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  • Ned Manning

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

Updated: Jul 12

It’s clear that quite a few people, including politicians, have no idea what really goes on in schools so here is my diary from a typical day’s teaching.


A Day in the Life of A.Teacher 

(apologies to Solzhenitsyn)


8.00 am           Arrived at school and made way across crowded playground past groups of

students playing handball, sharing news, high fiving each other, told group of

boys to “stop fighting”. 


8.05 am           Climbed stairs wending way through students towards Common Room to sign

on.


8.07 am           Squeezed past a couple of colleagues discussing latest political news in

doorway. Waited in line to sign on, chatting to colleagues. Signed on with

communal pen. Grabbed notifications from pigeon hole.


8.10 am           Into faculty staffroom. Greeted colleagues working at desks, preparing

lessons. Unpacked overnight marking at desk. Sat down at desk to check

day’s lessons. Leant across to colleague’s desk to borrow pen. Boiled jug for

quick coffee hit, offered others a brew. Two wanted tea. 


8.30 am           Bell rings. Jostle way out of door with colleagues. Rush through madding

crowd of students/teachers towards roll call.


8.35 am           Roll call. Remind students to put phones away and stop sharing posts.

Separate couple who won’t stop whispering. Read “daily notices”. Remind

group of upcoming Athletics carnival.


8.45 am           Into first lesson for day. Students wander in shoving each other out of way.

Move recalcitrants from back row. Ask for quiet. Hand out marked essays.

Warn recalcitrants to hand in overdue essays or face detention. Allow

students to absorb feedback on essays. Ask recalcitrants to stop whispering x

3 times. Move up and down aisles between desks checking that class is

following instructions. Pick up pen dropped on floor and return to student. 

10.00 am         Dismiss class. Remind them to leave room in orderly fashion. Words fall on

deaf ears. They rush out pushing and shoving. Gather papers and make way

to next class along corridor, students and teachers all in own worlds. 


10.40 am         Recess. Having survived 40 mins quelling potential revolt over marks, dismiss

class and push way along corridor towards safe haven of staffroom, cross

playground past groups of students sharing recess, past heaving queue to

canteen, wave at canteen staff heroically dealing with hungry, thirsty, teens

demanding food & drink. Fall into Staffroom. Scoff 3 Iced Vo Vo’s waiting

for  kettle to boil. Borrow cup. Note to self to bring cup. Check lesson plans

for after Recess. 


11.00 am         Bell rings. Colleagues gather papers, laptops etc and rush to class. Have

double period off to do prep and mark seniors essays. Friend talks about

relationships probs. Try to offer advice but really want to concentrate on

marking. Her quiet sobs move me to give her a hug. He sounds like a

monster. Wish she’d move on. 


12.20 pm         Extra in PE Hall. Take roll. Try and organise basketball lesson following PE

lesson plan found in pigeon hole. Divide class into teams. Hand out coloured

bibs, grab whistle and referee game. Go to aid of student who’s had a fall and

hurt leg. Help student to feet. Get others to take him to Office for band aid.


1.00 pm           Lunch. Playground duty. Grab roll from Canteen. Rush to oval. Need pee but

have to hold on. Move around groups congregating on oval. Remind them to

put away rubbish. Ask them to remain seated until first bell signals time for

ball games etc. Investigate suspicious behaviour near oleander bush.

Students scurry off on approach. 


1.55 pm           Bell. First period after lunch. Rush to staff toilet. Occupied. Hop from one foot

to other until toilet is free. Rush to staffroom, grab work for class, rush to

class, bump into Deputy. Apologise. Hope she didn’t notice wearing same

clothes as yesterday, except clean shirt (of course). Successful (ish) double.

Students unusually tame after lunch. Most follow instructions. Let sleeping

dogs lie. Correct work over students shoulders as per, careful not to be to

critical. 


3.15 pm           Last period. Year 9. Rush past Drama Room. Students making pyramids (?).

                        Drama!? What do they do in there? Into last class for day. Break up fight

between 2 boys. Tell girls to move apart and put phones away. Begin lesson.

Wait for quiet. Seconds become minutes become hours. Not too

surreptitiously check watch. 35 mins to go. Answer questions from engaged

students while trying to ignore others. 


3.55 pm.          Bell. Class fall over each other as they escape. Fall into chair. Exhausted. 


4.30 pm.          Climb into car with armload of marking. Turn on radio. 

                        News about virus. Something about “social distancing”, whatever that is? 


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© 2020 by Ned Manning.