One thing a high school teacher is always curious to find out? Their schedule. There are so many advantages and disadvantages to having certain class periods. My first year teaching, I didn't have a first period. I liked that because it meant I didn't have to hit the ground running. I could come in, leisurely check my mail box and my email and settle into my day. Last year, I had a first year period and I liked it because those kids are sleepy and QUIET! This year, I don't have a first period and I'm fine with that.
I learned my first year that having a class the last period of the day sucks. Kids are fried, hopped up on the sugar they ate at lunch and basically done when they walk in your class. Another great thing about not having a class last period is that you have the option to sign out early (or sneak out early...of course I have never done that). Both last year and this year, I have kids the last period every day. Oh well....
My other planning period is midday and it is when lunch happens. This always seems like a super extended planning period to me because I usually just eat lunch in my classroom. "Planning Period" sounds like more fun than it is. First off, think about how fast an hour goes by when you are in your office working on something (versus when you are on Facebook trying to kill time). Then, there is something called "duty". Your duty takes up HALF of your planning period. Some duties are conducive to getting work done (hall duty is great for grading papers) and some are hell on earth where you will do nothing but pray that it will be over soon (lunch duty). So, once you have walked to and from duty, that really leaves you about 30-40 minutes of planning time.
Which leads me to "Teacher Work Days." Ever wonder what we do on those days? I bet you think those days are fun, leisurely days where we grade papers and get our grades in, right? Nope. Those days usually require that we have our grades in by 10:00 a.m. and then the rest of the time we are in meetings or trainings. How about "Teacher Work Week," which starts Monday for us? That's not a week of us getting our classrooms ready, doing lesson plans, getting all of our copies made and organized for the first day. Well, we do that but we only have about 6 hours in our classrooms that whole week. The rest of the time? Yep, meetings and trainings.
"But you get the whole summer off!" Yes, I do. However, I offer you this: My contract is for a little over $39,000.00 this year. I taught summer school so that knocked out three weeks (see previous sentence about my yearly income). Summer is also when we take classes required for our recertification. Last but not least, our job is really exhausting and stressful. I know many people have stressful, exhausting jobs, but most of those people make more than I do and can afford nice vacations. Also, imagine that you get bronchitis and have to call in sick. Maybe you have the option to telecommute or be conferenced in for meetings. If not, your office is just going to have to suck it up, postpone meetings, have a coworker fill in, whatever. I have to get a sub (no easy feat at my school), create lesson plans for my sub and pray that my students don't assault the sub (it has happened). Being out for more than one day is really more hassle than it's worth. My first year teaching, I got pneumonia. I missed one day. Did I mention I only make $39,000.00 a year??