By Sabrina Bartels
During my last two years of undergrad, I shared an apartment with four other girls. And by the time we all graduated with our various degrees, two of us dove headfirst into the world of education. Caroline became an elementary school teacher, (3rd grade, to be exact) and I became a middle school counselor.
The five of us text and chat all the time, but Caroline and I often talk one-on-one about work. We each have our fair share of kids that range from sassy to silly to sweet. The fact that our students are three to four years apart doesn’t seem to matter; we always manage to find common ground in terms of antics. And when we can’t laugh, we find that by simply telling the other person what kind of crazy day it was, we can walk away feeling a little bit better. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to Caroline on the phone, then hung up and said to myself, “Well, it could’ve been worse. I could’ve had Caroline’s kids today.”
One day, I was telling Caroline all about my crazy day, and she laughed and told me to write a blog about it. Challenge accepted. Here is what one day in the life of a middle school counselor is like:
5:30 am: Wake up. Grumble at alarm for waking me up at this crazy hour. Hit snooze.
5:40 am: Wake up. Mentally wonder why in the world I chose a profession that involves me waking up this early. Consider changing jobs to something that lets me sleep in until 7 am, at least. Remember that I have an awesome job. Finally crawl out of bed.
6:30 am: Leave for work. Time to rock out to Luke Bryan on my drive in! (Also, a great time to eat my granola bar.)
7 am: First IEP meeting.
7:45 am: IEP meeting still in progress …
8:30 am: IEP meeting ends with student storming out of the room.
9 am: Second IEP meeting.
9:30 am: Meeting ends. I run to the copy machine to print off my documents for the next class.
10 am: Teach class. I love this class. I love these kids. I love the fact that my co-teacher is calm and rational while I feel like such a flake running around. Today, we are having the kids take an assessment about their skills.
10:20 am: Laugh hysterically as one student declares that she wants to be a veterinarian who never has to deal with people. Hmm …
10:40 am: As I am walking out of class, I see a student crying in the halls. Try to coax student to my office, but student doesn’t want to go. Instead, we sit on the floor in the hallway and work on ways to calm down.
11 am: Student is calm enough to walk to my office, and we talk about the awful situations going on at home.
11:15 am: Student leaves my office. I have three voicemails waiting for me. I listen to those, and call the first person back.
11:16 am: A teacher comes to talk to me about one of their students.
11:18 am: Get off phone, talk to teacher. When we are discussing the situation this boy is dealing with, we both tear up a little.
11:30 am: Teacher leaves office. Time for lunch duty!
11:38 am: Our PBIS external coach (the PBIS coach for the entire district) comes to talk to me about my new role for the PBIS team.
11:39 am: We are walking to my office and a student shouts that she is going to leave the school building, and walks out the door. I follow her.
11:45 am: Student grabs her bike and starts to ride away. I jog after her. Good thing I’m wearing high heels that I can run in!
11:46 am: Administration follows. They pursue her. I give up my chase as they follow her, finally getting her to stop and talk to them.
11:50 am: Get on phone and call student’s parents about her leaving.
12 pm: Open yogurt. Yummm …
12:01 pm: Get phone call that a bunch of my students are involved in some sort of drama, and I am needed to mediate. Time to go upstairs!
12:05 pm: After convincing the girls to stop arguing in class, the three of them march to my office where they promptly resume their screaming match.
12:06 pm: I intervene by telling all of them to sit down and knock it off.
12:15 pm: Girls walk out, a little bit calmer. Walk them back to class.
12:16 pm: Another student is having a meltdown in the hall.
12:45 pm: Student stops crying and yelling. I send him back to class.
12:47 pm: The yogurt that’s sitting on my desk is still good, right?
1 pm: Remember those three voicemails from around 11:15? I finally call those people back.
1:45 pm: Student Services meeting to discuss RtI.
2:15pm: Go support one of my Special Education students in his class.
2:45 pm: One of our wonderful secretaries comes to tell me that I have two new students joining the school tomorrow.
2:46 pm: Start building schedules and emailing teachers to let them know about their new students.
3 pm: Catch up with Special Education teacher about her caseload and some of the students we are struggling with. Time to brainstorm some plans to support them!
3:45 pm: Yep, still at work. Finish building schedules and assigning lockers.
4 pm: As I’m about to leave, one of my students in the after-school program comes over to me, upset about some drama going on.
4:30 pm: Drama solved. Time to go home …
To be fair, this is not an every day occurrence! But some days are just that crazy. What does your typical day look like?