Doing Your Homework | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Doing Your Homework

 
 

 

 

iStock 000016880268XSmall 150x150 Doing Your HomeworkIt was one more of those very frustrating days as a school principal. I had carefully planned my day hour by hour to ensure an effective use of my time. I made sure to slot time for things important to me, such as visiting classrooms, meeting with teachers, talking with students and reaching out to selected parents. Each and every minute was judiciously budgeted. But then I got to school. (I don’t know why principals aren’t given the equipment that firefighters use, as it seems we’re always putting out fires. They’re probably afraid of what we might do with the axe!). Suffice it to say that by the end of the day half the classsrooms had not been visited, the teacher meetings had been shortened and the parents would have to be called later that night.

The above paragraph is not surprising to most educators. What is interesting is the conversation I had with a colleague upon venting my frustrations to him. Instead of soothing my frazzled nerves, he challenged me and asked, “Well, what did you plan on doing?” I grabbed my daily planner and showed him, and told him how all the interruptions had scuttled my plans. At which point he asked, “Is this the first time your plans have been interrupted?” “No”, I answered, “It happens almost every day”. His reply surprised me. “Well”, he said “then I repeat my first question. What did you plan on doing with your interruptions?”

I had always thought that interruptions by definition are things that you do not plan for. How, after all, do you expect the unexpected? I belatedly realized that is not the case. If the unexpected happens often enough it should become expected, and therefore planned for.

One of my favorite quotes in the long list of Murphy’s laws states as follows:

For every task that seeks completion, there is an interrupting force that impedes the completion of the task. However, some tasks are completed, as the interrupting force is itself attempting to complete a task, and is, therefore, subject to interference.

Planning for the unexpected is basically seeking to impede the impeding force. It tells us that if we plan on accomplishing important things, we must have a strategy that expects the unexpected and plans accordingly.

Reflecting on my conversation with my colleague made me cognizant of the fact that we do not spend enough time teaching this to our students. We rarely teach students how to plan, and we almost never teach them how to plan for the expected interruptions to their plans. For example, we give a homework assignment. How many times do we walk them through the stages of planning required to complete the homework? And, do we ever talk strategies of dealing with the inevitable interruptions? Many may answer that students should be able to figure this out for themselves. To which I retort: It was one more of those very frustrating days as a school principal ….

Educators and students alike would benefit by taking expected interruptions into account when planning for task completion.

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Doing Your Homework
  • linkedin Doing Your Homework
  • facebook Doing Your Homework
  • googlebookmark Doing Your Homework
 
 

No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment


 

Featured Posts

Bringing the Bible Back in Public Schools-Part I

Bringing the Bible Back in Public Schools-Part I

The average citizen, school superintendant or teacher knows that in the United States of America there is something referred to as the “separation of church and...

 
Rotting to the Core – Common Core Standards

Rotting to the Core – Common Core Standards

  In June 2014, I wrote Let’s Improve Reading…Again which touched upon the topic of the Common Core standards not achieving its goals of improving the math...

 
Project Solutions for 21st Century Classrooms

Project Solutions for 21st Century Classrooms

  Introducing 21rst century classrooms into our already existing school infrastructure is a challenge that school leaders including principals, assistant principals,...

 
Bringing Nature Inside – The Benefits of Biophilic Design to Schools

Bringing Nature Inside – The Benefits of Biophilic Design to Schools

   What is Biophilic Design and How Does it Benefit the Classroom?   Biophilia is humankind’s instinctive biological connection with nature. Due to...

 
The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools – Part 2

The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools – Part 2

Last week’s blog discussed the facts that 1. Mobile devices seem to be here to stay. 2. They are addictive for young and old alike. 3. They cause serious distraction...

 
Simplifying The Process of Creating a School Budget Infographic

Simplifying The Process of Creating a School Budget Infographic

                                                    Every...

 
Hardwood Stools Come to the Rescue!

Hardwood Stools Come to the Rescue!

The Ultimate in Flexible Furniture So I’m just a grandma who retired in 2012 and downsized to a one-bedroom condo. But with eight grand-kids, I knew that...

 
The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools –  Part I

The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools – Part I

We’ve all done it or experienced it. You are sharing something deeply personal with a friend when their phone rings. “Oh, sorry. I’ll just be a minute.”...

 
Teaching Current Events in a Turbulent World

Teaching Current Events in a Turbulent World

When I was a student, current events was a standard part of the yearly curriculum. Though I remember few creative uses for the day’s newspaper cutouts, it did...

 
Create A Successful Learning Space!

Create A Successful Learning Space!

<  Researchers have recently offered helpful insights on maximizing success in learning by creating an appropriate learning space. It’s not all about the teaching....