As I write this, I’m getting ready for the holiday season and wishing for more time! More time to catch up on grading, more time to plan engaging lessons, more time to spend with my family, more time to get Christmas shopping done, more time to write this blog, more time for….etc. You name it, I wish I had more time for it! Don’t we all?
So when I was asked to write this blog (which was supposed to be done 2 weeks ago), I’m just thinking of how efficient I really am with my time. As a mom of 3 and with a husband who travels a lot for work, I don’t have a lot of time to spare when it comes to my profession/passion/career of teaching. SO, when I have to go to a PLC almost every Monday afternoon and am told to “work on preparing your midterm exams” (which later becomes “work on preparing your final exams”) for an hour, I tend to get a little aggravated. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the people I get to work with in my PLC (they are like family to me), but even they get annoyed with the task(s) we are given to do every Monday afternoon. So many times we find ourselves “beating a dead horse” for 5 minutes and then we just “shoot the breeze” for the next 55 minutes until FINALLY the clock says 3:30 and we can officially leave. I wish there was something more that we could do to be more productive and worth our time.
After reading the book, “Ditch That Textbook”, I’ve been picturing this BETTER PLC idea in my head and how we, as teachers, could spend our time more wisely to enhance our students learning. I’m wishing/hoping/begging for the day when our administrators say to us, “you are professionals, use your one hour of PLC time and work on your canvas page, create a new Quizlet activity, play around with Padlet, figure out how to incorporate smore.com into a lesson…and so on”. How I just wish I had the one hour of time to myself, in my classroom, using all my resources to potentially make my life easier and my student’s learning more of their own. I don’t want the time for grading papers or doing some mundane task, but the chance to really explore, on my own, new possibilities for my students.
So, why can’t we have this fantasy PLC? When will the time come when we can spend the time doing something more productive for our classes and our students? If it’s a problem of keeping teachers accountable, then I think we can fix this problem quickly and easily. I think we can help to keep teachers accountable for this sacred PLC time/one hour on Mondays, by using some of these newer tools and websites that we could/should be using in our own classrooms. I think it would be super easy for every department chair to create a Padlet, Canvas page, Google form, or something, that teachers would have to get on and just say what they worked on that day. For example, “Today I spent my one hour creating a new activity for my classes to use Canva to create a flyer that someone in Europe might have seen back in the early 1900’s to entice someone to migrate to the USA,” OR maybe it’s “I spent my one hour fixing my Canvas page and making it easier for my students to navigate,” OR maybe it’s “I spent my one hour to create a new assessment of how Osmosis works by having students use Smore.com”! Whatever it might be, I think it’s time for us teachers to be allowed to be “Professionals” and use our own time wisely and efficient.
Heck, what do we have to lose? It’s only one hour a week that we will never get back! Let’s make it the best and the most efficient hour of our week!
Today's thoughts come to us from Ms. Mary Sims. Mary is in her 13th year as a high school Social Studies teacher, mostly teaching Economics. She has a husband of 13 years who she met in preschool and 3 fun, crazy, smart children, Anna, Nate, and Will.