Teachers: 10 Tips for Slowing Down | Edutopia

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Since my last Edutopia blog post, How Slowing Down Can Lead to Great Change was published, I’ve received dozens of messages asking for suggestions for how to slow things down in schools. The premise behind the following suggestions is that if we slow down, we’ll have more opportunities for reflection — to think about what we’ve done and how it went, to consider next steps, and also to listen to each other and therefore, strengthen our connections. Here are some steps that anyone working in schools can take to slow down:

#1. Prune your goals

Examine the goals you’ve determined for yourself, your students, your school, your department, etc. Prioritize them. Now, if it’s within the scope of your decision-making powers, strike out the last one on the list. The primary obstacle to school improvement that I see is the problem of “doing too much.” Districts have strategic plans with 27 initiatives, schools have four annual goals, teachers have six professional practice goals, and so on. This is not an effective way to make change. If we could all prune our goals (and I am aware that many of us don’t fully have control over this) we’d focus and could slow down. Even if you can’t prune goals, raising this as an obstacle and addressing the inefficiency of working in this way is important.

#2. Prune your calendar

Most of us overschedule ourselves, not necessarily because we want to, but we feel pressured or obligated to do so. Take as many things off your calendar as you can. For some of us, taking one thing off is all we’ll be able to manage, but if you can prune it down to the essentials, do it. You don’t need to go to every sporting event at your school in order for students to see that you encourage their non-academic interests, you don’t need to attend the school board meeting every week in order to stay informed of decisions. Reduce what you do and the information that comes in. Slowing down is about creating space for reflection, thought, awareness. Don’t fill every moment.

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Teachers: 10 Tips for Slowing Down | Edutopia.

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“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

- John Maxwell

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