Sunday, November 15, 2009

Precious Time

Here's an intercepted comment by Terry Kaminski to one of Will Richardson's posts. I jumped out of my seat with a, "Yes!" when I read it:

Don’t give me more money, give me more prep time!!! If I taught 3 hours per day and had 3 hours per day to prepare my courses, attend webinars, read the latest research, plan new innovative, engaging and creative lessons I could really do a bang up job.

Teachers often feel like hamsters on a wheel. We are running like hell just trying to keep up.

. . . .Teachers need time to be creative and innovative. We need time to team plan with our colleagues.

Education is on a very slippery slope right now. I see so much potential for really good things to happen. Will they happen? Only time will tell.

Amen! I am trying to innovate and be creative this semester, but nearly all the new wrinkles were planned over the summer. Each school year, regardless of how organized I am, after 6-8 weeks I often find myself moving from moment to moment. There is a remarkable amount of clerical work with teaching, and at our school, others think nothing of dreaming up extra tasks for "advisers"-- our version of home room. (We collect money and administer a variety of paper shuffling tasks. Frequently we are ordered to provide courier service for matters like ballots running ballots or empty collection envelopes to the main office. Really.).

The two unscheduled periods during my day get filled very quickly.

Last year, during the first semester, I had the relative luxury of one extra free period designated for pursuing technology integration. It is no coincidence that those few months were the most inventive stretch in my professional life. In my neck of the woods more money is invested in hardware and software than curriculum development. The latter requires time freed from a full teaching assignment.

When do presentations to other teachers, the first question they always ask is always, "Where do you find the time....?" Well, unfortunately, often I don't.

"Waste of Time" Flickr Creative Commons photo by der_sich_den_wolf_tanzt

1 comment:

Tracie said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Our time is so limited and micromanaged that finding time to even reimagine an old lesson is nearly impossible. I used to share a prep with one of my colleagues and during that year we were able to develop really exciting stuff. Now it feels very much like running to stand still. There seems to be so much more on our plates now. And all of it is given to us without much support. Talking with other teachers at recent conference, I heard from many that they feel forced to do less in their classrooms in order to survive the paperwork and other expectations thrust upon them from higher up. These are creative and energetic people, not slackers by any means. In order to be innovative, we need time and energy reserves. And a little trust from our admin team that we are experts at what we do.

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