Have you ever finished your day tired?
Pretty silly question, right? Of course you have! We all have. Being a teacher or administrator is a hard, tiring job.
Last week, as is sometimes the case in my role as a site principal, I spent the majority of my day attending SSTs and IEPs. At the end of the day, though I enjoyed discussing student progress during my meetings, I walked back to my office exhausted. I mean, really tired, and this got me thinking. Why was I so tired? What did I do? I spent most of the day sitting down, not moving around much, yet I felt more tired than on days when I am constantly on the go and moving around campus. If you’re an educator, I’m pretty sure you can relate to this. It seems the days we spend sitting in meetings or traditional “sit and get” professional development are much more tiring than a typical day of teaching and interacting with students.
There’s a lesson here.
When our students go home, are they tired? And if so, why?
Is it because they’ve been working hard, up out of their chairs, interacting and collaborating in rigorous and relevant activities with their classmates?
Or is it because they’ve been sitting all day?
When my teachers finish a day of staff development I helped plan, are they tired? If so, why?
Is it because they were given opportunities to get out of their seats, to collaborate with their colleagues, to work hard at learning or creating something that will improve their practice?
Or is it because they were forced to sit and listen all day?
Like adults in staff meetings or professional development, students need to get up and move, to engage in discussion about what they’re learning. Yes, there’s a place for quiet, independent work, but if that’s all students are doing, all teachers are doing, there’s a problem.
As I plan professional development activities for my staff, I’m challenging myself to remember what it’s like to sit in meetings all day. I invite you to keep this in mind too as you plan your daily lessons. Who’s with me?
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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