Sunday, October 09, 2011

Extras That Are Saving Me This Year...

You know how you gather tons of teaching advice throughout your career. Some sticks, some doesn't seem to (but who knows, maybe the fact of filtering through the information allows you to take a stand on things valuable to you).

Here is one that always stuck with me, "find pockets of time and use them wisely". This was given in the sense of, "yes you have to grade that huge stack of papers, and yes it will take you maybe 2 hours, and no you probably will never consistently have 2 hours in one shot, BUT, if you find 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there, then the work gets done, and it's ALMOST painless .... because everyone can stand most ANYTHING for 15 minutes." In this way (unless you're using your 15 minutes to rejuvenate), instead of sitting around chatting or surfing or whatnot, then use that 15 minutes to chip away at work that you'll have to do.

Here's how it's helped me this year:
I'm doing lesson plans this year, and I'm keeping up with the online homework calendar and the GradeSpeed updating of homework.

Old Me: oh, I'll do those 3 things after school, or I'll do them on the weekend, or I'll do them LATER. And this was hit or miss successful, and when it was successful, it amounted to a ton of time playing catch up.

New Me (for now .... work in progress): Boom, I just wrote the homework on the whiteboard, let me quickly use 1 minute to put it on the homework calendar and then it's done. ... oh let me SIT for 15 minutes after school and actually write my lesson plans instead of just taking them home for a round trip. .... oh, the students are correcting their homework from the overhead, let me put the new homework on GradeSpeed.

So that's one consistent improvement this year. Here's another one.

Old Me: oh, something unusual is coming up soon or not so soon. Let me write a sticky note, and that will remind me of it when it comes to disrupt my schedule (meeting, e-mail I have to send, conference I have to sign up for). And maybe I'll see the sticky note in time or not.

New Me: Let me put it on my Google Calendar and add several e-mail reminders that will shoot me e-mail periodically to keep it fresh in my mind.

Old Me: wow! look at the pile of p** that is my desk.

New Me: let me put away just 7 things right now. (oh look a smaller pile of p** ... for now).


  1. We must be on the same page, because I started the "just finish it here" plan this year too. Plus it's so liberating to come home empty-handed!

    Does your school use MS Outlook? I really like their calendar program (I use google calendar, too, but mostly for home stuff) plus I started using the flags in email to remind me of emails I have to respond to or take action on.

    And ha on the fact that you felt you need to censor "p**." I won't tell you how long it took me to figure out what you were referring to.

  2. Hi Meg,

    We don't use MS Outlook ... or maybe some people do, but I don't. Do you like its calendar reminder options better than Google? ... and I didn't think of the flag thingie ... my OTHER e-mails sometimes get lost in the avalanche that is school e-mail

  3. Incidentally I was reading Chuck Pahlaniuk's Fight Club (yes that book that was made into a movie with Brad Pitt in it) and there was this one line from the pages that struck me deeply : This is your life, and its ending one minute a time. A pessimistic view, but a dead on observation-could be used to frighten procrastinators into action(like myself heh). All the best for your new resolution on better time management. Peace.