Time to Teach?

Second week of school and already the following events take time from my classes:

  • Monday: Mandatory reading test (full period)
  • Tuesday: Freshman Buddies Day Workshop (about 75% of my seniors gone all Tuesday)
  • Wednesday: Freshman Buddies Day (all freshman out of class all day; 75% of seniors out)
  • Thursday: Minimum Day for District Teacher Health Fair (attendance mandatory)
  • Friday: Lock down drill third period (15 minutes)

They take the time but expect the same results as if we had a full week of instruction. It takes time to teach, time to learn. In an economy of attention, time to learn seems only of marginal importance at such times.

Addendum: I had to update after school on Tuesday. The district office made a mistake with the reading scoring sheets we used on Monday's reading test, so we had to spend class time mindlessly transferring answers from one form to another. Aghggh.

3 Responses to “Time to Teach?”

  1. All of my experience tells me that time-to-teach and time-to-learn are the fundamental problem.
    At the end of the day, power is usually about controlling time and motion. How much real time does a student have to think and thus learn? I have a feeling if someone compiled the numbers it would be staggeringly low.
    The real problem, imho, is that students learn most by mimicking what teachers do, not listening to what they say. If a teacher does not control time in class, how can they be a model of Knowledge is Power? And why would a student think that is anything more than a slogan?
    The paradox is that every student and teacher wants power. But they can’t see the connection between the two in the every day lives in class.

  2. Stacey Evans August 26, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    It’s funny how often those trying to teach and those trying to learn butt heads with bureaucracy – it seems a system designed, in all aspects, to build a wall between seekers and knowledge. How can we grow and progress if we are constantly forced to subvert this staid, stale, and dogmatic system? It goes against everything that the learning process should be about, and it bleeds all the enthusiasm out of those who we need to be the most enthusiastic about learning: the students.
    As a student trying not to get lost in the notoriously impersonal community college system, this issue makes me want to tear my hair out. Educational systems have been built as one-size-fits-all, but students are so diverse in nature, background, learning ability, and interest as to make this system completely irrational. How can we expect student to want to learn if they are required wade through “mandatory” time expenditures to get to the education that they – in many cases desperately – need?
    Speaking to the community college system specifically, the issues are piling up. Even as we face this already enormous issue of getting students to want to learn, our educational systems are having their budgets slashed so that schools must swell their already stretched resources to cover a) more students with b) fewer counselors to guide them through the pre-existing bureaucracy. More and more sections of classes are being cut, and teachers are being ordered not to overfill the ones that remain. Students can’t get the classes they need to graduate, there seems to be no ceiling on tuition prices, and teachers can’t do anything to help them.
    But I digress. The paradox anyone involved in the educational system faces, be he a teacher or a student, is the problem of a system that doesn’t fit our needs. You ask for more time to teach, and the students ask for more time to learn, and what you are given is less. Taken in perspective, as you said, the time to learn ought to be marginal, but perspective is not something that our educational system allows. The best we can do is work with what we’re given, and never stop working.

  3. Linda Woodard August 29, 2009 at 9:08 am

    This is sooooo true. My first week had two fire drills and two shortened days due to homeroom, but since some materials were not printed yet and EVERYONE has ENGLISH, we English teachers had to pass them out, go over the information in class and make sure each student signed that they received them. AND again because EVERYONE is taking English, we had to take our classes to the bookroom to get all of their subject books! BUT one would think that one day would be assigned to a teacher, right? NOOOO… I had to go four different days and at asinine times like 12:18. I had nightmares thinking I missed my day or time!!! ACK!!!! And talk about not remembering where I was in each of my classes as we couldn’t complete the same things due to not only the days but the varying times it took to get the books! So if Michael’s obserbvation is true in that: “If a teacher does not control time in class, how can they be a model” I am in BIG TROUBLE!
    And in a week, there will be TESTING and then yearbook pictures…and…and…. Ah…. the best laid plans of mice and men!

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