A Day In The Life of Tyelisha Johnson, Great Oaks Legacy Middle School Tutor

img_12846:10 am – My warning alarm goes off. This alarm is solely for the purpose of reminding my body that I have to get up in 10-15 minutes.

6:20 am – My real alarm goes off. If it’s Monday morning, I actually have to get up to ensure I make our weekly 7:15 meeting. But today is Wednesday so I can sleep for another five minutes.

6:25 am – Up and at ’em! I get up and go to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. Now it’s time to get dressed. If all goes well and I get my outfit right on the first try, it’s makeup time!

7:00 am – I do my makeup and unwrap my hair.

7:13 am – Now it’s time to grab my bag, my breakfast, and head out the door with my roommate.

7:18 am –  I am in the school building on my way to the fourth floor. I  say, “ Good morning,” to the teachers, administration, and tutors gathered in the hallway. Then I head to the third floor to drop off my belongings and grab student packets.

7:25 –  I make my way back to the fourth floor and make sure that I am prepared for the day. Depending on the day, this includes printing off documents for tutorial, inputting sixth grade ELA homework, making note cards for my students, responding to emails, grading homework, or working on a tutorial packet for the following week.

8:11 am –  I listen to the announcements read by Mr. Podhurst, the director of the Downtown Middle School (DMS), and begin packing up my things to head to tutorial.

8:15 am –  I enter into room 409 for my first period sixth grade ELA tutorial. The Do Now is called and I began working with my students to complete the packet.

9:12 am- Second Period. Now I am heading to Ms. Brook’s room for in-class support during her sixth grade ELA class. While assisting in class, I am finishing homework input, and entering homework from the late bin. Once I complete that, I cross check the attendance with DeansList (our homework tracker website).

11:12 am – It is now third period and I go to room 409 it’s time for for ELA tutorial with my seventh graders. The Do Now is called and we began working on our packet. The Do Now is a silent five minute portion of tutorial that introduces students to the concept we will be working on that day. The seventh graders are coming from math class so they are typically rowdy and take a moment to settle down.

12:07 pm – The exit ticket has just started. This the last five minute portion of tutorial that allows students to show what they learned that day without the help of their tutor. If the students were able to understand and grasp the concept they worked on today they do fairly well on the exit ticket. If not, it gives the tutor feedback on what their students need to work on. As I await my students exit tickets, I begin packing up my belongings.

12:15 pm – The exit ticket has been called and now it is time for lunch for both the 7th, 8th graders and the tutors. Depending on the day I go out for lunch or bring food from home. If I brought food from home I make my way to the third floor where the tutors typically eat lunch together.

12:45 pm – Lunch is just about over and it is time to prepare for my fifth period 7th grade math tutorial. I head to room 411 to set up my tutorial table and to make sure I have everything ready to go. My students arrive at 12:50 pm and it’s time to begin. My seventh graders can be extremely rowdy after lunch or they can be sluggish and tired. I believe it depends on what they eat for lunch. Either way I have to be prepared for both so that I can motivate my student to do their work no matter what mood they’re in.

1:47 pm – The exit ticket is called. I collect my papers and head to room 409 to transition Team Eagles to 408 for sixth grade math tutorial. Each homeroom is split into four teams for tutorial transitions. These four teams are Great Oaks, Achieve, Legacy, and Eagles. On Wednesdays the sixth graders in Ms. Hossain´s homeroom have P.E. before tutorial so I must make my way to the fifth floor to retrieve my sixth graders from the big hall.

1:50 pm  – Majority of the students have transitioned into the classroom at this point. Ms. Grant our tutorial room leader calls the Do Now and our students began working silently. Every now and then a tutor may have to make classroom reminders for students to stay at a Level 0 (silence). Once the five minutes for the Do Now are up, math tutorial begins.

2:47 pm –  Sixth grade math tutorial is over. Although I only tutor sixth and seventh graders my day is not over. I transition the Rowan students in our room to their math apps class in 506. Each homeroom is named after the college their homeroom teacher attended. Ms. Hossain, one of the sixth grade ELA teachers, attended Rowan and therefore that is the name of her homeroom. The reason for this is to expose our students at Great Oaks Legacy DMS to the names of different colleges and universities.

