A Day In The Life of A Middle-School Teacher

A Day In The Life of A Middle-School Teacher

I was planning on having my students do a ‘day in the life’ post for their weekly updates and thought it’d be fun to do the same.


6:00 – Alarm goes off.  I snooze for 6 minutes.

6:06 – Get up, brush my teeth, and put running clothes on.  It’s 52 degrees.  I’m wearing my ‘please don’t run over me’ neon running fleece for the first time this year.  I download a few podcasts before I head out.

6:17 – Begin run.  I use the Nike+ Running app to track mileage.  Listened to The Tim Ferriss Show.  He was interviewing an insane mountain climber / movie maker named Jimmy Chin.  I run 3 miles.

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6:45 – Get home.  Start making breakfast.  2 egg whites and one full egg, black beans, and spinach with balsamic vinegar and honey.  I think about continuing listening to the podcast while I cook but decide to give my brain a little bit of breathing room.

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7:06 – Finish breakfast.  Contemplate whether or not to read my Bible and pray since I usually try to leave for work by 7:25.  I read a chapter in Acts and pray for about 30 seconds.  That 6-minute snooze really threw me off.

7:17 – I take a cold shower.  I started doing it after reading hearing a few folks talk about it in various podcasts (and this guy summarizes the reasons pretty concisely here).  It’s sort of an opportunity you have every day to do something that’s difficult and takes a bit of courage to do, but has no real consequences.  Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘everyday, do something that scares you.’  My cold shower is that for me most mornings.  It’s cut my shower time in half as well.

7:25 – I get dressed for work.  I think about how Steve Jobs had the same outfit everyday because he didn’t want to put any of his mental energy into deciding what to wear each day.  I think about what my ‘everyday outfit’ would be if I had one.  Probably a white collar shirt, black tie, and black slacks.

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7:40 – I pack my premade lunch, say goodbye to Sara, and head out.  I get in the car and get my next podcast playing (The Dave Ramsey Show).  I log my destination in Waze to see which highway is least congested this morning.

8:10 – I arrive at school.  I drop off my lunch in the teachers lounge and get a cup of coffee.  I don’t have a first period on Mondays so I find a spot to work outside for first period.  I have a to-do list but decide to start writing this blog instead.

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8:38 – I start working on school work.  I finish up my plans for my next unit in my 6th grade math class and go over last minute details for todays lessons.

9:09 – I start heading towards my first class of the day.  Pre-Algebra.  Most of these students had me last year in 6th grade math.  I get a bit ambitious in what I try to accomplish.  I want to give them time to finish the assignment we started last time (adding/subtracting integers), look over the assignment together, have our ‘bonus money’ day in our classroom economy, and play a card game review activity for adding/subtracting integers.  We didn’t get to the card game review activity.

9:51 – I head to my second class in a different room.  Also Pre-Algebra.  Do the same stuff as the period before.  They’re a bit anxious about having two quizzes this week.  They’re pretty short quizzes though.  I wanted to make sure we got through the unit before Thanksgiving break.  This leaves us next week to write our blog reflections, review for the test, and take the test.  This group got a little less time for the bonus money.  We’ll spend some time doing that in the beginning of class tomorrow.

10:42 – I head to the third class of the day (back in the same room as my first period).  My last Pre-Algebra class.  Same as above.  They seem a bit more focused than my other classes during the time to finish the assignment.  When reviewing the activity, instead of having students walk through every problem, I show them the key and asked them if they have questions or (my favorite question), what mistakes did they make that they were able to catch.  We’ve created a pretty good culture in the classroom where students are open about the mistakes they made.  They see them as learning opportunities.  A few students share how they made calculation errors in their subtraction or that they added when they were supposed to subtract.  I try to get them to explain the reasons why those are mistakes.  This class got the least amount of time on the bonus money but since it’s right before lunch, some just stay to finish it up.  Also, I asked one of my students to make me a poster displaying when my office hours are.  She went pretty above and beyond and draw a picture of my face on there as well.  It’s pretty good!

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11:27 – I start heading to the lounge to get my lunch but I’m really not hungry.  I end up finding a few students who I had forgotten to email to ask them to come finish their test during lunch today.  I normally don’t hunt down students for office hours (they should take the initiative to come), but I hadn’t communicated to them that I wanted their tests done by lunch today.  I end up returning to my room to continue work on this blog entry.  I figure I can eat lunch at the end of the day.

12:17 – I head to our weekly gathering of middle school students called a Pitso.  I’m a little bit late (tried to grade the papers of the students who finished their test during lunch).  Each week there’s something different at the Pitso.  This week, one of our science teachers gives a talk about the astronomer Carl Sagan since it’s his birthday today.  Pretty amazing stuff when you start exploring the universe.

