I started to write a comment, but then it sort of turned into enough for a blog post... so here's my thoughts on his much needed reminder from Bill that
there really ARE three things that I wish every person working beyond the classroom would know (remember?) about being a classroom teacher.
(1). I really can’t check my email and respond to you during “the workday.
(2). I’m responsible for moving the work of a TON of other people forward, too: One of the hardest things about being a classroom teacher is that I almost always feel buried under a never-ending list of tasks that I need to complete for people working in positions beyond the classroom.
(3) Working directly with kids is still my first priority: Probably the most important thing to remember as you work with me is that the day to day interactions that I have with students are ALWAYS going to be my first priority.
Bill, So much of your post resonated with me. I remember the 30 years I spent in K12 (more than 22 with my own students enjoying the benefit of those AHA moments you described. I remember going to a workshop at a conference lead by a time management specialist and thinking that this guy really has no clue that classroom teachers cannot 'block off chunks of time in their calendar with the door closed, to check things off their list organized by like tasks." During the 8 years that I spent as an out of the classroom educator / tech integrationist, I tried to do everything I could to relieve your day to day duties whenever I asked you to do 'something for me) Sometimes it was 'take a group of your kids to lead a learning tasks or take something else off your plate like collate or organize materials. Sometimes my husband would state "you seem willing to spend an hour to save someone 5 minutes" -- I would then explain Like you did in this post - why teachers have such great bladder control! I think your post is a great reminder to those of us no longer 'in the classroom' of things we can do to get your support with some of the systems work. Even something as simple as long hallway conversations or photo copier meetings while waiting for copies can help. Advocating for teacher time to be built in for some of these out of the classroom responsibilities or always asking - 'how does this directly impact students' and prioritizing our own request this way.
You mentioned one of the benefits of out of the classroom roles as having the time to thing deeply about things - this is such a benefit for me now. How I wish every teacher could have both - those direct contact moments that fuel us AND also the benefit of time to think, process, create in long blocks of time required often required for deeper thinking. I had a superintendent who told me his goal would be for every classroom teacher to have a sabbatical where they would have to take a year out of the classroom to regenerate, think deeply, learn out of the classroom. Obviously that never happened for him, but I have seen schools where classroom teachers get to spend a couple of year in an out of classroom experience, thus engaging in needed periods of deep thought, systems work, state of flow as they create as oppose to 15 minute chunks of prep time. I also believe that every out of classroom educator/school leader should have to spend a year back in the classroom every so many years to keep their license.
Thank you Bill, for the thoughtful posts. Sorry this got a bit long, maybe I should go add it to my blog! Your post definitely resonated.