Take a day off!

Work smarter not harder to increase productivity, creativity and personalization.

Photo of LEE BOYES
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I think this is pie in the sky but while sharing with others I was encouraged to send the idea out to the universe.  I would like to see schools re-imagined as a 4 day curriculum and a 5th day of project based, student centered learning.

On top of that, at the high school, if we could have that 5th day lead by students, teachers would not have to create curriculum nor grade papers for that day's work.  They could be present to assist and guide students in their own creations.  ALSO, I would envision that instead of the 150 kids we have to serve, that 5th day would rotate with one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon meaning each teacher had only 60 students each Friday.  It would provide more time to connect to our students.  For students, it would mean only one core class for 2 hours in the morning followed by electives followed by 2 hours of another core.  So for them, it is a day to focus on only 2 core classes without ignoring their elective schedule.  

Example would be that I would see my 1st and 2nd period the first Friday of the month, my 3rd and 4th period the second Friday of the month, and my 5th class on the third Friday of the month.  Teachers could rotate so that every third Friday they could see ONE CLASS all day!  with maybe a break midday for the kids to be in their elective classes.  There would have to be some kind of rotation around the school.

This inspired (1)

Vacation = Work


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Photo of John Faig

You've addressed two of the biggest challenges in education - a rigid schedule (seen nowhere else in life) and freeing teachers to do more than teach. I also like leveraging outside resources like internships, museums, and the like.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV

I hope you return to this in the next phase, because it's perfect for ideation. The image you have chosen evokes, in me, a feeling of peace and awe -- which I would also love to see more in schools. I can see clear connections to your earlier post, where you wrote about the human needs we have as teachers: https://teachersguild.org/challenge/how-might-we-reimagine-professional-learning-so-that-we-continue-to-grow-feel-inspired-and-have-impact-in-the-lives-of-our-students/research/uplifting-pd

To take this in a slightly different direction, it's worth mentioning that for many of us, our "days off" don't really live up to the ideal. I know many teachers who have taken a day off work... simply to catch up on work.

Photo of LEE BOYES

Sadly, that is all I do on a day "off" catch up on grading and more importantly take the time to reflect on all my students' progress, call parents, design new curriculum to fit a specific need for the kids I have. BUT I am past the raising a family stage and my husband is also a workaholic so we both work most of the time. I love creating curriculum to meet students' needs but I do see myself in need of some personal time!

Photo of Sarah Lundy

Lee, this powerful post integrates several idea that other teachers have offered & provides a provocative model we should be experimenting with and improving. WOW! and YES!

Photo of Dan Blake

I LOVE THIS POST! This is exactly the type of thinking I've been advocating for in schools (and I just added a post about rethinking how we use our available time in schools). Why is it that we have to use the 180 days of instruction that are available in exactly the same way week in and week out? Let's stop lamenting the fact that we don't have enough time and put the time that we do have to better use. I would love to discuss your ideas further.

Photo of LEE BOYES

Happy to chat. After 35 years of teaching high school in a very traditional way I am ready for a change. I have seen some unique things in charter schools but not in "comprehensive" high schools even with schools within schools or pathways or cohorts

Photo of Dan Blake

It's encouraging for me to read the sentence, "After 35 years of teaching high school...I am ready for a change." When I talk about significant changes in teaching and learning, I'm often told that a major barrier will be the fact that teachers who have done things a certain way for many years will be reluctant to change. While I'm aware that major changes can be difficult, I also know that many veteran teachers are looking for that spark that can connect them to why they went into education in the first place.