By the Number #sol18

images-1.jpg By the Numbers #sol18

April 2, 2018

10,000 hours,  Malcolm Gladwell  is quoted as saying in Outliers, makes someone a phenom.  10,000 hours, the magic number of greatness.  10,000 hours is roughly 417 days. One year and nearly two months.  Perhaps that really isn’t enough time.

Personal Statistics

Blogs published to date:  117.

Hours to complete them:  roughly 250 hours

I’ve got a long way to go there.  I’ve filled a notebook full of ideas.  I have a couple of dozen ideas not published or not fully formed or in incubation.  What I do know is that practice may not make perfect, but it makes better.

Ballet lessons:  1,560 hours

3 hours a week x 52 weeks x 10 years.

 Not Misty Copeland, but I appreciate a beautiful ballet. When I danced every day I was more proficient that the average child by a little.   Piano lessons, swimming lessons, all the same. Years of them, but phenom, not so much.  But Better.  

Consulting with teachers about students:  1,120 hours

100x .5=  5o hours of group consults per year x 8 years at this school = 400 hours

2.5 hours x 4 weeks x 9 months x 8 years =  720 hours.

720 hours + 400 hours= 1,120 hours.  

Nowhere near phenom, but a stronger toolbox of strategies, a greater ease, Better.  

Teaching  27,000 hours

20 years x 9ish months x 30 days in a month give or take x 5 hours directly a day = 27,000 hours.   Finally, a number I can attest to mastery.  Perhaps,  or maybe still learning, but better.   

Practice makes the practitioner more observant.  Practice makes the practitioner more comfortable.  Practice makes the practitioner more accomplish, but only if they learn from that practice.  

What did I learn?  Perhaps I learned perseverance.  But I learned so much more.

Perhaps there’s some truth to that 10,000 hour mastery rule.  


I slice along with my fellow writers in the Slice of Life Community.  Join us or read some amazing slices on Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers

18 thoughts on “By the Number #sol18

  1. I’ve thought about those 10k hours a lot since reading that book. I thought about it when I was helping my daughter learn to drive. When she had 6 hours and I had over 10k, it was noticeable! Not that I’m Dale Earnhardt, but I felt proficient. The phenom thing is tough to attain. I’m wondering how many hours I’ve spent writing. That would be very hard to tabulate, but it’s interesting.

  2. Hours and hours and hours spelled out by your statistics here. I love that you believe that “still learning” is a goal in itself. I used to tell my student teachers that they could teach for 30 years or they could teach their first year 30 times. It’s learning/changing/growing that brings mastery. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Wow! I love this. I’ve often talked about what this means in terms of student reading and writing time but I have not applied it to my own time. HMMM. . . starting to count numbers here!

  4. This is so interesting! I also like to think about the 10000 hrs concept and what that means for the various things I do. I really like the idea of “practice makes better.” That is a much better thing to say to children than “practice makes perfect,” which I constantly heard and believed and found myself so confused by when all my practice did not, in fact, make me perfect! After 20 years of teaching, I am still learning and getting better too–which is one reason why I love teaching.

  5. I really like how you break it down here. I suspect that, like you, I only approach 10,000 hours in teaching – and I love that you are still learning. I have a theory that if you stop too early (maybe 5,000 hours?) you *think* you have mastered it, but you have actually stopped learning. At 10,000 hours surely we know that we must be constantly learning.

  6. I’ve thought a lot about the 10,000 rule over the years and often think about the way expertise is often ignored or disparaged in our culture.
    BTW, want you to know I did not write the poem in my slice today and still need to post a poem for today.

  7. You know, even if I did spend 10,000 hours learning something, I don’t know if I would still feel accomplished at it. There are too many variables, something always shifts. There’s more to learn, always. 🙂

  8. Love this (sorry I am late today- the link wasn’t up in time for me to comment this morning) post! I printed it – this is great to use with teachers to think about the importance of practice, vertical trajectory, cohesive language etc. THANK YOU – love this!!

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