For years, the librarian at my school has offered a second library time to each classroom (minus kindergarten), and I always politely decline. This likely doesn't make sense for the teacher who could read alI day and wants the same for her kids. But simply there's never enough time to teach all I have to teach. What teacher hasn't found themselves thinking or saying this at some point? It's a common theme, especially with growing class sizes and growing curriculums. I have my kids from 8:10 to 2:35. With the limited time I have, their success depends greatly on my efficiency.
I looked up the word efficient. It means "achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense." When a visitor comments on how the kids are always on-task and the teacher makes it look so easy, they're talking about efficiency.
Reading Routman's quote prodded me to consider my day and the things I have in place that make my practice efficient. My list isn't exhaustive, but everything here plays an essential part in the efficiency of the classroom and success of students.
- There are systems in place that were established on day one. Daily modeling and practicing of routines and procedures and then holding a high expectation for follow-through, streamlines the classroom and minimizes wasteful bi-products.
- Good classroom management is a priority and obviously goes hand in hand with the first bullet. Efficiency is hard to achieve in the midst of chaos, consistent interruptions, or distracting off-task behavior.
- Pacing is key, not only within a lesson but from one lesson to the next. Downtime is dangerous.
- Instruction is authentic and purposeful. Students are much more productive when they care about and see a purpose for what they're doing. Busywork doesn't cut it.
- Organization is a priority especially with the myriad of balls a teacher has in the air at any one moment. Too much time can be wasted if materials aren't where they're supposed to be, if there's no system for collecting, organizing, and working with student information, or if the day-to-day long to-do list can't be corralled (to name a few).