A day in the life: Teacher Edition (Part 3 – Weekend)

One of the things that annoys me most about being a teacher, is probably this reaction: “oh that’s, fun. You get so much free time!”. Quite frankly? No. Just no. People tend to focus so heavily on that one bit where we get the “summer off” (HA! As if!). They completely forget that in exchange for that? Our time off is extremely limited during the year. That probably came through in my Day in the Life Teacher Edition – Teaching day and Day at home. But just to really drive the point home? Here’s what I’m doing / have been doing this weekend!

Roughly, this can be divided into three categories, so naturally, that’s what I’m going to do! The same categories typically apply to all my weekends, although the actual amount of tasks in each category? That one can vary quite a bit!

Deadlines

Being a teacher is never just teaching. For example, you could be asked to help organise open school-days, or to set some time apart for PR-things. Or to write a newsletter. In my case, it’s the latter. Which meant I got to spent the first part of my weekend? Writing a news letter that – while interesting – didn’t technically have anything to do with the classes I was supposed to be planning.

Those classes, by the way, are usually the biggest chunk of this “deadlines”-category. Because, you know, I teach 8 hours on Monday. That’s 8 hours of classes I need to have prepared. And no matter how much of that preparation I do beforehand? You always need to go check your slides are still up to date. All the material has been made available. Oh, and that material, of course, also needs to be up to date.

It’s a lot of small tasks, but they take up a lot of time.

Do you need a specific room for a certain subject? Because, if so? You need to request that way beforehand. Are you doing something that requires any extra preparation? In this case, I’m having a rather large group of students do presentations with peerevaluation. That means I need to prepare the sheets for the peerevaluation, make sure they’re usable for and by each student in my group. Double check that again, because in all likelihood? You probably overlooked something.

It’s a lot of small tasks, but they take up a lot of time.

Other school-work

This consists largely, basically, of correcting. And grading. And all that fun stuff. The tasks I have waiting for me right now: 56 students learned how to make a summary of a TED-talk. Those same 56 students also made “opinion-pieces” based on those summaries. Oh, and they each had to write 4 e-mails, that makes 224 e-mails to check.

Then again, another group – this one consisting of 42 students, also wrote an email each. And they had to write a report. Each. That’s another 84 texts to look at. And of course, before I forget, another group – this one luckily only 10 students – have to write a blog. And they need weekly feedback on everything they’ve written.

I’m a languages’ teacher, so I kind of have to work with a lot of tasks. The only way to learn a language is to use a language and all that jazz. But yeah, that’s 480 text to grade from just the past couple of weeks. It doesn’t quite help that I’ve been sick-ish for about all of those weeks so I haven’t gotten around to correcting as much as I would like to. But even so, if you want to give decent feedback (as in: not just “this is wrong”, but also “why is it wrong” and “what is a better alternative”)? That takes a lot of time.

Oh, and before I forget? I’m supposed to be getting a start on my exams. Because naturally, those are suddenly going to be right in front of me and last term that almost broke me. So starting early is where it’s at. It’s also a lot of extra pressure, though.

Not technically school-work

Also known as: I kind of need to do this to make everything else go right, even if it’s not technically school-work. Like Saturday’s 4-hour tutoring session. Which took 2 hours to get to and back from. And food prep, because during the week? Well, I’m happy if I have the energy left to cook, let alone cut and peel every single vegetable known to man. Oh, and cleaning – because an apartment does still get dirty, even if you feel like you only just cleaned it. And you hardly even left your desk, so God only knows where all that stuff on the sofa came from.

Because if you’re just working non-stop, then what are you even trying to make money for?

And of course – preferably, at least – you’d like to see your family, your friends, your bf, maybe, at some point during all of that. Because if you’re just working non-stop, then what are you even trying to make money for?

Now, all of this is just what I could think of as I was writing this down. No doubt, as soon as I’ve hit “publish”, I’m going to think of at least 7 more things I have to do this weekend. But that’s what I have my planner for. To make sure I don’t completely lose my head through all of this.

Now here’s the question: what do your weekends look like? Are you one of the lucky ones, who get to actually enjoy the free time? Do you have a second job for those days off? Are the weekend-days the ones you’re on, rather than the ones you get to relax. Are you like me, technically free but in reality just stressing? Or something completely else? Be sure to let me know below!

-Saar