Navigating through the endless maze that is the interwebs, I came across an interesting question directed towards teachers. “How much time outside of the classroom do you spend on preparation?”
I laughed. It was as if someone asked how many hours I spent breathing outside of a classroom. It seemed a ridiculous question. As a music teacher, I have spent countless hours outside of my little studio room arranging songs, writing scale sheets and arpeggio exercises, and even learning new instruments to be sure my students could learn anything of their hearts’ desire. At further review, the question became multifaceted. It transformed from a numbers question to a question of how I spent my time when I wasn’t teaching.
Mine is a brain that has trouble staying idle even when I’m on vacation (which is a big reason I started this blog). I spend much of my time brainstorming. When I listen to music, I’m listening to how/if I can use it in the classroom. When I browse the internet, I’m looking for what I can do to improve classroom engagement. When I decide to learn new things, I compose my personal curriculum around how best it can serve my students. When I have a particular difficult issue, be it student distraction/apathy or co-worker unrest, I ruminate until I exhaust every possible solution. I see learning road-blocks not as just an obstacles, but as challenges. And I love to be challenged. Even my recreation (table-top gaming) is a tool to improve my communication skills. In short, there isn’t much I do that doesn’t pertain to my teaching.
Saying that, I came to wonder if that obsession to become a better teacher went across the board. Are other teachers as preoccupied with teaching outside of their classrooms as I am or am I a pariah? What is your experience?