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Monthly Archives: January 2011

I’ve recently stumbled upon a business blog titled I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and have found it surprisingly relevant to the world of teaching.  While I’m working my way through it, and will be excited to share more as I get further, this initial post made me think a LOT about planning and prioritizing.

On a daily basis teachers are faced with tons of choices.  Teacher look or silent lunch?  Physical proximity or public discipline?  Grade for mastery or completion?  Lecture or discussion?  Multiple choice or free response?

The problem is, there are often pros and cons of each (and I will be the first to admit that limited time is often a factor in the choice made), so we’re forced to prioritize.  But how do we figure out in which situations the reward vs. time required ratio will be highest?

In his post titled Introducing 2011: The Year of the Hustle, Ramit discusses the idea of disproportionate rewards.  That by investing a small, or large, amount of extra time in a task or project, the growth in rewards will be significantly higher than the increase in time.  The example he gives is related to the amount of time he puts into a guest post created for a blog, and the impact it has on how many people read it:

The immediate connection I make is to planning a lesson.  While it feels good to get through a plan, have all materials ready, and head home with a chance to watch your favorite TV show, this makes me wonder how much extra time would be required for a plan to begin yielding disproportionate rewards in regards to student mastery and/or investment in the content…

And how do we attach numerical values in order to calculate the disproportionate rewards?  I can attach numbers to student mastery (if I’m getting lucky with my assessment skills), but what about student investment, and their ‘I Can/I Want’ (to use very TFA lingo)?  And in the spirit of teacher sustainability and personal/professional alliance, how can I figure out exactly how valuable those extra two hours of TV/gym time are a night in order to figure out if the rewards really are disproportionate to what you’re giving up to yield them?

So this leaves me asking two questions:

1) How do I attach numerical data to pieces of the teaching world that aren’t as easy to quantify as pieces of the business world in order to calculate if a choice is producing disproportionate rewards, and

2) Which choices in my day will produce the most disproportionate rewards?  Where do I spend my time???

These questions make me excited to dive into 2011: The Year of the Hustle, where the aim is to find “unconventional ways to achieve high impact goals”.  Let’s see what we can figure out here in the world of education.