Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Time Quote Mash-Up

Wherever I go, I listen as teachers share their frustrations about time.

“I know I have to teach reading AND writing, but I don’t have TIME for both.”

“I know I have to teach small groups, but I have so many pull-outs, I don’t have TIME.”

“I know kids need to do more independent reading, but I only have a forty minute period, I don’t have TIME to do everything!”

In Star Trek Generations. Jean-Luc Picard says “Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives.” And as a busy teacher-educator, I can’t help but think, “he’s got that right.”

However, bear this in mind: Time pressures and constraints are not a condition unique to teaching.  My husband works in social media and he races the clock to complete projects and meet deadlines. My mom stays at home and cooks and cares for the house and she complains there isn’t enough time to water her flowers or walk along the trail after the first snowfall.  Jean-Luc was the captain of the Starship Enterprise in approximately 2371 and what was he lamenting? Time.  While it seems like education is wrought with an unfair share of time pressures and constraints, not having enough time is not unique to any one job or profession, it is simply a part of being human.

Each and every day is comprised of twenty-four hours and as Randy Bomer once said at a workshop I attended long ago,  “There’s only time, no more or less, and we have to decide how to use what time there is.”   When he says it like that, it seems simple but it is true. As people and educators, we have important decisions to make about how we will spend our time because like Katie Wood Ray once shared,   “If we fail to set aside time for getting the work of [writing] done, we send the message that we don’t value the work.”

As we sit amid the holiday frenzy and listen to more bad press about teaching and learning, we need to be asking ourselves what is it that we value?  We need to prioritize and think hard about what we aim to achieve because after Jean-Luc Picard personified time as a predator, he went on to say “but I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.”

And on that note, I ask you, how do you choose to live?  What part of your journey will you cherish?

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