Day in the Life of a DPA Teacher


Wake Up. You press snooze a few times. You might awake thinking about one particular scholar who shows high academic performance, but really struggles with behavior and will need more support. You are thinking about what could go wrong and trying to prevent it.  Before you know it, you are headed to school for the day!  You stop at Starbucks for your regular latte. 

Once at school, you crunch some quick data to share with your class during community meeting. You also make sure all of your copies are ready and make any other preparations for the day before grabbing your coffee and head down to the team huddle.  During the huddle we shout out teammates and scholars for living DPA values. We then transition with a few announcements that are relevant to the team. 

The day has begun!  Scholars begin arriving on campus, and you're responsible for greeting and helping scholars get settled for Period 0 - Robotics. Your class has a 96% attendance rate so most of your scholars arrive in great spirits, eager to see you, and start their day.  After robotics, you help transition to a silent and focused breakfast. Scholars watch CNN 10 while you pass out breakfast. 

After your co-teacher leads the breakfast clean-up, you lead a brief reflection. Scholars receive their Daily Reports, reflect, and create a personal goal for the day. You circle back with the scholars that earned a detention and ensure they understand why they earned it. Your co-teacher leads a whip-around activity where scholars share shoutouts to the teammates for living the DPA values. You love this time because the scholars are active in creating a KLR community (Known, Loved, & Respected). #KLR

It’s time for first period and you transition scholars to get out their ELA materials. You’re excited to dig into the warm-up because your students get to approach the problem creatively. You give your KEY 3 directions ( (1-All students have a clear task, 2-All students know how they are being assessed, and 3-All students actually see that they are being held accountable), and while scholars get started, you circulate to look for a diagram and take notes on your data tracker. Class moves along so quickly and all of a sudden you are leading the daily cool down. Your co-teacher enters the room and signals to you that you have 3 minutes. You collect their cool downs and support your co-teacher for an on-time transition to math. 

Second period begins and you have a prep. The first five minutes of all off-periods are used to input behavior data. On this day of the week during period 2, you have time to yourself - you look at your priority to-do list. First is to grade the cool downs and track scholar progress. Then, you pull out your lesson internalization for next week’s first lesson and start planning your prompts for specific students that you anticipate will struggle based on this week’s cool down data. You use the last few minutes to grade the cool downs, which makes you feel awesome because mastery is looking close to 85%!

You eagerly walk back to your room for one of your favorite times of the day - scholar break. We start with a stretch break and then put music on for scholars to dance to behind their seat. Today, it’s “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. When the song is done, scholars eat snack and chat with their classmates, and you jump around from group to group hearing the latest news in a middle schoolers life. You love this time each day because you get to know your scholars in a more informal way and use this information to make lessons as culturally relevant, interesting and engaging as possible. #KLR 

Time for third period, Computer Science!   You are off to a one-on-one debrief with your coach, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. 


It’s now the afternoon and time for lunch!  You monitor scholar lunch and then transition scholars to PE. You stick around to do the warm-up with them to get your blood flowing before heading to your desk to eat lunch and look over behavior data from your class for the past week. 

Soon enough, the whole school is in D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read). You’re re-reading, Daring to Lead by Brene Brown for the second time.   From there, you have prep time where you make sure your copies are set for the next day and send your families an email about tonight’s homework. You want to make sure that families are set up for success. 

It’s now the last period of the day.  At DPA, we start the day strong and end strong. You lead scholars through their daily reflections, and discuss how we individually and as a class can improve. We make a goal tomorrow to practice our DPA value of Growth by taking feedback positively and your co-teacher writes this goal above the PNU board tracker for a reminder throughout the day. Scholars do a Sparkle Check to make sure the room looks ready for tomorrow. You dismiss scholars. 

With the school day over, you spend time making a few family calls before heading to a Humanities team meeting. We discuss the rigor of our questioning, and practice creating question ladders to identify student misconceptions and scaffold work. Before leaving for the day, you grade your exit tickets/cool downs and look at your lesson plans for tomorrow. 


You go to the gym. You’ve got a competition going on with your fellow Humanities teachers to see who goes to the gym the most consistently this month. When you get home, you make/buy dinner and catch some television. You call your family and tell them about a hilarious moment with your class today during lunch. 

You do a quick email check to make sure you are all ready for the next day!  Before you know it, you're fast asleep, dreaming of the day ahead!