2:55 pm – After school I have have both the drama enrichment and basketball practice. If it were Tuesday or Thursday we would have Power Up. Power up is an after school program that allows students to receive help with their homework, particularly in subjects they are struggling in.  Since today is Wednesday, my co-enrichment leader will be conducting drama enrichment today, while I go to basketball practice with our girl’s team.  While I wait for dismissal, I usually finish planning the day’s enrichment lesson plan, and I go home to change clothes for practice.

3:40 pm – I arrive back to school just in time for dismissal.

3:47 pm – Since I am part of the dismissal team, I now transition the students that have study hall from room 408 to 410. After that, it is time for practice.  

4:00 pm –  The boys and girls basketball teams are lining up to transition to the bubble, which is our gym. We head over and have practice until 5:30 pm.

5:30 pm – Practice is now over and we transition back to D.M.S. Here we drop the students off and wait for their parents to pick them up.

5:50 pm –  I arrive back at home. Now it is me time! I take about an hour to nap, read, watch TV, or call my family. I have to remember to take time for myself each day so that I don’t become overwhelmed.

7:00 pm – I begin looking over my planned packets for the next day. I make note of any extra notes or documents I need for my tutorials tomorrow. Then I finish grading homework and checking my emails. As the sixth grade ELA teacher’s assistant for Mrs. Brooks, the other sixth grade ELA teacher, I am responsible for grading homework and exit tickets collected at the end of class.

8:00 pm – By this time I’m starving and trying to figure out what dinner will be. I am more than likely not done grading so once I finish eating I will continue to work.

9:00 pm – I am finished grading homework and exit tickets, but my sixth graders will take a math quiz during tutorial to help them prepare for their math or math apps test on Friday. I take the time to make a quiz from the concepts we have focused on this week.

10:00 pm – I should be done with work by now  but not quite ready for bed. I take a shower, grab a snack and maybe indulge in a book or an episode from one of my favorite shows.

11:30 pm – It’s now 11:30 pm and I am pooped! Time for bed. I head to bed and dream away until I hear my alarm the next morning.

Tyelisha Johnson attended Spelman College. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After Great Oaks, she plans to attend graduate school to receive her Masters in Sociology with a focus on Community Redevelopment.

A Day in the Life of Sarah Gilbert, Great Oaks Legacy High School ELA Tutor

20170109_1353505:45: My alarm goes off and on good days I get up now. (I’ve only had 3 of those days so far, oops!).

6:00: I wake up on days that I snoozed the alarm, and drag myself into the kitchen to brew coffee for the day.

6:10: I begin to get ready, and most of the time I lay everything out the night before (clothes, bag, papers) so this process is as quick as possible.

6:45: I transition to the kitchen where I pour my coffee and make my lunch. Since I am not a big breakfast person, coffee is all I really need, so this gives me time to make a sandwich and chips for lunch.

7:00: I leave Teacher’s Village and walk to Great Oaks Legacy High School. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, my suitemate and I will catch the Teacher’s Village shuttle. If not, we walk.

7:10: I arrive at school and grab a few things before the morning meeting.

7:15: Morning Meeting with Mr. Jacobs! He is the Tutor Corps Director, so he informs us of any events going on, different schedules, testing, and gives us any reminders we may need such as deadlines or coverage for absent tutors. If I have any questions, this is a good time to check in with him or my coach before I head to homeroom.

7:30-7:55: Homeroom! My homeroom duty is homework collection, so all of the 9th and 10th graders turn their homework in to me. I sort and organize it for collection with the help of another tutor. I really love this duty because it gives me time to talk to the kids outside of the classroom in the morning. This also gives me the opportunity to learn a lot of the scholars’ names who aren’t my tutees.

7:55-8:12: Homeroom videos or announcements. This is the time of the day when the students are given updates on any upcoming trips or changes in the schedule. After the students’ breakfast, we clean up and begin to prepare for the day.

8:15-9:12: 1st Period: This is my only free period for the day until the last period, so this is normally when I make copies, grab packets for the day, and work on grading. On most days I grade during the evening, but sometimes I like to use this hour to get a start on the assignments or update the online grade book . Once a week, I use this time to make phone calls to my tutee’s parents to update them on what has happened during the week.

9:15-10:12: 2nd Period: This is my first tutorial of the day for 10th grade ELA. This tutorial has three girls who are all very close friends. It usually takes some effort to get them focused since it is early in the morning and they are still not in the mood to work. I let them tell me about their previous nights or mornings so far, and then we get to work. Sometimes I have to adjust the plans for one of the girls since she is very smart and gets bored with the material quickly. No matter what though, these girls are full of energy which is a good way to start the day.

