Teachers from all corners of the earth have a common complaint: Not enough time to teach the things that need to be taught. While the complaint is certainly legitimate we have more power than we think to increase efficiency in teaching and learning.

If you find yourself feeling like you are running out of time, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I putting the intellectual burden on the students or am I doing most of the thinking for them? This is also known as Mother Robin Syndrome. It feels efficient at first because we can get through a lesson quicker but guess what? They don’t retain it or deeply understand it if they haven’t actively processed it!  Then we have to teach it again!! Not so efficient.

2. Am I infusing joy into my lessons or does it feel more like cajoling, threatening or bribing students to learn? A positive classroom environment means learning happens faster.

3. Am I ensuring that every student is mentally engaged and responding to my prompts at the same time or am I doing more telling than asking or calling on one student to respond at a time? Remember: the person doing the talking is the person doing the thinking. How much time do you spend talking? How much time does one student spend talking to the whole class? In most classrooms the answer is: a lot more than teachers realize! A simple think-pair-share can remedy this immediately.