Saturday, February 16, 2008

Time and Attention

I listened to Merlin Mann's presentation at Mac World about how we manage the constant flow of information and interruptions, how overwhelming it is, and how to take steps to manage it so that we don't stay at work until 10 at night, or work for 8 hours on the weekend in order to catch up on email. This really resonated with me. I don't want work to take over my life, and his message was that if you keep doing the next thing that's in front of you instead of stepping back and making some decisions about what to focus on, you will never be caught up. I want to bring this to the next staff meeting and talk about maybe having a designated time when none of checks email or interrupts others, and we just focus on our highest priority tasks. It's hard to do, but if you don't keep trying to do it, you get buried by things that aren't the most important things, and then your life becomes about those things, because time is finite. We have to make conscious decisions about how we spend it.


Ron Fujihara said...

The value of time for the part-time ESL teacher is paramount. As we ask them to do more things with technology, time becomes a strong factor. Creating an online presence, getting involved with a blog, using a smartboard, online learning workshops, etc. all require teachers to prioritize their time. This affects how many teachers get involved with the use of technology. As a full-time teacher, I spend an enormous amount of time just on my online web enhanced language learning class, which is my highest priority. How will the part-time teacher resolve the time issue when it comes to getting involved with technology? Currently, their priority doesn't include technology. Most of their time is spent in the preparation phase and in other areas that we require them to attend or do (attendance, meetings, workshops, etc.) Their priorities are different than with those who are involved with technology. Maybe, we should look more into the time factor that part-time teachers must deal with every day.

Marian Thacher said...

I agree, Ron, part-timers have bigger challenges with managing time than contract teachers, or administrators, who have paid time when they can sit at their desk and get things done. This has always been an issue in our field. Thanks for bringing attention back to it.