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A Day in the Life of a Teacher: All The Things Teachers Do

A Day in the Life of a Teacher: All The Things Teachers Do

Teachers  |  Education Elements  |  Teacher Retention  |  Teams & Culture  |  School Leadership

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! This time of year is truly special to me. For 7 years, I worked as a classroom teacher. It was the hardest job I ever loved. Supporting my students academically, contributing to a positive school culture and communicating with families and community members, all made teaching such a wonderful professional experience. In my role as a Design Principal at Education Elements, I no longer work in the classroom, but I use the skills to support school leaders and districts.

As the school year comes to a close, it is important to honor the hardworking teachers who commit their lives to shaping future generations. Teachers are the backbone of our society. They validate our identities, encourage excellence and motivate strong habits. We’ve all been affected by a teacher who helped shape the trajectory of our lives. The teacher who encouraged us to pursue that college major, helped us study for a test or join a specific team all deserve recognition. They commit time, effort and resources that are often hidden, yet have a profound impact on their practice. The recent COVID pandemic made teaching even more challenging and yet teachers rose to the challenge. Teachers did this all the while making a national average of $56,483.


So how do teachers rise to the challenge every day? What might a typical day look like? Seeing it all laid out may give you even more appreciation for all that teachers do. Here’s a list of what a day in my life might look like as a middle school teacher:

  • Wake up early (5:00 am!)
  • Drink coffee or tea to start the day
  • Prepare the classroom and lessons
    • Update the white/chalkboard
      • Lesson question and standard
      • Positive intention
      • Homework
      • Quote of the Day 
    • Arrange lesson materials
    • Sharpen pencils
    • Organize books
  • Greet students at arrival (7:00am)
  • Teach engaging and culturally responsive lessons 
    • Encourage students to task risks answering challenging questions
    • Affirm students for their participation
    • Assess student mastery of the lesson
    • Correct off task behavior
  • Record lesson for practice growth
    • Schedule time to review lesson video
  • Grade exit tickets (formative assessments)
    • Input data into tracker
    • Share data with coach
    • Plan to reteach a lesson based on the data
    • Celebrate students (yay!)
  • Sanitize and organize classroom
    • Adhere to COVID protocols
  • Support common times (recess, lunch etc)
    • Play sports/games with students
    • Encourage healthy eating habits
  • Bond with students (throughout the day)
    • Provide advice and resources
    • Connect with students
    • Build relationships 
    • Advocate and encourage students
    • Hold students accountable to poor choices
  • Communicate with parents (throughout the day)
    • Positive and instructive calls
  • Students say their good-byes! (4:00pm)
  • Attend grade team and school meetings (4:30pm or later)
    • Meet with other teachers to create initiatives for students

Outside of school hours (after 6:00pm and on weekends)

  • Grade additional assessments
  • Apply lesson feedback to lesson plans for the upcoming week
  • Contact families
  • Check inbox for emails

This list by no means represents all teachers. However, it paints the picture of how teachers rise to the challenge to support their students and school community. Noticeably missing are the times teachers take to eat, drink water and go to the bathroom. It is not uncommon for a teacher to go the day without drinking water or eating a proper lunch. Teachers often sacrifice their personal needs for their students. Someone once said, “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.”- Unknown. Teachers deserve more than a week. They deserve to be celebrated everyday. This week, but every day after,  find a teacher and thank them. You can thank them with your kind words or gestures: a gift card, food or a mug to name a few ideas.  

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week 2023

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