Time is on my side.
Don’t you wish these song lyrics were true? Wouldn’t (fill in the blank) be better if I just had more time! Personally I could generate a LONG list of words to fill in that blank. The problem with this way of thinking is that you will NEVER have more time. Time will never been on our side. There needs to be more focus on what we do with our time rather than thinking about what would be possible with more time.
From a professional standpoint, time is what is needed to read about new research and ways of teaching, observe other teachers, reflect on your teaching practices, and on and on and on. I would argue that you need to step back and figure out how you can build in time for those professional aspects that are important. If you aren’t happy with how your students are responding to how you grade and/or teach, you NEED to take time to figure out what can be done differently. Think about the cycle if you don’t. You teach a unit…your students don’t seem to be enjoying it…you get frustrated…they test over the unit…the grades aren’t great…the students take 2 seconds to look over comments that you took hours making…you start the next unit upset… and the cycle continues. Imagine doing this for years! You must find the time to change things up.
But how? I wish I had an easy answer to this question, but it boils down to what many have told me, “you will make time for things that are important.” I say this not trying to offend or upset anyone, but it is true. It has been true for me, and I think it is true for everyone. If you want to lose weight, you’ll find the time. If you want to spend more time with your family, you’ll find the time. If you want to reconnect with your significant other, you’ll find the time. The same goes for your professional life. If it is important you MUST find the time or you will burnout and get frustrated. Neither of these are good for you, your students, your district, or your family!
Look at what/how you teach and ask yourself what you would most want to change. Pick up a book that helps offer alternatives and take the time to read it. Jump on Twitter and follow people who have fresh ideas. Search for blogs from teachers who have new ideas and are willing to share their experiences. Your first reaction will be that you don’t have time…make time! For years I have read every night before I go to bed. Most nights I was reading material that I could use to help make my classroom a better place. If you choose to read books, the reading list doesn’t have to be research heavy. In fact, I would recommend that your reading list include books that will help to inspire you to be a better teacher, not put you to sleep! This is my way of making a little time for professional growth.