The 40ish-Hour Quest Continues

Three meetings, one traffic jam, and one family fun night…but I’m still on course.

Last weekend, I wrote about my quest to reduce some of my time spent at school, without losing any of my effectiveness. This quest has been inspired by Angela Watson, who has been talking about a “40 Hour Teacher Workweek” on her blog, in her book, and on her podcast. I’m not looking to get to 40 hours, but I feel 45 is a solid goal that will allow me more time with my family.

Here’s how it’s going:


  • Arrival Time: 8:00
  • Departure Time: 4:35
  • Time spent at home: 20 minutes
  • Notes: I was strangely excited to get started with this process. I had planned for my planning time using my form and was ready to get going, so ready I left my house without brushing my teeth. (Reverse!) Once I was at school with my teeth brushed, the most beneficial choice I made was to do the “around the room” tasks before sitting down after dropping my students at gym class and at dismissal. After delivering them, I would shuffle through homework folders or fill out the next day’s agenda. Once the room was ready, I sat at my computer to begin the next task.


  • Arrival Time: 7:55
  • Departure Time: 4:35
  • Time spent at home: 15 minutes
  • Notes: Tuesday went similarly to Monday, with one major difference – I was able to get ahead. With all of my Tuesday tasks finished, I found myself plucking tasks from other days. This felt fantastic. Even a meeting about testing data didn’t set me back. Little did I know, getting ahead was soon to prove very important.


  • Arrival Time: 8:20 (Yikes!)
  • Departure Time: 4:40
  • Time spent at home: none
  • Notes: What a mess! Just three minutes after I left my house, traffic was completely stopped. I sat stewing for awhile before peeling into the closest neighborhood to try to find a shortcut through what turned out to be a labyrinth. After driving in circles, I finally called my wife to get me onto a road I’d heard of. Twenty minutes late to school, I was frazzled, but since everything was ready, I wasn’t out of control. The day progressed smoothly. Our weekly professional development session after school meant I couldn’t get much ready for Thursday, but considering how the day started, this was a win.


  • Arrival Time: 7:50
  • Departure Time: 4:40
  • Time spent at home: none
  • Notes: What I enjoyed about this day was the ending. My daughter’s school was hosting a fall event and book fair. In the past, I might meet my family at an event of this nature, not stepping in my house until after 7:00. This day, however, I made it home, talked with my son, changed clothes, and was much more relaxed.


  • Arrival Time: 8:00
  • Departure Time: 4:40
  • Time spent at home: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Notes: Unlike most teachers, I like to get a lot done when I get home Friday night. I don’t like work lingering over me. I start with the grading of papers because it’s the task I least look forward to; I’m glad when it’s done.


  • Saturday Worktime: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Sunday Worktime: none
  • Notes: I mentioned earlier, I don’t like the dark cloud of work hovering over my weekend. Right after breakfast, I put an old race on television and got started. Recording all the grading from last night came first, followed by my plans and updating my classroom website.

The Final Math: 46 hours and 40 minutes. Not quite the 45 hours I was shooting for, but I consider it to be a step in the right direction. This experience of charting my time has been very eye-opening, and I plan to write a reflection of what I learned in my next post. I encourage you to try charting your hours too!



About mrwhitehb

I teach 4th grade and am the chair of the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee for grades 4-6.

Posted on November 3, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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