15 = 27 and 40 = 8


As an educator, I’ve recognized that we have a strange relationship with time. 

In my time in the classroom as a teacher, and now as an administrator, I’ve learned a few things about time.

Sometimes, 15 = 27 and 40 = 8.

You plan that fifteen minute mini-lesson to start your daily writing routine. The only problem is that by the time you finish explaining the day’s skill, you look at the clock and realize your fifteen minute mini-lesson just took twenty-seven minutes. And now, students only have twelve minutes to actually write. So much for teaching writing. 15 = 27.

Then there’s the flipside.

You designed the world’s greatest science experiment for your students. You spent four hours planning it over the weekend, including hitting the dollar store to purchase all the relative supplies. You anticipate the lesson taking about forty minutes. You begin the lesson, give clear directions, and students start completing the experiment. Eight minutes later, three of the four groups announce those dreaded words: We’re done, now what? 40 = 8.

We’ve all been there, and part of our strange relationship with time means learning from our mistakes.

Whenever I’m in a classroom observing a teacher, and they run into time troubles, my one recommendation is the use of a timer. A simple kitchen timer can work wonders (to avoid those 15 = 27 moments). There are also plenty of excellent Youtube timers to keep students (and you!) calm and focused.

For those occasions when 40 = 8, I recommend having backup plans for your backup plans. It only takes one of those times before you plan plenty of extra activities for the “I’m done, now what” students. Have a backup in case you finish early. Create extra opportunities to extend learning, not just busywork.

Yes, sometimes, 15 = 27 and 40 = 8. Accept it, learn from it, and move on.




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