A day in the life of...David Maycock

14th February 2014 at 00:00
In an affluent suburb of San Diego, this maths teacher opens all the windows of his classroom, letting the ocean breeze in, and awaits his students. First, they need to find out what day it is.

I get up at 5am, shave, wake my wife Mary and go downstairs. I respond to the pleadings of obese Otis and slender Stella by pouring dry cat food into their bowls, and then I pour something slightly more appetising into mine.

I listen to the news on KPBS, our local public radio station, paying particular attention to any reports of traffic snarl-ups affecting the route from my San Diego home to the Bishop's School, where I teach maths.

If I tire of listening to news stories featuring Republican trolls and their relentless efforts to prevent the American poor from getting access to decent healthcare and adequate food, I'll listen to World at One on BBC Radio 4 via iPlayer.

By the time I've showered, my 16-year-old daughter Hannah, who is a student at Bishop's, is ready to leave, too. On the way to school we listen to KPRI, a local music station that plays a mix of old and new pop music. We arrive at about 7am.

Bishop's is an independent secondary school located a block from the Pacific Ocean in prosperous La Jolla. My pleasant ground-floor classroom has just enough room for 20 desks. The room opens directly on to the outside; with the windows and door open, a gentle ocean breeze ventilates the space.

I unlock the classroom door and turn on my desktop and class computers. While they are booting up I amble around the grass quad (cutting across it is forbidden before noon) to the mailroom, where I pour myself a cup of coffee.

Back in my classroom, I download today's bulletin and The Daily Urinal, the school's unofficial student newspaper. It gets its name from its original samizdat-like distribution system in which copies were posted exclusively in the boys' toilets. It is now distributed in a more conventional and less sexist manner. However, for the sake of tradition, copies can still be found taped to the wall above each urinal.

I display the bulletin on the whiteboard in preparation for the arrival of the 12 students in my advisory group. I take attendance and submit it electronically while one of my advisees scrolls through the bulletin, reading out pertinent items, the most important of which is the announcement of what day it is. We have abandoned the MTWTF system of days (so 20th century) and replaced it with a WDIIT? (what day is it today?) system - a six-day, A-F cycle of 12 daily schedules.

My advisees disperse to their 7.30am classes and I await the arrival of mine. On most days, I teach lessons lasting 60 or 90 minutes to three or four of my five classes. Teaching maths in California is much the same as teaching maths in England, Japan and Turkey, the other ports of call in my career so far. Student engagement is key, and this is best achieved by providing interesting questions for students to investigate.

After school, I give extra help to students who need it, and work on lesson preparation and marking. On our late-afternoon drive home, Hannah and I listen to KPBS, switching to KPRI when troll-induced despair overwhelms us.

Over dinner, Mary, Hannah and I compare our days. Mary teaches English at a public high school - her classroom has 38 desks. If there's time for TV after we have completed our schoolwork, we'll watch an episode of our current favourite, The Big Bang Theory. And then it's time for bed.

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email richard.vaughan@tes.co.uk

We will give your school pound;100 if your story is published.


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