A Teacher’s Week

I’m still tired.  Last week was a big one, work-wise.

For my main teaching job, I show up by 7 AM, and the last class ends at 2 PM.  That’s a 35-hour week.  Not bad.  Most years I sell one of my two prep periods and teach an extra class–it lowers class sizes for the school and boosts my paycheck–but this year my school didn’t do that, so I have even more productive time during the school day (but, alas, a lower salary).

I also teach part time at UNLV–usually two freshman writing classes per semester.  This time I have those classes on Tuesday and Thursday, from 5:30 until 8:15.  On those nights, I get home around 9:00.  I use the time between the two schools for office hours–grading papers, mostly.

Except that during midterm week I was asked by the college to take over a class from another teacher who had been let go for some reason.  This is actually the third year this has happened.  Anyway, the new class starts at 2:30, so after my last high school class, I have to rush down to the other campus like crazy, just so I can be three minutes late every day.  Still, I think the new class is going pretty well.

So, including my three official office hours each week, that adds 11 hours to my work week, bringing it up to 46.

I’m also a speech and debate coach, and last week we had one of our monthly, district-wide tournaments.  This requires me to go straight from my last class on Friday to another school, where I manage my team until about 8:00 that night, though this time it ran long and I didn’t get out of there until almost 10:00.  On Saturday, I was there from 7:00 AM until 9:00 PM.  For that week, this brought the total hours to 68 hours.

68 hours.  That’s a long week.  I’m not complaining–I love what I do, and I’ve worked hard to be exactly where I am–nor am I trying to impress you or make a point about “education today”–many people work far more than I do, and at harder jobs, and my experience doesn’t really illustrate any larger points, anyway.

But there is this: I saw my 18-month old daughter Sunday morning for the first time since Wednesday afternoon.  That’s still not as bad as one week last Spring, where I sat down for dinner with my family on Sunday night and realized that I hadn’t had dinner with them since the last Sunday night.  That week was bad.

Part of me–the OCD part–wants to round that 68 hours from last week up to 70.  It wouldn’t be hard.  I spent an hour before work on Wednesday and Friday last week at the gym.  There’s two hours, though working out isn’t really “work.”

I also teach a Sunday School class at church–with the preparation I do, that’s another two hours each week.  Again, not really “work”–I tell scripture stories and sing songs with 7-year-olds.

But more and more often these days, I just wake up in the middle of the night and work–this week, more than one college student got an email from me with notes on their newly-graded papers in the 3 AM hour.

This week is better, though.  This week is just the regular 46 hours.  And next week…well, with Thanksgiving, next week will only be 28 hours.

Except, of course, for all the other work I’ll do at home, anyway.  Papers don’t get graded, and lesson plans don’t get written, when you’re on the clock.