Sunday, October 4, 2015

Learning time loss: Why bell-to-bell learning matters

Imagine this scenario: You teach at least 5 classes or 5 hours a day (this accounts for both elementary and secondary teachers). Each 1 hour block takes about 5 minutes to get started and ends about 5 minutes early. 

This means that roughly 10 minutes out of every 60 minutes are underutilized. Over the course of the day, this means that roughly 50 minutes out of every 300 minutes are not focused on learning.

Over the course of a typical 5 day week there will be 250 minutes not spent on learning out of a total 1,500 potential learning minutes.

Over the course of a typical school year of 174 school days there will be 8,700 minutes not utilized for learning.

Now, let's be realistic and cut that number in half because we all know there are assemblies and other events that cut into learning time throughout the school year. That leaves us with 4,350 minutes of time not spent learning.

4,350 total underutilized minutes divided by a typical 300 minute school day = 14.5 days per school year are slipping through our fingers. 

Does every minute need to focused on learning, of course not. Are there times when kids and educators need a few moments to simply 'breathe,' of course there are. 

It's unrealistic to think every minute can be focused on learning.

However, even with conservative numbers, almost three weeks of school each year are being lost. In other words, 8.3% of a student's year in a 36 week school year. And, there's one thing all educators can agree with... time is precious and we always need more of it. 

Let's really focus on making sure we are maximizing the time we have.

Friday, October 2, 2015

10 questions every educator should be asking...

I firmly believe in self-reflection as a means toward growth and development. As such, we all would benefit from an intense session of self-reflection. Through self-reflection we will better understand who we are as educators, as well as how our actions are aligning with our beliefs. Regardless of your position or role in education, here are 10 questions to ask yourself:

1) - How and what are you doing to build strong and enduring relationships with your students and staff?

2) - What are you doing very well? Where are you seeing a lot of success? Do you know why...?

3) - What are you not doing very well? Where are you not seeing a lot of success? Do you know why...?

4) - What are you doing to improve your craft? How are you ensuring that you will be better able to address your students' and staffs' needs?

5) - In your absence, can your students and staff continue learning and growing? Do they absolutely need you to continue?

6) - Do your students and staff know the expectations? Do they have a part in establishing those expectations?

7) - Do you give your students and staff enough praise for the great things they are doing? Are you filling the buckets of others?

8) - Do you practice what you preach? Do your actions speak louder than your words?

9) - What is the biggest mistake you've made (educationally speaking) so far this school year? What did you learn from this experience?

10) - If you never saw your students and staff ever again, what do you think they would say about you? If it's not flattering, what are you doing to change their minds?