I had an epiphany the other day. For 22 years, my teaching world was largely scheduled for me. I showed up before 7:30 am and my traditional teaching day would end at 2:50 pm. Sometimes I had scheduled faculty and department and parent meetings. I knew exactly what class I was teaching, when it was scheduled to start and stop, where it was held and most of the time, what I would be teaching. I knew this info for the whole school year. This year is exactly the opposite. I schedule every one of my meetings, who I will be with, what school I am going to, how long it will take me to drive there, what the needs are, and most of the time, what we will be talking about is left to on-the-spot collaboration. Getting ready to jump into this year, I hadn’t given much thought about the actual “scheduling” skills I would need to pull this off. I knew I would be scheduling my whole year, but I did not anticipate how that would feel.
Well, it feels GREAT!!! It is a lot of work, but I noticed a higher degree of engagement and empowerment in my professional world. I have to be plugged in. I can’t just be passive and show up. I have to be actively creating my work on a daily basis.
Upon reflecting on this, I remembered reading about a high school where students were scheduling their own classes for each week or month. I just googled that topic now and found this Millbrae, California high school, doing just that.
Last year, I helped my Senior Seminar students create their own schedules for that specific class. It was challenging and rewarding and individualized and empowering for them. Everybody needs the skill to manage their own schedule effectively. Now, going through this process of scheduling my work world, I would love to pilot this with students on a grander level. By scheduling their own classes and commitments and interests, they will automatically be more engaged, learn more from the process, and learn the struggle of doing so.
For me, my theater directing days have helped me immensely with this type of scheduling, but mostly, I am learning on the fly, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I still have moments when I am driving in my car and I wonder if I am going to the right school on the right day at the right time. So far I have been everywhere I was supposed to be on the correct date, thanks to my digital calendar. I am hoping that I didn’t just jinx it by writing that.