Photo by Omri Epstein
I really enjoyed Robyn Jackson’s practical approach to teaching as presented in her book “Never Work Harder than Your Students”. So now that I’ve just read her piece titled “Case Study – The Stop Doing List”, I find myself wondering if I could do that.
It sounds like the right thing to do. It makes sense – I’m sure there are things I shouldn’t be wasting energy on when there is so much else I should be doing. But how does one eliminate those things?
Dr Jackson talks about 4 categories:
I don’t grade unnecessary assignments or do pointless warm up activities but the example of getting into pointless arguments with students made me pause. I actually have a problem with students who AREN’T in my lesson who keep coming into my classroom. They want to talk to me about their schedule (which seems to change constantly) or have discovered that a different class was cancelled and they want to have their lesson now (even though 10 minutes have passed!). I spend precious time and ENERGY getting them out of the room! This doesn’t happen every lesson but yesterday it was a real pain! Would love to eliminate this from my day but HOW?! The other teachers on my staff are unsympathetic – I’m the one who decided to teach in the format of a learning center…
The advice is to automate these activities. Once again, I’ve caused myself a great deal of trouble by having a learning center. The school has upgraded the online system into which attendance, grades etc. must be entered. The other teachers can link the calendar to the class group saving time when typing in the information. However, my groups on the computer are simply divided by the students level. The students who are on the same level do not necessarily learn with each other. Consequently they are absent on different days.To make a long story short, I have to locate each student separately in the computerized system and it is MUCH slower. Certainly a time consumer but a way out of it has yet to be found.
Which work to delegate back to the students? This is a very important issue and the one I’ve had limited success in implementing. Maybe I should go back and read the chapter in the book again. I’ve tried using color coded feedback for correcting reading comprehension exercises (similar to ones given on the students exit exams) but it didn’t work well enough. LONG story – another post! I HAVE begun experimenting (with some students) with “flipping the classroom” and that seems to show promise!
The real teaching is supposed to stay!
At the moment I don’t know what I can eliminate from my “To Do” list – do you?