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Teach for Australia

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Mickie Tanna

6.00 AM

Alarm goes off. Time to shower, have breakfast, and get everything ready.

6.45 AM

It’s easy to walk out of the house without my school keys or a pile of student work left on my desk at home. I live around 40km from school, but luckily travel in the other direction to the commuters heading towards the CBD.

7.40 AM

I arrive at school with coffee in hand. Before the students arrive, I tidy up a lesson for the day, photocopy the materials I need, upload some lesson resources to shared drives, and return a couple of phone calls and emails from parents and other staff.

Teach for Australia: Mickie Tanna - prepare a lesson

9.00 AM

The first school bell rings. I’m not teaching this period, but I have a Student Support Group meeting for a student in Year 9. This involves family members and external agencies, and is focused on putting strategies in place to support students with their academic and social wellbeing. During the meeting, we make a number of ‘to dos’, some of which I’m responsible for completing in the coming week. We tentatively schedule another meeting before the end of term. 

Teach for Australia: Mickie Tanna - student support meeting

10.18 AM

Recess; a 35 minute ‘break’ for everyone. I have a snack in my office, then head out to yard duty for the rest of the time. I’m rostered on the soccer oval which means ducking in and out of kids’ matches, making sure rubbish is going into the bin, and having a chat to the teacher who is watching over the oval.  

11.00 AM

Period 2 begins. Lessons are 71 minutes in length – this can feel like 100 minutes some lessons, and 40 in another… it depends how both myself and the kids are going! I teach two Year 9 Maths classes, and this class is travelling along well with their current topic; Linear Relationships. A typical lesson involves a balance of tasks that are teacher-directed (e.g. examples on the board, discussing a new concept with the whole class) and student-directed (e.g. independent practice or collaborative work in their table groups). In this class, I am observed by my Teaching and Leadership Adviser from Teach For Australia. He documents observations of my lesson, where I’ve asked him to particularly focus on the clarity of my instructions and students’ understanding of the learning activities. We don’t have time to debrief during the rest of the school day, so schedule a phone call later in the week.

Teach for Australia: Mickie Tanna - observed by adviser

12.10 PM

Another period without teaching, so I prepare a lesson for my ‘Extension’ Year 9 class tomorrow. One of the biggest challenges in teaching is preparing quality lesson materials that allow all students to access a task, but also provide an appropriate challenge. I work in the Junior School, a sub-school office which is a hub of activity. It’s safe to say that my planning is slightly interrupted this period! I debrief with some students who have been asked to have a time-out from their classrooms, and set up a Year 10 progression meeting over the phone.

1.20 PM

Lunchtime is spent with a group of students who are completing an Improvement Test for a previous Maths topic. We go through some examples and review the feedback from their original test.

1.55 PM

Period 4; final class of the day. We look at a computer-based investigation of linear graphs and how different coefficients and constants affect a graph’s shape. Most students bring laptops, but a few more than expected don’t so I need to think on my feet. I rearrange the table groups to make sure students are working alone or in pairs on this task. We come together for a learning reflection 10 minutes before the end of the lesson, and it’s safe to say we are all well and truly packed up when the final bell goes!

3.30 PM

We have a Maths KLA (Key Learning Area) meeting after school. In these meetings, we work in our Working Groups of 3-4 people to plan units, lessons and assessments for our given year level. Today, we discuss writing strategies as a whole KLA, then break out into our smaller groups. I’m responsible for planning the upcoming assessment for the Linear Relationships topic. 

5.00 PM

I head for home after checking I have all of my marking in my bag. 

6.00 PM

I often drive straight to the gym; it’s hard to fit in every day, but when I’m in a routine I make it most of the time. 

7.30 PM

I have dinner with my housemates, then do an hour of preparation for tomorrow. This includes marking some homework, documenting any submissions on the school’s online portal, and finishing off the Extension task I was planning earlier today so that it’s ready to go for tomorrow. 

10.00 PM

Time for bed. I’m hoping that the rest of the week will be calmer than today, however little things can change the pace of a day very quickly – I will just have to wait and see!