I don’t have time for that!

I don’t have time for that!

It’s a refrain that seems to come up quite often in education.  You might have just left a professional development talking with a colleague and you feel excited to try something that you learned only to hear “I don’t have time for that” in response.  Or maybe you shared an article with a friend that you have used to help in your classroom, and the only response you get is “I don’t have time for that.”

Or even worse, maybe you’re the one saying “I don’t have time for that” to your colleague, administrator, or friend.  My immediate response, knowing that we work primarily in a learning environment, is “You don’t have time to learn?”  Would you allow your students to say that?  Would that be an acceptable response in your classroom?

I would challenge you to shift your mindset.  Reading a recent post from the blog Principal of Change, George Couros makes a suggestion of what we can say instead of saying “I don’t have time for that.”

  1. How will my students benefit from this practice?
  2. I am not seeing the relevance of this for teaching and learning…could you give me specifics of how this would impact my practice?
  3. How would you suggest incorporating what you are suggesting into my position?
  4. What has been the biggest benefit for your own practice?
  5. If I was to do this, what would it replace that I am doing now?


How many times have we all tried things, thinking that they wouldn’t be valuable, or we wouldn’t like them, only to realize a few days (or weeks, or months) into the new thing that we couldn’t imagine not doing things this way?

So what can we learn from those moments?  My hope is that we would come to the realization that it is important to be open to learning and trying new things.  Just because you feel as though you “don’t have the time” you can’t just dismiss something out of hand.  Take the moment to ask the questions above.  If the answers are satisfactory, then that should show that you need to make the time to learn a little more, to try it out, and hopefully create a better learning environment for our students.

Remember that we are the ultimate models of learning for our students.  If we never try something new, if we never exit our comfort zone, if we never do things differently than the way we’ve done something in the past, then we are saying to our students that it’s ok for them to be the same way.

What are some things you tried, not knowing quite how they would work out, only to be pleasantly surprised by how great it really was?  Let us know in the comments below!

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