10:15-11:12: 3rd period: This group of students is also 10th grade ELA and is made up of three girls and one boy. They are all on the same level and enjoy joking around while working. They all usually like getting the packets done and can do so while talking about other things. Sometimes if we finish early we will discuss whatever story they are reading in class or play games with the vocabulary words. They really enjoy this because they are pretty competitive and enjoy the temporary title of Vocab Queen or King.

11:15-11:47: 4th period: This is my 30 minute lunch period, I normally go downstairs away from the kids to eat in order to have a little time to myself. This is when I relax and read a book or update grades a little. Since I only have 30 minutes I don’t have time to go get lunch, so I make sure to bring my lunch everyday.

11:50-12:47: 5th period: This is another 10th grade ELA tutorial made up of all girls. These girls normally are in good spirits after eating lunch and work very well together. They have all been friends for a while and enjoy working. I rarely have to tell them to get back on task and many times they finish early as well. With this group, I will review for a quiz or test, or teach them how to outline papers in preparation for whatever they are doing in ELA class that day. This group of girls always loves talking about their day, my day, or whatever plans we have for the weekend. They always brighten my day, and their positive energy and personalities help to push through the middle of the day hump.

12:50-1:47: 6th period: This is my last 10th grade ELA tutorial and is also made up of all girls. These girls are definitely more rambunctious and enjoy catching up and talking about the latest fashion trends. They work well together and at the same pace, so I normally allow them 5 minutes at the start of tutorial to get all of their talking out before we start the packets. Once focused, they are very driven to do well and want to earn good grades. We often check their grades after the packets are finished to see how we can improve them.

1:50-2:47: 7th period: This is the period that I provide In-Class Support to the 10th grade ELA teacher. This class is one of her largest classes and has lots of my tutees and students from homeroom in it. They always have a lot of energy and enjoy joking around. They are very interested in The Kite Runner, which is what we are reading now. Most of the time there are students in this class who have read ahead and want to talk about it with me. My role is to walk around and help the kids with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and to get any other students that are off track back on task. This happens all the time, so I am constantly tapping papers or telling the kids to turn around. However, it’s all in a positive manner since this group really does understand the material we are going over. They just have lots of energy, as they are ready for the end of the day.

2:50-3:47: 8th period: This is my other free period and the last period of the day. Most of the time this is when the 10th ELA teacher and I debrief about our day, how tutorial plans went, how the class before went, and what needs to be graded or what copies need to be made. At this point in the day, I just relax when I need to, or begin grading any work I have. Sometimes I go and make more coffee or run to the corner store to get a soda for the rest of the afternoon if I am feeling tired.

3:50-4:00: Dismissal! At this point in the day I go downstairs to the front door to say goodbye to the kids. I really like holding the door open since that allows me to see all my students one last time. I tell them to have a good night and remind them of any work or studying they need to do at home. I love this time to talk to kids because they are very happy since the day is over and generally like to joke around with me as they leave the school.

4:00-5:00: PM Academy: On Mondays and Tuesdays this is an hour of the day for extra support for new students to Great Oaks or any students that need academic intervention. I have 3 regular students who finish their homework during this time, and sometimes I will have one or two students who come to me if they know they need help with that night’s ELA homework assignment. This is a more relaxed time to help the students with any questions they have that may have not been covered in class or tutorial.

5:00-7:00: After school! Normally this is when I may stay to get copies made, file homework, or grade a bit. Sometimes I leave right at 5 if I know I can grade at home, or I will stay because I know I need a school environment to finish grading (otherwise I will fall asleep the moment I get back). This time frame changes based on what work I have and sometimes I plan for this time to be completely work and sometimes this is me going home early and resting in bed while grading and watching Netflix.

7:00-10:30: Most of the time I am back home at this point. I make dinner and either take a shower, read, or finish grading. This is a good time for me to wind down and read a book for pleasure or watch the newest episode of whatever show I am on. I also plan my outfit for the next day and make sure all my papers and bags are together for the morning.

10:30: This is when I go to bed. Allowing myself to get at least close to 7 hours of sleep is important for the long (but rewarding) days.

Sarah Gilbert graduated from Georgia College with a BA in English Literature and a Minor in Spanish. After the program she plans to attend graduate school for a Masters in Literature. In the future she aspires to work for a publishing company or magazine as an editor.