Fridays: A Teacher Confessional

About Jake Miller

Mr. Jake Miller teaches 7th grade American history teacher near Harrisburg, PA. He is the 2016 National History Day Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and a 2017 NEA Teacher of Excellence. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, and several other periodicals, but Miller has called TER home since 2012.

Rebecca Black took a student’s perspective with her song “Friday,” focusing on the last day of the work week, where she wrote after “gettin’ down on a Friday, everyone’s looking forward to the weekend.” So, what about teachers’ perspectives on Friday? We asked our writers and readers, and here’s how they claimed to end the week:

TIME TO WORK

  • Multiple teachers claimed this was their best planning time. Reader Lauren S. and writer Jennifer Mason Wolfe said that their lesson plans, copies, and charts are all ready by Friday, and their desk is clean when they leave, making that Monday entrance feel that much better.
    It cannot be understated how important it is to feel like all the week’s work has been cinched closed so that the new school week is ready for us. Over the weekend, many things have happened – both in our students’ lives and our own. We want to be ready to meet those challenges.
  • Deborah B. says she works “5-11 at her second job.”
    That said, the teaching profession doesn’t always provide enough to pay the bills. While teachers’ salary is often (unfairly) compared to average household income, we are not average people. We typically have plenty of student debt from our loans for our bachelor’s and later master’s degrees, but we’re grossly underpaid compared to similarly educated counterparts. So many teachers take up a part-time gig.
  • Christina L.G. claims “for the first 10 years she was a teacher, she rarely made it past 7:45p.”
    That said, the school week saps a teacher’s energy. I can still remember student-teaching a few years back; I was at the peak of my physical prime. I could outlift, outrun, and outdo just about anyone at the gym. But I could not outlast those 12- and 13-year-olds. I’d come home on Fridays, pass out by 4:30p, wake up for dinner, and go straight back to sleep. Kids are exhausting. So is teaching them.

TIME FOR FOOTBALL

  • Jean M. says  she loves to “watch her son play football in the Friday night lights.”
  • Cate W. “works the entry gate at the football game.”
    Ah, the magic of the football game. All the parents are there. All the kids are there (and typically not paying attention to the game). All the community is there. And, for that reason, you won’t find me there; that is, unless I’m working like Cate or my son wants to play in the game like Jean.

TIME TO PARTY

  • Katrina L. says that her team “has a staff bar and they know what they drink.”
    A colleague of mine used to say that teachers at her previous elementary school had a code — “the bowling team will be meeting at its typical location tonight” (most often Fridays). She then told me that many a student approached her and said, “You teachers must be really good at bowling.” Keep in mind that most teachers don’t have a drinking problem on Fridays, they have a social problem. Spending time with their colleagues outside a staff meeting helps pacify that.
Spending time with their colleagues outside a staff meeting helps pacify that. Click To Tweet
  • David W. shared a “Cocktails and Dreams” photo, in which he was “sad he didn’t win the Internet”
    His post on our page did garner the most like and most laughs of them all, though.
  • Yet Mary D.P. asks (and answers), “who has the energy to go out on a Friday evening during the school year? Not me!”
    Enough said.

TIME FOR KIDS (your own)

  • Jess E. says she loves her “happy hour, which is now Oreos and chocolate milk” with her kids.
    As life catches up to us, happy hours take a much different appearance. The days of sharing spinach dip and a few Milk stouts are exchanged for a different version.
  • Dave W. (different) said he “has a 4-year-old at home,” so he spends the evening “watching terrible cartoons” until he can rest assured (literally and figuratively) once he’s “reasonably confident she’s asleep.”
    Ah, the game of outlasting the competition. Some children specialize in a war of attrition that is called “staying up on Friday nights.” Dave and many others would love nothing more than to accomplish the first or last things on this list of how we spend our time, but we have an opponent. It’s name is “no, I’m not going to bed.”
  • Lisa H. has a tradition: “pizza and movie / game night… but that’ll change in a couple of weeks when Fridays become hockey practice night.”
    Traditions have an unspoken beauty and splendor for our own childhood memories and the ones we’ll stoke for our children. Feeling like an Uber driver taking them from place to place – not so much.

TIME TO VEG

  • Multiple readers claim the first thing they do is hop into their pajamas.
    Dress shoes are overrated anyway.
  • Fellow writer Lori Weixelman Rice says her Fridays are complemented with a cheap bottle of wine and the TV she couldn’t watch during the week. 
  • Fran Warren, our CEO, doubles up by saying she watches Law & Order after ordering take out.
    Ah, television. I’ve missed you so. There’s nothing to plan, promote, grade, assist with, or call home about television. Lovely.
  • Writer Tracie Ann is typically recovering from a long run in her Ironman training, with a protein shake and early bed time that evening.
    Teachers have lives outside of school? And they want to accomplish things that don’t involved children? And they have time for it? Get outta here!?!

And… TIME FOR SOMETHING NEW

  • Still, one of our anonymous posters said that she and her husband broke all the Friday rules: staying out until 2am, rode their bicycles from place to place, and then found themselves at a rock concert.
    Someone here deserves the Friday award!

Rebecca Black reminds us that “tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards. I don’t want this weekend to end.” Here’s to making the most of your weekend – and your Fridays. Cheers – even if it’s with a glass of chocolate milk!

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By | 2016-11-01T13:44:10+00:00 September 29th, 2016|Confessions of a Teacher, Featured, From the Front Lines, Interviews|0 Comments

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About the Author:

Mr. Jake Miller teaches 7th grade American history teacher near Harrisburg, PA. He is the 2016 National History Day Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and a 2017 NEA Teacher of Excellence. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, and several other periodicals, but Miller has called TER home since 2012.

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