Pause & Adjust: how to get some time back

To all of the teachers out there, how are you going? It’s been a really tough couple of months and we’re thinking of you.

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To all of the teachers out there, how are you going?

It’s been a really tough couple of months and we’re thinking of you. 

We know how much teachers do in a normal term, let alone amidst a global pandemic.

In some states, teachers have completely shifted their practice online. While in others, the stress of COVID-19 has meant that the normal way of doing things has needed some big adjustments.

Regardless of your home state, teachers everywhere have been put under a lot of pressure. And it hasn’t been easy.

You’ve had to restructure lessons, adapt your practice for students who are learning remotely and work hard to make your school a safe place for the community.

At this point, you’ve probably tried and adopted lots of new routines and practices with your students. Some of these will be working and others, not so much.

We think now is a great time to pause and take stock of everything you’ve implemented over the last 8 weeks to see what worked, what didn’t and where you can give yourself a little extra breathing room.

Start. Stop. Continue.

One really good model for assessing your routines and practices is the Stop Start Continue model.

Typically used in a team context, the model provides a simple framework for reflecting on recent activities and experiences to determine what things should be kept or changed moving forward.

You can use the model as a framework to reflect on your own practice. What new activities or routines have you tried that have had a really positive impact? And what things started out well, but are no longer needed?

When all this change first began, you might have implemented things that worked really well for you and your class. But now that you’re somewhat used to the ‘new normal’, these things may no longer be necessary — or maybe they could do with a refresh. 

Perhaps you started off sending out a feedback survey to students each week to see how they were adapting to remote learning. That might not be necessary now, or the survey might only need to be 1 or 2 questions long. 

Maybe you checked in with students twice a day, but now that they’re settled once is enough.

The model will allow you to determine what you can cut out to help save your time or energy, or redirect that energy into new practices that are needed that weren’t before. 

Get students involved in the process

With a simple model like this one, it can be really easy to get your students involved too.

For older students, ask what new routines and activities are working. This could be through a whole class discussion, or even a survey that you send out. Bringing the class together for a chat can work with younger students too.

Be sure to also ask your class if there is anything new they’d like to start. You can also brainstorm ideas together to solve some of the challenges they identify.

The benefit of doing this is the insights you’ll get. Your students might really value simple routines that you don’t think that much of. And by involving students in the process, they can have some ownership over how the class runs.

Adjust and move on

Teachers are known for going above and beyond for their students. Taking on more work than they can actually do in a day to help each and every student do their best. This is true right now more than ever.

But it is so important to hit pause, evaluate your practice and identify what is worth your time and what’s not. Starting new routines and processes might have been necessary at the beginning of COVID-19, but you don’t need to continue with them if they’re no longer needed. 

Remember, your time is precious! Kill time wasters and energy sucks so you can focus on what’s really effective for you and your class.

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