Time. I wish I had more.
I say that, but I’m the king of frittering away time. I feel like my adult A.D.D. it always in charge because there are always more jobs than the amount of time that I give myself, and I always seem to end of doing something completely different! Ugh!
As I’ve started going through my Google Docs to organize and clean up (hey Google, how about creating an efficient way of keep docs organized!?!) I came across a copy of what the English language arts time looked like two years ago. 80 minutes. 80 minutes to get through reading and language standards. I could do that. Heck, I might have had issues filling that time, so the kids would have to *gasp* read on their own. However, when I moved to the middle school, that time was cut to 50 minutes because of scheduling conflicts. And this year, it’s almost worse. 50 minutes. And I’m giving them time in class to read because honestly, how many of these kids pick up a book outside of school? How many of them have been driven to think “I can’t read” because of our incessant need to test and test and retest and teach strategy after strategy about reading. When do we teach kids about just reading what you like?
But, that’s not the point of this blog. As our schools slowly continue to change, our concept of time needs to be making that change as well. A few schools are starting the “online snow day” where students can meet virtually and the day of school can count. That’s changing what our concept of time is about. Other schools are playing with starting later, going later, retooling what school is about. But that requires forward thinking and a willingness of ALL involved to look outside the box. It’s not just teachers here, it’s coaches, parents, family, and community who need to see that school isn’t just about 8:30 – 3:30 time anymore. We are fully connected, for better or worse, so learning can and should be happening at all times. Why can’t school start later and run longer? Why can’t we run a year round model? Why can’t we run school in a manner that’s different for the learners we have? But what about sports? But what about summer jobs? But what about the Iowa State Fair (really, we can’t start school at a certain time because of the state fair)? There will always be barriers, but we have to continually ask that question: what’s best for kids? But we need to ask that question and mean it, not just asking rhetorically, then keep on doing the same dang thing.
Time. Last night, my time was spent toting my daughter from a cross country meet to dance practice. I wasted some of that time time because we fought and I lost on that chance to connect with her. We as an educational system need to start seeing time in a new way. Either that, or we need to be satisfied with the product we get from 50 minute classes.
Either way, the choice is ours.