Indeed, it does! Time not spent productively adds up in the end. Even losing one minute in nine weeks adds up to one entire class in the 9th Grade Academy. When the high schools in the DCSD were planning to make the switch to block scheduling, there was a Business teacher at Central who was totally against it. He did the math and it turned out teachers/students would actually lose a signifigant number of days in transitioning from traditional to block scheduling. Therefore, students in his Accounting I classes wouldn’t fully be ready for Accounting II because there wouldn’t be the same number of minutes/days in the block calendar. We lost several days in the change over from traditional to block.
So now when we go to block scheduling for the freshmen next year, I will have all the time in the world, right? Not really. It’s easy to think you don’t have to rush during a 90 minute block. There’s a pitfall, though. Let’s say you plan three different activities. That’s at least two transitions. If you are not careful, the minutes will slip away. Smooth, quick transitions are necessary. Otherwise, you are back to losing minutes each day that can quickly turn into hours lost, and over the course of time, days! Oh no, I am scaring myself! I think establishing routines will help. It might take some time to train the students, but in the end it will be worth it not be be giving up precious time. Planning, planning, planning.
Learning to be flexible is also important.How many times have you planned the perfect lesson and it is interrupted by a fire drill? Or the day when you plan for student revisions only to learn five of your 25 students completed the written work and are ready to revise. It works the other way, too! How about when your students are really into a discussion and you hate to move on? Learn to be flexible is probably one of the moste important tips I give to student teachers. It doesn’t always go as planned!