Time is always pressing on my mind. The ever-present knowledge that death is right around the corner never quite leaves me. My time, our time, your time, is limited. Time means different things to different people. We want to get paid for our time. How much we demand varies. I work at a liquor store and get paid close to minimum wage. I am the assistant director of a summer camp and I get double that. I organize games and activities for birthday parties at my summer camp and get triple that. I teach and get about five times that. Yet I go to EdCamps, Coffe Edu, and create or participate in multiple online professional developments and get zero times that. This blog you are reading costs me time yet I get monetarily compensated nothing for it. You can hire me to run professional development at your school anywhere in the world and that costs a separate amount of money.
Money in relation to time is arbitrary. I had a conversation with a gentleman who told me he presents for free yet he has a teacher pays teacher account where he charges teachers for his creations. He chooses which time he spends should be compensated for. Make no mistake though, he gets paid for his time. Another friend of mine charges for his presentations yet creates Ebooks, a blog, and runs a program that benefits other teachers professional development without being compensated for his time. He also chooses where his time is worth money. Is either of them wrong? I would argue they are both right. WE get to determine how much our time is worth. If the time is not worth the money we stop doing whatever is sucking up our time.
Time as money varies based on the circumstances. I had a company ask me to present at a conference during a school day. I quoted them a price. The company said it was too high. A woman who had no business being in the conversation made a comment about how much I had quoted to that company. After making sure she understood that this was none of her business I explained how taking off a day to deliver professional development is one less day that I can take off to spend with my son at donuts with dad. It is one less day that I can go to meet the artist with my daughter. Being out negatively effects my students as well. I declined to give them my time because that school time holds a higher value to me. Another aspect of this time-money circumstance is that if the conference was on a weekend I may have presented for free.
How we perceive time varies. I live and die for old man basketball. I have turned down many pleasurable alternatives in order to experience the fun and joy of basketball. I have played for hours without realizing three hours had zipped by. I have also sat through an hour of professional development that felt like days. Remember when we were kids? Five minutes felt like an hour! Time is fluid. Now five minutes feels like 30 seconds!! My grandfather jokingly says everytime he picks up the newspaper it is the Sunday edition.
Our perceptions of time varies. I don’t have the time to value your feelings as much as you do. That is a harsh truth of mine. I need to do what I feel is right. This may be saying something that goes against what you are about. It may hurt you. Then again it may not. I don’t waste large amounts of my time worrying about what others will think or say of my words and actions. With this being said I don’t attempt to harm others. I do not attack people personally nor do I engage in actions that purposefully harm others. I have to operate within my moral framework as well as my limited time framework. They sometimes but heads. This may also be the reason that I don’t have a boatload of friends. (I am somewhat self-aware)
We don’t value time. I am a busy person and I still waste some of my time. This bothers me. Coach Feis and Mr. Beigel were teachers in Parkland Florida. They both gave up their lives protecting children. They had no idea their time was so limited. How would they have valued their time if they knew how limited it was? What would they have changed? We only value time once we realize we have a finite time left. This happens with a cancer diagnosis, a colleague or a close family member dies, or something catastrophic like a school shooting happens. Suddenly time becomes more valuable. We realize how petty our lives were and how we ignored what is really important to us.
What is bizarre is that my school is currently in negotiations. We have been without a new contract for a while. This happens everywhere. The strange part is that if a gunman (aka white male with mental issues) came in we would be expected to put ourselves in their way in order to protect the children. This would severely limit my time on the planet. Suddenly my time becomes very valuable, doesn’t it? How does that factor into negotiations?
This blog is meant to create more questions than answers. I am not attacking anyone who charges for anything. I charge people for my time and feel zero guilt for it. What I do want to happen is for you to question where do you spend your time. How much are you being compensated for it? Compensation is not always money. I understand that and don’t feel that is our motivation for most things. I also believe that money can buy us time in some cases. This is where I value money. Also paying my bills is cool. Spend a little time thinking about where you spend your time and how are you being compensated for it?
Finally, value you your time. While it may be worth nothing to someone else your time is invaluable to you, your family, and your friends. Make use of the time you have. As the great Jarrod Robinson once told me, “I don’t think people really put enough time and attention into harnessing their time as effectively as they could. It is just an afterthought instead of prioritizing what is the most important to them.” I personally don’t want to look back and think I wasted my time. It’s time to make sure that doesn’t happen.