professornana (professornana) wrote,

P is for priorities

Like many of my friends and colleagues, I have a tough time saying NO.  I agree to things thinking they will not take much time and then discover that I have said YES to so many things there may not be time to do them all.  My TO-DO list is one of the ways I set priorities for all of the things I need to do.  I love keeping a TO-DO list whether it is the page I scribble down as I drive to the office or the list I email myself from the phone of computer.  As I cross off items, my TO-DO list becomes a TA-DA list.  I can see the progress.  That fuels me to do more. I do not set priorities per se on the list, no numbering, etc.  Sometimes I just need to mark off the small tasks so I can give myself a bit of a boost.

What does this have to do with my usual topics of books and reading and kids?  Well, sometimes I do those same small things when it comes to my TBR stack.  I grab a couple of books that I know I can read quickly (picture books, graphic novels, easy chapter books and the like) and finish those before tackling something a bit more challenging.  Occasionally I take a break from the longer work and listen to an audio or pick up a picture book instead.  It seems to work for me. I also make reading a priority in my life.  I manage to read a lot of books because of this priority.  I listen to books as I drive to and from places;  I always carry a book (or an eBook reader) whenever I head someplace where waiting is a distinct possibility.  I take time most days to read.  But I also do not beat myself up when I go through a dry spell.  Kylene Beers in WHEN KIDS CANT READ, WHAT TEACHERS CAN DO talks about kids who reported that their lives were so overscheduled that they had to go "dormant" for a while.  It happens to the best of us.  There are some periods in my life where reading just has to wait, to be dormant.  That does not mean my TBR pile stops growing or that I stop buying books (much to my BH's chagrin, I think).  Do we give kids a chance to be "dormant," I wonder?  How can we do this within the confines of a classroom community of readers? 

I offer no answers here.  I do tell my grad students who, in addition to their full time jobs, have to read a TON of books for my classes, about my "tricks" of interspersing shorter and longer books, about doing tasks I know I can accomplish more quickly.  I caution about delaying, too, and then having to face a huge obstacle to meet deadlines.  But in a 15 week semester, there is little time for dormancy.  All I can do is give them the reading list in advance and urge them to start reading before classes begin.  And I try to create assignments I think will be worthwhile as they enter into a career as a school librarian. 

I know this post is all over the place today.  It is Monday.  I have been ruminating about my own TO-DO list which is looking frightening right now with NCTE fast approaching.  You know what that means, right?  Time for a break.  I have some picture books sitting right here in front of me...
Tags: dormancy, priorities, reading, scheduling

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