Had my great friend (thanks Mary!) send me an article on how good teachers become great. I am always looking for the great activities, the best, and those are done at the expense of good things. Knowing what not to do, I believe, is as important as knowing what to do -- because there simply are not enough minutes.
I found the post great because it started talked about perfect lesson plans, bulletin boards and binders. The title said great teaching - and that is my goal - and I don't do any of that. Ugh! It was talking about all the things I skip to put time on authentic tasks that make students ready for what lays beyond my walls. But then just about when I was ready to scream - it pivoted about how students need opportunities - authentic tasks. And how much of the good teacher tasks must be skipped to be great (whew...) --- saying: "In fact, becoming a great teacher requires that much of the good teacher code be broken."
Think of all the things that can suck time -- Having perfect lessons, or the best hall passes or having all the right forms and binders prepared.... Heck those are things I often make the office ask for twice (cause a lot of stuff they ask for they just file, and most of the time - they ask once and not again). Doing TPS things just takes more time than it is worth. Uhhh...yeeahh...
Making things happen takes time but I think great teaching is letting students go (it was the number 1 thing in the article) - and that does not take as much time. But I think that is hard for us as teachers. Control can seem like a precious commodity, but in the end it is in the student's best interest to put them in control. And success is nice but a lot more can be learned in failure and revision (for us teachers too).
And the results are undeniable once you put students in control. For years I have assigned projects using ideas and software that I have not done. I think I could - but I am after end results, students can figure out details to create things (assigning a 3D house in Google Sketch Up is the largest project - I can barely draw a prism in Sketch Up).
I plan to focus my upcoming reflections on how important minutes are in my classroom. Not just for me and my time, but more importantly, my students time.