The Relativity Conundrum

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"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." – Albert Einstein

I’d like to posit a teacher corollary or two to this classic quote. Today?  “The more time you have to accomplish a task, the faster the time passes (and the less likely you are to accomplish that task, naturally).”

Some days it feels like I just glance up and my planning period has vanished. What exactly happened? Did I pass through my very own Wrinkle in Time? Today, we’re in luck. An adorable little stinkbug perched on the books on my windowsill is here to share the exact details. (You know, the ones that have taken over your room too? Those nefarious insects are up to more than making even the mightiest shriek in terror.)

9:16 -- She’s muttering to herself, “Okay, sixty minutes. Sixty glorious minutes. I can get a ton done in sixty minutes, right?” Wandering around the room, she grabs a rainbow of folders from various locations and piles them all up in front of her. That’s odd, I can barely see her face now.

9:20 – After opening several folders and wielding her pen, she’s started staring up at the ceiling. Rapid scribbling followed by a soft sigh. The phone rings, and she darts across the room to grab it on the second ring. “Mrs. Selke’s room” ….

9:30 – Glancing up at the clock, she mutters again, “Wow, only forty five minutes to go. It’s okay, I’ve got this.” Standing up from her desk, she glances at a stack of papers on the corner.

“Ah, I forgot to put those up. I know the kids would want to see them”. Grabbing that stack, she crosses to the front of the room and starts hanging them around a red sign. As she glances at each paper, she smiles. Some especially colorful or intricately drawn pages keep her attention. 

“Oh, I have to remember to display that book,” she whispers, and strides over to the assortment of books near my perch on the windowsill. I dart out of view behind a color book on biology and then peek back out.

 (Why yes, I did find a live stink bug for my model. That’s a post for another day!)

As she moves books around, her smile broadens. One, two, three books stay in her hand as she dashes back over to her desk and squeezes them into a bag already full to overflowing. “I have to reread those!” she exclaims. The zipper of the bag strains as she attempts to close it. Sighing, she just leaves it open.
Back over to the wall display, she finally finishes hanging the papers. Even I have to admit, it looks better now.  The blank space has disappeared, transforming the wall. Stepping back, hands on her hips, she smiles softly. “Nice.”

(includes favorites like Origami Yoda, Bone, The Familiars, Nate the Great, The Ranger’s Apprentice, and more)

10:12 – Once more, she glances up at the clock. This time she mutters something sharp sounding, but too soft for my little ears to catch. Rapidly darting around the room, she grabs that rainbow of folders and creates a pile near that bag of books. “Guess that will have to happen tonight,” she whispers. Just as she finishes resetting the room, a flurry of activity draws her attention to the door.

10:15 – “Welcome, my friends! Have a seat so we can get started!” she chirps. As the crowd bustles in, they immediately cluster around the new display. A secret smiles plays across her lips and she winks at me.


Was it worth it?  Spending the time on the book display instead of grading? Yes. I’m not behind in my grading, just didn’t manage to get ahead. The book buzz created by the display was absolutely worth it. Carpe diem, no? 


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