Nov 152012

Sam always has very interesting things to  say because he is amazing, but his challenge to document a day in the life of a math teacher is tough.

Why? Because I am just so freaking busy this week.

It all starts at 5:30 when I hit the shower, then check emails from overnight while shaving, then eat and am on the road to school by 6:35 am.  Arrive at school by 6:45 (thank goodness for living close to where I work) and realize I didn’t make copies for today.

I print off what I need and spend the next 20 minutes lining up my copies for myself, another teacher who shares plans with me, and the long term sub that replaced the teacher who quit 6 weeks into the school year with little to no notice. Yea, I get to make his copies because as a sub, he gets no pay for extra time and I help him out by making copies for classes I don’t teach. Yay department chair!

Take 15 minutes to rewrite my boards for today’s work, write my quote of the day (today’s quote is, “If little else, the brain is an educational toy.” by Tom Robbins) and finally get to breath and say hi to another teacher at 7:45.  I spend the next 10 minutes following up on emails, printing materials for the speech and debate meet that I am hosting TOMORROW (OMFG!) and sipping coffee. Get 2 teachers supplied with batteries for calculators and dry erase markers, but am out of tissue. Add to the TO-DO list track down my order and figure out where the 3 cases of tissues I ordered are. The season of colds and sniffles is upon us, and that is one supply I need to make sure I have.

Bell rings at 7:55, my class of freshmen support learners come in. They are loud and raucous today, so I get them calmed down, and we do math for 20 minutes; today is solving 2 step equations, and then they get 20 minutes to work on their own homework. About 3/4 actually do this, the rest are reading or talking. I step on the talkers and redirect them to get some work done.

8:46 – 10:03: 1st period: 69 minutes of Advanced Algebra. Today we review matrix multiplication and then move into Fibonacci numbers and matrices. The matrix [[1,1],[1,0]] when raised to a power allows us to calculate Fibonacci numbers non-recursively! That is pretty cool, and we begin the exploration of what that means. We finish with them doing the matrix to the 6th, and 7th powers, so see if they can predict how to use this to calculate the 23rd Fibonacci number (easy, take the matrix and raise it to the 22nd power!).

5 minute passing, I help a couple of learners w/ questions about grades and work turned in.

10:08 – 11:22: 2nd period, my prep period. Let’s see what I can get done.  Spend this time running around, checking on the library, cutting up papers for the Extemporaneous Speaking events, printing signs, and getting details like the shopping list ready for Costco. The tournament I am hosting is tomorrow, and I am panicking about judges, about all the details to make the tournament run smoothly. I don’t sit down the entire time.

I also meet with the Visually Impaired coach, to talk about my learner who is blind and how he is doing in AP Statistics. He is doing well, and she gives me the next chapter all in Braille.

I still have grades to get into the computer that I took home last night and was grading until 9:00 pm. Not sure if that is going to get done or not, but it is on the TO-DO list.

11:22 – 11:52: Lunch time: Did I get everything done on my Prep that was on my to do list? No. Now I am also getting one of my competitors Expository materials laminated by our “Company” class, helping another learner with his Math in Art project, discussing fractals in feathers, and running down to the foods room so our foods teacher who is doing all the food for the tournament tomorrow can approve of the signs.

Oh yea, I need to eat, too. A granola bar as I walk to the foods room will have to suffice.

11:57 – 1:11: 4th period, Advanced Algebra again. This class is the same as 1st period, but I have extremes. Extremely smart mixed with special education learners. The matrix multiplication goes much more difficult for some of the learners, but half the class finishes what the first period did with 20 minutes to spare. They get the next stage in matrices and Fibonacci numbers, where we generate F2n numbers and F3n numbers by using the patterns of the numbers. This is really cool, but VERY advanced, requiring multiplication of matrices with a formal notation instead of numbers. I am dreading how this will go with the special ed learners. I will need to ladder it severely.

5 minute passing period, stand in the hallway and help 3 different learners with problems from class. 2 of them are not my learners, but they know I will help so they came to me to get some quick help. Nice.

1:16 – 2:30: 5th period, AP Statistics. Small class, only 24 in this class. We reviewed the material from last class, “Star Wars and Statistics” which is several statistics problems couched in the Star Wars Universe. I like it, especially since my whole room is covered in giant Star Wars banners. Then we review what R-squared means, get the notes into our INB’s and spend the last 15 minutes reviewing for the exam that is on Monday.

School’s out!  On to speech and debate.

2:30 – 4:35: My competitors show up and we practice speeches and work on credibility and confidence in speaking. The last competitor leaves at 4:35. Now it is me time.


Okay, someone not a teacher would think I would be done, but no. I still have grading, getting grades into the computer, and more importantly, I am hosting the Northern NV Forensics League tournament Friday and Saturday this week, so I have more to do for that than grading. I will have to delay the grading and move on to the tournament’s needs.

Now I can begin getting my list together for Costco. I have the list typed, but since I didn’t have time to get a Purchase Order, I will be spending my own money on the materials, and then wait to get reimbursed later. Good thing I have an extra couple hundred bucks in the account to take care of that.


Well, it is 4:40, and I am heading to Costco. Let’s see how quickly I can get this done, the coolers from home shoved in my car, and everything else ready to go for tomorrow. I won’t have a chance to head home if  I forget something, so it must be done tonight.

6:20 pm, I am home.

Okay, now it might seem like I am padding things by including the trip for Speech & Debate, but this is the EARLIEST I have been home all week! Yesterday was 6:30pm, with grading brought home that kept me busy until 9 pm. Tuesday was 7 pm!

I picked today because it was my short day. If I had not made the Costco run, I would have made it home around 6:30 to 7:00 pm anyway. The only difference with today is I left some grading at school for tomorrow.

I got off easy today. That is crazy.

 Posted by at 6:26 pm

  One Response to “A day in the life of a Math teacher / debate coach”

  1. Thanks for participating. Chairing your department plus running events sounds like a lot of extra on top of an already busy job. Hope next week goes easier.

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