Spoon Chucking our Life and Learning out the Back

“Sometimes we throw more out the back door with a spoon than we can bring in the front door with a wheelbarrow,” said my Poppa Adams. (My great-grandfather.)

I've been thinking about this saying and how it applies to my classroom, my pocketbook, my life. I guess it is another version of the “small holes sink big ships” kind of thinking.


  • Are we spoon chucking away our classroom time?

    Add up all the distractions: fire drills, testing (if you're stuck with mandatory testing), assemblies, kids leaving for sports and how much time do you really have to teach? Perhaps if administrators look at the classroom time that is being “spoon chucked” out the back door it will help improve learning because kids will have more time to learn.

  • Are we spoon chucking away the time we do have?
    It is rare that I will end 5 minutes early. Multiple 5 minutes by 5 days and that is 25 minutes a week. Multiple that by 30 weeks and you have 750 minutes or 12.5 hours a school year. You could teach so much. If you HAVE to finish early, use this time for thought provoking conversations or something of meaning in your topic. You could do the same at the beginning of class if you don't start on time.
  • Are we spoon chucking away our relationships with our students?
    Researchers have shown that even eye contact helps people feel more connected and that those who don't feel connected aren't as happy. That extra few moments at your desk grading while the students come in might be you spoon chucking away your relationship with your students. Perhaps you should be at the door making eye contact and calling them by name.


  • Are we spoon chucking away our money?

Every so often, I call and get a new credit card from the same company just so I can discontinue using the old one. That way, I have to consciously decide that I am going to keep spending on those debits on my credit card. Do I really need all those things I'm charging every month?

  • Are we spending our money on the wrong things and spoon chucking away the happiness?

    A new study shows that we are happier when we buy experiences — when we go places with people — than when we buy things? Will that extra rug in the den make you happier — no? But if you took that money and went out with your family, it might just. Things don't make you happy. Makes me want to live in a shack and travel the world when I think about it.

In Conclusion
Poppa Adams was a smart man and I am collecting the sayings that he passed down to my Dad (his grandson.) I'm pondering this whole thought in all areas of my life and putting up my spoons. Sometimes our solution is to get more wheelbarrows, when instead we should look at what is being thrown out the back door.
Photo Credit: Big Stock

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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