Read the curriculum guide and follow the standards. Come up with some engaging problem-based learning ideas. Differentiate. Use some computers and cool web 2.0 tools so that your classroom doesn't become dangerously irrelevant. Assess students in authentic ways. Talk about collaboration and critical thinking. Easy stuff, right?
A day in the life of Mr. Smith:
2nd period ends in frustration. The computer cart checked out in Mr. Smith's name for the class period was not where it was supposed to be. In fact, Cart A ended up being in Mr. Craig's room, even though he hadn't checked out the cart for the past three days. Go figure. Two senior boys enjoyed their time walking the school hallways looking for it though. It took an announcement over the PA to find Cart A. So much for giving students time in class to write about their data collection and analysis project ideas and submit them via Moodle. If only every student had a computer of their own, this wouldn't be a problem.
Betsy walks in shortly before the 3rd period bell. She's been out for the past week due to surgery and came back yesterday, but Mr. Smith didn't have time to catch up with her one-on-one. Today is the chapter test and Betsy still has several unanswered questions even though she completed most of her homework assignments before she left. In mid-sentence, Mr. Smith is interrupted by Jenny who informs him that she will be gone to Hawaii next week for vacation and needs her make-up work tomorrow.
The bell rings.
Students begin their warm-up problem and check their answers to last night's homework. Five different students have five different questions about the review assignment. The rest of the class yawns or dozes off while Mr. Smith takes time to go over these five problems before the test. Mr. Smith applauds the six unnamed students who took the time to come in before school to get help on the review assignment and encourages ALL students to follow suit in the future.
It's time for the test to begin. Mr. Smith tells the students to get out their formula sheet (also known to students as their "toilet paper"...don't ask why) and clear their desks. Thanks to a last minute print job, Mr. Smith informs the students about a typo on page three of the test.
Finally, students begin the test.
Mr. Smith circles the room for a few minutes and then checks his email. Mr. Lair, the principal, has sent out a friendly reminder about Mr. Smith's role in the next day's staff meeting. Great. Something else to work on tonight in addition to checking the tests. Mr. Smith fires an email back, "sounds great. I'll make it happen!" A few minutes later, the office secretary calls - James needs to leave right now. His mom is ready to take him to his doctor's appointment and needs to leave within two minutes. A quick discussion about finishing the test takes place between James and Mr. Smith. Suzie walks up to Mr. Smith, "What am I supposed to do with the test when I'm done?" Mr. Smith rolls his eyes and points to the red basket.
Five minutes later, Lance raises his hand and whispers, "Do I have this problem setup right?"
Mr. Smith responds, "If I answered that question, I'd have to put MY name on your test. I can't tell you the answer to that question."
The bell rings.
Mr. Smith's day has just begun. He thinks to himself, "I thought teaching was supposed to be easy."