I report to work at 7:30 am; I take the tunnel from West Seattle and get to work in 20 minutes. Classes start at 8:00 am but I never have a first period class. It’s a block schedule, so I spend the whole 85 minute block checking homework and shoring up the lesson plan.
On Green Days, I teach three sections of Spanish II; on Gold Days, I teach two sections of Spanish I. That’s it; two preps. At the end of the day I’m available to students until 3 pm, and students rarely come. If there’s quizzes to grade, I stay and grade them, and then leave my classroom between 4 and 5 pm. Unless there are exams or projects to grade, I don’t take any work home; I don’t even take my computer home. The only thing I bring home in my backpack is my lunchbox. I go home and watch TV in sweatpants, with no papers to grade in my lap. I joined a drum circle on Monday nights, have choir rehearsal on Tuesday nights, and have a standing happy hour on Friday nights. I’ll try to schedule a ukulele lesson on Wednesday or Thursday nights. I wanted to join a curling club, but it turns out they meet on Tuesdays. The point is that weekends belong to me.
On weekends, unless I have exams or projects to grade, I don’t work. I take weekends off. That time is mine; I practice the ukulele, do laundry. Meal prep. Blog.
I think most other teachers are used to this kind of groove, they figured it out a long time ago. Not for me. Since 1999, I’ve never had fewer than three preps, and I was always behind on grading. Nowadays, my gradebook is usually up-to-date by 9 am every day.
All my classes this year have been pre-planned; exams and quizzes are mostly written. Sometimes I help create a project, and I always plan ones that are easy to grade with a rubric.
So it’s a pretty easy life. I do work hard at work, but for the first time in my teaching career I’m finally able to leave work at work. The one thing that I miss about busting ass all week is that I got pretty close to my other teacher friends who were also busting ass.