Archived Story

Making the most of time in the classroom

Published 9:14am Friday, September 2, 2011

By JASON MAYFIELD / Guest Columnist

Time slows for no one, but I’ve tried to stay on its good side by throwing it out the window in my classroom.

Okay, correction. Outside my classroom is a flower garden, so I didn’t plant the clock there. The clock, unplugged and county-owned, abides where no student can see it: the closet.

I take full credit for a revitalized economy, particularly in Columbiana, if it comes through wristwatch sales.

The clock may be out of sight, but it doesn’t mean that I forget time. It means I want students’ attention on the task at hand, never on that second hand moving closer to the time for class to end.

There are other objects I’ve tossed out with an eye toward time. Maintenance, time and large class sizes made getting rid of the teacher’s desk an easy toss. Plus, its absence forces me to keep the class continually moving forward in a lesson, not to mention I get a “to myself” chuckle when a supervisor comes in and has to sit at a student desk, if there is one, to complete an evaluation.

The DVD player, if I ever had one, made its way to another teacher years ago.

I figured if a movie could replace my instruction, then I was no longer a “teacher,” but a “babysitter.”

(The irony is that while I am the person responsible for technology at my school, I rely on older methods to get the most out of my students. The process continues at home where a Nintendo 8-bit system sits as “entertainment.” I can’t retire the thing until I beat my last game and send Marty McFly “Back to the Future.” On a related note, if any of my students wonder why I occasionally seem down, I dare anyone to fail for 20 years to send someone back to the future and still be cheerful.)

Whether certain objects are in the room or not, the clock ticks on our chance to influence the next generation. Are we making the most of the time we have?

Jason Mayfield is a gifted instructor at Columbiana Middle School.

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