602. Around-To-It-Getters

I remember how hard it used to be, as a teacher, to find the time to do some tasks that I could temporarily get away with not doing. Those tasks often piled up and got more and more difficult to think about. Their not having been done got to be more and more conspicuous, and it often may have started to seem as if I didn’t intend to do them – that they weren’t important to me. For example, I’d make a chart and put it on a bulletin board, fully intending to establish a routine whereby the chart would eventually show a pattern. For the first few days, either I’d enter data on the chart or I’d have children enter data. But then other things would happen, and seemingly suddenly, a month’s worth of data would be missing from the chart.
I know that it’s not just teachers who have trouble “getting around to it,” but I know it’s a problem lots of teachers have. Now, as a volunteer, one of the roles I play is to “get around to it.” I listen to teachers or watch what happens, notice what needs to be done, and do it. For example, a teacher, after telling something to the class, may reconsider and say to the class, “I’ll write a note about this for your parents.” I remember that I used to say that sort of thing, and I remember putting mental post-its on my crowded mental bulletin board (refrigerator?). So I take such utterances as cues. I go to the teachers’ workroom, write the note, run it by the teacher for approval, and then, if the teacher approves, run off enough copies for all the children. So that’s one thing the teacher doesn’t have to get around to.
I’m sure that if I wanted to, I could spend all day every day doing tasks teachers wish they could find time to do. I’d change bulletin boards, keep records, order books from book clubs, scrounge around for needed materials, and much more. There are plenty of jobs teachers wish they could get done, and many don’t necessarily have to be done by teachers. Teachers do get children to do some of those jobs, but some jobs can or should be done only by adults who understand details that children may not understand.
Some of you non-teachers may be thinking, so what? Teachers aren’t the only ones to face these problems; EVERYBODY does. My point is that NOT everybody does. There are lots of roles we retired and otherwise leisurely people can play in making life a little easier for people who don’t have as much free time. We can pay attention to such people and easily notice what tasks need to be gotten around to. Teachers and lots of other people really do wish they had time to manage all the details they sometimes have to put off. And without having to actually join or rejoin the rat race, we volunteers really can help. We can be “around-to-it- getters.”

Comments are closed.