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Hourglass on top of pebbles

QTR: Quality Time Remaining

Mon Aug 28, 2023 at 07:30 AM

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day."--Pink Floyd

I’d like you to bring these three letters front and center, in your mind: QTR, “quality time remaining.” While I certainly know there are no guarantees in anything (save for taxes and death), we can guesstimate how many quality years we have left to achieve, attempt, explore, etc. things we’ve always put on the back-burner.

How to Embrace QTR

As with enduring anything, the “how to” of this particular notion is subjective. Unique qualities, beliefs and characteristics are embedded into each of our beings. That being said, what I can tell you is something quite universal: regret is not an enjoyable notion! When striving to get the most out of your life, consider traveling to the metaphorical finish line, if you will. When you reach the end of your timeline here, the goal is to truly believe you’ve lived a meaningful, helpful and giving life. The hope is that at its culmination, your time here has left this place we call home a little better in some meaningful way. For instance . . .

  1. Who have I truly helped along the way?
  2. What have I done that has had a positive impact?
  3. How will I be thought of and/or remembered?

Let’s look at this through the lens of an educator. I’ll answer the above questions in terms of my own educational experiences. Then I encourage you to do the same regarding your personal educational journey. 

  1. I’d like to believe I’ve helped many students find and/or develop their passions through having me as their teacher for one year. I’ve hopefully provided one strong foundational step on their staircase to adulthood. 
  2. The fact that I am an educator and have dedicated my life to helping others has had a positive impact on those I’ve had the privilege of teaching. Based on feedback, I do know that my “life endurance” lessons have been very well received. They are very appreciative that I care about the ‘whole’ student; not just what they can read and write.
  3. This is a powerful notion. At the finish line, how will I be remembered; or as the play “Hamilton” states: “Who will tell my story?” and what will this story say? I can only go by what my students have told and/or written to me. “Mr. D . . . you are the best teacher I’ve ever had!” I’ll take that as a finish line!

These are just a few examples. Feel free to create your own reflection statements/questions to reflect on the “body of work” you’ve created while living.   


Ultimately, we all need reminding that, "The Present Is a Gift". Watching the world and all of its greatest hits and flops, the notion of QTR often comes to my mind. A great activity to close out this notion is to listen to my podcast episode on this topic. When listening, keep this concept in mind when thinking not only about your personal life, but also in correlation with your work. I ask you to do this, as well, because with the notion of QTR, it can be pertinent to ask yourself: Am I even doing what I truly want to do? If you’re not, then I simply ask . . . “What exactly are you waiting for?” (Listen to the podcast episode here.)

A great song correlation for the QTR podcast episode is my song,"Closing Fast." "Closing Fast" was actually inspired by another of my podcast episodes, "No Return to Syndication." Essentially, this life is our one shot. It is not a sitcom where we get an opportunity for a rerun . . . hence, our lifelines can and will close fast. Grab onto life and live it for all its worth! This is a pertinent time to remind anyone who wishes to recognize the time we’re given for what it truly embodies. Perhaps, the Beatles said it best by offering, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” 

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

About the Author

Brian Dalton is an educator of 30-years at Rochester Community Schools. He is also a consultant who has traveled the country providing educators withresources to help them endure the challenges of life as an educator. He is also the author of Teach4Endurance: Surviving the Swim, Bike and Run in Today’s Classroom. Brian uses his endurance racing experiences, lessons learned while training, as well as his unique sense of humor to correlate endurance racing to the greatest endurance challenge of all: teaching! “Strain, rigidity, and stress are surefire killers of any pursuit in which one hopes to flourish,” says Dalton, who has taught for nearly three decades and raced in over 20 triathlons, including three Ironman events. As noted by former NFL coach, Don Clemons, "Brian does a great job in developing a playbook for educators of all ages and positions." Outside the classroom, Brian can be found as a musician on Spotify, iTunes, etc. He also produces his Teach4Endurance Podcast (available onall streaming platforms). You can also find his blog and reach out to him at his website.

Image by Aron Visuals on Unsplash.

Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC

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