Earlier this week, I was looking through my Twitter feed (no surprise there), and quoted a tweet that struck me. It led to this exchange:
I look at this work load as two separate entities: things I do at school and the work I bring home.
In some respects, the work I bring home is not that much more than what I brought home as a coach. In my life before literacy coaching, I was a seventh grade language arts teacher. My home workload for those 18 years was CRAZY! It was not uncommon for me to spend a good 6 hours on Sunday afternoons/evenings grading and planning. As a coach, my homework was mostly reading professional books and journals, doing data analysis after our fall and spring benchmarking, and planning for PD workshops and book studies. Most of my other planning I could do during the school day when I wasn't in classrooms or meeting with teachers. As a third grade teacher, I spend about 45 minutes or less in the evening looking over student work from the day, and on Sundays I spend an hour or two planning and getting ready for the week ahead. I don't mind doing this work at home, because by the end of the school day, I am beat. I need some decompression time!
It's during the school day that I notice a HUGE change in the work load. It's true that I see far fewer students (18 versus the 60 or so I saw daily at the junior high) and I have a paraprofessional with me daily for my literacy and math blocks. However, I am with kids more total minutes each day now as a third grade teacher than I used to be as a JH teacher and definitely as a coach. Teaching elementary school is a full-contact job! My specials periods are 30 minutes each, so after walking the kids to PE or art and then going to pick them up and walk them back after, I lose about 10 minutes. That gives me 20 minutes to make calls, grade, answer emails, check my mailbox, and do all the other things that teachers do during their planning periods. There are days when I think back on my daily 40 to 80 minutes of plan time with great longing. I won't lie.
The mental work of teaching elementary school is also more exhausting. As a middle school teacher, I taught the same lesson multiple times. I could make adjustments to make a lesson go better, but I wasn't teaching something new each period. Now, I teach all subjects, so I NEVER repeat a lesson. Add that to the fact that I am teaching math and science for the first time EVER, and you can see why my brain is exhausted at the end of the day.
That being said, I LOVE my new gig. I find learning the new curriculum and working with my grade level team to be invigorating. Third graders are sponges that soak up everything. They are excited about learning. They laugh when I'm goofy - and I can BE goofy with them in ways I never could be with older kids. I have learned this year that I NEED to be in the company of children daily. I might get tired, but it's the good kind of tired.
So there you go, Dana. My long answer to your short question!
Now.. who has a question for me to answer tomorrow?