A Day in the Life: English Teacher and Coordinator of Student Activities

A Day in the Life: English Teacher and Coordinator of Student Activities was originally published on Firsthand.

I have a BA in Drama, Theatre and Dance from Queens College. I also have an MA in English Literature and an MSec Ed English Grades 7–12, both from Queens College as well. (Can you tell that I loved the school??) Bayside High School is the only school that I have worked at. I started my career here, and I also did my student teaching here.

Here is a typical day for me on Mondays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, I leave Bayside High School at 3:30 PM and privately tutor until 5:00 PM  On Fridays, when we have an event, I am running it with my students (we set up, execute the event, and clean up) and I can leave BHS anywhere from 8:00–9:30 PM

4:45–6:50 AM: Wake up; make coffee and breakfast. Get ready for my day. Pack my lunch and snacks. Check my bag to see that I have my lessons and work for the day.

7:00–7:15AM: Arrive at school; put my bags down and head to my classroom. Put the Agenda on the board for my Leadership class. The Agenda for class depends on what we just did in school. For example, we just did Grade Wars. Immediately after an event, we do something called a Project Evaluation where we see what worked, what didn't, and what we can improve upon. We have three big events coming up in the next six weeks, so two days of the week are devoted to working in committees to see what needs to get done. They discuss in class so when the students come into the office to do work, they know what to do. Mondays and Thursdays I usually teach a Leadership lesson, and on Friday, we do a class activity/ bonding activity. I also give reminders to the class when I see them in Leadership, and that goes under my “reminders” right before we discuss our Agenda for the day.

7:15–8:00 AM: Leadership class. The Leadership class is composed of 44 students; there are students from all grade levels in the class. In order to join the class, students have to apply in May to be considered for the Fall roster. There is an application to fill out, with a questionnaire, a section for Teacher Recommendations, as well as an essay that the candidates have to write. Then, there is an interview process where I get to see how the students not only interact with me, but with each other. Once they are in the class, they learn how to develop their leadership potential. Everyone can be a leader. This class also helps me plan school-wide events. They also help me set up, run, and then clean up after an event. We have a motto in class, “Go hard or go home,” so we have very high expectations. We give everything 110 percent, and when we don't, we see where we slipped up. Students can stay in the class all four years of high school; if they start slacking off, they are warned in writing three times, and then they are either removed from the class, or they are asked to re-apply for the class. Students in the class are also mandated to do service in the Student Organization Office because that's their “hub,” so to speak. They have all art supplies there, as well as whatever else they need to make sure an event is done to the best of their ability.

8:00–11:15 AM: Work in the Student Organization office as the Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA). I organize events for the entire student body (3,200 students). I check my voicemail, answer and write emails, speak with students about various things, check to see how event planning is going with my Leadership class, etc. I run the office that is made up of four Grade Advisors, a secretary and the school treasurer. I discuss a lot of things with my students. I seem to be a quasi-guidance counselor, helping them cope with college choices, relationships, grades and school, and things like that. But a lot of times we talk about how we can develop better and stronger bonds with each other in class, what is working and what isn't, and how to improve communication. Because we are such a large class, we need to communicate, and effectively. The students, being in committees, are forced to work with each other and after being immersed in a project, they are oftentimes forced to step up and communicate. They have to step out of their shells, and it's great to witness their growth after two to three years.

11:15 AM–12:00 PM: Teach my 11th graders; we are currently reading Shakespeare'sMacbeth.

12:00–2:40PM: Back to my office to continue my duties as the COSA; lunch is from 12:151:00 PM:

2:45–3:30PM: Meeting with my Student Organization Council on Tuesdays to go over upcoming school events, fundraisers, and community service projects; other days, I continue working in the office with my students or I grade until I am too drained to stay any longer. We have events every month:

  • September:  Spirit Week, Pep Rally, Homecoming
  • October:  Movie Night and Pumpkin Festival
  • November:  Think Pink Fashion Show and Canned Food Drive
  • December:  Multicultural Festival, Leadership Dinner and Fall Blood Drive
  • January:  Fundraising of some sort
  • February:  Respect for All Week
  • March:  Spring Blood Drive, Family Feud, Senior Week, and Girls Empowerment Week
  • April:  Grade Wars, Spring Pep Rally, NY Cares Day, Teacher Talent Show
  • May:  Carnival
  • June:  Freshmen Orientation, S.O. Elections and Leadership Dinner

Every few months, we do a fundraiser or a community service project. Also, we have clubs who put on events like shows and whatnot, and Leadership is somehow helping out as well.  So, we are busy all the time!!!

4:00–5:00 PM: Work out at the gym.

5:30–8:30 PM: Go home, cook, eat dinner, and do the dishes. Then shower and start getting ready for bed.

8:30–9:00 PM: Check school email and make my to-do list for the following day.

9:00–9:30 PM:  Read in bed until I fall asleep.

By Firsthand
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