One Third

Last weekend I went to NYC to attend the 2010 Surdna Arts Teacher Fellowship convening and spent 2 1/2 days with fellow teaching artists and administrators. It was an incredible experience – one that I will share in more detail at another time.


We spent quite a bit of time talking about what it means to be a teaching artist, how to keep the balance, and stay inspired not only to practice our art but to be the best teacher, and one idea really stuck with me.


One of the other teaching artists mentioned that surgeons use this philosophy regarding their time:


1/3 of your time is spent studying
1/3 of your time is spent doing
1/3 of your time is spent teaching



It seems so simple when you look at it like that. I have tried to adopt this idea and over the last week have found it truly freeing. I am giving myself permission to study and do, instead of solely teaching. And the fantastic bi-product of that is that I find myself more excited about teaching and I’m equipped with more ideas and inspiration. One third is my new mantra.

2 thoughts on “One Third

  1. Great thought–something I’ll want to keep in mind when things start feeling out of balance.

    For me, the times when my studying, doing, and teaching are at their best are the times when the lines between them get blurry.

  2. I’m really going to try to take this mantra to heart. I was lucky to not have to do a lot of teaching this semester, and yet the advising and the little teaching I’m doing is taking up that full 1/3… next semester I’m giving lectures in four different classes, and I know it’s going to completely snow me under and suck away my ‘doing’ time if I’m not very, very careful about it. Thank you for this reminder and strategy! <3

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