"No," the speaker replied, "that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all."
But I wasn't. This was a tough year for me. There's no real reason why other than I just didn't feel like me. I wasn't finding the joy that I should have had throughout the year. I was letting myself get bogged down in the minutiae, instead of letting myself enjoy the learning in my classroom. On that night of the AP Reading, I was struck by the quote above. I had read it earlier in the day (Chapter 4 of Creating Cultures of Thinking) but it wasn't until that chat with Julie and Lynn that it really hit me. I had let my professional life get filled up with the small pebbles and the sand until there wasn't any room left for the big rocks.
Another quote from the same chapter said "What does your allocation of time say about what you value in the classroom?" Am I communicating with my students about the 'big rocks' in my classroom? Through my actions, do I show my students that I value learning... thinking... understanding... creativity... fun... engagement?
My 'big rocks' may not be the same as yours, and that's okay! I have personal 'big rocks' - my faith, my family, my friends, but I have professional 'big rocks' as well and that's what I was missing this year in my classroom, leading to frustration on my part.
I'm hopeful for a better year coming up. I've given up some of my leadership roles, which should allow me more time to just focus on the fun part of teaching. I plan to focus more on my professional 'big rocks' - my professional growth through my PLN and book studies, new teaching ideas via twitter and blogs, and student engagement / visible thinking strategies.
What are your "big rocks"?