Hacking Education: Teacher Quiet Zones

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hacking Education #D100BloggerPD Book Study: Hack #3 Teacher Quiet Zones

This post in the #D100BloggerPD series is written by the wonderful Ginny Burdett.  
She is a 4th grade teacher at Hiawatha School.  



       Welcome to the next post on our #D100BloggerPD book study on Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. This book was written by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez, as part of the Hack Learning series. Being a part of such a forward-thinking district, I have again, welcomed the opportunity to be part of the #D100BloggerPD clan. Here is how it works: Every Monday and Wednesday, a different blogger in Berwyn South District 100 will read and reflect on one of the 10 “hacks” introduced in the book. You have a couple of options; you can choose to follow the above schedule (click on each image to link to previous posts!) or search the #D100bloggerPD hashtag on Twitter. We encourage you to keep up with our study and perhaps, walk away ready to do a lil’ hacking yourself!


  Leah O’Donnell, began her post on Hack #2: The Pineapple Chart by saying how teachers are so incredibly busy and often have little to no spare time during the typical school day.  Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez encourage us to embrace this chaotic, fast-paced environment, but also mention that at some point throughout the day, a little bit of teacher quiet time is needed for planning, looking at assessment, reflection, and simply getting “centered.” I love that, by the way… “getting centered.” 

  Here’s the problem: we are given a portion of our day as a designated plan-time; YET, how much of that time is actually being used efficiently? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, (and you totally are), the answer is NADA. Okay, I am being a tad bit dramatic. Change “nada” to a whopping “5 minutes” and we’re being a little more realistic. Simple disruptions are eating up precious planning time day in and day out. They nailed it when they said “Students waltz into your classroom uninvited, just to say hello. Colleagues loiter around your desk, venting about what went wrong with a lesson. An announcement blares, destroying the solitude that is necessary for deep thought and effective planning.” Yep. Another day in the life. 


The prescribed solution (or otherwise known as “the hackiest of hacks” because of it’s simplicity) is the designation of a room known as a Teacher Quiet Zone (TQZ). Think of a TQZ as your typical library…an area where silence is expected, and it is understood that anyone in this zone has gone there to do focused, uninterrupted work. No talking!


  Now do I expect teachers to have a completely vacant room in their building just waiting for them to call it their new TQZ tomorrow? Of course not. But what we can all do is locate a temporary TQZ that is vacant for some chunk of the school day in order to help alleviate some of the chaos and distraction. Escape to that location before school-hours, during your plan-period, or after school-hours, and enjoy a few peaceful moments to get work done, reflect, or simply… just do nothing. If anyone deserves that sometimes, it’s us teachers. 

  Be on the look out for the next post in our #D100BloggerPD series.  Annie Cantafio, over at http://coolcatteach.blogspot.com is up next with Hack #4: Track Records! 

1 comment:

  1. I use to go into a closet in the library to find some quiet time. It helped me quiet all the noise swimming in my head. Thanks for sharing.