The most valuable resource in schools is not a fancy building or shiny gadgets but teachers’ time.
It had been a busy week.
I was at the GAFE summit the weekend before, my report comments needed a final proof read and this week had been extra stressful due to a family member being sick back home.
Yet somehow I had said yes to volunteering at a swim meet on Friday afternoon when really I just wanted to be curled up on the coach watching bad TV and eating takeout.
As it turned out in terms of building relationships with both the kids and their families that 90 minutes was pure gold. Over half of my class were involved in the swim meet and they were so excited to see me there that my worries and tiredness soon washed away. I had a quick chat with a number of the parents which seemed so much more relaxed than the speed dating feel of learning conferences.
We often forget that young children spell relationship T-I-M-E but so do their parents.
Face time trumps a class blog mass email or even personalised written communication every time.
Teachers showing up to extra curricula events to have a quick chat or a friendly hello show we are invested in kids and want them to do well.
So why is it so hard for teachers to find the time for the things that really matter?
In this age of automation of communication teachers should be a lot freer to invest their time in these sort of community building interactions. Yet I’m sure I’m not the only teacher who spends a lot my week in survival mode trying to keep all the balls in the air until Friday.
Why is that?
Schools are very good at adding things to collective to do lists but not so good at taking things away. We don’t stop to ask ourselves if that meeting really necessary? Does it need to involve everyone? Does a mass email need to be sent or is it better to send it to just a few recipients?
Most important focus needs to be on being awesome in the classroom with relationship building within the school community coming in a close second.
I know I’m also guilty of letting time get the better of me on projects that don’t really add much to the experience of the kids in my class. Perhaps it isn’t that I don’t have the time, it’s that I need to make sure I’m spending it on the things that really matter.