Sacred Time – Maximizing Instructional Time
Keeping Time Sacred
When was the last time you felt that you had enough time to do everything you needed to do? Have you noticed that as soon as your students get into the flow of a topic or the steps to a math formula a voice comes over the PA announcing one thing or another? Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if our instructional time was kept sacred?
There are times when my students and I are deep in a discussion about a character’s growth and development and suddenly we all lose focus because there is a fire drill, or another teacher walks in to ask a question. Unfortunately, those moments are often difficult to recapture. However, sometimes these interruptions are unavoidable and even necessary.
Maximizing Instructional Time
In PDinaPOD episode Maximizing 2% of Your Instructional Time , A.T. Nelson, ProActive Ed founder, describes “what happens when a school decides to honor teaching and learning time and begins to build systems that say in our school, ‘the number one priority is teaching and learning’. I know we have other things to do. I know that there are requirements that come down from the district that come down from the state and even come from our school administrators, but we know the primary role, the thing that we were hired to do as teachers is teach.”
As a teacher…
Important to realize in keeping time sacred is that you can’t be unprepared. You can’t walk into a classroom without thoroughly planning each moment with students. So when we ask teachers how much instructional time they have in a year, they usually answer 180 days. But if we consider that instruction is either new learning or reviewing prior learning, then we realize that the time students spend at school and the time they spend learning is most certainly not the same thing.
Typically, we spend only 2%* of our time in direct instruction with students. In reality, when we think about the limited time we actually spend teaching, it is clear how critical it is to plan with intentionality and purpose. Consequently, there’s no time to waste on busy work. Every moment, even standing in line waiting for the restroom, becomes a valuable moment to teach and review.
As an administrator…
Undeniably, administrators can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on maximizing instructional time. According to A.T., three things administrators can do now are:
- Reassess the way schools use their time
- Determine how they address wasted time
- Reach out for help with developing systems
Administrators who organize the school’s time thoughtfully and intentionally reserve instructional time as sacred, and can boast student academic success and increase staff job satisfaction.
ProActive Ed is bringing nuggets of wisdom for teachers and administrators to implement systems that support teaching and learning for the benefit of students across the planet.
*For more information on how and why to maximize instructional time, tune into PDinaPOD on
Contributed by Regina M. Argueta-Misra, Educational Consultant for ProActive Ed.