[caption id="attachment_697" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo courtesy of dan"][/caption] As a community college teacher, many of the students I teach each semester represent untapped talent. What do I mean by this? With a few, notable, exceptions, the student population of most community colleges represents those teens and young adults who can succeed in school, but haven’t yet. Basically, those whose high school transcripts are less-than-perfect or who those who rebelled against the “institution” of higher learning at 18 only to find that a lifetime of minimum wage employment was far from their ideal. Among this untapped talent exists two sub-groups – those with time management skills and those without them. As a young teacher, a lot of my pedagogical training focused on the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Successful college students, theory states, were those with the later. I see time management as an extension of intrinsic motivation and one of the life skills most lacking in many young people today. The End of Excuses We all have a lot to do – personally, I have two children under age 4, teach at two different schools, write professionally, maintain (i.e. clean) a 2,000+ square foot home, cook most meals and somehow find time to make my marriage work. My students would tell me that I’m “special” in my ability to do these things, that they are not as able or as smart or as savvy as I am. I appreciate those compliments, but I would wager a guess that most successful professionals can balance all these activities and more because of one, simple life skill: time management. As educators we sometimes gloss over life skills with older students in favor of focusing on the important (read: testable) skills for our respective subjects. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a paper devoid of run-on sentences and that correctly distinguishes between the plural and the possessive as much as the next writing teacher, but, for me, the ability to manage these skills is far more important than the skills themselves. With time management, good grammar (or quadratic equations) will follow. Therefore, we need to focus on the end of excuses and the beginning of balance in life and in school. Four Ways to Reinforce Time Management with Teens It is my sincere belief that time management skills need to be more embedded in the everyday education of teens and tweens. At the same time that the academic load picks up, so too should the emphasis on the life skills each student can use to ensure that all this work gets completed, without sacrificing the other essentials of adolescent life. The following four tips can help young students master time management:
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