Thursday, March 3, 2016

Time...

I've been thinking a lot about TIME recently, maybe it's because of last week's vacation, but I've also been thinking of TIME in many facets of my life.  My life is pretty easy to compartmentalize into "work time" and "home time", yet these compartments can be broken down into many smaller pieces of time such as: planning, meeting, teaching, exercising, cooking, cleaning (haha), spending time with family, going to classes, homework, etc.  You know the drill.

In regard to work, the struggles of time, and time management are more and more present.  It seems every professional book, blog or article I read includes the "time issue".  I recently attended a literacy meeting where "best practices" were at the forefront of the discussion, as they should be.  I heard loud and clear, 90 minutes of an "uninterrupted" block of literacy instruction.  This 90 minutes would include reading and word study. Around me I heard the whispers of administrators, "impossible, can't do it, what else loses, what do we cut?"

It's true, 90 minutes "uninterrupted" is nearly impossible in our classrooms today.  I hate to say things compete for our students time, because I believe EVERYTHING is important, but things do compete.   Reading, writing, arithmetic, science, social studies, technology,  languages, art, music, PE, they are ALL IMPORTANT, they are ALL NECESSARY for our students, yet they all compete with one another, they are all stressing teachers out!  Yet, my greatest worry is that we are stressing our students out too.

As a professional development coach, I spend hours, and hours and hours reading research, professional texts, mentor texts, blogs, etc.   I'm always looking for anything and everything and sometimes it seems nothing.  I'm constantly in search of the holy grail. What will make the most difference for our students and teachers? Before I know it hours will have escaped me and I'll wonder what I've accomplished.  Time has once again gotten away from me, and what have I been doing?  Looking for answers on how we fix the time problem in our schools. 

How do we achieve that 90 minutes of "uninterrupted" literacy, the 60 minutes of math, the 60 minutes of writing workshop, without leaving the humanities, arts and sciences in the dust?  I haven't even mentioned the NEED for kids play within their school day.  I'm still looking for the answers.

I've come to one basic conclusion, because I had TIME to reflect.  We can't fix the time problem.  Every scenario will have its pitfalls, every schedule it's downside, every routine will take the place of something else that could/should be covered with students.  Being a glass half full kind of person, I've tried to put the TIME issue into perspective.  This is what I believe, know and read about all the time.
1.  Good teachers matter.  (I'm fortunate to be surrounded by AMAZING teachers!)
2.  Teachers know their students best, therefore they make the best and right decisions for their students.
3.  Teams of adults working together can solve big problems.
4.  Students need TIME to talk, discuss, problem solve, reflect, and PLAY.
5.  Teachers need TIME to talk, discuss, problem solve, reflect, and PLAY.

So, I'm going to keep these ideas about TIME in my thoughts. I'm going to try to stay grounded and problem solve.  I'm going to make TIME for what I believe is right and necessary...how about you?

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