After just about three months in my new position as 21st Century Literacy Specialist, I was curious to see exactly how much time I spend doing the different aspects of my job. Considering this job title and description is completely new, and I’m actually taking over a Librarian position, I’ve been kind of making it up as a go along. So, I took about a half hour one day to total up all my appointments in my Entourage calendar, and here’s how it ended up:
- meetings: 20%
- co-planning: 12%
- communication (e-mails, community blog, staff and parent newsletters): 6%
- making the Hub work (our new learning space is definitely in “transition” right now): 6%
- organizing and planning for myself: 1%
- reflection: 0%
- learning, reading, testing: 0%
Which looks like this:
I was really happy to see that I spend just about half of the average day co-teaching in the classroom or the Learning Hub, and another 20% co-planning with the teachers. For me, that is the most critical part of my job – modeling how to use 21st century tools appropriately and authentically in the natural learning environment.
However, even though I spend the majority of my day either teaching in the classroom or planning, I’ve still only managed to work with 10 out of our 60 elementary classrooms. Yikes! That’s not even 20% of our classes!
Plus, all this time in the classroom, planning and teaching, while extremely worthwhile, means that I have very little time for my own learning, reading, testing and reflecting – which I think is the second most important part of my job. If I don’t have time to develop my skills, how am I going to continue to model best practice in the classroom?
My problem is that I’m a little too excited about all these things the students and teachers can be doing. I hear about a teacher’s interest, and I’m racing up to the classroom to get something started. I read about something cool on Twitter (thank goodness for Twitter – no time to read blogs, but Twitter is constantly in my face) and I jump on board.
We have so much great enthusiasm here at ISB, and so much energy about new ways of learning – especially after the Learning 2.0 conference (we had 25 teachers attending), that I just can’t say no. How can you watch a teacher talk about her ideas for a project and then just tell them that you don’t have enough time to help?
On top of all that, I tend to jump right in when I start at a new school. I like to get my feet wet and see what people are doing in their classroom to get a good idea of how I can help them embed technology. Often this means that I sacrifice reflection time at the beginning so that I can establish myself and really get to know my colleagues.
But, now that we’re three months in and I don’t see any signs of stopping – if anything more and more teachers are interested in doing more exciting and in-depth projects – I have to figure something out.
I know I’m not the only one grappling with this idea – especially due to the overwhelming amount of information coming at us all the time – so how do you keep all of that in check for yourself, filter through to only the most relevant stuff for yourself and your teachers, still keep in touch with your network, and continue to promote a high level of enthusiasm among your staff?
To add even more overwhelmedness to it all, I feel like I need to be one step ahead all the time – wrapping my mind around the constant stream of incoming information is just the first step. Every day I need to know what’s best for each of the teachers I work with – not just best in terms of technology either, I need to know what makes sense pedagogically, and what’s specifically relevant to their curricular and classroom needs.
All in all, it seems like a pretty good problem to have (too much, as opposed to too little), but there are still only 24 hours in every day.
How do you handle it? How do you prioritize your time? What does your day look like?