If You Gave Us More Time…Teachers Could Rule the World

Seriously. Teachers deserve some serious props for what they are able to get done during the day. (Chorus of “Amens”, “You go on, girl!” “Tell it to them sister!” in the background here.)

The other day, I went to visit my girlfriend in the hospital after she had her baby. (Who is fabulously gorgeous.) (Note: Not being in the classroom provides one with something called “flexibility.” This term applies mainly to one’s time and how one goes about structuring one’s day. If you are teaching right now, you may only understand this term as it is hissed at you to “be more flexible”…usually after some out-of-the-classroom someone has just made a ridiculous demand on your time. It is important to note that YOU are the only one being flexible and must therefore bend your needs and schedule to match someone else’s agenda. I get it. After all, I spent eight years “being flexible” and it basically left me contorted beyond recognition. So this new found ability to be flexible with my time is, well, it’s fabulous.) Back to my girlfriend. She already had her Blackberry out and was texting away, making calls and getting everything in order at home. Jokingly, I said to her, “Dude, you could rule the world with that thing,” because, you know, she just had a BABY but was still on top of her game. And she was all, “You are insane. You’ve got a million things on your plate too.”

And she’s right. I do have a million things. I’ve got a (gulp) dissertation that needs finishing. (Anyone interested?) I’ve got a website to get together. I’ve got a “writing career” that needs tending to. I’ve got two classes to finish this semester. I’ve got some consulting on the side…you know, so I’m not out of the game all together. (I need a classroom fix from time to time and so far, this seems to be doing the trick.) I have reading to do, writing to do…SO MANY TO DOs! While I am in listing heaven, I also feel a bit all over the place. Too many balls in the air, so to speak, which can make it hard to be productive.

Yet when I was in the classroom, oh when I was IN THE CLASSROOM…there was no stopping me! None! I had all my balls in the air and was juggling like a fool! (Somewhere Mr. Mimi’s head is exploding after I typed that line. Just keeping it real.) My Super Colleagues and I could have ran the freaking world if we wanted to, we were so productive. Seriously, we would run into one another getting off the subway and walk the remaining few blocks together, sipping coffee, talking about Grey’s and you know, sauntering. We’d get to the building, sashay to the office, get our mail and then BAM! It was like a bell went off – we were MOVING. I mean, WORKING IT. That cup of coffee got put down and we were making copies, checking the calendar, getting last minute supplies together, frantically finishing said cup of coffee, dealing with emails, tidying up the dreaded piles that seemed to appear all over the classroom and oh yeah, don’t forget watering the plants, vacuuming the carpet, sharpening pencils and getting the homework ready to go home. (insert heavy breathing here…I’m exhausted just typing this…HOW DID I DO THIS EVERY DAY?!) And people, I’m just talking about the morning. Before the kids. Before. The. Kids. Because then the kids actually arrive and it’s go time. Go. Time. I mean, yeah, I always had a yogurt out on the back table that was totally intended to be my breakfast but did I ever get to it? Uh, no.

Do you have any idea how much crap I used to get done before noon? Or even, before lunch? (Which of course was really more like a late breakfast considering we ate at 11:00 because for some reason elementary schools tend to have a very odd sense of appropriate meal times.) If we could harness the productivity of a teacher, even on a bad day, we could have something. A new philosophy for the workplace! A better plan for getting things accomplished as a country! An alternative energy source even! Who knows what we could do with the as yet untapped potential of today’s teacher? (insert me stepping down from soap box)

Okay. I’m off to channel my teacher self. I have a lot to get done today. I don’t know why, but somehow doing so many things for so many little friends was a bit easier than doing all these things just for myself.

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  • Wow, I have absolutely nothing to add here. You hit every single point! Thanks for the props, Sister!

    October 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm
  • You are so right! I think of this often but you worded it way better than I ever could have!

    PS. I went to Boarders to buy your book, looks like I'll have to order it online, either way I can't wait to read it!

    October 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm
  • See, I would almost say "If you would LEAVE US ALONE every once in a while, teachers could rule the world." Stop interrupting fabulous teachable moments to tell me something I already know! Quit "showing" me how to do something I've done for seven years! If I could channel all my energy into the kids, instead of dealing with/putting up with/running around cajoling/spending way too much energy to restrain myself from rolling my eyes at admin, I'd have these kids doing calculus by May! (ok, maybe not calculus…but still!)

    October 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm
  • Right on the nose! Our music teacher needed to go to a funeral today – so no breaks. However, we're a small school so if today was your recess duty day our principal would come in and play the guitar a bit. (I know, unheard of in a public school – I'm parochial) Anyhow During the time it took him to take out the guitar, quiet the class and sing Michael Row the Boat Ashore I was able to leave the room and (1) fix the copier for someone else (2) xerox this week's assignment sheet (3) run to the ladies room. I returned in time for his second song. During Old Mac Donald I (1) hole punched the assignments (2) mailed all of the corrected papers and tests from last week in classroom mailboxes (3) read and answered my parent morning e-mails (4) located and organized the materials I'd need for my math lesson AND participated in the song by giving one child a bee, and two others twin bears so that the "bee" and the "bear" could be on the farm. I love 2nd grade!!

    October 6, 2009 at 1:50 am
  • Then there's the philosophy of "I need to get ahead so I can catch up." Yes, that's what we do. If Congress would get ahead, maybe they'd catch up. And they get more prep time, too.

    October 7, 2009 at 10:53 am
  • I have just been blessed by Google suggestion to your blog and I LOOOOVE IT! You say all the stuff I think and am trying to keep to myself! I'm a third year teacher, who is trying to keep her head above water and make it through another year… I have 18 sweet friends with a couple extra evil personalities thrown in for fun this year…in first grade. I love my kids but OMG the administrivia and micromanaging!!! We have to keep a spreadsheet and graph of EVERYTHING imaginable, updating it daily so that admin and literacy coach (who fancies herself admin) can view it at any time. Heck, right now, I'm still trying to get my classroom management down so that three different people are happy with it! And they want me to spreadsheet and graph writing scores? HALF MY KIDS CAN'T FORM LETTERS YET much less write a constructed response to a prompt. One admin wants us to get them moving on math facts to 20…another says it's too early and only do sums to 5 right now…and the lit coach thinks we should have been doing mad minutes since day 1. Some days, I wonder if I am really cut out to be a teacher…

    Thank you though, for your blog. I think you will keep me sane 🙂

    October 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm
  • Just wanted to let you know your phrase "Shut the front door!" is going to be on the tv show 'Castle' on ABC this week! 🙂

    October 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm
  • Just wanted to let you know your phrase "Shut the front door!" is going to be on the tv show 'Castle' on ABC this week! 🙂

    October 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm
  • Just imagine if we could have a whole day to work in our rooms. That's what I call dreamy (Is that pathetic?) 🙂

    -Pigtailed Teacher

    October 14, 2009 at 11:28 am

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