Thursday, December 19, 2019

Teacher's To Do Lists

When it comes to my own TO DO List, I have always been mediocre to poor.  I get distracted during certain items and I tend to choose my preferred tasks first.  I know, deep down inside, that I need to prioritize the items on my list and take care of the most important items first.  I know this, but I don't do it regularly.  Even worse, sometimes I occasionally ignore it.

As I look back to my time as a campus principal, it seems that I was always adding things to the teachers' TO DO Lists.  It came with the territory.  As much as I tried to minimize the extra helpings of stuff that I put on their plates, I had to ask teachers to do specific things regularly throughout the year.

I tried to ease the difficulties of keeping up with all the action items I asked teachers to do.  At the top of my weekly email, I included a short section called, Action Items.  I put it at the top of the weekly message so that teachers knew they could pull up the message on their computer or on their phone and quickly see the list.  They would also know that more information about the listed items could be found further down in the email.

Now that I am a teacher, I see how difficult it is to keep up with all the stuff that needs to get done.  I also see how important it is for teachers to receive the details of the task clearly and concisely.

Clear the Path
Principals, if you want to set your teachers up for success and support their need for better information and more time, make sure you are giving teachers the details of their TO DOs in writing regularly and consistently.

If your primary method of passing along tasks to teachers is telling them about it in a faculty meeting, please know that they are not getting it all.  Your diligent note-takers may get it.  Your good listeners hear you well but forget parts.  Your attention-challenged folks ask teammates for help.   A few folks were already ignoring you.  If your teachers are given tasks to do from you, the AP, the instructional coach, and their team leaders via email, verbally, a mailbox flyer, and a giant whiteboard in the workroom, you are not clearing the path for excellent communication. 

When teachers regularly get their TO DO items in writing, in a weekly email, they will know where to find them and they will always get the details in your words.

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