A Day in the Life of a Teacher

After a long meeting the night before, I let myself sleep in a little bit before starting in on my email. As John [Cooper] leaves for school, I get up and get my glass of water…and my chai tea. I don’t have my first class until 11:25, so tucking in at home for a bit gives me a bit of uninterrupted time to get some work done. Remembering that we will play our [Girls Varsity Soccer] game tomorrow on turf, a surface on which we don’t usually play, I reach out to the [athletic directors] and boys’ coaches to see if we can share some time on Sprole. Responses make it clear that we’ll have to go for a night practice if we want the turf, so I check in with my fellow coaches, and they agree it is worth it. I send an email to the team presenting all the positives. I’ll have time after school to think about what exactly we’ll want to do. Anna [Hay Friedman]’s email reminds me that I’m speaking in her storytelling class tomorrow.  I have to think about what I want to tell a story about.  I’m not sure.  I’ve got to make sure to check the mail and get the slip for the meal money and then go get the meal money. I’ve got to do that today, as I don’t think the student bank is open tomorrow.  I see no email with any update about German [Perez]. I feel such haunting sadness about the torture his family is going through as they hope for him to be found. Ginny [Faus] has written about the Misch staff trying to figure out who some man associated with the Catholic church is who says he wants to place an ad in the yearbook. I reach out to a Hotchkiss-connected Canton family to see if they know him. I am reminded that John and I are on duty tonight. I’ll be late because of night practice, but I need to let Brant [Hadzima] know that even though he needs to cover a night for Charlie [Frankenbach], it does not need to be tonight. John and I can do it. I write to Brant. I see Sophie’s email about why she was not at practice yesterday. I write her back, tell her we missed her. A Lower Mid parent needs permission to take her son [off campus] this weekend. I reach out to let her know the weekend is approved. Time to shower and get to school before class.

I’ve missed Friday auditorium again, but I still have so many emails to get through, I guess it is okay for me to steal the time I can. I’m feeling a little better about my 250 class. The smaller table is helping, and everyone seems a bit more engaged, and just, honestly, like there is a bit more earnestness and honest good will. I quickly learn it’s Nina’s birthday; she is sixteen. I ask her if I can give her a hug and do. Sixteen is special. Every birthday is. I’m glad the kids have made the table smaller as I asked them to. We get right to Caesar, and even though I can’t answer all of their questions, we do a pretty good job of working together to find the answers we’re seeking. I’m excited for the plenary and appreciative of Parker [Reed]’s work to provide us with live renditions of the scenes we are looking at. The bell rings, but the kids are not packing their bags. In fact, they stay and continue to read just a bit after the bell. We’re making progress.

Off to a deans’ meeting…and planning for next week’s events. Talk of night games, and being good hosts and providing food. Liz and I have our first advisee/advisor lunch the next period, so I plant myself in the dining hall, and end up talking with Roger [Wistar] and Sarinda [Wilson], marveling at the Kavanaugh hearings, the AD in Texas who says “girls are to blame for everything, just think about Adam and Eve,” as well as then delight in the video Brady has sent of the bears on the Westminster campus. I still don’t know what story to tell in Anna’s class. Back to my office for the first time today; I find a treat from another advisee and a note from another. I missed them both. I still haven’t read the email from Heather [Perrenoud] following up on our meeting last night, but now it’s time for my Senior class. I’m excited to see what they have to say about our story. High/low seems a good idea at the end of the week, but we lose some time, and our discussion of a really good story is good, but not as detailed as I had hoped, but they’re ready to move along, so we will.  I need to copy the story for them right after school and then remember to send a Canvas announcement to remind them to pick it up. Okay…that’s done.

Now practice. One of my players comes in and needs to talk. She is not having a good day, and so much of what she is feeling is really hard. She’s struggling to express herself; I’m trying to understand and trying to push some and listen hard. I want her to know she is not alone, and that I see her struggle.  That I think she is brave. I think of the things we all carry that no one knows a thing about. I ask her to come with me to get the equipment. I don’t want her to be alone, and I want to keep her close a little longer. Her friend comes and we figure out what we’ll do for practice. I like when the kids own what we’ll do….or even just part of it. I know that tomorrow’s opponent will be tough, but I think we can win the game if we play well and with confidence. I want to continue to build positive energy. I think about the Lower Mid who has written me and asked to talk.  She is thinking about what I said at class meeting. I haven’t written her back yet, but I will, and I do want to talk to her. I’m curious about why exactly my words resonated. Okay…gotta change and get to practice. Happy for another advisee that her time with her dad, doing what really interests her and what is his passion and profession, was shared. Sorry for her angst. Off to get the equipment from the shed…to meet the player who has had the long day and to help the managers get the water down to the field. Sara [DeMarsilis] comes to help…much appreciated. The air feels good, and it is a pretty night, even if mostly cloudy.  The mood is good, positive, and the decision to be on Sprole, even for a night practice, feels right. We laugh; the girls are beautiful as they play. I learn that others have had long days too, but that somehow it melts away a little when we are together for soccer. Practice is over, and as a few girls stay to shoot, our goalie takes a ball in the face. She is okay, but I drive her to the health center and ask her, please, to text me. She forgets, but I will call the health center later and learn that she stayed only briefly and went on her way. I think she is okay.

I head off to duty in the main building, and a meeting with a Lower Mid I really want to talk to, check in with. I want to understand more about what has been happening for him. I’m glad to see he is there, and even more glad that he is open about his life. It has been a tough start, but he is making positive steps to a better place. I have to write to the clean-up crew and order some dinner from the snack bar. I buy a snack for a Lower Mid who didn’t get dinner. I see John, talk to Daniel [Smith], who has done good work to recognize those who have given so much to the school. I knock off a bit of email. When the clean-up crew comes, they impress me with the desire to actually vacuum the crumbs and mess in the game room. We are lucky to have the kids we do. The building empties at ten without John or me having to say a word. He and I linger in the senior quad, talking for the first time today and watching the folks in the snack bar and the dining hall caterers finish up after a long day. We steal a couple bites of the cheesecake, left over from the dinner, pack up and head home. Have to get up early to go meet a soccer/hockey prospect visiting tomorrow, but first I have to write that “day in the life” piece for The Record…and now, time for bed. My papers still aren’t graded and my kids’ journals still aren’t read. Maybe this Sunday…..and oh, shoot, I keep forgetting to send the names of the kids who will be on the class council. I’ll do that now. And what story should I tell????