Where did the time go? You know all that time I reclaimed when I gave up alcohol and stopped frittering away evenings living in a cloud castle of imaginings? Where did it all go? I feel like I’ve less time than ever and that I’m accomplishing fewer things that are important to me.

“Feel like” is probably the operative word here. I have a guess that the black sludge of schoolwork expanded to encompass all extra time. The thing is, despite spending copious extra hours on my work as a teacher, I’m not convinced I’ve become that much better of a teacher for it. More organised, and more paperwork produced (and gods know the system wants more and more of that each year), but as for the content I’m delivering? As for the actual “being of a teacher”? I don’t know that’s been significantly improved for all the extra bells and whistles.

Oh, I ran. I remember now – I definitely spent some of that extra time on running, and a bit on drawing and then I stopped, and a fair amount on writing – and then I stopped that. But as for now, where is it?

I think I’m squandering it on the Internet again.

And I spin my mind-wheels against small tedious school tasks that make me feel as though I’m accomplishing things, but actually they don’t make all that much of a difference.

I resent time spent outside of school on work there. I’m not talking about correcting – I think that’s fair game and part of the job. It’s the needlessly endless paperwork around justifying our existences and organising extra curriculars and paper permission slips and letters to parents and all that jazz.

I don’t enjoy communicating with parents at all. I just want to interface with the students as the deciders of their own destinies, makers of their own futures and all that. But they’re not really adults yet. None of us are even when we’re nominally adults anyway.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot this week about detaching a bit more from my job. Not in the cold-hearted way that sounds. I mean detaching from the unimportant minutia that seem to get piled upon us in the opening days of a new school year. The endless meetings and plans around learning styles and teaching styles that we’ve heard a million times before.

It’s not that they don’t have some place in the job. I just really think that place is not up front at the start of the year when we’re already overloaded and have no choice but to let it drop for the sakes of our own sanities.

If I could think of one single thing that would make my job easier as a teacher, and (I think) significantly improve outcomes for students it would be like 30% more class contact time.

Cut the number of bloody subjects they’re doing and spend the time on the ones they’re interested in. We’re helping no one by cramming in hours of forced knowledge (not understanding) in areas that so many of them don’t care about.

All it does is create resentment and stress.

So that’s my wisdom about our schooling system distilled. But what to do about it from my point of view? Not a huge amount of notable external change. It’s the internal change I need.

I’ve got to stop taking it all so personally.

I’ve got to stop feeling like I’m responsible for making all that much of a difference.

No, no, I know – a good teacher makes all the difference in the world and all of that – I just mean I’ve got to stop feeling responsible for it. Because sometimes you won’t. And it’s somewhat arbitrary as to when the seeds you cast will fall on fallow ground or not.

Like I said yesterday – the systems of interaction are all just to complicated and a single person isn’t ever going to be responsible for, or creditable for, all the good and bad things that happen to another individual in their lives. Even when you’re helping set them up for life.

I’m not even sure we’ve all that much to do with what happens in our own lives.

So what I’ve got in my mind right now is to try and relax and take pleasure in that lack of control. It’s freeing. Because I can’t control outcomes, I get to stop trying to. And it’s not dropping a ball – it’s putting more focus and energy into directing the ball along the narrow path that I can.

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