Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: A Hidden Practice
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Slice of Life: A Hidden Practice

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I spent a long time setting up my space today. I sharpened new pencils, refreshed my pen supply, cleaned up folders and organized my desktop. I wanted the space to be uncluttered, inviting, and open to possibilities. I went to the store and purchased new candles, hand lotion, my favorite lip balm, and a frame for a few photos I wanted close at hand. I wanted my space to be comfortable, relaxing and familiar.

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I had meant to spend this time writing. Getting a few slices under my belt in case I experience the blank page or run out of time one day this month. At first I was frustrated with myself for not being productive, but then I sat at my desk and realized I hadn’t wasted a moment. I was filled with purpose, meaning and agency. My space is ready for me and I am ready for my challenge.

In education we call this provisioning:

Provisioning: A Hidden Teacher Practice That Needs to Be Made Visible to the Mentee

As mentioned in the previous post, there are numerous best practices teachers implement that may go unnoticed by a pre-service or novice teacher. *Sapier and Gower (1997) have identified many of these hidden teacher practices, one of which is provisioning.

What is Provisioning?

Provisioning represents a set of procedures an experienced teacher implements to facilitate instruction. When provisioning is effective instruction moves smoothly and effortlessly. With provisioning the teacher prepares the classroom with materials of instruction, bulletin boards, physical space, seating arrangements, etc.

*Saphier, J., & Gower, R. (1997). The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills. Acton, MA: Research for Better Teaching, Inc.

I really do think it is a hidden practice – not just in teaching, in life. When we take the time to envision and create our space we are intentional. It pushes us to think about what we are doing, why it is important, how we want it to feel, and what we hope to have happen. We plan by thinking through the steps of how we want things to go and shift from thinking only about what we are going to do. How we do things is often more important than what we do.

In schools, do we start each day thinking about how are day will go? Teaching is more than a schedule and a list of objectives. It is bringing a community of learners together. Creating a community of learners requires thoughtful planning that cannot be found in a script; on Pinterest; or photocopied. It must be thoughtfully envisioned and planned. At home, do we think through our family rituals and how we value our time together? Family is more than cooking, cleaning, laundry and homework. We need to think about the moments we will have together and how we want them to feel. When we take the time to envision and plan what our family time will be we create memories, traditions, and connections.

Provisioning … I think it really is a hidden practice. It makes things seem so easy and effortless. In reality it is a thoughtful, intentional practice that requires time, vision, and care.

           Clare

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for us to share our stories each day in March.  Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts and consider joining this community.

18 Comments
  • Avatar
    Laura Lee
    Posted at 11:00h, 01 March Reply

    Two things:
    “Creating a community of learners requires thoughtful planning that cannot be found in a script; on Pinterest; or photocopied. It must be thoughtfully envisioned and planned.”
    Yes! Amen! Waving my white flag!

    “At home, do we think through our family rituals and how we value our time together? Family is more than cooking, cleaning, laundry and homework.”
    So true and my answer is no. I do not provision for my children like I do for the teachers I serve but they are just as important (more important) to me. Thank you for this insight. I am going to think more about it and do better. Like Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

    Welcome to SOL!6!

    • Avatar
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 00:21h, 02 March Reply

      Hi Laura — looking forward to connecting with you this month! It is difficult to always balance home and school. I wonder if we keep in our mind maybe we will do it more often. I too need to do better. Thanks
      Clare

  • Avatar
    rosecappelli
    Posted at 12:32h, 01 March Reply

    Welcome Clare! I love the space you created. It is comfortable and inspiring. And thanks for teaching me a new word – provisioning. I agree, it is a necessary part of how we create. As you say, “How we do things is often more important than what we do.”

  • Avatar
    Katie Muhtaris
    Posted at 14:19h, 01 March Reply

    Yes, what a great post! You put into words something that I do often. I can’t wait to share this with teachers.

  • Avatar
    Linda Baie
    Posted at 16:35h, 01 March Reply

    Lovely to see you here, Clare. Like Rose, you’ve taught me a new word. I understand that ‘hidden’ practice, but didn’t know that others had named it. I do believe that novice teachers probably don’t know all the points important to creating an atmosphere that makes a successful community for learning, and a successful lesson. There are so many subtle points to include that just aren’t noticed or included. I would add that “provisioning’ is also something I valued for students to learn. Setting up a space for the work to come with all the needed materials is a big help, and making that a habit for students who are in need of some kind of organization plan aided their success often. Thanks for giving me new ideas for support of the new teacher I’m working with.

  • Avatar
    Tara
    Posted at 17:18h, 01 March Reply

    My teacher heart and my writing heart warm at the sight of your space – it glows!

    • Avatar
      PaulaBourque
      Posted at 23:09h, 01 March Reply

      Same here, Tara. I’d love to see more “provisioned” writing spaces. I might have to remodel mine a bit!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 18:37h, 01 March Reply

    WOW, I learned so much from your post today. I had no idea what provisioning was, but recognize that I do it all the time. 🙂 I love your writing space. Here’s to 31 days of bringing words to the page with #SOL16!

  • Avatar
    Bonnie Kaplan
    Posted at 19:14h, 01 March Reply

    This is the work of a teacher that often goes unnoticed… It looks easy but look underneath… Creating a space… I so appreciate your time and efforts…

  • Avatar
    Karen Terlecky
    Posted at 22:34h, 01 March Reply

    Oh my! I LOVE the idea of provisioning – I can’t believe I hadn’t come across that term before. The space you have created for writing and thinking and reflecting is wonderful – I would definitely find that inviting. Creating that area will provide much more for you as a writer than if you had stockpiled slices and ideas.
    Headed to my space now to “provision” it! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Leigh Anne
    Posted at 22:43h, 01 March Reply

    I love your writing space and I am quite envious! I crave for a place to be creative. I don’t want to rush my empty nest, but that is when it will happen for me! I love the word provisioning! And yes, it is a new word for me too. Here’s to making the most out of your space with 3 days of writing!

  • Avatar
    PaulaBourque
    Posted at 23:08h, 01 March Reply

    Ok, I seriously need to get better at provisioning! I think if I set up my space like yours, I’d procrastinate a whole lot less!! Thank you for this post. It is just what I needed to get started on this #SOL challenge!

  • Avatar
    Amy
    Posted at 02:31h, 02 March Reply

    Welcome! I love, love, love your writing space! What motivation to keep those slices flowing. Have fun with the challenge and enjoy your writing nook.

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 02:46h, 02 March Reply

    Clare, Your words typically inspire me – and today they were so inspirational I decided to join in on the challenge. I hope I can live up to it!
    I loved your closing thought: “Provisioning … I think it really is a hidden practice. It makes things seem so easy and effortless. In reality it is a thoughtful, intentional practice that requires time, vision, and care.” I will reflect on these powerful words in both my home and my teaching. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Cathy
    Posted at 03:05h, 02 March Reply

    I love your space. It makes me want to sit down and write. I don’t have a specific space. I often wander from couch to couch with my computer in hand. You have me thinking I might need a space…

  • Avatar
    Michelle
    Posted at 04:42h, 02 March Reply

    A new term for me as well, but I love everything about provisioning. I definitely do a lot of provisioning in my life — I can relate! And all your provisioning prepared you for this challenge. I look forward to another month of reading your words!

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