This last weekend, I was able to attend the annual TIES conference in Minneapolis, MN. While there, I was able to meet other educators, technology professionals, industry reps, all while going over great lessons and work that are being used in schools across the US. Every buzzword you’ve ever heard was present in numbers, from flipped classrooms to coding kindergarteners, if you’ve heard of it before, it was represented. However, there was one extremely unsettling trend I noticed across every presentation I either attended or led:
The phrase “Lack of time” came up repeatedly.
This mindset really bothers me. Everyone in this world has the same 24 hours in the day. How we decide to use those hours, regardless of our job or social obligations or family dynamics, is up to us. There are tons of people who throw themselves into programs, be it gamification of a classroom or doing their doctorate, using that time to reach a goal that they find important. But for every one teacher that does that, I’d hazard to guess there are 10 who would rather sit back and state they don’t have time to do something new, something that would require extra work to get going, maybe a change in their teaching style. They’ve decided that something else in their life is a better use of their time, personally, than doing this change. Which is fine, that’s their choice. But it would be fantastic if they would quit complaining about lack of time, when it’s obviously a choice they have made to not have the time.
I don’t have time to learn another programing language in my life. But I’m doing it. Because it’s important to me, and I’ve given up some activities I really enjoy to be able to learn that language. It will help me perform better at my job, finding new and creative ways to solve problems with a toolset that I wouldn’t have otherwise. To me, that’s no different than a teacher flipping their classroom. It is a ton of work to do so, but it pays off.
I think it’s time for many teachers to quit complaining about time. I’m not a wizard, I can’t give you more time. I can only give you the tools that enable you to choose how you use your time. After that, it’s up to you. And maybe, if you don’t want to change and develop with the times, it might be a better use of your time to update your resume.