Time: Summary of 6/5/16 #oklaed chat
Tonight we had a lively discussion about time.
You might even say it was timely. There were 900 responses in all. If you want to read the full chat wrap, Michelle Waters has put that together for you. Here are some of my favorite responses to the chat questions, along with very little commentary from me…
Q1 Instructionally, what do you wish we could spend more time doing in the classroom?
There were a number of good responses here. Generally, we (and by no means do I think I speak for all who participated) want to focus on active learning, rather than memorization and test prep.
Q2 Instructionally, what do you wish we could spend less time doing in the classroom?
Again, we want to spend less time teaching kids how to test. And we want to quit teaching electives as if they’re minor league classes for math and English. Plus, busywork is a real drag.
Q3 What does it mean “to value a student’s time?”
Spend time doing what matters. Over the next several questions, we start to see a theme developing. Whether it’s adult or children, bored people speak volumes.
Q4 How important should “seat time” be for how we credit students with what they’ve learned?
I could have been more specific to what I meant. Yes, children don’t learn best when they’re forced to sit all day. Neither do adults. I should have asked about our strict adherence to the amount of time to take a class and earn a credit. Oh well, maybe next time (get it?).
Q5 How much unstructured time (recess, lunch, etc.) should students get during the school day?
We think kids of all ages need more breaks. Still, somebody has to supervise the kids. There are definitely logistics to consider, especially with all the budget cuts and staff reductions.
Q6 How much time outside of the school day should students have to spend doing schoolwork?
Every time we discuss homework on a chat, people get testy. I don’t like it for elementary, and I think it should be used sparingly for middle and high school. If you take AP classes, you should know what the workload is.
Q7 What does it mean “to value a teacher’s time?”
We don’t like meetings, in general, and we’d like a say in the professional development to which we’re subjected. Tegan is right. We need balance in our lives. At some point, we shouldn’t be accessible.
Q8 How can we reconceive professional development to better use the time of adult learners?
In general, collaboration is our preference. That’s something we should keep in mind for our own instruction. The way we prefer to learn is probably the way most of our students would prefer to learn as well.
Q8b You pick a breakout session at a conference. It’s lousy. Your time is valuable. Do you stay or go? Why?
I try to be an optimist at conferences, but sometimes, I’ve chosen between two things that really appealed to me. If I’ve chosen poorly, and I can tell pretty quickly, I’m on the move.
Q8c Would your students make the same decision if they could?
The key phrase here is if they could. Obviously, they can’t, but we should know if we have a captive or a willing audience.
Q9 How much time outside of the contract should teachers spend grading and planning?
I’ll admit that I don’t like hearing of teachers who roll in right at their reporting time and rolling out right behind the buses. I also don’t like hearing of schools in which a handful of teachers work 70-80 hour weeks to meet every last physical and emotional need of the students. You’re a professional. You should be willing to go above and beyond the most basic job requirements from time to time. You’re also a human being. You have limits. You need balance. Your own family should come first. If your current boss disagrees, well, we’re hiring. We don’t have as much open as we did a year ago at this time, but we have some positions.
I respect teachers who are consummately dedicated to the kids. I just hate seeing them work themselves to the point that their health suffers.
Bonus Q: How much downtime do you take during the summer? No, really?
Yeah, we live on the edge. I have a stack of Hemingway to read. I’m teaching a grad school class. Many educators are going to conferences, participating in book studies, and driving around listening to podcasts relevant to their jobs.
And because I’m me, here are two classic songs from movies with the word time in the title. Why two? Why not. My blog, my rules.