Time, Our Most Precious Resource – Jennifer Oaten
Internet searches on how to bake bread have risen dramatically in the past few months as people stayed home and placed more value on doing things together as a family. For centuries, bread has fed, and nourished generations of people and our “stay at home” requirements have meant we have found the time to participate in this ancient form of cooking. The reason for this? Extra time in our lives.
Many of us have spent more hours at home because we have not been transporting or watching our children play sport on weekends and we have had reduced social engagements allowing us to just be still. Perhaps you have also enjoyed reading more, sitting and relaxing more, being in the garden or building connections with family.
Now that we have removed or minimised the external pressures, such as sport, social outings, and shopping trips, we have realised how overcommitted we are in our lives. How often do you ask a friend or colleague, “How are you?” and the response you receive is “I’m so busy”. This extra time at home has given us opportunity to reflect on how we utilise our time. Time is the most precious commodity we can have because unlike money, we can’t make more of it.
One of our challenges as a school is we want to provide many activities and opportunities for our girls. Staff want this, parents want this, and many of our girls want this. However, the incredible schedule we offer puts significant pressure and increased workload on our staff who coordinate and supervise these activities, excursions, incursions, co-curricular and special events. Our students have meetings during many of their breaks, and they often have co-curricular activities before and after school, making their day extremely busy and full. Then when you add classes and homework schedules, into the equation, where is the time to breathe?
The current restrictions have forced us to slow down a little. It’s given us the much-needed time to reflect on our lives, to reflect on the connections we have with those around us and take time to consider what is important. As a school, we have been discussing how easy it is to lose focus of our core business, to provide an education, when there are so many wonderful distractions that compete for our girls’ time.
We want our girls to find their passion, their niche, whether it be in service, sport, music, dance, drama but we also need to be smarter about how we offer all these activities and how they impact on the mental health of our students and staff. We want to focus on quality rather than quantity. As a school, we are always very reluctant to let go of historical activities and events, yet this year we have been forced to re-evaluate and look differently at all our events.
As we move forward, we want to ensure our girls have the right balance between academics, co-curricular, events, wellbeing and most importantly time to be still. For a short time, our world stopped turning, and suddenly we realised that our family and friendships are the most important thing we have. Ensuring we have time to nurture these is vital.
As educators, we can create the change, let’s re-evaluate and prioritise time.