ISY Elementary Blog
The Importance of a Sense of Urgency
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
November 20, 2020
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to psych myself up to start writing a report that was due today. I ended up scrolling through cricket videos on Youtube which led me to a TED Talk on cricket which led me to the most popular TED Talks of all time which included Tim Urban’s perfectly named TED Talk, ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator.’

I submitted my report today before the deadline but I could have finished it a couple of weeks ago if I had not procrastinated. It was a bit touch and go as to whether I would have my report in on time and I put myself under pressure by not starting earlier. 

Before I watched Urban’s TED Talk I would have said that pressure was unnecessary. But now I wonder if that pressure was necessary for me to motivate and focus myself to do my best work. I also wonder if pressure is necessary for people to do their best work when I think of how our teachers crammed 2-3 years of work into 2-3 months to be ready for students on August 19. 

I created my own pressure by procrastinating in the face of a deadline. Our teachers were given an almost impossible deadline that made procrastination impossible. But we both had a deadline that created pressure. 

A deadline is described in terms of time. It could be to the minute, the hour, or year. It could be very specific like 1pm Friday afternoon or could be more vague like before someone might make a decision or the markets collapse. The COVID crisis has created time pressure to act immediately. The longer we take to get it under control the more suffering it will cause. The world has (kind of) dropped everything to fight it and we will beat it soon(ish).

Urban says there are two kinds of procrastination. The first kind happens when there is a deadline. In these situations, a sense of urgency that Urban might refer to as the ‘Panic Monster’ will eventually kick in and we will start doing what we need to do to meet the deadline. 

The second kind of procrastination happens in situations where there is no deadline, or at least no deadline that creates enough of a sense of urgency for the Panic Monster to wake up. An example of this type of procrastination is happening in relation to crises such as climate change. We are feeling the full effect of COVID now and the Panic Monster is wide awake as we respond to it. But it is dozing as we respond to non-deadline crises that we know have the potential to destroy us but are not feeling the full effect of yet. 

So the question must be, ‘How do we create a sense of urgency to effectively start to deal with climate change and other non-deadline crises right now?’ I’m not sure and I know that there are a lot of people in our community who are certainly not procrastinating as they try to create this sense of urgency. 

As a school, we have integrated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the heart of our curriculum to, among other things, create an awareness of and sense of urgency in relation to the crises that the SDGs were set to address. We do not want our students to panic but they might be the ones that need to wake the Panic Monster in all of us before it is too late.

Join us on Saturday, December 12th for the 3rd annual UWS-ISY Sports-A-Thon!  This fun active event raises funds for the UWS-ISY Wan Kaung School partnership, allows children in Northern Myanmar to attend school with appropriate supplies and resources.  If you are interested in learning more about this amazing program, check out the ISY website.

This year’s event will be held virtually on Saturday, December 12 from 9:00-11:00 AM.

How can you participate?

  1. Set a personal challenge or two.  Gather sponsors that will donate when you complete your challenge.  Join a zoom meeting on December 12th to complete your challenge. Finally, donate for completing your challenge.


  1. Video your family member(s) completing their physical challenge prior to December 12th, submit the video to be included in the day’s celebration and make a donation!

All donations will be collected through the ISY School Spirit Store.  Simply login to your Powerschool account, click on School Spirit Store and make your contribution.

We look forward to your participation!


Talking with your Child about Your Teacher Conference

We had a lovely turn out for parent-teacher conferences.  Thank you for taking the time to connect with your child’s teachers in this powerful way.  Now that you have this information, you might wonder how to talk with your child about it.

  • Talk with your child about what you learned at the conference.  Often students worry or are just curious.  Include them by sharing what you learned.

  • Start with sharing the strengths the teacher discussed and highlight the positives.

  • Be direct about problems or concerns.  Often your child knows areas they struggle with.  Ask them how they think the issues might be addressed.  Often parents feel punishment will solve a problem but often a team approach better engages your child and produces better results.

  • Share the plan for moving forward.  Students need to understand that steps are being taken to address the concerns or issues.  These plans require everyone’s participation to be successful.

If you have any questions or concerns, I am available to support your family.  I can be reached at

Warmly, Ms. Patty
Virtual Recess is still running from 1:00-1:30 PM.  Students should use the All Grade Specialist Link to join on their assigned day.  All activities will be student driven but will include fun and games.

Grades 4 & 5: Tuesday
Grade 3: Wednesday
Grade 2: Thursday
Grade 1: Friday

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES: We are always available!


We trust that you had enjoyable and meaningful conferences with you child(ren)’s teachers. This was the first formally scheduled conference of the year. There will be other scheduled opportunities throughout the year to conference with teachers but please know that you are welcome to reach out to us at any time. Thank you for your continued support of us as we strive to meet the needs of every child at ISY.


Did you know that Mr. Zar Li, our head security officer, was a former Mr. Myanmar! He is very fit and knows 100s of different exercises to stay fit.

Mr. Zar Li has kindly offered to run 15 minute work outs for our students that will start at 8:10am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These work outs will start next Monday. The Zoom link for the workouts will be on the Friday Family Report email that you receive from your child(ren)’s teacher. All ages are welcome and parents are welcome to join in too.

The workouts will finish at 8:25am to give students time to get a drink and get organized before joining their classes at 8:30am.

These workouts do not replace regular P.E. classese during the school day. 

Physical Activity Ideas for ES Students To Do At Home from Mr. Wyatt

Here is a link to some great ideas to keep our students active at home. They are fun and require little or no equipment or preparation.

Previous Elementary School Posts
Elementary School Blog – February 11, 2021

Elementary School Blog – February 11, 2021

Over the last two weeks, our Early Elementary team has been working with Dr. Linda Henke. Dr. Henke has a wealth of experience in many school settings and has a particular interest and expertise in developing a capability and love for deeper learning in our youngest children.