So, you got one day under your belt. And depending on how it went, you either feel energized or deflated about the rest of the week. That’s okay and that’s normal. Tuesday is a unique day. You can’t quite see the weekend, but you know it’s there. Furthermore, you’ve got four more days to make a difference. In the lives of your students, your colleagues and yourself.
How do you approach it? I have three suggestions that will help make the rest of your week run a little bit more smoothly.
Start by Assessing Your Monday
If you followed the guide for Saturday, Sunday and Monday then odds are you had great plans for starting Monday off on the right foot. But … plans don’t always work out the way we want them to. Maybe we woke up with a headache. It could be that one of your own kids has the flu and you had to drop them off at your parents’ house and it caused you to be late to school. Your morning was thrown off and it seemed like the day got worse and is went on. Most likely, if your Monday didn’t work out, it was because your lesson, the one you had planned hours for, didn’t work out as planned.
In fact, it bombed. First, if your awesome lesson bombed, know that you are not alone. In fact, you’re in great company. You think I am making this up just to make you feel better? Trust me, I’m not. Take 10 minutes and listen to Dave Burgess recount the time when his well-planned lesson bombed two years in a row. Yes, you read that right, one of the most engaging educators on the planet had a lesson that bombed—twice!
Maybe that happened to you on Monday. You spent some time over the weekend planning the most engaging lesson ever, only to find that it wasn’t as engaging as you thought. Guess what? It’s only Tuesday, the perfect day to recalibrate and start over. Maybe you only need to make a few tweaks to your lesson. Maybe you need to ditch the entire thing and start over. Or, maybe it’s time to get student feedback. Ask your students what worked, what didn’t and what you could do to make it better. It’s worth a shot, right?
Having gone through all this, it could be possible that you crushed Monday. I mean you had the kids’ attention, the lesson went as well as, or better than, expected and you couldn’t be more pleased. If that’s the case, be sure to make a note of what worked. Ask your students. Write down details so that when it comes time to repeat this lesson next year, you are ready. Heck, you might even be able to kick it up a notch. Collect samples of work, take photos of the room and as mentioned previously, ask your students why they think things went so well.
And most importantly, pat yourself on the back. We are quick to get down on ourselves when things don’t work out but rarely do we allow ourselves to soak it in when something goes well. It’s okay to feel good about yourself. In fact, I highly encourage it.
Get a Quick Dose of Professional Development
I know, I know. Sometimes those two words can run shivers down an educator’s spine. You know the anonymous saying, “I hope when I die, it is during professional development so that the transition would be so smooth.” I get it. I have attended professional development sessions that were mind numbing and I’m sure, even though I hate to admit it, I have provided professional development that put people to sleep.
The thing is, professional development doesn’t need to be like it was in the past. It can be differentiated and much less intrusive. One of my favorite forms of professional development is listening to podcasts. Now, a little disclaimer, I am biased because I am affiliated with two education podcasts, My Bad and Teachers’ Aid.
But I am here to tell you that while mine are pretty good, there are others that are much better. Just a few days ago, two of the most prolific and talented bloggers and podcasters around, Jennifer Gonzalez and Angela Watson, released a podcast epiosde titled, 4 Myths About Great Teaching Debunked, that is well worth your time. Trust me. It is quite possible you will gain more from this podcast than you will from all your professional development this year combined.
Podcasts are one best ways to receive professional development. First, you can listen to them at your leisure. I have a friend of mine that listens to my podcasts when she goes for her weekend run. Now, I must admit, neither of those sound appealing to me; running or listening to myself speak. But it works for her. Second, podcasts give you a chance you to hear real people in real situations. No worksheets in front of you and no powerpoint to follow. Just a straight-up conversation. Finally, podcasts are small bite-sized doses of learning. They don’t last for hours and you can pause them whenever you like. Don’t we wish we could do that in real life?
So, give them a try. I have a feeling you’re going to be glad you did. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
In Awe Podcast; Inspiration to Amplify Women & Empower a Community to Rise with Sarah Johnson
The Dr. Will Show with Will Deyamport
The Creative Classroom with John Spencer
Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez
UnearthED with Ben Gilpin and Brad Gustafson
Make a Positive Phone Call or Have a Positive Conversation
I realize that I should be making positive phone calls every day. But I don’t. So, if I can make it a habit to make one positive phone call or have one positive conversation every Tuesday, well then I think that will be pretty good. I know I always enjoy hearing good news. I think that much of this has to do with the fact that it is so rare.
We know we need to lift each other up and we all have great intentions of doing so. But at the end of the day, when we look back on all that transpired, we realize that we got so caught up in the busyness of work that we neglected to stop and notice the positive.
These positive phone calls and/or conversations don’t always need to be to parents. Staff need to hear and know that they are appreciated just like parents. I remember one such call last year. I was in the Chik-fil-A drive thru getting ready to order a tasty dinner, when I got a call from my principal. To be honest, I was a little worried that I had done something wrong. But then my principal spoke and said that he just wanted to let me know that I did a good job running the school on that day. We were down a few staff members and we were stretched thin.He was proud of me.
I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Just a quick phone call—probably less than a minute. But it made my day and helped me raise my head a little higher. I need to remember that phone call and make more of them myself. It doesn’t take long. Oftentimes, less than a minute. Try it this Tuesday and see how it works out. You’re going to make someone feel good—I guarantee it.
Tomorrow is Hump Day
Wednesday is the day when you start to see the end of the week. There is still much to do. Technically, we’re not even halfway there yet. But we got this. Just remember the three suggestions above and you will head into Hump Day ready to crush it.
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