the third rail

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Spinning Plates

January 27, 2011 by seanwilliams · 3 Comments · teaching

Spinning Plates

Spinning Plates

Are all educators overly optimistic schedulers? Is it part of teaching? Is it part of the make up of the person that becomes a good teacher?

We seem to schedule everything based on best case scenario.

How often are you planning a lesson and think “We’ll never get all this done…” but keep on planning away?

What about the times you don’t schedule any transition time? Any of these sound familiar?

  • Recess ends 10:20 but class starts at 10:20, how does that work?
  • Attendance just happens somehow with no down time?
  • Dismissal at 2:15 and you are going to teach to that last second (productively)?
  • Transition with teaching partner, classes swap seamlessly?

It’s not just teachers and planning, it’s institutional.

Instructional minutes, rarely related to actual classroom activities.  Or the “X” amount of minutes every two weeks? Yeah, that works.

It spills over into our personal lives as well. How many times have you had a meeting scheduled to end at 3:30 and another to start at 3:30 in a different place? Or school gets out at 2:30 but you will make that meeting at 2:45?

All this is fine and well most of the time. Well, some complaints from family about how you are always busy ~ whatever. But what happens when something goes awry? Usually the results are of epic proportion.

Kind of makes me think a butterfly could cause a hurricane if scheduled properly by a teacher.

We try to fit everything in, knowing the whole time we would need a ten hour day to make it work.

But still we try.

And usually pull it off.

3 Comments so far ↓

  • Stephen Davis


    I love the line: “Kind of makes me think a butterfly could cause a hurricane if scheduled properly by a teacher.”!!!

    Great point about building in transition time into our lesson plans…How do you think administrators would react if they see transition minutes built into our lesson plans?

  • seanwilliams

    Thanks Stephen…At this point I don’t think it would be popular. BUT I think it is one of MANY things that need to be openly discussed if schools as we know them are going to stay any way relevant over the next decade or so.

  • Diane

    It helps that teachers are generally amazing people. Some more than others, of course.

    Want something done? Ask a busy person.

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