Slice of Life Tuesdays: When There’s Not Enough Time

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Dream School: Have enough time for all my students to read whatever they want, write to publish their own longer works, and travel to the places we study in geography.

“There’s never enough time.” Who said that? Mike Miller? Somebody said it first.

One of the frustrating parts of losing time is that it seems that you once had so much that you slacked off, got lazy. You goofed around and wasted your time. It was fine, because you had enough time – no need to worry because the due date was far in the future. Now, the deadline is looming; now you are in “crunch time.” There’s not enough time left to show your true potential.

If I had more time now, I’d read aloud more books to my students. I never got to read Pax, or share all the new titles that came across my desk this year. There’s a new pile of “To-Be-Reads” at home, too, and a growing list of books I wish I’d purchased. Sharing great titles with students and encouraging a love of reading is the best! But I’m almost out of time.

If I had more time now, I’d help students to publish more of their works. I have a nice pile of fantastic writing from this school year, but some students were not able to revise, edit, and send their work in to publishers. I would have entered more contests, as well. Some of the contest topics seemed amazing! But I’m almost out of time.

If I had all the time in the world, I’d travel around the world. I’d love to climb the steps at Machu Picchu! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could take my students on a field trip to  Canada, or the Dominican Republic, or to Ecuador? I have many places on my bucket list of travel. But alas, I’m not sure I’ll have the time.

As this school year winds down, I wish you all the time you need to achieve your goals.

 

Day 19: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Is It Friday Yet?

I feel like I am in 1700s Massachusetts — the Battle of Bunker Hill/Breed’s Hill. I’ve climbed, ready to attack; I’m a “Minuteman” — ready to work in a moment’s notice. Monday and Tuesday flew by. I kept up, crossing each task off of my to-do list, and I got done with everything! Then Wednesday arrived.

Wednesdays are true “hump” days around here. Hump. Slump! Oh, my goodness! Today is trudging along like a camel in the desert! Slowly stomping along, I am moving forward. I’m writing this piece during my lunchtime, because I think once I get home I’m going to pass out on the couch. Grinding, winding, minding my business, just to get over the hump.

The rest of the week should go fast. I am hopeful that Friday will bring about smooth sailing, lasting through the rest of the spring. I am ready to get over the humps (Wednesday AND winter’s weather hump). I’m ready to blossom in spring, and into 2014 Indiana! The Revolution is over, right?

Getting into the Routine(s)

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Routines are required because routines are reassuring.

Routines lead to relaxing and getting down to work without distractions. Or trouble.

 Teachers teach procedures and routines in the first weeks of school so that students can have order and consistency in their lives, so they can feel successful, and so they can learn to get down to business without worrying about the small stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff (they say). Having routines makes life easier – really! Students know where to turn in homework, when to go to their lockers, and how to get to the lunchroom independently when teachers help them to learn the daily procedures. Harry and Rosemary Wong even wrote about it in The First Days of School. But I’m finding more and more that teachers need the procedures and routines just as much as the students.

(The following is a personal story that is meant to show how teachers need routines just as much as students. Thank you for allowing me to share.)

As a “veteran” teacher, I’m supposed to know how to teach content, manage my classroom, and manage my time. Daily tasks such as taking attendance, transitioning to the related arts classes, and end-of-day dismissal procedures need to be taught, practiced, and mastered by staff and students alike. I’m still learning. Nowhere near mastery yet. Even though I’m supposed to know. Here’s what I learned today:

When you assign lunch detention, the acceptable procedure is to keep students in the classroom for up to ten minutes, and then allow them to move to the lunchroom to eat. Ten minutes is plenty of time – all you have to do is walk down the hallway – to get to the cafeteria. Well…I released the students within the acceptable time frame, but I also directed them to follow the noon procedure of changing books for the afternoon and they traveled to their lockers, and got to lunch really late! Oh, my! Following procedures and routines, and then changing them without practicing the change, may lead to greater stress for everyone involved. It sure didn’t make my lunchtime relaxing.

Teachers, remember to practice the routines for your own well-being as well as for your students’ peace of mind. Write your routines down and follow them as you have recorded. Also write down any changes or predicted flexibility that may be ahead. Practice the changes, as well. (“When you have lunch detention, you need to…”) Then, you can be reassured, relaxed, and get your work done, too! And maybe even stay out of trouble.

Hey, you worked really hard all week, so take Monday off.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

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