Saying “yes” to yourself


I just read this article by George Couros, where he discussed the danger of always saying yes to others and forgetting to take care of yourself. This is something I see in my school all the time. Teachers how work too hard on pleasing everyone, just to experience that they just don’t have any more to offer. I see young teachers spending every evening and weekend at school, correcting papers diligently offering comments to students on how to do better, how to achieve more. I often wonder if the students appreciate this work and if the hours the teachers put into this, is worth the effort. How much time do the students spend on the comments compared to the teachers? Research tells us what works for students, how they learn and what we can do to help every student reach their potential. What I am thinking more about these days is what research says about teachers. Class size for instance. Hattie found that fewer students in each class do not result in better results for the students. But what about the teachers? Fewer essays to grade, fewer students to worry about. Where is the research there?

I’m pretty sure there will be no reduction in class size in high school any time soon. Our politicians are seeing the logic in reduces class size in the lower grades, but since we are getting paid pr. student in high school, we need to look at other areas where we can reduce the teachers’ workloads. It is my impression that a lot of the testing and assessments in the US are multiple choice questions. In Norway, most classes, perhaps with the exception of math, are open-ended questions that require a lot of attention when assessing. This aligns better with the “Deeper learning”  and will, in my opinion, increase the workload of the teachers. Add caring for all your students, students who struggle, personalized learning,  competency-based learning and you can see where this ends. Unless we reduce the class size or the number of classes each teacher has, we will see more teachers struggling with mental health. We need more focus on; are we working as smart as we work hard?

My motto is to say yes to everything, but I’m starting to realize that it is not always a smart strategy. Still, I will continue to be curious and adventurous. The question is to reflect on how you spend your time. As a school leader, I need to make sure my teachers are doing the same. Here are 6 questions to ask before you say yes, found on this blog here. 

1. WHAT PURPOSE DOES THIS SERVE?

2. WHY AM I AFRAID TO SAY NO?

3. WHAT ELSE COULD I BE DOING WITH THIS TIME?

4. CAN I DELEGATE THIS?

5. WHAT IS STEALING MY ENERGY?

6. HOW DO I REFUEL?

 

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