5 Ways to Eat an Elephant

5 Ways to Eat an Elephant

As I drink coffee at my desk, with 101 things on my to do list, an article I read last summer crosses my mind. The article, written by Denise Fournier, is called “The Only Way to Eat an Elephant”. To save you the time (because I know how busy you are), here is a synopsis of the whole article in one quote:


“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” - Desmond Tutu 


Alright, so you’re probably wondering how this metaphor about elephants actually applies to teachers. Well, think about it: as our year keeps racing ahead, our workload demand seems to race ahead with it. But doing too many jobs or tasks all at once keeps us from completing tasks thoroughly and efficiently. So teachers, remember to allow yourself to complete one task before accepting a new one. 


Although this sounds like an obvious piece of advice, let's be real with ourselves. Our natural instincts as teachers is to multitask until we save every student, with the ultimate goal of hopefully (someday) saving the world. This is an overwhelming pressure to put on ourselves!! But, maybe if we eat the elephant one bite at a time, changing the world one student at a time is attainable. So here are five ways I have come up with as a teacher to “eat an elephant”. 


Five ways to eat an elephant as a teacher:

  1. Have a vision.
  2. Set deadlines for yourself - and stick to them! 
  3. Remind yourself to be patient. 
  4. When you need it, ask for help - and accept it. 
  5. Set yourself short term, attainable goals with your overall end goal in mind.

Teach on, 

Joey Mendoza


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