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.

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