Juggling a ton of things

Read below for a challenge!

Tasks accomplished today:

1. Sent info to all high school students regarding the upcoming AMC competition.
2. Organized my advising conferences on Thursday and sent all my advisees this info.
3. Learned that I have to re-organize my advising conferences because of an administrative snafu.
4. Had someone proofread comments written for students who got a C- or below this quarter, and edited them, and gave the appropriate people copies.
5. Scanned and emailed a letter of recommendation for a student.
6. Planned tomorrow’s Multivariable Calculus class.
7. Did homework that I assigned the Multivariable Calculus class tonight.
8. Wrote an Algebra II exam and sent it to the other Algebra II teacher.
9. Put some copies of the Algebra II exam in the Learning Center for students who need to take it in a “distraction free setting”
10. Met with a number of students who had questions about math.
11. Met with administrator and student about a sensitive matter.
12. Talked with administrator about a sensitive matter.
13. Uploaded PDF of Smartboard for students to access in Algebra II, Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.
14. Sent students homework in Algebra II, Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.
15. Photocopied my Multivariable Calculus Quarter 2 students exams for my own personal records.
16. Emailed a lot of students about math — and setting up meeting times for individual help for tomorrow.
17. Met with administrator who observed my class last Thursday for him to debrief me.
18. Tried (and failed) to find out if my advisees were supposed to get their metro cards soon.
19. Reminded department head about upcoming Mu Alpha Theta induction.
20. Dealt with late homework.
21. Created a sign out sheet for students who are going to use the restroom in my classes.
22. Printed out my new seating chart for my Algebra II and Calculus classes.
23. Assisted the AP calculus teacher with a sticky math problem.
24. Read an email from a teacher friend at another school who wants to shadow a Biology teacher at my school next week; tried to set that up.

I was thinking today, with all my tasks large and small, about what I spend my time doing. Being a teacher is so much more than just planning classes and writing and grading exams. Such little time, proportionally, goes to those things. I know most teachers wish that we had more time to devote to lesson planning! At all points during the day, I am juggling a number of various responsibilities, small and large.

Challenge: Make a list of the things you did today. I’m curious what tasks, large and small, consume your attention. I think it’ll speak volumes about teaching in general, about your school culture and your teaching style in specific.

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One comment

  1. I taught HS math from 2002 to 2008 (began in Brooklyn, as well), and 3 years in I started using Getting Things Done because I wasn’t happy with my ability to balance the large and small picture. A programmer friend suggested it, I was skeptical, thought it was another time-management cult, but I tried it, and I found it made me much more effective. Honestly, it was amazing — all of a sudden i was able to focus on the student or the class or the plan in front of me rather than trying to track the craziness around me.

    I’m back in industry, and it’s very useful here as well, but the ‘what’s the next action?’ approach was particularly well-suited to teaching where, as you point out, there are so many small things to do. I don’t sell anything, I’m just saying — i don’t know how i did the job before i got a system that worked for me.

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