Clock Watching

imageSometimes we are asked to spend a professional development day learning new information in order to build capacity in the classroom.  Even when the topic is fascinating and the presenter entertaining and personable, it’s hard to sustain focused attention for six or seven hours.

Today I “hit the wall” around 1:30 pm.  It was that after-lunch lull that made my eyelids heavy and my brain slow, no matter how hard I tried to focus.  I had some tricks up my sleeve–a bite of chocolate left over from lunch, some discreet stretching, a little bit of doodling on my paper.  Nothing was working.  I tried to stay engaged with the task at hand, but it was complicated and I was lost in the sequence of steps.  It was at that moment that I made the mistake of glancing at my watch.

Nothing makes time go slower than looking at my watch and realizing I have at least two hours of listening left.  It is as if there is a snail inside it, pushing the minute hand around the face as slowly as possible, leaving a trail of slime around the numbers.  In fact, it almost seems like the snail is pushing the minute hand in the opposite direction sometimes!  I have to trick myself into NOT checking my watch for the rest of the session after that, or I will check it every five minutes and lose focus again! So I had to play a little game with myself…

  • I’m not allowed to look at my watch until three more agenda items are completed.
  • I’m not allowed to look at my watch until someone else takes a piece of chocolate from the pile on the table.
  • I’m not allowed to look at my watch until someone walks past the doorway and peeks in to see what we are doing.
  • I’m not allowed to look at my watch until someone drops something on the floor.

Hopefully all this “not looking at my watch” distracts me enough so that I can refocus and forget about the time altogether!  Fortunately today I got through my after-lunch lull and got myself back on track.  Tomorrow my watch will be back to normal, with the minute hand sweeping right along, as if a jackrabbit is pushing it swiftly around the face..  No more watch-snails, please!  image




  1. J.Tiggs · March 9, 2016

    Love this post. The description of the snail pushing the minute hand backwards is such an accurate depiction of what it’s like when watching the clock.


  2. Mandy Robek · March 9, 2016

    I love how creative you got for when you could look at your watch. I enjoyed the use of a snail and jackrabbit to describe your days. Good luck with tomorrow.


  3. Brian Rozinsky · March 9, 2016

    Clock slime — now there’s a vivid image. Thanks for sharing giving a familiar slice new life.


  4. franmcveigh · March 9, 2016

    LOVED your game! I don’t even have a watch anymore! And now we have some rooms without a clock . . . interesting conundrum for sure!!!


  5. Kristi Lonheim (@lonheim) · March 9, 2016

    And then the question of what tricks do we teach our students and what do we structure into their day so they aren’t counting snails?! We’ve all experienced it. Thanks for sharing. See what your students think of your strategies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika Victor · March 9, 2016

    I love/hate the idea of watch snails, but I totally know that feeling! I love Kristi’s question above. I also love your bargains with yourslef- we really got to “feel” your pain!


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