A few weeks ago, posted a link to a book about time management for system administrators by another LJ user. I’m too lazy and busy to go look up the original review, or the book, so I’ll just say that I found a sample chapter online, and read it. I recognized a lot of what Thomas Limonicelli had to say about time mismanagement, and so I resolved to start doing something about it. I resolved to get my time and space under control, as far as collecting overflow junk from all over campus and the world.
By taking Thursday, part of Friday, part of Saturday, and this evening, I was able to get the worst excesses dealt with. The laundry is done and folded. The kitchen (thanks to looks good, and the living room is no longer a disaster area. There are several bags of trash at the top of the stairs waiting to go to the dumpster. All that is space.
As far as time goes, two of my three major comment sets are done in rough draft. Normally I don’t start writing comments until mid-or-late February, with late February taking a preferred lead in the betting pools. This year it would be a sucker’s bet, since the rough drafts at least are already done for two classes and for the varsity fencers. Editing comments is much easier than writing them in the first place. Admittedly, the two classes are the smallest classes, but at least they’re classes with, like, multiple students in them and everything.
On the organization front, I’ve now got three binders going in my living room. They will be migrated to the office before I go to bed tonight. One is dedicated to English classes; one is dedicated to history classes; the third is dedicated to fencing and outdoor education. Anything and everything I do for school will go into one of those binders — which are organized by term and then marking period, rather than by topic. (e.g., now it says “Fourth MP – Winter” as opposed to “Classical Greek Culture.” This means that I’m more likely to create specific plans for each marking period rather than drift through Ancient Egypt for a week and a half. I have to be really clear about what it is that I want to teach, and I have no extra days to fiddle.
I also want to revamp the history curriculum for next year. Not the content, which I think is fine — daily writing assignments is a good thing, though it would be good to build in some revision time, as well — but the skills. Every day or at least every week should have a skill-set associated with it. And footnotes and bibliographies need to come early, sure. But so do time management skills. I’ve been listening to students in the hallways off and on, and it’s the kids who do poorly in school who are making the most noise. Partly this is because they don’t like school. Yet they also don’t know how much time to spend on different parts of their schoolwork, and our Assignment Notebook offers precious little guidance in that regard. We tell parents that their kids will have 1/2 an hour of homework per subject a night, or two and a half hours. Still, most kids are only spending 15 minutes on it, if that -which is an hour and a half, maybe– and then wasting the other hour and a half on wandering and woolgathering. Maybe they need that woolgathering time. But maybe it would be useful to teach a few time-management strategies to these kids, nonetheless.