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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Extra Time

And so it begins...

One of the curses of being a teacher: you give up your spare time to help students.

I know countless teachers who willingly give up spares, lunches, and time before and after school to help students, and I'm no different. I'm allowing my grade 11 IB music students to re-write their theory test, so several of them having been coming to be for extra help and to re-write when we both have free time.

I do feel as though I have sufficient prep time at work, so I'm not actually upset about giving up time. However, I am being sneaky, and I'm managing to combine duties to make the best use of time. For example, I have one new grade 8 boy who is behind the rest of the class with reading and writing rhythms. I met with him while I was on lunch duty yesterday. I was sitting at a picnic table anyway, so he came and met with me. It was great!

We also have classes called "tutorials" here; aka, a supervised spare for grade 11 and 12 students. Three of my IB girls were supposed to write their re-test during this time, but we ended up going over music theory for half an hour instead. These tutorials are really glorified babysitting, and most teachers do marking, prep work, cruise the internet, etc. I gave up half of my "tutorial" time to help them, but it was worth it for two reasons: they all seem to get the concepts better now, and it hilarious to see the non-music students' faces as they watched what we were doing.

On a similar thread, I have convinced my grade 7 band students to give up THEIR lunch and come help me clean and organize our band supplies next week. I just haven't got around to unpacking and organizing these boxes of reeds, swabs, clothes, oils, drumsticks, etc. I told them that they should come in here for a lunch party sometime: we can clean, eat, listen to music, hang out, and I'd give them chocolate. THEY WERE ALL SO EXCITED! The grade 7s seriously put me in a better mood every single day :) they are so young and excited about music.


  1. I remember getting up at 6:30am every morning and not going to bed until 11pm every single weekday. The techers that sucked were the ones that didn't understand the concept of extra time, and it's good to see that you do. It not only makes teaching easier (by treating it more like a part of one's life rather than a job), but the kids see it and respect you even more. Makes them feel valuable and all that.

    I was surprised the first time I asked if some kids wanted to stay after school to clean up or to set up the classroom for something, and just about everyone would raise their hands. I never expected that they were actually excited to do what adults consider to be work. I think that's one of the great traits of kids... they have such energy that, if directly correctly, can lead to great and amazing things

  2. Thanks for commenting, Roger!

    Yes, I definitely feel as though my life completely revolves around my job at the moment - but as a first-year teacher, that's how it should be! And I agree, I have to keep using their energy for good :)