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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Time to be ...

It never ceases to amaze the amount of quality professionals we have in education. I was speaking with a few friends of mine recently, in this group there was one who was previously a life-coach, another a former GM of a tech company, a qualified real-estate agent and a medical scientist. As the night went on we all began to talk about our journeys into education.  Through listening to their stories I discovered that many of us shared a similar burden, the desire to make a difference in the lives of children.

Discussions continued about how this desire often got lost due to the overcrowding of curriculum, external expectations and eventually we got to ourselves. When I say ourselves I mean we as teachers began to become less self disciplined in our personal routine, our attention was spread to wide and our ability to truthfully reflect was distorted.

This reality hit most of us from left field. We thought that we were doing okay but then we had realized that we were part of our own problem.

In this moment we were faced with a complex issue, the question of how do we get back to that point of focus and passion?

About a week later when we next spoke there was a suggestion made that we all begin to journal or blog. Most of us coming from previous professions had done similar in the past and had found benefit in it then so we took on the challenge to answer the two driving questions behind our issue:

  1. Who do we want to become in this season of teaching?
  2. What habits do we need to form to make this a reality?

When faced with deep questions it is essential not to get down on yourself but to look for the opportunities.

The following are some routines that I have now implemented with the guidance of my fellow educators and so far we are all sharing some wonderful clarity in focus.

Build downtime into your schedule.
When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family, friends and activities that help you recharge.

If a date night or event is in your calendar, you'll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don't have to cancel.

Drop activities that sap your time or energy.
Take stock of activities that don't enhance your classroom practice or personal life and minimize the time you spend on them.

Rethink your responsibilities.
Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming responsibilities that don't add value to your classroom practice or lifestyle.

Get moving.
It's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.

Relaxation goes a long way.
Don't assume that you need to make big changes to bring about focus. It is more about giving yourself the time to reflect and plan.

As teachers we know the power of reflection for a student, just watch Austin’s Butterfly by Ron Berger if you want any inspiration, but the power and impact for a teacher is even vaster. It has the ability to change a teacher, student, classroom and a school.

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