Thursday, May 6, 2010

Staying Focused

focusAfter reading If Only Time Really Was an Issue   from The Thinking Stick, Jeff writes,

“You choose how to spend your time, just like everyone else in the world. You choose whether or not you ‘have time’ to learn a new skill, read that book, or be on Facebook for 3 hours a night.”

As a teacher, I set the tone for my classroom. My students watch me to see how I manage not only my classroom, but my life.

When I complain about how tired I am because I stayed up late (watching TV, hanging out with friends, grading papers), I am modeling for my students that a good night’s rest is not important.

When I complain about other teachers, I am modeling for my students that I am not a team player. I am not looking for the good in my colleagues.

If I gossip about others, then I am teaching my students it is okay to spread stories about others.

When I complain about needing more time, then I am showing my students how to make excuses.

If I avoid learning new things by whining about how hard it is or that I don’t have enough time, then I am showing my students that they don’t need to try hard either.

As Jeff states, I choose how to spend my time. If I’m tired, angry, or unhappy, then it is my own fault. I can’t change others but I can change myself. If I have run out of time to do something, it is because I chose not to use my time more wisely or I overcommitted myself. Again, it was a decision that I had to make and I can’t blame it on anyone else but myself.

I need to make a list of things that are important to me and prioritize them. I need to make absolutely sure that these things are done.

Then I need to include in the list, things that need to be done and prioritize them. I need to tackle each one and work towards completing my goal.

Last, I need to include things in the list that I want to do but don’t really have to have it done.

I think it is important to reward myself for achieving some of my goals. I may reward myself by doing something I want to do before continuing with the have-to-dos.

Having a list helps me stay focused. Before doing something, I try to put it in words. I start out by saying, “I choose to …” If I can’t put the action in these words and feel good about it, then I know that I’m not doing what I need to be doing. This verbal affirmation of my actions also helps me stay focused. It also helps me not waste time blaming anything on people or events or situations. By taking ownership of my actions, I take the responsibility of the outcome.

How do you stay focused on what you need to do?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'road trip journal' by: Andrew


luckeyfrog said...

This made me think.

Sometimes I try to tell my students about things I've done outside of school or mistakes I made when I was little to show that I'm human or that I understand how they feel.

Now I wonder what is more important: being relatable and understanding, or being a strong role model.

There are probably places for both, but you definitely made me think!

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