A week in the life of an English teacher


Morning: Wake up at 5:30 AM while husband sleeps in. Have a fail turned win in the 7 AM class.

Afternoon: Spend several hours doing the class planning that didn’t get done over the weekend.

Evening: Edit audio for the online pronunciation course I plan to launch in January.

Night: Dream about phonemes.


Morning: It rains. I attempt to wait it out… unsuccessfully. I walk 20 minutes in the monsoon to my lunch-hour class, wading through ankle-deep water on the way.

Noon: Suppress irritation at the fact that my student who has studied for nearly 2 years keeps using Portuguese to ask basic questions.

Afternoon: Give marathon 2.5-hour class to Fulano. Thank the Lord that he remembered his glasses.

Evening: Run end-of-semester review class covering four chapters. Attempt to clarify the differences in usage between breakdown, failure, damage, and defect.

Night: Student cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice, meaning I get paid for the non-class. HALLELUJAH!


Morning: Another crack-of-dawn wakeup. 7 AM class goes smoothly, but a later attempt to take a mid-morning nap fails because neighbor is blasting evangelical praise music.

Evening: Curse the idiocy of having to commute 2 hours round-trip to give a 90-minute class. Arrive at student’s house just as he is arriving from work. Observe that he appears sleep-deprived too.

Night: Crash in bed immediately upon return.


Morning: Wonder why on earth I ever agreed to give these #($*&@$ early-morning classes. Student, who had requested the class be moved from Friday to Thursday, arrives an hour late because he forgot.

Noon: Class erupts in laughter when student says “I drank a refrigerator” instead of “I drank a soda.” (Soda in Portuguese is refrigerante)

Afternoon: Return from class to find that husband has made lunch AND cleaned the house! YAY!!!  🙂

Evening: Give final exam. We teachers LOVE test days, because we get paid to sit here and write blog posts while answering the very occasional student question.

BONUS: Say goodbye to students, wishing them happy holidays and a good vacation. Be told by several that they definitely want me as their teacher next semester. This makes my week! 🙂


Image sources: 1 / 2

  • I’m fascinated by Fulano. I looked up the name and it apparently means “someone” or “so-and-so”, like it’s the name you give someone when you can’t remember his name and don’t really care. Why did his parents name him that?

    • Shayna

      LOL! “Fulano” isn’t his real name, I just called him that in the post so as to protect his real identity 🙂

  • Ahhhh Friday!

  • nina

    Nice, I love when students tell me they want me as a teacher. It makes me feel like I am doing something right for all the work and hardly any pay.

  • Art Hollander


    If it helps you at all to have an empathetic relation, I also have to wake up v early every single day of my work week-at 5:20 am to get Shannon up for school where I drive her and her girlfriend (carpool) to get there by 7 am. Then back home to get Leana up and going and take her to school. Then to work for 8+ hrs. Then home to help make dinner (or 1st stop at grocery store if necessary), help Leana with homework, do laundry, clean up, have an hr or two to myself after everyone is in bed, go to sleep for 5 hrs, and then get up and do it all over again. I understand busy.

  • I don’t understand why even though I try to follow this blog, Blogspost keeps messing up and deleting you (and another blog I read).
    Anyway, you’re right about how we love test days, except then we have to grade those tests ;).

    • Shayna

      True! I kind of like the grading though – I draw smiley faces next to parts of the tests they did well on 🙂 And it helps that I have small classes – 8 students max.

      Maybe blogspot doesn’t like me because I’m on wordpress!

  • Hats off to you. In so many ways I can relate to what you are saying (many of the challenges and triumphs of teaching are the same no matter if you are an English teacher or an elementary teacher), but I have consistancy on my side. A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Anyway, that hammock picture at the end? Yeah, no matter what we teach, we all realize that holidays are more for us than they are for the students!

  • Cecilia Butcher