A Day in the Life of a High School Teacher :: End of the School Year Edition

…is the usual response I get from anyone who hears that I teach high school English. Yes, a majority of my students are taller than me. Yes, they are full-on emotional. And goofy. And challenging. At the end of each day, 128 students have walked through my classroom door. Each student has their own life story, their own attitude toward school, and their own attitude toward me and my class. I care for each and every one of them. Now that I am a parent, I see them all someone’s baby — granted, big babies now — and I do not take that fact lightly.

Here is a glimpse of a typical day, specifically at the end of the school year.A Day in the Life of a High School Teacher

4:45 AM

Alarm goes off.

5:00 AM

Alarm goes off.

 5:15 AM

Alarm goes off. I finally climb out of bed, get ready, pack my lunch, and make my coffee. Today it’s an extra large iced coffee. I know I’m going to need it.

Drive to work Within an hour, I kiss my husband and sleeping child goodbye, and I’m out the house and on the way to school. Usually I’ll listen to an audiobook, and today it’s We Were the Lucky Ones. I am trying so so so hard not to cry because I don’t want to be “that teacher crying in her car before school.”

6:45 AM

Check my email and make a note to send make up work to the front office for a student who will be out the rest of the week. I follow up with some IEPs I’m writing and make a to do list for the rest of the week.

  8:00 AM

I clear multiple paper jams from the copy machine as I try to make copies of my exam. As I watch the copy machine spit out page after page, I ponder the meaning of life. Just kidding. I wish I had brought that stack of papers off my desk if I had known it’d take this long.

copy machine8:30 AM

While reviewing grammar concepts with my 9th grade English class, I belt out a few lines to Enrique Iglesias’s “Hero.” This simultaneously entertains and mortifies my class. I, once again, answer the “What is going to be on our final test?” question for the fiftieth time.

9:15 AM

I greet my next class and give a boy 24 hour notice to shave before he earns himself a detention. I have officially crushed his dreams of wanting to grow a beard this summer — his words, not mine.messy desk busy teacher

10:05 AM

It’s my second planning period, but not really. I report to my assigned testing room to help proctor (aka be the warm body in the testing room). To maintain my sanity, I alternate between pacing the room, standing in a corner, and counting the ceiling tiles.

11:00 AM

Lunch time! I have exactly 25 minutes.

11:45 AM

Another 9th grade English class. We are finishing the novel Fahrenheit 451, and I feel like I am dragging all 30 of them to the finish line. In spite of this, we have a pretty good class discussion. No one fell asleep, so I’ll take that as a small victory.

the bell12:30 PM

During the Academic Preparation Period (think Study Hall), I work with a small group of students who were specifically placed in my class for extra help. I meet with them one by one, check their grades, and work to create a game plan for the rest of the year. The highlight was a student proudly showing me the grades he pulled up to Cs. When students are only aiming to pass, Cs are GOLDEN.

1:00 PM

This class is super rowdy. The ONE thing that gets them quiet and back on track is my bell. I stand at the from of the classroom and ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding it until they are all focused on me. They hate it which makes it super effective. They tested this morning, so I have them grab their books and head outside to read.

2:41 PMfinal countdown

My 7th hour always seems the shortest; probably from the afternoon announcements shaving about 6-7 minutes off the end. When the bell rings, they all rush out as I yell “Have a great afternoon! Make good choices!” behind them.

I spend the next hour grading papers, answering emails, and working on creating my final tests before I leave to pick up my son. Even though I still have papers to grade, I leave them all on my desk. Work stays at work. Family time is limited during the week, and I keep that time sacred.

4:15 PM

My favorite part of the day! I pick my son up from his preschool. He tells me random tidbits about his day and animal facts as we drive home. Even though it is only a ten minute drive, I make sure to bring a snack and drink for him in the car.

favorite part of the day6:00 PM

I have changed into comfy clothes, snuggled with my son on the couch, vegged out, and cooked dinner. On particularly long days, I’ll try to take a power nap. Other days we rush back out the house to karate class.

7:00 PM

I put my son through the bath as my husband washes the dishes and clears the kitchen. Evenings are definitely a team effort. I feel motivated today, so I head to the gym. I’m lucky if I push myself to get to the gym three times a week. I try to remind myself that it’s the end of the year, and soon I’ll have summertime to get back into my workout routine.

9:00 PM

I’ve run through the shower and gotten ready for bed. I read a few bedtime stories to my son before it’s lights out. Tonight he wants to snuggle, so I let him stay in my bed. I know once he falls asleep he won’t see me again until I pick him up from school the following day.

Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


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