The balancing act of being both a teacher and a student

By: Barbara Shoemaker, Assistant Online Coordinator with EKU Online

I found that while working as a PK-12 school teacher, I became a structured task master.  As an educator, there’s almost no alternative! When you run a classroom you must be aware of short term goals and long term goals to successfully plan what activities must be attended to immediately and what can be kept on the back burner. 

This same mind set, which had gotten me through many a school year, also helped tremendously while I was completing my post degree. Going back to school, while extremely rewarding, can seem like an overwhelming prospect, especially when you work full time. Through my own experiences, I found that many of the tactics I use in my own classroom were invaluable to help keep me organized when I transitioned from teacher to student.

My first action for any new course was to review the syllabus and make a determination of what assignments, due dates and other class requirements may overlap with my personal and professional calendar. This is what we do when planning our school year, we look at the units to be taught and what time of year we have holidays or breaks to allow us to plan accordingly. 

While planning my semester, I also carefully reviewed the reading assignments to get a sense of how much time would be needed for each. Some individuals read and comprehend quickly but I need time to read and reflect to really absorb the information. I liken this to a planning period, but I am constructing time in the week for me to read at the pace I prefer.  A time when the kids are asleep or out of the house OR the spouse is taking a nap! 

I also carefully review all assignment due dates in advance. The task master in me demands I complete the assignments on time, but sometimes life throws a curveball. While I always strove to schedule my time to allow ample time for completion, I did allow myself the occasional late assignment even though it was hard emotionally not to have the paper turned in on time. 

Fortunately, I believe in formative assessment… I want the syllabus and the goals I must attain, I want a schedule so I can prepare but I want a quality product.  I want to meet the high marks on the rubric. We teachers know how to adapt, we are constantly adapting in the classroom!

Published on August 01, 2016