We all get stuck in routines. The brain likes when everything is predictable. However, I will argue that in the teaching profession, being flexible and willing to try new routines is what keeps teachers effective, engaging, and least likely to burn out.
Teachers are incredibly hardworking. They face mountains of pressure to reach all students. They have time restraints including deadlines for assessments, pacing calendars so as not to fall behind before the big test, trimester report cards, grading assignments timely, and on and on. With all that said, I can see why some teachers choose to stick with what they know – the same lesson each year, the same instructional strategies they lean on, the same classroom layout. Why? Because those things are one less thing to worry about on their ever-expanding plates.
What if I were to tell you that there is a way to get back your time, still teach the core subjects and get to others on the back-burner, all the while engaging students like never before? Right now you’re probably thinking that this is impossible or that you don’t have time to start something new. Well, you’re right in that this will be something new. It will require planning. It will require collaborating. Will you need get new curriculum? Not at all. The current adoption your district has is a fine tool to use as a GUIDE, meaning you’re the professional that must bring your own creativity to the table. If you’re a page turner day after day like I was in my first few years of teaching, then this will be liberating for you! Let me be perfectly clear here. You CAN use your current lessons and curriculum to meet the needs of this new strategy that will give you back your time that you deserve and need.
Can I ask you a question? (Of course I can. It’s my blog!) In the real world, workers use concepts from a variety of subjects at the same time continuously throughout the work day. So why do we compartmentalize subjects in school? Why does math only have to be taught in the morning and not touched again because English Language Arts has a special time slot, so does History and Science (if you dust off the books and actually teach these subjects)? Because there is so much pressure to get everything done in a short amount of time, wouldn’t it make sense to see where subjects can be combined? It’s a lesson plan BOGO!
What if I were to tell you that there is a way to get back your time
For me, the answer to these came in the amazing breakthrough of Project Based Learning. This teaching strategy changed my life as a teacher, and I can’t wait to dig in deeper in my next post where I unveil the strategies that helped me to gain back time, engage students like never before, and love teaching again!
Until next time,