A common theme that we hear in education (along with other fields) is the idea that there is no time to do things. Definitely education has had many ideas that have come and gone, so many are discriminating with what they are going to dedicate themselves to. Time really isn’t the factor here though; it is priority.
As someone who really believes in the importance of staying healthy and the benefits of exercise, I have always tried to dedicate myself to spending some time at the gym every day. Several years ago, as I came to a new job, time seemed to be in short supply and often I would skip workouts saying that there was simply not enough time in the day to go. Then I was asked to teach spin class at our local gym. I have been doing this for five years now, and I have never missed a workout since. The rest of my life is a lot busier than what it used to be, but once I realized that people were depending on me to be there and exercise along with them, it became a high priority.
I think about this common theme of time in education a lot and I was talking with one of my colleagues who said, “If you think about the idea of time, tell me once that you can remember when report cards did not go out on time? It is done every year because we know that this is something that we must do as educators as it is mandated. The work always gets done because we know this is a priority.”
Now the idea of this post is not to put the onus on all educators to just make more time to improve their practice. I really believe that there are other things as people we need to put in the forefront that have nothing to do with education (family first) and there are only so many hours in the day. The responsibility should be first put upon our leaders in education to show why any new initiatives need to be a priority. Not only do they to show the why but they also have to make it clear what our priorities are. If it is important enough, there will be a balance of pressure and support within our schools to ensure that things get done. Not only do we have to be clear what is a priority, but it is important that we discuss what can be taken off the plate. Not everything can be at the top of the list.
So how do administrators make it clear what the priorities are? How do we ensure that they are not only communicated, but they are also continuously supported within schools? My other question is what happens when a staff, or individuals do not agree with the priorities?
If it is important enough, we will always make time. How do we know that the work we dedicate our time to is of greatest importance?