A Day in the life of a Teacher
The majority of teachers are employed by primary or secondary schools. Their focus is a specific subject or grade level. Before arriving at the classroom, teachers create lesson plans tailored to their students’ levels of ability. At school, usually beginning at 8 a.m., teachers must begin the difficult task of generating interest in their often sleepy students. A good sense of humor and the ability to think like their students help teachers captivate their students’ attention. Teachers have to generate interest in subjects that students often find tedious. Rousing them from their apathy and watching their curiosity grow is a giant reward of teaching. One teacher said her favorite aspects of teaching are the creative challenges and the “iconoclastic opportunities.” Teachers must have high expectations of their students and also be able to empathize with their concerns. They must be comfortable dealing with a spectrum of personality types and ability levels, and must be capable of treating their students fairly. About a fifth of the teacher’s work week is devoted to their least favorite aspect of the profession, paperwork. Teachers have a block of time each day, called a professional period, to accomplish paper grading; however, all teachers report that this is not enough time. Teachers also perform administrative duties, such as spending one period assisting in the school library or monitoring students in the cafeteria. Teachers also need to be accessible to parents. Some teachers meet with parents once per term, others send progress reports home each month. Most schools require teachers to participate in extra-curricular activities with students. A teacher may be an adviser to the school yearbook, direct the school play, or coach the chess team. Often they receive a stipend for leading the more time-consuming extracurricular activities. Teachers may also be required to act as chaperones at a certain number of after-school functions, such as dances and chorus concerts. All good teachers agree that the main reason for entering this profession should be a desire to impart knowledge. Teachers must want to make a difference in the lives and futures of their students.