You might begin by asking yourself these three questions:
- What are you supposed to accomplish in your work?
- What do you actually spend your time doing?
- Have you achieved wu-wei? (roughly translated as “effortless effort” – a state in which the world seems to be working for us.)
This is part of an article discussing how to do your best work and accomplish what you want to accomplish. I’ll ignore the very zen #3 for now, but I think #1 and #2 are very important for us to think about as teachers. Question #1 for us is really about the purpose of education, what we believe the essential learnings are for our students. A lot of the discussion in our project – as well as in the PLC’s around the building – is revolving around this question. But I think question #2 is really key for us right now. Is what you actually spend your time doing aligned with your beliefs about question #1? I would argue that often it is not. We do all these things we think we “have” to do, even if they don’t really help us accomplish what we want to accomplish. Which of course brings up the question do we really “have” to do these things?
So, I challenge each of you to think about what you actually do each day and then examine how well that aligns with what you want to accomplish. Then see how many of the supposed “have to’s” you can jettison in favor of more meaningful activities (for yourself and your students). Feel free to comment giving examples of any of the things you think you can get rid of (or would like to get rid of but just don’t see a way yet – maybe others can help).