions with a lot more success
10:20first period ends
10:25second period class, Grade 12 University Prep Physics; lesson on forces and diagrams, especially when not all vectors are straight left/right or up/down; nerded-out with some fun math and kept everything numberless and general, showing connections between equations, which should help them later on when they solve problems on this stuff
11:40second period ends, lunch begins; bathroom break (gotta schedule these y'know), dropped morning attendance off at main office, chatted with front-office secretary about a (well-known) kid in one of my classes, picked up mail from mailbox, headed to caf, bought lunch, chatted with colleagues around the big table (again, mostly about union stuff, but also about the Yunel Escobar Situation)
12:20returned to Science office, chatted briefly with some colleagues (including the vulgar conversation mentioned above), got stuff ready for third period
12:35end-of-lunch bell rings
12:40third period class, Grade 12 University Prep Earth & Space Science; lesson on light produced by glowing objects, the physics behind that, and how that relates to stars; a good nerdy time was had by all
1:55third period ends
2:00fourth period class, my prep period; planned out the next couple of days of Grade 10 Science, checked work email, checked personal email, called the place that's repairing an overhead projector of ours and got a nice overview about how 3M doesn't make them anymore and finding parts is getting much harder these days, started marking Grade 10 quizzes, headed down to main office to chat with a VP about a student in my Grade 10 class who I also taught last year who is a character to say the least, dropped off afternoon attendance
3:15fourth period ends; worked with a colleague to figure out how to equitably divide-up the supervision schedule for the Terry Fox Walk next week, talked with the other Grade 10 teacher more about the next few days in our (shared) classes including some handouts we're going to use tomorrow, finished marking those quizzes, ran a few things by my co-department-head about stuff we need to buy, had a half-department-big conversation about where the hell all the Grade 10 Applied textbooks went, and a whole lot of other stuff which escapes my memory
4:55yet another bathroom break, then hit the ol' parking lot

Was it all you ever wanted in a recap? I'm sure it was. How many hours did I work? I'll leave that for you to calculate, but I'd say I was done doing school stuff at about 11:50 and resumed it at 12:25, so I suppose that's a 35-minute "lunch".

Tomorrow, I have a union meeting which starts at 4:30 and will probably go past 7:00 because, as I mentioned before, things be gettin' crazy. At least they'll have sandwiches.

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