We all know that schools are very busy places. There are peaks and valleys (not many of these) throughout the year. Report card writing time is when teachers feel that pressure the most. This makes me think about mathematics. The things that we add and keep adding to what teachers already do. This results in tiredness and feeling uninspired to do what we are here to do well – teach. To be the best we can be we need to have the capacity to think clearly and have the energy to drive those ideas forward. We are so good at filling up our heads with ‘stuff’ therefore, have little space to invite creativity and diversity into our ideas to do things differently from before! At the moment I am finding that I am doing things that I have previously done, so that I can try and keep afloat. This is not good enough, but it helps me get through it. So how can we reverse and do the opposite? How can we look at ways of subtracting instead of adding?
Let’s play around with a formula I heard yesterday from visiting Professor Phil Abrami from Concordia University.
COST (What is the cost of what we are doing? Time, Resources)
Expectancy of Success (What do we expect as an outcome of our success?)
Value (What is the impact and value in the process and product of what we are doing?)
Then we need to divide (really check) that by how we ‘monitor‘ all those things that we are doing.
How do we monitor what we do? Do you do the eyeball test? Most teachers do this. Taking a moment to look around the room to check that students are interested. Are teachers/students engaged in what they are doing? Do I have their attention? So how can we use ‘Evidenced based practice’ as a way to measure that what we are doing or have done is worth it? How can we prove that the above formula is yielding the results (success) we are looking for in a way that subtracts instead of being an ‘add on?’ We have all heard those two words many times. Do we ever really stop and evaluate the things we implement or improve what we deem as not working? Most places I’ve worked in just do the same thing year in and year out, because this is what has always happened.
This formula is a new one to me. I am not sure how it works in practice and in the real world of teaching and learning. If it makes me think more consciously about subtracting the things that burden me and overload me, then I’ll take it. How can we lift the quality of teaching and learning by doing the things we should do and get away from the things we must do? Yes, I got the order right. The ‘must’ in this context are the things that are pushed down on teachers from those in Administration, who can sometimes have a myopic view, forgetting what it was like for them when they were teachers.
Does anyone use this formula or another one that works for them to rethink and prioritize?