Monday, May 4, 2009

The Value of Time

I have been thinking about time. We always complain that we don't have enough time for collaboration. There is not enough time in the day to get together and work with other teachers.  We are to busy teaching. Administrators need to give us more time for collaboration. We need time to have those meaningful conversations with our peers. (complain, complain, complain)  Yes, I am part of that crowd.

I think I have found an hour a day of regularly uninterrupted collaboration time. Nobody is really going to like the answer.

It came to me when I thought about this past year in teaching. It had been my busiest yet. I am always feeling rushed. The only real reason I could come up with was the fact that I switched carpools. My new carpool always wants to leave right after school. Always. In fact they often call me on the intercom to hurry up. I knew this when I joined but I am too frugal (cheap) to drive myself every day.

I am sure you can see where I am going with this. How many of us are out the door shortly after the bell? We all use similar excuses - I need to get home to my family, I have prior engagements, I am to burnt out at the end of the day. How many other jobs do you get to put in 6 hour workdays? Oh but I do my work at home. Ya, so much for your argument about family.  Add in the fact that it is harder to collaborate with others from a distance.

One hour at the end of the day would give us lots of time to get things done (both together and alone). Think how much better we would do if we were not trying to squeeze in collaboration during time we are supposed to be focusing on actually teaching.


Tammy said...

I enjoy the conversations and collaboration that occurs at the end of a school day. Yes at the end of the day we are all tired and still need to head home and deal with our personal lives but it is also the time when the learnings, epiphanies and struggles of the day are the "freshest". I find the discussions occurring at this time of the day to be more solution focused and collaborative in nature (no data to support that just my opinion).

That said ... are you excited for your first day of having the fully functioning installed SMARTboard at your disposal?

Ryan Nickell said...

I always admire your honesty. And you are right, when leaving on time becomes one of the most important aspects of your job...well, there's a whole lot to be said about that. But I often find myself wandering around our hallway alone after school, you nowhere to be found. Some of my most meaningful collaboration has come after school - playing with a new idea, obtaining feedback, etc... If the hallways are empty at the end of the day - it's a discouraging feeling. About collaborative time during "teaching" time - probably not the best idea but our students do usually benefit from the new ideas we are throwing around with enthusiasm.

Ryan Nickell said...

Here's an interesting idea that you sort of raise: what if every teacher committed to staying for 1 hour after school at least twice a week. I don't think this is unrealistic and think about how amazing this would be!

eldongermann said...

I couldn't agree more Gary. Macklin decided on this last year, but instead of spending an hour everyday, we teach 15 minutes extra four days a week and let the students go an hour early on Wed. This gives us 1 hour to collaborate every week.

It is not enough time, however, it is a start.