I thought I would explain here what an average day at my placement looks like. I serve as a building substitute, DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) teacher, and after-school worker at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. Here’s a rough schedule of what my days are like:
I try to wake up at 7:00 am to have coffee and breakfast before heading to the school, which is right next to the Sycamore House. Since it’s a short walk, I usually go to the school around 8:25 am. At 8:30 am, I sign in and my workday begins. The front office lets me know each day whether I will be subbing that day. If a teacher is out, I could walk into the office to sign in and be told to immediately head over to a classroom for the day. This past week, I subbed for first-grade and third-grade. Once I get to the classroom, I usually receive sub plans and go from there.
If I don’t have to substitute that day, I begin logging the temperature checks (a Covid-19 precaution the school takes) into a database. Once I finish that, I work on sorting the school lunches and taking any extra food we have to the community pantry outside the school. If I still have extra time, I disinfect the school. I can also use this time to pop in and out of classrooms, asking whether any teachers would like support.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) classes in the mornings. This is largely independent reading time, and each student silently reads a book of their choice during this time. I help students check out ebooks from the library system, and give reading recommendations as well. When I’m not helping a student, I take out a book of my own and read with them.
After my morning duties and DEAR classes, I deliver lunches to classrooms. Due to the pandemic, students stay in their classrooms for lunch instead of spreading out across a cafeteria. Once the lunches are delivered, I head to my first lunch duty at 11:35 am. My first lunch duty is with third-grade. After this, I go to fifth-grade lunch duty at 12:10 pm. Once both my lunch duties are done, I have a lunch break myself. Normally I head back to the Sycamore House for this, considering how close it is to the school. At 1:15 pm, I am back in the school and sign back in at the front office.
In the afternoons, I do phonemic awareness interventions with small groups of students. I like working with students in small groups because it allows me to get to know the students better. I motivate the students with games like hangman if they stay focused during all the other activities. I also go to help out in fourth grade on some afternoons. I do classroom support and small group interventions until the end of the school day.
At 2:40 pm, I head to the after-school space and prepare for the kids to arrive. I grab a walkie-talkie, prepare snacks for the students, and get my clipboard to take attendance. By 2:50 pm or so, the kids have shown up. First, we offer them their snack, and then they have to work on their homework before they can play. Once their homework is completed, we play games like capture-the-flag and dodgeball. By 4:30 pm, once every student has been picked up and gone home, Chloe and I disinfect the after-school space. We usually head home to the Sycamore House around 4:45 pm.