The episode you’re about to hear is a free coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s a combination of instructional coaching and life coaching all sort of rolled into one, where I’m answering teachers’ specific questions about productivity and balance and managing it all.
This particular call is a teacher named Claire who teaches special education. She works with kids in grades K-6 and actually splits her time between 2 schools, so she’s at one school with one group of kids in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Claire’s initial question is about how to use her summer to get ahead for fall when she doesn’t know the needs of the students in her classroom. Her caseload can change a lot from year to year and that makes it difficult to plan ahead. So we talk through some systems she and any teacher can create during the summer that will make the following school year easier to manage. We talk about getting digital files organized, getting procedures in place, and so on.
I then challenge Claire to figure out 2-3 of her biggest time-wasters and use her summer to figure out a better way. It’s very hard to find the time and mental bandwidth to take a step back during the school year and analyze systems, so summer is really perfect for that. And when she told me what her biggest time suck is, when she talked about collecting data on student progress and grading their writing, she had a really big aha moment that I think is going to resonate with you in a powerful way, too.
Claire and I dug really deeply into how to analyze if something really has to be done, if the things we perceive as mandated are in fact requirements, and analyze teaching practices through the lens of whether they’re actually effective for kids rather than if they’re the way they’ve always been done, and they way everyone else does them. I love that moment in our conversation and I can’t wait to share it with you.
At the end of the call, I mention a free on-demand video series I've created to help you plan out how to use your summer. You can sign up for that here:
Today we're going to talk about the little things students do that are rude, disrespectful, or just annoying. The things that don’t necessarily warrant some kind of consequence, but that you don’t want to let slide every time. How should a teacher respond to eye rolling, teeth sucking, muttering under the breath, and so on? What do we do about bad attitudes?
I don’t want to settle for trite rehashed info, so I reached out to Robyn Jackson because I knew she could take this conversation to a deeper level. Robyn was a National Board Certified English teachers in Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, and has since been and administrator, adjunct professor, consultant, and speaker. She’s been championing equity, access, and rigor for over 15 years.
Robyn is seriously one of my favorite experts in the education space, because she has a deeper understanding of human behavior and motivation than anyone else I know, and she always keeps it real. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her speak in person a few times just hang on her every word--there’s so much good info there. She has this lovely way of uncovering the root problem and also sort of calling you out on your own mess instead of allowing blame-shifting.
Grab a notepad when you listen to this one, because you’re going to want to take notes!