Sunday, August 24, 2014

My First Three Weeks of Teaching

Hello :) You probably think that I have completely forgotten this blog. I haven't completely forgotten it, it has just been sitting on the back burner for the last 6 weeks or so while Ben and I have been having some adventures.

In case you missed it. I am a first grade teacher. That has been consuming my life since July 14th. That day, my mom and my sister (who were in town visiting/taking my littlest brother to EFY) helped me set up my classroom. The first day all we basically did was set up the furniture in the way that I wanted it and organized my classroom library. I was left an entire bookshelf (plus quite a few more boxes) of books in addition to the box or two that I had started to accumulate. It was really nice to have my mom and sister help me organize and set things up. They helped me for two days put together my classroom and I was so grateful for them to help me!

The rest of that week I had BYU intern meetings and district new hire meetings. Really exciting stuff (she wrote oozing with sarcasm). I did learn a lot though, and those meetings seemed to calm my fears about teaching. The next week was back to school week for the teachers. My principal is awesome and instead of having all of our inservice meetings on one or two days and only having a few days in our classrooms, she only had 1-2 meetings for no more than an hour every day so we had plenty of time to be in our classrooms and get things ready.

Since I have not graduated from BYU, I am technically still a student. But I still get to teach as if I were a "real" teacher. Instead of doing the traditional student teaching for a semester, I have been blessed to receive an internship position. (More on that crazy story back here.) This means that I am the teacher; I have my own class, not someone else's. I will be teaching for the entire school year and I will be getting paid half salary of a first year teacher. I teach at Falcon Ridge Elementary in West Jordan, Utah. The school that I am at follows a year-round schedule. This means that I teach for x number of weeks and am off for y number of weeks. I started out just teaching 3 weeks (first day was July 28 and last day was August 15) and now I am "off-track" until September 9th when I go back to work and I will start teaching again on September 10th.

So far I am loving first grade! My kids are sweet and I already love them to pieces. I am excited for what the rest of this school year brings and the experiences we will have together.

Now for answers to the most frequently asked questions (and other things I want to remember about my first few weeks of teaching):

  • How long is your commute?
    • My school is 42 miles northwest of my apartment in Provo. It takes between 45 min and an hour each way depending on when I leave my house or school. Normally I can get to school in 45-50 min. in the morning and it normally takes me about an hour to get home. 
  • What time do you leave your house?
    • I typically leave my apartment between 6:15 and 6:20 am.
  • What time do you wake up?
    • I try to wake up at 5:00 am but I normally get up around 5:15 am, no later than 5:30 am though.
  • What time do you get home?
    • Typically I get home between 5:00 and 5:30 depending on what time I leave school. As long as I leave before 4:30, I can miss the heavy part of rush hour. 
  • What are your hours at school?
    • I am contracted to be at my school from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. I try to get to school by 7:15 am, but I'm usually earlier. I find it easier to get things done in the morning than after school. I normally leave school between 4:15 and 4:30 depending on what I have to do and how many people come talk to me after school. 
  • How long does it take you to plan your lessons?
    • My first week plans I had been doing over the course of 2 months so I'm not quite sure how many hours it took to plan them. My second week plans took 5+ hours to prepare and my third week lessons took 4-5 hours to plan. During my off track time, I'm hoping to plan through the first week I'm back on track (I start teaching on a Wednesday) plus the next two weeks. We'll see how it goes. I like to play by subject rather than by day. For example, I'll plan all of my math lessons at once, then I'll move onto shared reading, writing, language arts centers, science/social studies, etc. 
  • How do you stay balanced?
    • When I'm at work I do as much work as I can. When I'm home, I try to do only what I have to do. Typically in the evenings when I come home, I'll grade some papers and record scores and if I'm feeling ambitions, try planning a few lessons. But typically I save my lesson planning for Saturday and do all/most of it in one day. Ben and I go on at least one date every week and I try to have about an hour where I just relax every night normally I watch a show with Ben or spend time reading my book. I also spend time doing dishes, cleaning our apartment, packing lunches, etc. when I get home in the evenings. This helps me focus on something else besides school. 
    • The first three weeks of teaching I've been in survival mode, thinking that I only had to do 3 weeks then I could get a break. When I go back on track I want to try to develop a better schedule for my planning, doing chores and making time to exercise. 
  • Food?
    • I normally eat my breakfast in the car. The first two weeks of school I had smoothies for breakfast every day. The third week I had banana bread that I ate in the car too. Sometimes I'll also have some yogurt when I get to school and I'm getting things ready for the next day. Typically for lunch I'll have whatever was leftover from dinner the night before plus some fruit and I'll have a granola bar, crackers or yogurt after school before I head home. For dinner, I have something in the Crock Pot or something that I prepared earlier that Ben can just cook in the oven. Ben is super helpful with getting dinner ready and taking care of things since I spend so much time away from home. 
  • Favorite subject to teach?
    • I love teaching social studies, which doesn't surprise me since that was always my favorite subject in school. I also really like teaching art and music (we don't have any speciality teachers at our school except for computers. So I teach art, music and P.E. in addition to the core subjects). The kids absolutely love those subjects which makes it more fun to teach. 
  • Least favorite subject to teach?
    • I would say math, mostly because of the time of day I have to teach it and my kids don't do so well when they have to have such long lessons towards the end of the day. 
  • Biggest pet peeve?
    • Kids leaving class to go to the bathroom and asking when it is time for lunch/recess/to go home. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this Meagan. Helps me to picture what you are doing. By the way I love the pictures from your classroom. I bet you are a terrific teacher.~Bonnie

  2. I totally understand your pet peeve of kids asking how much longer till lunch or time to go home!! I swear it is every kids' favorite question :) It sounds like your first three weeks went well!