12:55 – Headed to my next period which was 6th grade math.  I leave the Pitso a bit early to be able to meet students at the door as they enter.  They get their recent test back.  I have a discussion about the growth and fixed mindset before I hand the tests back.  I don’t write their grades on the top of the test and just highlight where they made errors.  I give them about five minutes to review over their test (it was five word problems) and discuss with their neighbors why they may have missed a problem.  We then go over the most commonly missed problem.  I give the rest of classtime for the bonus money transactions as I know this group will take a little longer since it’s their first year to do it.  I have GOT to have them write down their banking user names and passwords early on in the year.  Every time we do something with the classroom economy, a handful of students can’t remember their login info.

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1:41 – Head to robotics.  Students have been having their robot tell a story or joke using the text on the screen of the robot, lights, sounds, and buttons.  Most have finished.  Some take about 15 minutes just to get their robot put together and the programming software up and running…that’s too long.  Next class we will start our next project; they have to program a robot that can find search and find gold (aka: yellow paper) on their table.  They use a color sensor for that.

2:25 – Once class is over, I go to the lounge to eat lunch and check in with email.  I have fajita chicken thighs, pinto beans, broccoli, and spinach.

3:00 – Leave to head to the dentist.  Listen to the podcast The Art of Manliness.  It’s an episode on the prevelance of microaggressions, honor, dignity, and the victim culture.  I arrive at the dentist for a cleaning.  So much bleeding.  I really need to floss.  The dentist didn’t even ask if I did.

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4:03 – I arrive at home.  Sara’s working until 8pm. I check email and look into a few voiceover jobs that came in during the day.

4:51 – I realize I can’t work on the voiceover jobs without more info from the clients.  I start watching YouTube videos.

5:02 – One of my clients messages me back!  I start reading through the script to prepare the voiceover.

7:05 – I finish up recording two voice overs.  One is for a math curriculum that involves animation videos (this was my first math curriculum voiceover), and another is a voicemail for a math tutoring company.  It’s weird, I never get math or school related voiceover jobs and I got two today.  I finish editing and processing the voicemail one and still have to go through the curriculum one and take out my mistakes and process the audio.

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7:10 – I start making dinner.  A low-carb eMeals recipe: mushroom and apple turkey burgers.  I cook slowly knowing Sara probably won’t be home until 8.  She gets home right at 8.

8:10 – We eat together and talk about our day.  I overdid it on the steak seasoning.  There’s one patty for leftovers.

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8:35 – Sara volunteers to do the dishes since I cooked.  I return to blogging.  She starts studying Baby 411; she says you don’t learn the basics of baby care in residency, just what to do if a child has Diamond Blackfan anemia. 2015-11-09 21.26.08


9:45 – I set up a t0-do list for tomorrow morning when I get to school during my off period.  I make a quick slide show for my 6th grade math class lesson.

10:05 – I get sucked into the Facebook/YouTube/Twitter hole.  I’ve been coming back to a vlogger who does all these funny vlogs with his family.  The channel is called ShayTards and the videos are pretty great.  Just saw him and his wife do a podcast together called ‘When The Kids Go To Sleep‘ where they talk about relationships, religions, work, friends, etc.  I’d heard of him a while back but then saw him cameo in Casey Neistat’s vlog (who does these insanely well put together vlogs DAILY).  Subscribed to both:)

10:27 – I head upstairs and get ready for bed.  No guilt about not flossing tonight.  I plan on going to the gym in the morning so I pack my gym back with my school clothes.  I take a gummy melatonin and read Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire for a little while.

11:07 – I turn off the light and go to sleep 🙂


So a few weeks after initially writing this post, I made two videos that were the same idea of a day in the life of.  Check them out if you’re interested 🙂

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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  • Isabel

    Do you still enjoy what you do? Would you change anything? Pros and cons of being a middle school teacher?

    Thinking of becoming one and I liked your blog!
    Goodluck and thanks

    • I do. I really like my school and that is a big part of it. It’s a lot easier to burn out when you don’t feel you have a supportive admin or you have a challenging student population. Pros – middle schoolers are sweet and still excited about learning, but are also getting old enough to have a more developed sense of humor; you can talk to them a little more like adults. Cons – by 8th grade, they can be a bit more oppositional and feeling too cool for school.

      Thanks for reading and stopping by 🙂 I have a lot of videos of my time as a middle school teacher on my YouTube Channel as well – http://www.youtube.com/gibsonedu

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