It sounds so simple: “Line up your priorities!” As if your priorities will somehow get in line! Part of the issue is that, of course, the priorities are not just “yours” – they are required by the education system, the diocese, your school, parish, or requested by parents. Your classroom is part of larger systems that have their own priorities.
If that were not enough, you have priorities for yourself, as well as for each student who has been entrusted to you.
When I began working at one of the “larger systems” and found myself examining priorities, I would say, “I’m sorry. It must be because I am new at this, but how does this proposal serve the students?” Being new was an advantage, and my question caught on. Soon, every proposal faced the same question.
Certainly, your priority for your class and each student trumps other priorities. Yet without state education requirements, diocesan guidelines, standardised tests, or the parental input regarding the children’s lives, our efforts can be devalued and lose credibility.
Sometimes writing a list of priorities can help us to “line them up”. Try it. You may see clearly what can be postponed and what cannot. Then, be sure to calendar what was postponed. When unexpected events intervene, adjust the calendar and explain to students if it affects their assignments etc. Sharing our prioritising can be a valuable lesson for them!
To Do: Make a list of the priorities you face this month. Check those that could be postponed if necessary.
To Pray: God who waits patiently, whatever priorities I must deal with this day, help me to make building your kingdom my top priority. Amen.