how much time do teachers actually teach?

Inefficiency in education drives me nuts.  Long pointless meetings, or staff development that is inane and worthless — these things make my blood boil.  We have so many more important things to be doing.

Sometimes, however, we waste our students’ time and fritter away precious minutes when they could be learning.  When I was a teacher-coach I saw a fair number of teachers who spent a lot of classroom time doing not much of anything.  Alas, mention of time, organization, or efficiency meets some deaf ears at my school.

The Sunday New York Times had an excellent article about a smart way to assess teachers:  videotape them teaching, and record the actual amount of time they spend teaching the curriculum.

…[S]tudies found that some teachers were able to deliver as much as 14 more weeks a year of relevant instruction than their less efficient peers.

14 weeks more in a year?!  That’s powerful stuff.

There was no secret to their success: the efficient teachers hewed closely to the curriculum, maintained strict discipline and minimized non-instructional activities, like conducting unessential classroom business when they should have been focused on the curriculum.

I’m going to share this article with my principal (I suppose I should call her the Princess, since our former principal was the Prince on this blog).


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