“It doesn’t all get done.” When I asked a colleague whose plate is fuller than mine how he manages it, that was his response. It was liberating for me.
Just as we are trying to teach kids to manage an exponentially large amount of information, teachers face a similar challenge. When I started teaching, I had twice the student load and did my Master’s Degree at night. Now, I can barely stay afloat. Accounting for differences in my life stages, I have been asking myself how it is that the comparable element of my job – classroom teaching – can take more not less time and energy than it did when I started.
I have infinitely more choices when constructing my lessons and my curriculum. Technology does not save me time. It increases what I can do, but I actually spend more time planning than in the days of dittos, worksheets and posters. Teaching is more fun for me these days, but it is also more work.
It seems like the skill that is most necessary today is time management. I do not mean that we need to use every second wisely. I mean that we need to make good choices about what does not get done in the 24 hours of each day. Like all other aspects of the job, it requires constant evaluation and decision-making.
I am coming to believe that teachers who make the best decisions about how to use their time in balancing the needs of their own families, their students, their students’ families, and the school have the most success. There is no magic formula, it needs to recalculated constantly. It is not just about doing the job well. It is also about knowing how to allocate our limited time.
I think this blog post was a good use of my time. It has helped me clarify thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head. Now off to make pumpkin bread, finish laundry, do some cleaning, plan for my classes tomorrow, read Moodle forum and blog posts, check email, cook dinner and spend a little time with the family. I wonder what will not get done?