“I just don’t have the time to get comfortable with this new technology.”
“I don’t see how you find the time to learn how to use this new stuff.”
If I had a dime for every time someone referenced not having enough time as the reason they haven’t used technology, I’d be a rich lady! But every time I think about the issue, I realize that they are right. Teachers are busy people with loads of expectations put on them by their students’ parents, administrators, the state and national government, and yes, their own expectations to be creative and do great things with and for students. Many of them coach in addition to the full time responsibilities of the classroom. Most have families that we want them to continue to relish and prioritize and spend time with. Some are raising young children, others are supporting spouses and parents with health and/or age concerns. Many of the teachers I support volunteer time in their churches and are active in their communities in many ways. So when I propose that they try something new in the area of instructional technology why should I be surprised when the issue of “finding time” to try it comes up? Time is a limited resource.
So I’ve decided that one of the new areas of emphasis for my blog this year will be about helping people “find time for tech.” I’m examining my own strategies for how I’ve found time to prioritize my own professional growth in instructional technology and I’m picking the brains of others I know who seem to be efficient with their time. Every once in a while, I’ll be posting a suggestion under the category “Find Time for Tech.” And this is the first post!
This first suggestion is just for those teachers who are responsible for meal preparation in their families. Sometimes this is a shared responsibility, but more often than not, meal preparation is one spouse or the other’s sole responsibility in a family. And for those teachers who live on their own, meal prep, like every other household chore, is a nightly task. So if you ever have to head home from school to pull open a fridge or cupboard door and scratch your head about what to fix for supper, this post is for you.
Several years ago, I began doing a “freezer cooking” session during the first week of August, because the start of the school year with two young children to care for was so tiring that I would come home each day too tired to prep supper. So the first two weeks of school would always find us going out for pizza, burgers, or hoping that Grandma would call to invite us over for a real meal! One summer as the start of the new school year approached, I recalled that the previous August’s dinner times hadn’t been so pretty and I resolved to do better that year. I thought…”I have time NOW, while I’m on break to prepare some meals, so why don’t I take advantage of it!”
I researched online (dial-up modem-based internet . . .) and found some information on “freezer cooking.” I read through some other cooks’ methods, checked out a “OAMC” Cookbook (Once-A-Month-Cooking), from the public library and I set to it. I did a bulk shopping day and then a marathon cooking day where I prepped ground beef for use on taco night, a big batch of meatballs, a couple pans of lasagna, and some plain ground beef with onions to top a store-bought pizza crust. It all ended up in my deep freeze ready for the first two weeks of school.
That year was so nice. At the end of a long day of helping students organize notebooks for the year, learning names and playing get-to-know-you games, figuring out which student just couldn’t sit by which other student, teaching classroom routines and expectations like where to turn in papers and what the tardy and late-work policies for the building were….knowing that I had supper prepped and ready to heat up when I got home was sooo nice. I even took a quick nap after school one day and still had hot supper on the table for my family. I swore that EVERY year, from then on, I would do at least one freezer cooking session in the summer to start the school year off.
So, my first time-finding tip in this series is to explore on your own the concept of freezer cooking. Use keywords like once a month cooking, once a week cooking, meal prepping, and of course freezer cooking.
Pinterest will have some ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=freezer+cooking
#freezercooking on Twitter and Instagram will yield some results, too! Ask your Facebook friends for their favorite freezer-friendly recipes or if any of them want to get together to do a shared-cooking day!!
Then on each of the nights when you have dinner pulled out of the freezer . . . “find time for tech” by spending the 30 minutes or so that you would have used to prep supper to explore a tech tool or topic.