School Times and Timetables

Most of the teacher blogs I read seem to be mostly American teachers with a few Australians dotted here and there.  I always enjoy reading the blogs, not just for the ideas and resources, but also to see the differences in the education system.  I don't know if it varies from state to state in the USA, but American schools seem to start quite early!  I am sooo not a morning person and am happy that our children don't start until 9am.  Ours also finish rather early at 2pm, although this is only whilst they are infants - up to 7 years of age.  From 7-11 years of age they finish at 3pm - this still seems to be quite early!
We all seem to more or less teach the same curriculum, although I think, because the day is longer, American teachers actually have a set time to do guided reading workshops - up to 90mins!  I am very envious of this, as this is one huge issue I have with our daily timetable.  We have no allotted time to do reading activities and therefore guided reading is fitted in 'on a wing and a prayer' whilst the children are working on other activities.  I always find this really stressful, as I feel I should be working with individuals when they are trying to complete written tasks in literacy and numeracy etc, not trying to 'fit in' reading.  As a consequence the small group reading work is very short and not at all adequate.  I fret every day that I am not giving enough time to one or the other.  I often wonder how this works for other teachers and am constantly trying to find a way that works better.  However, with all the curriculum areas to timetable, I find it an impossible task.  I would love to be able to do 'the daily five', but there is no part of the day left to do this!
My Primary 3 children (First Grade, I think.  Our children start formal schooling at 4 years of age) go home at 2pm and I then teach the older children a variety of curriculum subjects, most days, until 3pm.  We must stay in school until at least 4pm, 5.30pm for the weekly staff meeting, but can go earlier on Fridays.  I am usually still in school until 5.30pm to  finish marking, preparation and display boards. I arrive home at 6pm ish and usually find something more to do for school!
It seems very hard to find a proper work/life balance as school seems to take up so much of my time.  I am so grateful that my husband is not a teacher, as life would be totally chaotic!
The point of this post is that although I love my job dearly, it often takes up most of my time and I would love to know how other teachers manage and then also have time for family, hobbies and the creation of so many wonderful teaching resources?  I would love it if you could comment on your day!

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