By Kristy Zieman
Have you ever taken a step back and looked at all the hurdles we as teachers have to jump through in order to be able to effectively educate our students on a daily basis; at times its amazing that we get anything done. We deal with so many small bumps in the road each day without realizing it. We are so use to certain problems popping up that we already know how to avoid and/or fix the issue before it has happened. Unfortunately, at times even when we know how to overcome one of these hurdles in our classroom it still make take time to do it; time is definitely something most of us don’t have enough of in class. Over the course of a semester all of those small instances add up to quite a bit of time that has been taken away from learning in the classroom.
Technology is and always will be a time sucker in classrooms. Each room I teach in takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes just to get the computer to load after signing in. Sometimes you cannot sign in because the last instructor did not log off which requires the computer to be powered off and re-started taking even more time from the classroom. Simple fix is to get to class early and have the computer up and running before class starts; this is great but how do you accomplish getting to class 15 minutes or so early if you teach back to back classes all day? There are delays in teaching just because something cannot be located in a classroom. Our fellow instructors are not always conscientious to others that will be teaching in a classroom after them. Sometimes the projector remotes and dry erase markers are misplaced which take time to find before getting started; and while it does not take a long time all of those little 2-3 minutes interruptions cost time that could spent teaching another concept in those few minutes.
The satellite campuses attached to high schools have additional hurdles to overcome that the main campuses do not have to worry about. High schools regularly have fire drills and Butler classes taking place in a campus attached to these high schools have to participate in those fire drills as well. These drills can happen anytime, even during lab experiments and lecture exams. It is very difficult to monitor the conversations of an entire class outside waiting to return from a fire drill; if we had to leave a test for that fire drill those students will often try to discuss the questions and share answers while they can. At the Rose Hill campus we have had to wait as long as 25 minutes outside during a fire drill one time; it really just destroys the day’s lesson plans when you lose that big of a chunk of class time.
Students create their own share of hurdles to jump through in the classroom. It takes time to deal with their various issues each day. Students are constantly causing use to address cell phone and electronic use in class; lectures have to be momentarily stopped to remind students that they are not supposed to be talking during lecture; students bring emotional baggage with them to class that sometimes needs to be dealt with immediately; and some students like to hijack class with their personal stories. All of these instances are small on their own but really do impinge on teaching time. Unfortunately, this all sound so negative and like a rant, but that was not my intention at all. In fact, I pointed all of this out to show just how fantastic faculty are here at Butler when it comes to teaching. Every day these problems arise and yet every day we still manage to teach our students which is nothing short of amazing. I hope besides teaching them content we also teach them how to deal with life’s unexpected hurdles because they are going to definitely run into unexpected situations that take away from their time to complete a task with whatever profession they enter.