You might be thinking, “It seems strange to be figuring out new productivity systems with only 10 teaching days left to go, no?”. In the past week I’ve been trying to come up with a new strategy to get more productive, and writing about it has led me to adopt some new strategies. My plan is to come up with a theme for the week, and then base my plan around that. I can never keep all of the things in my head, and I would find ways to get distracted from doing what’s on my to do list. After reading some ideas from the slightly overwhelming Getting Results the Agile Way, I’ve modified my current Evernote system. Each week I try to make a encompassing story for my week, a central theme of what I want to accomplish. For example, this week the story is “dig myself from out of the hole” I’ve written it down and changed the background image on my phone to match. Now there are a lot of “to-do’s” associated with this “story”, but I can’t remember all of those. However when I have a few free moments at school and I see the picture of digging myself out of the hole on my phone I am more likely to go and look up something to free myself from all the backlog when I otherwise would be looking at reddit or something. I also made a notebook for doing a “Brain Dump“, so I can empty my head at the end of each day.
What I’m teaching this week
This week I plan to get my classes finished with their projects. I’ve been tweaking projects from previous years to end this year, and I may need to come up with some scaffolding or mini-lessons in response to student’s struggles, and I am going to try harder to give students written feedback along the way. In the spirit of this week’s theme, I’m going to stick to the due date and make sure I provide a lot of support to get the kids, and myself, out of this “hole”. Because most of the students have big final projects in all of their classes, this time of year is very stressful, so I need to spend a lot of time just letting kids know that I hear their struggle, but that they can still do a project at a high level.
What I’m blogging this week
Keeping with the theme of getting out of the hole, I am going to read more and post a summary. I have been saying I was going to do it for the past few weeks, and I need to sit down and go through my feed reader. I may also put up one of the projects that I assigned this year.
What I’m thinking this week
Is there some correlation between teaching and low self-confidence? As a starting teacher it always felt like there was something I could improve, but always focusing on improvement means I’m always focusing on the things I do wrong. The idea of constantly being flawed led me to walk out from most classes looking at the things that went wrong or were not well done. Often I would even fret over things that were out of my control, like how I handled the fire drill. As I got more experience I kept this negative focus on my work as a teacher. Much like Mal in the movie inception, I could never really view my successes in the classroom as real (I even struggled to not write “successes”). Perhaps the hole I need to get out of is the mental one.
I could probably write a much longer blog post about this. Are there other people who feel this way?