How often are you in front of your computer planning your next lesson, or in front of the laminator, laminating those flexible plastic sheets to the point of insanity?
10 hours a week? 20? 2 hours a day?
If you can label a number of hours to the time spent analysing assessment data and then planning or preparing lessons then you’re probably not doing enough. “I have a very organised schedule that allows me a set number of hours per day so I never feel overwhelmed” – is what you would say if you were superhuman. Let’s face it. We’re human. If you have the ability to do the aforementioned then PLEASE TELL ME YOUR SECRET. I have tried the super meticulously organised lifestyle and boy did I go absolutely crazy. It seems too much control actually made me feel more out of control, go figure!
Flexibility + Catharsis + Sleep = Fractional Sanity and Happy Students
Flexibility. You set yourself 3 hours to do your programming for the week. 5 minutes in and you’re really thinking of great ideas. 5 minutes later, writing your lesson plan seems easy. Motivation is peaking and you think heck yeah! I’m about to kick this planning in the butt! Bing. Facebook notification. Spend 30 minutes scrolling through pointless memes and negative nancy news stories. Look at the time, crap! 40 minutes gone! Okay, back on track now. 20 minutes of solid work and you think I deserve a break, coffee? Yep that’ll definitely give me the motivation to finish this off. Bing. Email from the mindfulness journal you follow. “5 ways to keep organised in a hectic world.” Perfect read, I’ll read this article then back into it I go. 6 articles deep and you’re beginning to question whether 3 hours was enough time. The same structure goes on and on and on for about 175 minutes until you realise you’ve done squat and if you don’t go to sleep now you’re probably going to shout at that kid the next day for not pushing their chair in.
This is probably my go to routine around planning. What I learned, flexibility is key if I want to remain sane and not beat myself up about not finishing that assessment plan that was due, like yesterday. Let’s not be hasty and think, okay I will work for 1 hour and relax for 3. Flexibility is about balance. It’s about forgiving ourselves because we are purely human and make mistakes. Find what works for you. Too much control + me = my boyfriend feeling like he’s dating a velociraptor. Not pretty.
Catharsis: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions (Google definitions).
This one is probably second to sleep. Think of meditation, exercise, screaming, singing, dancing, the list goes on. Everyone needs catharsis for their own sanity and mental well being. Imagine your skin. Every negative emotion cuts your skin to the point where it hurts to touch it and will likely become infected if not treated. Now imagine catharsis as like an antibacterial bath. It cleans and heals your wounds and it doesn’t hurt to touch your skin anymore. Find your own catharsis and heal and release your wounds. What works for you won’t for others but we all have repressed emotions that need release. IF we don’t release them, we may as well drink poison and quicken the process toward insanity.
Probably the most important of the above three. I need at least 8 hours to function. Some people can function with 4. Find what works for you. I take on a lot of people’s emotions as my own (still a work in progress) so I need as much rest as I can get. If you don’t need 8 then aim for 6 but let me tell you, there is nothing like being in sleep debt and thinking about having to plan to rock your day. -.-
What are your strategies to manage your planning? Do you have a catharsis that works for you? Would love to hear your thoughts.