Blog A Day 16 Chores and Other Matters
It’s Saturday, which I’ve written about here — our favorite day, really, for our minds, bodies, and spirit. They combine work and play, and chores.
My main chore is laundry: it’s piled up in the hamper over the week, and calling to be refreshed. Rather like how I feel. All the stresses of the week have piled up and are calling for resolution. On this day at home, those dissipate as I meditate on what’s important. Because of all the new pressures placed on teachers due to mandates in CCSS, evaluation, curricular coaches, there are more papers and forms to create and complete, more requirements throughout the school day, and — those are on top of — the work of teaching and learning that is our main focus. Over the Saturdays of this autumn, I have had time to let go and refocus. To wash out those things that don’t help that focus on student learning and my teaching — they stain and strain the time for differentiation and in depth project planning, and I refresh what is important. The other things will need to wait for another time, like setting aside the dry cleaning [which doesn’t happen in our small town – we have no dry-cleaning]. Next week, they’ll show up as a request and demand again and create more stress. They’ll smell like the dirty sock lodged behind the hamper, annoying me as it hides, forcing me to take the time to track it down and handle it. There are only so many hours in the day, and Saturday, laundry day, sorts the piles into what’s important, and what’s important is cleaned up, hung up to display its new beauty, and arranged for wear, ready for the new week’s focus.
The small poster in the image above I created years ago. It sits on my desk and reads, “‘Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.’ ~Lowell Thomas.” It was my life as a teacher, as I was inspired to create or adapt the best authentic lessons and units I could to engage my students to learn. I’d say, “Just one more thing–” and add another helpful component. But now a teacher’s time is spent documenting all of what they to prove they do the “41 Marzano Criteria,” [or Danielson or whatever evaluation system]. It’s not for the kids; it’s for someone else, and that changes everything. It’s not authentic. It’s not mastery. It’s not focused on the teacher’s purpose. It’s a chore, a checklist of extra work for those of us already doing it.
I’ve taken to wash one load of laundry during the week; it helps keep the smelly sock from ruining my days. It helps me refocus the stress of mandates and maintain my focus on my students. It helps me balance home and school.
I have a life. Teachers have lives. How do you manage the piles of laundry — the chores and other matters in your life?
Note: — an authentic journey
What would add authenticity?
Design a question [ on your own or in teams ] that you would like to investigate to inform your instructional practice to guide student learning that fits with our school vision.
What would add purpose?
Choose an area from each of the six design categories (pdf – colored bubbles) [or those that match your question ] that would help inform your investigation of your own practice [ or your team’s practice].
What would add mastery?
Communicate and share [ yourself / with your team ] the artifacts and reflections that document your journey and your discoveries to inform your practice to guide student learning.
Develop resources for future instructional use through collaboration as a community.
Develop what students need, created by the teachers in their charge,
as a community demonstrating and practicing excellence in their skills.