Friday, February 01, 2019

On the Treadmill: Keep the Focus

A friend is always amazed that teachers do most of their own support work--we do a lot of cleaning, administrative work, and support the celebrations too. In private industry there appears to be more administrative support, cleaning help, and a fund to help out with celebration costs and efforts. The administrative, cleaning, and celebration-related tasks are time-consuming and typically somewhat costly events as teachers buy/make the goodies for staff celebrations, purchase cleaning supplies, and complete administrative tasks at home and in school that require lots of online/offline paperwork.

That's not to say we don't have any help in this regard. We pitch in and take turns with celebrations We have administrative support for some tasks, and we have dedicated custodians who care for the greater building. I don't want to sound like a martyr, but I do want to point out the "treadmill" aspect of teaching--that aspect that has you moving from one effort to another quickly beginning well before the school day and extending long after it.

Today is one of those treadmill days that begins in 45 minutes and includes prepping for a celebration, a collegial meeting, completing field trip paperwork with colleagues, teaching a fairy tale lesson, prepping for a science lesson, teaching the science lesson, meeting with a parent, sending out the newsletter, discussing report cards, cleaning up the room, and working with colleagues and students to read and discuss fairy tales with our kindergarten buddies. There's rarely a minute between all those events so what's most important is keeping the focus.

I know that teachers everywhere can relate to this treadmill schedule--it's one that I try to avoid with best possible planning and lead time, but sometimes there's nothing you can do but stay the pace, keep the focus, and power through the day.