Right Around the Corner


Allison Behne

April 26, 2024

Looking through my Facebook feed the other night, I noticed a common theme running through my friends’ posts. Pictures of birthdays, school dances, ball games, holidays, vacations, and more filled my screen, many accompanied by “Where did the time go?” “Time flies!” or “Stop the clock!”

Looking at how kids had grown, or families had changed, I reflected on my own life and how true that sentiment is. Time does go fast! When I tell people how long I have been teaching, I now say, “More than 20 years.” How is that possible? I am hearing remakes of songs that were popular when I was a teen, I am now referred to as “mam” by those who don’t know me, and I am currently planning my son’s high school graduation party. Like it or not, there is no way to stop the clock.

Educators know the fast-paced hand on the clock all too well, too. We recognize it when parent-teacher conferences creep up on us, report cards are due, or state assessment time rolls around. Before we know it, the last weeks and days of school planning are here and we are thinking, Where did the time go? Each year there’s a lot we want to accomplish but never have enough time for. It is the same story year in and year out, and although we can’t change the length of a day or a year, we can change the way we think about it and alter our instruction to save time and increase productivity.

Here are a few time-saving ideas:

  1. Teach brief focus lessons, with a goal of not teaching too much in one sitting. Our lessons are quick and purposeful, and we use our most important words during instruction.
  2. Communicate clear expectations from day one, and have students practice the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence until they become part of their muscle memory. This eliminates the guesswork, so children don’t waste time figuring out what is expected of them.
  3. Collaborate with colleagues at school and even online. Teaching is a collaborative profession. When we share, we gain perspective and often arrive at instructional ideas and solutions to challenges much faster than we do when we work alone.
  4. Teach until your students leave your room on the last day. The end of a school year often brings added assemblies, special events, and altered schedules. They are important, but they shouldn’t eclipse what is most important.

May is right around the corner, and for many of us, that signals a reduced amount of time with our current group of students. Now is the time that we look at our class and think, Where did the time go? Let’s make the most of it by being purposeful, clear, collaborative, and productive. The good news is that even though time flies . . . we are the pilots and we’ve got work to do. 

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