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18 Things Teachers Do Before 8 a.m.

Jacqui Murray


This is inspired by Jennifer Cohen at Forbes magazine, who wrote a wonderful article on "5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 a.m." (few of which
I do, though I can claim #5). She includes exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and map out the day -- all great ideas, but not pithy enough for the average teacher I know.

Here's my classroom management list of what the average teacher accomplishes before her first student crosses the threshold of her classroom. These I gathered from chatting with friends and efriends on how they start their days:

1. Research the answers to 16 “Why” questions students asked during yesterday’s classes.

2. Figure out how to run that dang iPad app students want to use.

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3. Wash Superman (or woman) cape.

4. Close eyes for three seconds to invoke the memory of Emma (replace “Emma” with the 
name of the emblematic poster child who makes you remember why you're a teacher).

5. Accomplish the equivalent of stuffing 20 people in a phone booth -- which means find your
son/daughter’s lost iPad, which must be brought to school every day; get the kids off to school with packed lunches and completed homework; arrange household repairs; sort dog and husband/wife; talk significant other down from an emotional cliff; and figure out how to make coffee by pouring hot water through yesterday's grounds (oops -- forgot to buy coffee). 

6. Eat breakfast -- real food, not leftovers or peanut butter from sandwiches.

7. Move what classroom management tasks weren't accomplished yesterday to today's “To Do” list, which is most everything.

8. Promise that today, unlike yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, you 
won't swear five times before the first class arrives. Set a goal of only four times.

9. Do emergency morning schoolyard duty instead of the classroom management project set up you’d planned to do this 
morning (which was the reason you came in early).

10. While doing emergency morning schoolyard duty, imitate someone being patient rather than someone chewing on his last nerve.

11. Keep an open mind to all nature of miracles, no matter the shape or size.

12. Answer parent email and voicemail from the prior day because you promised the principal you would (again).

13. Paste on your “reasonable” face when a parent drops in for an impromptu conference, shoehorned in after she dropped off her child and before 8 a.m.

14. Take a nap, especially if you've been up most of the night grading papers or preparing lesson plans.

15. Smile at the parent who always talks with an irritating tone.

16. Solve the education problems of the world.

17. As broadcaster Paul Harvey said, realize that, "In times like these, it is good to remember that there have always been times like these."

18. Remember that -- as Edwin Louis Cole once said, you don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there. 



Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a columnist for, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.