Friday, February 11, 2011

Ending the "not enough time/not enough money" argument

I have never met anybody who makes just enough money or has just enough time.  I have certainly had lots of conversations with people who make too little (or know someone who makes too much).  There's never enough time!  To this I ask, "why?"  Yes, there are new initiatives in education.  Proven methods of teaching and research on how students learn.  So shouldn't we say to the teacher who asks, "where does the time come from?" with "stop doing the things that are inefficient and ineffective, that's where you get the time."  I know there is a lot asked of teachers, principals, parents, kids, support staff etc.  But we get the kids from 8:00a.m. till 3:15p.m.  Let's use the time we have to inspire them and educate them.  Find out what they know and figure out ways to instruct what they don't.  Instead of letting students power down their brains only to go home to explore what they are interested in, inspire them to go home and continue their education through media, art, networking etc.  There!  There's the extra time we need.  When my son comes home and wants to learn more about slavery and discrimination, then I know the lesson taught in school ranked pretty high an Bloom's Taxonomy.  My son has never come home and just begged me to find him more worksheets. 

Money is a little more tricky, who can't use more money?  Again, I can sit back and lament on the fact that the school could use more money, I could use more support staff, I could use air conditioning in my building and perhaps a new set of office furniture.  I could take the time to lament on those issues, but wouldn't that be a waste of time and money?  There, I just saved some more time and money.

We should be focusing on making our time better used and our money better spent.  Wishing and wondering will not make those things happen.  Let's stop thinking of the million things we have to do in the little bit of time, and let's start thinking about the strides we can make if we focus on the student, the learning, and the education as a whole instead of all it's little pieces. 

If you do feel compelled to argue time and money, I promise to find some time to discuss the issue.  But it will cost you.  I don't work for free.


  1. What method(s) do you and your staff use to decide what is "ineffective and inefficient"?

  2. A great math teacher I once worked with never had a wasted moment in her class. She knew and more importantly the students knew they were there to work. Expectations were clear, learning goals and assessments were never a question.

    Today I think it is so important to make learning transparent. If a teacher can't answer the question, "why are we doing this?" then how is a student suppose to know? Learning goals and objectives should be concise. A teacher should know if the students learned what the intended outcome was. They should know what high quality work should look like.

    Thank you for the comment!