Thursday, August 16, 2012

Allowing for change

When I was interviewing for this position, one of the things I wanted to make clear was that when it comes to teacher-change, I wouldn't proceed too aggressively until I had dealt with the issue of time-and-space. Teachers at our school are extraordinarily busy; they wear many hats (teacher, coach, club leader, service trip organizer, residence staff ... and then they have lives) and tend to be over-scheduled during the school day. Yes we get great holidays but during the time we're in school, it's an 8-5:30 day followed by planning and marking overnight, not to mention the evening and weekend responsibilities as part of our academic and co-curricular components. So, if we're going to ask these folks to think deeply about their practice, we need to find the time by making their present work easier and more efficient. All those situations where they run in to an impediment, when they don't have the information they need at the time they need it or if they have to repeat a task that could be automated ... those are what I'm looking for right now. If I can save 1 minute out of their day, that's almost three hours over the year that I can than give to them as learning time. My push for maximizing time goes back to an old book: "Every minute counts" So far, I think I've saved about 5 minutes per teacher per year -- when we do our report cards, some of our students get letter grades rather than numeric (for a variety of reasons). The Academic Head kept a list and posted it every reporting period. Teacher would have to continually check against the list and adjust the report card manually. But the report card system would keep resetting it back to numeric at any mark change or addition -- and the teachers would be embarrassed when the number showed up on the report if they didn't continually check and double-check. No more... the AH's list is now on the student database and the report system checks against it and replaces the number with the appropriate letter. Frustration lessened and time saved. _There is time to change... but you have to make it._ Image: == Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  emilywjones  ==
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