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Preparing to become a teacher

Day in the life of a teacher

Programming / December 22, 2023
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The residency experience provides a unique opportunity for residents to gain in-person classroom experience while earning their teacher certification. Through the teacher residency, members complete coursework that is applied to both certification and master’s degree credits while training under a mentor teacher. This model allows teacher residents to learn theory and apply strategies in real-time. So what does the daily life of a teacher look like?

Residents gradually transition from observing and supporting the mentor teacher, to lead-teaching full days of instruction by the end of the school year. After the residency year is complete, graduates commit to being a teacher of record in Kansas City for at least 3 years. Throughout the entire process, The EA provides instructional coaching to our teachers to ensure they are growing to become highly effective in their classrooms. 

Read below to hear what a day-in-the-life of a teacher resident looks like! 

Day in the life of a teacher
Evening prep: Looking forward to the week ahead

The night before my week starts, I make sure I have all my homework that needs to be completed for Monday morning.. I also will pack my teacher bag with any [student] homework that I took home to be graded, my computer, books, and any other items I might need the next day. Things I do that are not teacher related, but I find necessary are, I will wash my face and I have a full 30 minutes of mindfulness before I go to sleep. I like to start out my day/week on as much rest as I can get. 


Day in the life of a teacher
Morning: Preparing for the day

I usually wake up at 5:45 every morning. The first thing I do is start my coffee… I will then get myself ready: dressing, doing my hair and makeup and turning on the news.  I am generally rushed because I have a small child, but it is a routine otherwise we are a mess and will get off track. 

When I get to school in the morning, I only have about 30 minutes to print out all the worksheets I need for the day and I catch up with my mentor teacher about what happened the previous day (if I was gone) or we go through what the day will look like.


Day in the life of a teacher
Starting the school day: Classes begin

Every morning at 9AM I go to the cafeteria to meet with my students and welcome them in while they eat their breakfast. There we talk about what they did the previous night, what they plan on doing during the weekend, or how their weekend was. I always acknowledge their them and welcome them to class. 

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I take over the whole day and I run the class the same way [my mentor] does. I do this because then I keep the same routine for the students, but that I will also be more comfortable when I have to do my full takeover.


Day in the life of a teacher
Lunch: Quick pause before the afternoon 

Lunch is only 25 minutes, but that is sometimes shortened down to 20 minutes depending on how long it takes us to get the students lined up and out of the classroom. During lunch, I am mainly preparing for my next lesson and gathering materials while I inhale my lunch. I take ~10 minutes to eat, but normally, I take a couple bites, run around, come back and eat more.


Day in the life of a teacher
Afternoon: Quick pause before the afternoon 

The second half of the day, we have our plan period, so we have almost an hour of plan time to get the rest of the materials ready or we have meetings. We also have recess during the second half of the day On Fridays, we have Friday Fun Day and this is for every student, if they have completed their work throughout the week and they have treated both my mentor teacher and myself with kindness and respect. We usually hold Friday Fun Day in the afternoon, the last 15 minutes of class so they go home on a positive note for the weekend. 


Day in the life of a teacher
Close-out: Ending the day

At the end of the day, all staff in our building is positioned in place around the building and they are required to either watch that hallway and make sure all students get out of the building. I am with Bus Line #4 and I make sure my kids are in a line and when our number is called, I take them out to the bus and make sure they get on safely. 

After school, if I don’t have Methods class, I go pick up my child from daycare and I will get home around 5:15. I don’t start any homework, lesson planning, or grading until my child goes to bed at 8PM and I will work anywhere from 1-3 hours on homework, grading, lesson planning, or a combination. I don’t like to grade papers until the weekend because I collect everything during the week and take it home Friday where I have ample time to go through everything. 


While not everyone has the same experience as Courtney, this gives you insight into the day of a teacher in real life. Rather than our program being founded on coursework with minimal time in the classroom, the residency focuses on getting individuals in the classroom and supplementing that hands-on experience with coursework. Still have questions? Learn more about our residency program