In a piece by Jennifer Davis this week in Ed Week, she describes what so many of us know as teachers – that time has become a scarce resource in the field of education, and its impact is significant on educators and on the children entrusted to our care. Those of us who teach have seen this rising tide of responsibilities, as we struggle to keep pace to meet our moral obligation to the youngest members of our community.
As teachers, we reflect upon our craft and profession at all times, and we can feel overwhelmed as we seek to meet the needs of each and every child. Teaching is not something one turns “off or on” with the hands of a clock. Time has remained constant in this equation, while the challenges facing our students have grown exponentially. We are preparing children for a world that doesn’t yet exist, with opportunities and challenges yet unnamed. That’s a daunting task, given the unpredictability of the future.
So when Jennifer Davis writes about extended time for students to learn and teachers to plan, it is an idea that deserves some discussion in the larger community. We simply can’t ask teachers to continue to do more with fewer and fewer resources. Its like trying to fill a pool with a measuring cup – we will try our hardest, but the progress is so slow as to be demoralizing.
Time matters in our lives as educators and in the lives of our students, and yet we don’t seem to talk about it much as a community, perhaps because of tradition, and perhaps because of the significant resources required. Teachers have and continue to invest professional and personal time in the lives and success of our families and our community, and we as a community can honor that work by making sure we don’t burn people out. Jennifer Davis raises the notion that it might be time to ask ourselves as a community what we are willing to invest in the lives of our students and our teachers. I might suggest we invest in time to support the work of tomorrow.