Teaching is the most complex profession there is. We have this massive goal, but there are 20 to 140 variables throughout the day that affect this goal. They’re called kids in every class period or subject that we teach, and with all of these variables, there’s a smorgasbord of instructional strategies, resources, products, and nuances for teachers to choose from that could potentially have a positive impact on each and every situation that teachers encounter in the course of a day. So it’s no surprise when educators become overwhelmed. There are simply so many things to address and just not enough time to address them all.
But that’s not all that teachers have to consider. Teachers then couple their ideas with ideas that they get from their teams, and then teachers are presented with campus and district initiatives that are designed to make teachers’ lives more efficient and more effective. And before students even darken the doors for the first day of school, our teachers' plates are overflowing to the point that they can’t even begin the arduous journey toward excellence in every student. Simply put, their proverbial wagons are overloaded with too many things to get done and not enough time to do them.
In order to end the insanity of “too much to do” we leaders should rethink how we can support teachers in reaching this goal of providing every student with the most effective instruction. This new goal, bringing out the excellence in every student, can only be attained if we own the first rule of excellence:
That means we will have to allow the theme song of Disney’s movie, “Frozen”, to permeate throughout our soul. Yes, we must “Let it go”. We will need to let go of practices that we know are nothing more than going through the motions. We will need to evaluate and identify practices and activities that do not lead to our goal, instruction working for all kids all the time, and we will have to redirect our focus on actions, practices, and behaviors that grow students. If it doesn’t grow students, we will need question ourselves as to why we are using those ineffective practices in the first place.
As you head into the beginning of the school year, ask yourself this question. What am I doing to ensure that teachers do less things more effectively? After all doing less always leads to more productivity, and the better we do at fewer things, the more students will ultimately grow in the end. Focus on less and watch more excellence come your way.