Musings on education
Something new each week starting soon
Many years ago, I worked for a bank. The potential for a good salary gave me incentive to stay and rise through the ranks. Initial annual holidays were two weeks if I took them in the summer or three weeks if I chose winter. The fact I chose winter was an early indicator of what I held as valuable: a block of time for myself.
When I became a teacher, there were of course strong intrinsic incentives. However, a strong extrinsic incentive was the block of time afforded teachers for summer breaks. During the school year, a good teacher works at least as many hours outside of class as inside the class and very committed teachers may prep and mark at a ratio of 2:1. So when summer comes, teachers decompress.
Time is ours.
During the long summer hiatus, teachers may choose to take courses, they may choose to travel, they may choose quality family time. But that's just it. They may choose. The time is theirs to use or abuse as they wish. This choice of how to use time brings an amazing amount of happiness.
In a recent article in The New York Times, research shows that those who value time over money are happier. Note the word "value" here. Valuing time more makes you happier than valuing money more. (That said, when a person who values time also has time, needs are met, just as when someone who values money has money, needs are met.) The article indicates that "even if you’re scraping by, and thus forced to focus on money, you’ll be happier if deep down you know it’s time that’s most important."
A few years ago, I moved into school administration and thus a good deal of my summer time became other people's time. A basic value that I held was undermined and a basic need was not being met. I created justifications: the job was "better" - after all, I was making more money. I had an important influence on more people than if I were a mere teacher. But my time belonged to others ...
Ten years ago, I returned to teaching and have since been happy on many fronts, including meeting my need for the time which I value. I work hard but have time to play hard.
So, is the expression "time is money" valid? In some concrete ways, very much so.
However, ask yourself this question:
"If your basic needs were met, would you want more time or money?" Your answer may tell you how happy you can be.
Until next weekend ...
(For the original study, you can access it by clicking the link to the journal "Social Psychological and Personality Science" below.)