Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A day in the life of Amber...

Hey everyone! This week Amber is letting us take a little peak in her life! She is a graduate student from Iowa who works two jobs while doing school full-time.  Enjoy!

Hi! I’m Amber from A Little Pink in the Cornfields and I’m really excited to share with all of Emily’s readers what a day in my life is like! Each day is different for me, no two days are EVER the same and I love that. Recently I left the corporate world and began graduate work full time. Besides the classes I am enrolled in, I substitute teach three days a week in grades 6-12 and am a residential counselor at a local non-profit for adults with intellectual disabilities two days a week. I’m not usually with the same clients each week, or in the same classrooms, so life is never dull!

Here is what a typical day is like for me. On this particular day I was substitute teaching in a middle school art class, and I had a methods course in PE that evening.

 6am: Get up and get ready for the day. It usually takes me an hour to shower/get ready, make lunch, take Zeke for a quick morning walk and pack my bag for the day.

7am: Leave for the school that I am working at. Today I am subbing in an art class in a school that is pretty urban (as urban as Des Moines gets, I suppose). I know the day is going to go either really well, or really bad. There really isn’t an in between at this school.

7:30am: Arrive at the school, check in at the main office and pick up the sub folder with the schedule and lesson plans.

7:45am: School day begins. I have four 46 minute classes until lunch. My first period goes okay. They are 7th graders and still pretty sweet. Today all classes are working on drawing hieroglyphs. They’re not very excited about this project. Even when I told them it was like cracking a code. That didn’t work at all. Fail.

 8:31am: Dismiss class

 8:34am: Begin period two. More seventh graders and they do the same thing as first period. During this period I scolded two boys for using the “r” word. They decided to use the word “spaz” instead. I, again, scold them.

The students I sub for figure out pretty quick I do not tolerate language like that. The boys continued to figure out other words to use that would get under my skin (my mistake) so I just decided to ignore the words and focus on getting them to work. Another boy sitting at their group got upset and started crying

(I have never had girls cry in my classes, just boys. Isn’t that odd?).

My heart was really heavy over this, because I knew he didn’t want to talk and I wasn’t going to force him. He sat with his head down the entire period. I’m still wondering what was making him cry. I know he wasn’t receiving special ed services, so perhaps he has a family member that does? It broke my heart. Kids are so cruel.

9:20: dismiss class

 9:23: Begin period three.  Now I have two periods of eight graders. I am not a fan of eighth graders. They do the same thing as periods 1 and 2.  I had to raise my voice more than I should have. I also had to turn off the lights to get their attention, which is absolutely ridiculous to me for a group this age. Anytime I have to do this I remind them that that is an elementary school tactic of getting attention. Seriously annoyed at this point.

 10:09: Dismiss class

 10:12: Begin fourth period. This time I took a much calmer approach. In the three minutes I had to regroup I took a few deep breaths, cleared my face of all emotion (seriously, kids see fear and I’m pretty sure they SMELL it too. I’m sure of it) and prepare myself mentally for more eighth graders. Everything went fine at first and I was feeling much, much better. There was also an associate in the room because we had several special ed students. She had a scheduled break, so after checking with me to make sure I would be okay without her (which threw me off guard, I’ve never had an associate ask me that before). I said I would be fine and to not worry about me!

I was wrong.

About ten minutes after she left there was a physical fight. At first I thought they were playing because the boy that got hit first was SMILING. It might have been play fighting at first, but within 2.6 seconds it turned into real fighting and I’m pulling them off each and yelling at one kid to stop choking the other! I seriously blanked and did not know the procedure of what to do or how to get admin in the room. I yelled for someone to run to the office (just around the corner) and about 7 kids ran out (of course). Admin got in there almost immediately and took the situation from there.  The fight grew out of lots of teasing from one boy. This boy was a little jerk. He really, really was. That is all I have to say about that. (Forrest Gump style, ha!)

10:58: Dismiss class. Now I have planning period, which is followed by lunch, which is followed by another planning period. Which, gives me about two hours to do what I want. I’m so grateful for this time, because I honestly thought about crying. My eyes did start to well up just out of shock, sadness, confusion, anxiety over the situation. I quickly composed myself though, it would be stupid to cry now. Plus, this will NOT be the only time this happens. I’m not naïve. I grew up in schools just like this one. I’m not new to fights like this. Still sucks though.

 10:58-12:56: During this time I ate lunch, chatted on Twitter, texted, replied to a few emails, worked on a lesson plan, read a few blog posts and played some Hanging with Friends and Words with Friends. It was relaxing and just what I needed.

 12:56: Begin seventh period. They do the same assignment. Everything goes okay. No major incidents.

1:42: Dismiss class

1:45: Begin eighth period – last class of the day, thank goodness. I could’ve really used some headache medicine at this point.

 2:30: School’s out! Hallelujah!

 2:35: Head home

 3pm: Get home, change into gym clothes, pack a quick snack (a cup of cottage cheese) and head to campus to study for a couple hours before my evening class

 3:30-5pm: Work on a few assignments that are due this week.

 5:30pm: Meet at the campus gym for my PE Methods class. Today we’re doing the fitness test for the second time this semester. The fitness test includes a timed mile run, 1 minute of push ups, and 1 minute of crunches. At the beginning of the semester my mile was 13:07. Today my mile was 12:07! Yay for shaving off a minute!

 6:30pm: Class is technically supposed to go until 7:20, but she let us go early for doing so well on our fitness test. I was super glad because I was going to have to leave early anyway for a conference call for my online class. All elementary ed students have to take methods courses in all subject. PE included… it’s kind of a silly class, but it will be an easy 3 credit A.

 7pm-8pm: Conference call for my Assessment for Reading Instruction. I thought this was really weird, but it ended up being very helpful! This week we’re administering informal reading inventories, and I had a lot of little questions that I needed to clarify. The conference call idea was really smart, because about thirty of us had the same questions!

 8pm: I can finally sit down and eat dinner! I make macaroni and cheese and sit down to watch The Biggest Loser with my sister (so wrong while eating mac and cheese… buuuuut, I made it with Laughing Cow cheese. It couldn’t be that bad….) ;)

 9:30pm: Nightly routine. Crawl into bed to read for awhile, before going to sleep.

 10:30pm: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

 Today was actually very typical, minus the fight! On days I sub, I have class at night. The other two days I have class right in the middle of the day (annoying) and those are the days I work at the non-profit. Despite running around all the time, I get a lot of time at each place to work on studying. Subbing and counseling gives me plenty of time to keep up on reading for school and book clubs.

Thank you for reading about my day and thank you Emily for having me! J

Thanks Amber!! ;) Next week we will hear from Becky! Can't wait!

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