It happens every year- in fact about 5 times a year. I complete a quick metamorphosis from the loving, caring, teacher I am by day into a testing crazed, stressed out, time fighting, crazy lady. It really makes no sense. I know I have to get a benchmark score on my students early in the first part of the year in order to teach from each child’s beginning spot. Then, I test my children again before each report card. Of course, how else can the grade card be completed? Here’s the rub: I always want to give my children the most time possible to master the skills needed to show their success on their report cards. But that throws me into this race against the clock.
In the past, I have found myself cramming in each assessment much like a machine. I’d listen to the students count, read, recite their letters… but I wasn’t fully present. One eye was on the child and one eye was on the clock. Hoping and praying I didn’t run out of time. That was the PAST.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Maybe you can take this idea on too (because what teacher has not felt this stress at one time or another?). It really opened my eyes and WOW what a difference it made during testing this time.
I have long since felt like a slave to time. For as long as I can remember I have lived by the clock. In the morning we wake by the clock, get dressed, and get in the car so we can be “on time” for school. At school the day is run by the clock. We have to be “on time” according to our agenda. After school we have to eat dinner, do homework, and get to bed in time to get enough sleep for the next day. The clock, the clock, the clock- it used to rule my world. NO more!
Here’s the turning point!
I was reading The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks, the other day and he introduced me to Einstein Time. I won’t go into all the details of that, you can get all the deep details by reading the book yourself. I’ll just condense it here for the sake of…, oh let’s say, “time.” Okay, I couldn’t resist. Here’s my main take away: “Time just is. I choose how to spend it. My choice, be fully present or be stressed that I’m running out of it.”
Sounds really elementary, I know, but check out how it worked. I woke up during the night stressing out because I had to do so many (23) individual assessments. These things take TIME! How I was going to get these tests done before the children left for the long weekend? I just knew I’d be left to break deadline, ask forgiveness from my principal, and cram on report card day in order to get the grades to parents according to the deadline. That scenario gives me the willies just thinking about it.
But shortly after waking with the stress, Gay Hendricks’ “Einstein Time” flashed in my mind. Right there, in my warm cozy bed, I set an intention to be fully present the next day as each of my children had their turn to “show what they know.” I figured, “what could it hurt?” I had a full day ahead of me to do the testing. I could either rush, feel stressed, and act like a slave to the clock, or I could enjoy each child, be fully present in monitoring their show of progress, and leave stress outside my classroom.
Unbelievable! I was able to do more with my time than I had done in the past. I’m not sure how that worked. I just know that it did work. I enjoyed each child, marveled at the progress each one made, and had a pleasant and productive day (super productive actually).
There was something almost magical in reframing my attitude toward time. I did not go into the situation feeling as if time was something I was working against. Instead, I went in saying, “I’m going to enjoy this time with my children.” The truth is that the school day started and ended at the same times it always does, but without the stress and fight I usually put up against the clock, my hours were spent in joy and excitement watching how much my children have grown since the beginning of the year.
Now that was a spectacular difference! If you’re really curious about this notion of Einstein Time I’ll again point you to Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap. But if you just want a quick fix listen up: time is not something OUTSIDE of you. You ARE your time in that the decision of how to spend it is totally yours. One example from the book condensed here, if you are newly in love and are in the arms of the one you love time flies. One hour feels like a minute. You are totally engaged in love and feeling your joy and desire. However, put your hand on a hot stove and one minute feels like an hour.
When you are experiencing joy and love you flow through life accomplishing all that is important to you so you can again relax in the arms of your lover. Time appears to double or triple.
But when you are in a fight with the clock, everything gets harder. You spill your coffee, you oversleep, you get stopped by every red light… Time cuts in half. Small tasks take double time. Your day disappears and at night you’re left with a long list of things to STILL do.
Now, let me ask, when you are at school testing- or teaching- are you relaxed into your day so that your hours feel like minutes with your joy and creativity running on high and producing more in an hour than you ever thought possible? Or are you at school suffering through every minute that feels like a painful hour; not getting near “enough” done because your stress stands in the way of your creativity?
Here’s a challenge: for the next week, stop saying things such as, “I don’t have enough time.” “I’d love to chat, but I’m running late.” “Time is running out.” Instead take on the attitude of enjoyment. Set your intention to be fully present with each child at school all day! Just see what happens and how you feel. Then decide for yourself if you’d like to know more about this concept. I believe if you totally embrace this new attitude you will experience a glorious week.
So are you in? What do you have to lose- uh time? PALEESE. Give it a whirl!
Be sure to come back here and let me know how it’s going! I’m off to create some triple time as I enjoy a bike ride with the familyJ