Make time for the important things…

I’ve been busy lately.  If you come here often, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done much writing this month.  In fact, this is only my second post this month, but I’ve been busy and writing on my blog hasn’t been the most pressing thing lately.  I mean, c’mon, I have two small children, a busy job, and I’m a doc student!  You’re probably thinking, “Stop complaining, everybody’s busy, suck it up!”  We are all busy in our own ways and as I’ve said before, when you add something to your daily routine, you have to give something up.  Essentially, you make time for the things that are important to YOU!

This is essentially what I’ve done for my doc classes.  I have a professional goal that I want to achieve and I’ve committed to waking up early to do my readings and other homework for my courses.  This may seem like a small commitment for many of you, but for me 5am would have been out of the question a few years ago.  Now, let’s apply this to the classroom.

We are all busy and have only so much time in the day to devote to our courses.  However, sometimes, a new innovation comes along that we are really interested in and want to pursue.  But where do we find the time?  The truth is we prioritize what’s important and make the time.  Just like I’m giving up sleep, you too may have to give up something you really like or want to do.  It’s part of change and part of becoming a better teacher.  You may not want to do it, but if the innovation is something you really believe in and something you think will help you be more effective or improve student achievement, then you make the difficult decision to make the time where you can.  Because in the end, it’s not about you, it’s about what’s best for your students.

As an aside, if any of you know of a good way to stay awake that doesn’t include drinking coffee, PLEASE leave a comment!!!

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Time management and social networking

I heard about a study out of Harrisburg University on the radio while driving to work today, which said that students were less stressed and got more work done when they gave up social networking sites for a week.  I have to say that I’m not really that surprised that this happens given the number of friends people have and the amount of time it takes to read news feeds.  However, I think this points to a larger problem that I’m not sure we are addressing, time management.  We ultimately are responsible for how we spend our time, whether it be on Facebook or paying attention in a lecture, but how are we really prepared for managing our time?  Is this something we are prepared for in school or is this just something we either pick up or don’t?  I’d wager to bet it is a little bit of both, but how much responsibility is there on schools to provide this to our students before they graduate from high school?  How do we model time management in K-12 schools, or a better question might be are we really modeling time management skills if we fail to provide learning environments that are student-centered?  I think the answer is that we don’t.  Teacher-centered classrooms can provide the opportunity for some time management teachable moments, but students rarely get to experience how difficult it is to manage a number of different tasks when the instructor is orchestrating everything for the class.

We seem to be missing an opportunity to teach our students a very useful skill they will need throughout the rest of their lives.  So as we enter the end of the semester in schools throughout the US, maybe take some time over winter break to think about how you can provide the opportunity for your students to experience time management in your courses.  Find a way to model this behavior in your courses and the opportunity for your students to develop this important skill.

Here is an article about the experiment: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B963020101210