I search for the ID badge from the bottom of my purse while I press the code to open the gate. In the foyer the screen beeps and signs me in at 7.31. I walk through the quiet corridors and say good morning to a colleague passing by. I open the door to my classroom. It’s dark and it feels big and quiet, like it’s not in its’ natural state.
I switch on the computer and write down the few things that popped into my head on the way to school. The to-do list is getting longer and longer. I get up and stare at the white board. I move the names on the sunshine level back to the green level in the positive behaviour chart and look for today’s subjects to stick on the visual timetable. While placing the label for PE on the wall I already dread the afternoon.
I sit back down and open the registration programme, the teaching slides for today and my school email. While waiting for things to open I search for the worksheets we need for today. I’m lucky to find the worksheets trimmed but not so lucky when I realise that the worksheet planned for Maths needs to be adjusted because of the lesson yesterday. So I open Word and start typing the date and objective at the top of the worksheet.
On my way to the printer I stop by to talk through the day with my colleague and to ask if she wants a copy of the new worksheet. I spot her phonics worksheets on the desk and realise that I still have to check my phonics slides and I’m once again running out of time. I stop by at the printer and leave the pile of the new worksheets on the table. No matter how early you get in, there never is enough time, I think to myself.
I stand by the door while children push through in their school uniforms and with their book bags. The bell just rang so it’s 8.45. A mum approaches me to tell that her son wasn’t feeling well and I promise to keep an eye on him. Another dad comes by to let me know that her daughter is ready for the next trains and I promise to tell my LSA that she would check the next high frequency words with her. Most of my children have already gone inside and are doing their busy fingers activities.
The head teacher closes the gate and I walk to the classroom. “Time to tidy up”, I say with the rattle on my hand and wait for them to find their seats and settle down for registry. Just when I’m thinking that all seems to happen relatively smoothly this morning, someone knocks over a pen pot, one of the children walk in late and three hands go up to ask for something. Ignoring everything else for a moment, I go through the registry marking down everyone’s’ lunch option from the three daily choices and continue to the visual timetable to go through today’s lessons.
The children in my phonics group start showing up at the door while I’m still answering the unrelated questions and helping one of the children to pick up the colouring pencils that are rolling on the floor. Finally, I send off my class to their phonics groups and open up the Phonics slides to teach my group the peculiarities of the English language.
I know that 20 minutes have passed by when my own children start wondering back and to my surprise they take a seat at the back carpet as I have asked them to so many times before. As my phonics group leaves, I tell the children to get a white board and take a seat. Meanwhile, I pick up three glues, two of them without lids and take a deep breath. Putting a lid on a glue really shouldn’t be that hard.
It’s 10.20 and it’s the only 15-minute break of the day and I sit at my computer sipping my instant coffee, the taste of which I still haven’t got used to. I think back to the Math lesson and sigh. Apart from the constant interruptions because someone had lost their white board pen, other was swinging and third just looked like she was asleep, it was a good lesson. I take a look at the worksheet for English and think back to what we did yesterday.
I wake up from my thoughts when I hear children lining up outside. I leave my half drunken coffee behind. It tastes just as good cold, so I don’t really mind. Children come in from the break with what feels like a million comments. Someone was being rude to someone else, the other one hit the third one, but it was just an accident, and the fourth wanted to tell me something about dinosaurs. As I listen to them one after another, I once again realise just how small they are.
I line up behind the Year 6 children in the dining hall and wait to be handed the red lunch as most of the days. I eat in a hurry, as always. This time because I need to find the PE cupboard key to get tennis balls out for PE and print out a letter about a trip to the library that needs to go out today. I finish my lunch, grab my pudding, a plate full of fresh fruits, with me and walk back to the classroom.
My LSA is having her own lunch and I sit down to chat about her plans for the weekend. It’s really the only time of the day we have time to do this and once I realise that, I remember I promised to meet another teacher five minutes ago to talk through a report that we need to write about a common child. I mention the PE cup board to my LSA on my way our and I know that when I get back she’s already taken care of that to make sure we are ready for the afternoon lessons.
I sit down and check my phone for the first time since I got to work. The screen lights up with the time: 15.40. There’s a message from mum, which makes me smile. The children are sent home with their parents except for the ones that are taken to different afterschool clubs. My desk is full of papers, books for guided reading and different colour markers that I used to draw a mind map about trees during the science lesson. There’s a bucket with tennis balls next to my chair and my hands are sticky with glue.
I log in to the computer again and print out a parent log I need to fill in about a conversation I had with one mother. On my way to the printer I pick up an odd sock that got lost during the changing for PE. I get back, fill in the form, organise most of the papers, grab one of the books for Guided Reading and shove it in my back and get my coat from my peg. I switch of the lights. The classroom is empty and quiet again.