I have always found confronting the balance between my teaching and personal lives: they are both things that I love and are central to my self-identity. They are also ‘black holes’: there is always something more I could be doing; and, you can never be perfect at either role, I suspect.
So, launching into a two day workshop where I am going to have a whole lot of new stuff thrown at me, one of my responses could well have been I don’t have time for that! My days are already busy with pastoral and co-curricular responsibilities, meeting the administrative and assessment requirements of the school; let alone planning my teaching.
My thinking would have been: Where would the time come from to innovate? It would come from my personal time.
And I have a five year old with a cochlear implant who is on track to meet his potential thanks to a lot of investment from us and the fabulous Shepherd Centre. I have a nine year old who just wants to learn and play sport with his dad. That isn’t going to last long; he will be a teenager soon!
Sitting through the forthcoming staff conference, I wonder how many people will be thinking I don’t have time for that! Time pressure has been found to be a major contributor to teacher stress (Kyriacou, 2001). They also find changes to established practices stressful (Black and Wiliam, 1998; Hallam et al., 2004; Priestley et al., 2010).
“You don’t have time to learn?” When would our students get away
with that statement so easily?
He suggests five alternate responses:
- How will my students benefit from this practice?
- I am not seeing the relevance of this for teaching and learning…could you give me specifics of how this would impact my practice?
- How would you suggest incorporating what you are suggesting into my position?
- What has been the biggest benefits for your own practice?
- If I was to do this, what would it replace that I am doing now?
These five questions are ones I am going to have close at hand going into the next two days.
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998a). Assessment and Classroom Learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1), 7-74. doi:10.1080/0969595980050102
Hallam, S., Kirkton, A., Peffers, J., Robertson, P., & Stobart, G. (2004). Evaluation of Project 1 of the Assessment is for Learning Development Programme: Support for Professional Practice in Formative Assessment – Final Report Retrieved from Retrieved from: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2004/10/19947/43007
Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teacher Stress: Directions for future research. Educational Review, 53(1), 27-35. doi:10.1080/00131910120033628
Priestley, M., Miller, K., Barrett, L., & Wallace, C. (2010). Teacher learning communities and educational change in Scotland: the Highland experience. British Educational Research Journal, 37(2), 265-284. doi:10.1080/01411920903540698