day in the life of a 5th grade teacher

October 14, 2010

**Edit: Just wanted to let you know all know I purchased my domain today – I am now – type and update as needed! :) **

If you’re like any normal person out there, it’s been a while since you’ve been in school. In fact, you couldn’t wait to be done with school. I agree — tests and papers are never fun.. unless you’re on the other side of the fence (minus grading). It’s true that I’ll “be in school for the rest of my life”, but you have no idea what a hidden treasure being a fifth grade teacher is. It’s like the biggest secret in education — fifth grade really is a blast.

5:00 a.m. — Alarm clock goes off — look at the clock and pray to God it’s Friday. Remember it’s Thursday and groan while getting out of bed.

5:30 (or 5:29 a.m.) — Start the coffee after getting ready. Prepare to make hot oats on the stove.

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5:40 a.m. — Sit down to eat bowl of said oats. The entire time that I was eating this, I was kind of regretting it. I do love plain banana oats with peaches, but I really wanted some pumpkin. This is the last time I try not to be boring for you all. It’s fall, and I love pumpkin. Deal.

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5:50 a.m. — Settle down with second cup of coffee for some quality blog reading.

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7:30 a.m. — I arrive at school. My commute is about a half hour every day, but it can really vary due to Chicago traffic. Today wasn’t too bad and I arrived right on time.

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Every morning I put out the students’ sticks which they put into the correct lunch cup so I know who is doing what that day. Can  you believe my students get to go home for lunch if they want? I had never even heard of that until I started working my district. I think it’s pretty cool!

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7:45 — Write the day’s schedule on the board and sit down at desk to begin preparing for the day. This can include answering emails, meeting with colleagues, grading papers, or trying not to fall asleep at my desk wishing for one more cup of coffee.

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8:30 a.m. — Students arrive to school and the pledge and school pledge are said. First up, blogging!

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If you think I am joking, I am totally not. We (the fifth grade teachers) discovered a great website called Kidblog where you can create a blog for your class. My students go to the TRC (Technology Resource Center — honestly, why can’t we just call it the “computer lab”?) twice a week to blog about different topic/questions I pose to them. They then get to read other student’s writing and comment/provide constructive criticism for them. It is really interesting — they love it.

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9:00 a.m. — Shuffle the students along to the LRC (Learning Resource Center… can I get an AMEN to just calling it the “library”?). The librarian works with them on a skill/lesson once a week, and mine just happens to be on Thursdays when we have every single other special in the world. We are creating books about Native Americans right now, and although I wish I could have graded some papers during this time, I worked with some struggling students instead. It was definitely much more worth my while! By this time, I was starting to realize what a horrible idea it was to just have banana oats — I was STARVING!

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9:35 — Take the students to PE and rush to the teacher’s lounge to pick up my snack. I also vowed to myself never to eat banana oats until pumpkin is coming out of my ears. I don’t know if that is the reason why I was so hungry today, but my breakfast didn’t “stick to my bones” like those pumpkin oats can! All that extra fiber the pumpkin adds really does make a difference.

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10:05 — Bring students to Spanish (see? I told you I have every single special in the world on Thursday mornings!). I then proceeded to spend my entire plan period talking to a student who I caught in a little lie today. This particular student forged their parent’s signature on a form the principal sent home. There were tears, confessions, and I may or may not have pulled a guilt trip about how “disappointed I was that I felt I couldn’t trust” said student anymore. Oh, and there was a “boy who cried wolf” reference made as well. What can I say? I’m big on lessons learned.

10:35 a.m. — Pick students up from Spanish and finish up a Social Studies review activity. Students started this yesterday and finished today — they had to work in groups of 3 and rotate to different posters. On each poster was the title of the different lessons in the chapter. Each group had to write two big ideas from the lesson during each rotation. It got more difficult as the groups rotated more because the most “obvious” big ideas had already been taken. It was a really good review for them.

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11:15 — Take students to lunch, heat up soup, and wonder how in the world my desk got to look like this. I basically shoved everything to the side and hoped I wouldn’t spill. Usually I eat lunch with other teachers, but on Thursdays they all go out for lunch. I try to limit myself to one lunch per week and we all went out on Tuesday as well. I caught up on some more work!

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And enjoyed some black bean soup…

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some Crunchmaster crackers and a honeycrisp apple.

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12:20 p.m. — Students return from lunch/recess and we enjoy my favorite part of the day: Silent Reading. Usually I work with reading groups during this time, but it is a testing week for reading, so I have been giving myself (and the students) a break.

12:50 p.m. — Students take a math test. I spent the next hour answering questions/guiding students through the test.

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1:50 p.m. — I read aloud a story about becoming an author to the students on the carpet. Yes, we had a carpet time read aloud. We then talked about how even writers have a difficult time thinking of creative ideas sometimes. Tomorrow we are beginning to write a personal narrative.

2:30 p.m. — I send students over to another fifth grade teacher’s class. Each month we take turns reading aloud a different book to the entire fifth grade. This month is The Witches by Roald Dahl. I enjoy the last half hour of my day working on student progress reports for the trimester to send home tomorrow.

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3:00 p.m. — The bell rings and students fly out the door faster than I can make sure everyone has all their materials for homework. Hopefully everyone went home prepared!

3:30 p.m. — About to gnaw off my arm, I walk to my car and hit the road.

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I find this trusty companion in my lunchbox and am delighted because I am once again… starving.

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4:00 p.m. — I head to the grocery store to pick up a few items we ran out of mid week, such as almond milk, orange juice, and apples.

4:45 p.m. — I curse myself for not reading packages well — I got the individual packets instead of the big bag! Arggh!!!

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5:00-6:00 p.m. — Clean the kitchen and make dinner: Balsamic Glazed Baked Tofu and Roasted Vegetables

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  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cubed, and water slightly pressed out
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • garlic powder, basil, pepper to taste
  1. First, drain your tofu and cut the block into one inch cubes. Press the water lightly out of it (it doesn’t have to be drained completely) and press between paper towels for about 5 minutes with a recipe book on top.
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and spices together in a small bowl.
  3. Place your drained tofu in a larger bowl and pour the marinade over the tofu. Mix until the marinade is spread throughout.
  4. Spread tofu on a greased baking pan and cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Enjoy with dipping sauce of choice!

6:45 p.m. — Debate whether of not I should check my school email one last time. Cave in and respond to about 5 parents.

7:15 p.m. — Collapse on couch and only get up to use the bathroom and eat for the rest of the night.

My days are long, my job is stressful, and I am constantly getting pulled in 10 different directions. However, I would never change it for the world.

Question: What is your day like at your job?

PS — Don’t forget to enter my Crunchmaster giveaway! The giveaway ends Tuesday, October 19 at Midnight!

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