“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.” ― Jean de La Bruyère, Les caractères #teacher5aday

#teacher5aday – Sean McDermott – @scjmcd
“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”

― Jean de La Bruyère, Les caractères


I have written this in my head at least 5 times. The item that remained a constant was time. My use of it has been poor of late and this is what I will correct this year.

A bit of preamble is required to put this into perspective. This year has been the hardest of my 7 years in teaching and that includes my NQT year. I entered teaching late and thoroughly enjoyed my first 4 years, 5 and 6 less so, and this year not at all. Why? Don’t panic, I’m not going to whine about the state of teaching but in short, the workload has increased significantly. Additionally, this year I teaching GCSE Ethics for the first time; a new Geography GCSE; a new subject in our History GCSE; and have revised our Politics A Level course. This has led to increased stress levels. I wouldn’t say I arrived in classes not knowing what I was doing but I arriving there and doing a lot of things for the first time.

I celebrated my 50th birthday last month. A few days afterwards I suffered some health issues which led to me being admitted to hospital. Tests were done, I recovered and had to take 2 weeks off work to recuperate – unheard of for me. On my return to work, I received news that my mother had died. This wasn’t unexpected and was for the best as her health had declined in recent years (I know what you’re thinking, cheerful stuff eh?)

So, my use of time has become very important to me and having reflected, I know I need to do the following:

Start making lists like I used and stick to achieving what’s on the list for the day. Don’t allow others to distract from what’s important for me
Prioritise – linked to the previous point. You can only do so much in one day. Do what’s important for my short and long-term goals. Allocate 2 hours a day 4 days a week for marking and none at weekends.
Don’t sweat the little stuff – again linked to the previous two items. There is much going on in teaching which is beyond my control, therefore, why worry about it. I have become far too negative in outlook thinking about the profession as a whole and stopped focussing on what I have got on my own doorstep. Enjoy the classroom and enjoy working with wonderful work colleagues.
Each day requires me time. This may be exercising, reading, walking but it’s stuff I want to do. I need to look after my health more. I have a fantastic landscape on my doorstep which I need to use more. Getting back into the gym is also on the cards.
Controversial but essential for all of this to happen is to drastically reduce time spent on twitter. Rather than tweet about how much marking I have to, I am going to get on and do it. Twitter in the right hands can be great. Unfortunately, I think it has sidetracked me this year especially (I can hear the laughter now – he’ll never stick to it!)


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