Confession: Once I read my watch completely wrong. I was subbing for a teacher who was half time one school in the mornings and the other half at another school in the afternoons. Anyways, her morning school was a snap to do. I taught one or two classes and the other 3 (after helping out in the office or helping another teacher) sitting around reading in the staff room. It was an easy gig and I loved going in for her.
Since not every school starts and ends lunch at the same time it was not uncommon for me to be allowed to leave school A early so that I could still have an hour for lunch and I often would leave early after clearing it with the principal.
One day the principal told me I didn't have to clear it with her anymore and I could just leave. The principal trusted me and I basically swore never to abuse this privilege.
Maybe I was tired, maybe I need to go back to grade 1 and learn how to tell time again, maybe I was just trying to push the envelope. Either way, I accidentally left an hour earlier than I normally would have for lunch, giving myself a 2 hour lunch!
After realizing this, I was already in my car and halfway down the street... and I confess... I just kept driving. I didn't even go to school B to see if they had anything for me to do... I went shopping (but I'm only a substitute so it was more likely browsing).
Wow, it feels great to get that off my chest.
Anyways, not many people will find themselves in this exact situation. I mean come on, not everyone is as trustworthy as me that the principal would just let you go without checking in with them first. Or more likely, usually you are at one school for the entire day.
On a normal day, after the bell rings, I spend some time writing the teacher a note about the day, straightening things out in the classroom, and no less than 5 minutes after the bell goes (the halls should be almost completely cleared) I'll start my walk to the office to return the keys and then exit the building.
Teachers do not get to leave at the sound of the bell and neither should you. Remember, act like you are a teacher, because you have the same credentials as them, and don't run for your car at the sound of the bell.