Thursday, March 16, 2017

Understanding Time: Part 2

In my first post on Understanding Time, I explained what prompted this experiment and the main tool I am using to conduct this experiment.  I also left off with a few key takeaways.

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.
– Tony Robbins

I continued my time tracking progress for an entire week.  At the end of 7 days, my time showed me this:

I want to know how I'm spending ALL my time, but I specifically want to know how I'm spending all the hours that I'm NOT teaching but still working on work related tasks.  Also, my middlest child was sick on Friday, and I didn't do anything work related, so this graph is slightly skewed there.  Luckily, or unluckily, I had already worked 7 hours on Sunday.

So am I spending most of my time planning like I thought?  Pretty much, yes.  

Of my 47 hours and 20 minutes at school, I taught 22 hours and 27 minutes.
I socialized 4 hours which included days I dragged myself away from my desk to eat lunch with colleagues.  The struggle is real.  
That left 20 hours and 53 minutes where I was working but not in front of students.  
I spent 15 hours and 33 minutes PLANNING!

Specific Lesson Planning and Preparations
History 8 - 5 hours 15 minutes
English 8 - 2 hours 50 minutes
English 9 - 3 hours 2 minutes

TOTAL = 11 hours 7 minutes

BUT then there's that pesky Daily, Weekly, Long Range Planning category where I spent - 4 hours 26 minutes!?!

What was I doing during "Other" Planning time?!? 

  • I create daily agendas for my students every day with the objectives, order of activities, and homework assignments listed.  Those take about 10-15 minutes per day.
  • I also had to go back to school for an hour on Thursday to create sub-plans
  • The rest was revising what I *thought* my lesson flow was going to be for the week and going forward. That ended up amounting to almost TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!! Ugh.

What went well?

First, I did squeeze in *some* grading.  We shan't discuss how much was left to grade at the end of the week.  Since everything was turned in within the month of March, I feel pretty okay.   Also, my class is automated enough that I can squeeze some grading in while they are working.  I do not record any grading time that occurs while students are in my classroom.

Second, my administrator is awesome.  There is no "Death by Meeting" in our building.  The meeting and reading I *did* do this week was a voluntary book study.  And by voluntary, I mean actually voluntary.  No raised eyebrows or angry side glances as those not participating.  

Third, I put a few things away?  That's reaching, but my piles are under control.  

Fourth, I DID follow my cardinal rule of planning - "Don't spend more time planning and preparing a lesson than it will take to execute it" - in 2 out of my three preps.

Finally, I didn't waste much time getting lost in my thoughts, on the internet, or inside a colleague's room to rant.  

It WAS a productive week in those respects.


  • Don't try to plan too far in advance. Having a general roadmap or list of what you'll be doing in the next few months is good, but spending much time getting specific too far in advance might be a waste of time, especially if you are mercurial like me and do not have to keep in lock-step with another teacher.  That's what bit me in terms of longer range planning.

  • Figure out what you can and should do while students are working independently.  Sometimes I grade, but more often than not I don't because I do not like interruptions.  This would be an ideal time for me to work on those Daily Agendas and it would save me about an hour of time during another part of my day.  

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